Good day from Lucinda the literate cat. My CCL (Cantankerous Cat Lady) asked me this question: “Why do you cats always try to fit in the smallest container possible? Tell me, why do cats love sitting in boxes?”
The question surprised me, because it is something I haven’t thought about. I do admit that I find it very satisfying to fit myself into a very small space, either to nap or to hide.
I am a rather small cat, so I can fit in a very small space and be comfortable. We cats like to be in a container that fits so well that we can feel all four sides of it, or if it’s round, the entire shape.
I believe we like this feeling of closeness for a few reasons. First of all, our body warms the container when we can just fit, and we do like to be warm.
We also feel a sense of security. Perhaps that feeling dates from our wild beginnings, when we had to hide from those who would harm us or have us for dinner, and not as the guest either; rather, for the main course.
If the container has an opening that we can crawl in, four sides, a roof, and a place to look out, that is ideal. That kind of small space is not only warm, but it feels secure as well.
You may wonder how we manage to fit in some of the small spaces we choose, such as a small bowl or a planter. Well, the way our bodies are made allows us a lot of flexibility.
Our collarbone, shoulders and spine are quite flexible. We can squeeze under anything the height of our head. If our head and neck will fit, our body will follow.
We also measure the size of a space with our whiskers. If the space is as wide as our whiskers, we can get through it, unless, of course, we’ve eaten too many treats or too much cat food.
Not only do we use our whiskers on our cheeks to measure, but we also have very sensitive whiskers on our legs and forehead. These are very good at helping us gauge the size of a space.
Sometimes a small box with a soft lining will be an ideal spot to make our own. CCL says that many years ago, her husband, Alan, brought home a tiny kitten. It was orphaned and had to be fed from a bottle.
They made a shoe box bed for the kitten. CCL had a fleece toilet seat cover that just fit in the box, giving the kitten a fuzzy, warm nest. The baby used to knead that furry bed and suck on it, just like it was his mother.
A perfect fit is the ideal solution. CCL has a banjo, and once in a while she will take it out of its case. She leaves behind a perfect cat bed. The round end of the case, lined with plush, is heaven for a cat.
In Ouzinkie, when CCL played music with some friends in the village, the grandmother, who lived across the street, came over to listen. Her cat walked to the house with her. CCL would put her banjo case next to her chair, and the little cat would curl up in the case and sleep there until the concert was over.
Warm, dark, and close-fitting are excellent qualities for a good nesting place. CCL says that, when she unloaded her little black case of jewelry trays when giving a jewelry party, if the family had a cat, it would crawl into the dark, empty case. Carlos, CCL’s last cat, liked to crawl up under the covers of the bed and sleep the day away.
CCL says she would come home and find no cat — just a large lump in the bed.
Sometimes when we cats try to fit in a little container, there is just too much of us and not enough space there for us to fit. CCL tells about Sam, her Spruce Island cat, who loved his catnip.
CCL had a round cake pan, just right for a layer cake. It was, however, not big enough to hold Sam Cat. CCL would spill a little catnip in the cake pan and Sam would do his best to roll in the catnip. She says that wasn’t going to happen; it was pretty much a lost cause, but quite amusing for her to watch.
Pogo’s favorite hiding places are under the bed or in the corner of the office behind CCL’s bass. For the first few weeks he was here, he was so nervous that he spent most of his time under the bed. Now he sleeps on it — much better!
Personally, I like a little basket that CCL keeps in her bedroom. It is small and so am I, so it is a good combination.
You two-leggeds do like to laugh at us. I’m not offended — one of the things we like to do is keep our two-leggeds happy, so if you laugh at our behavior, that is fine.
For that reason, CCL has included two videos of cats fitting into small places. We hope they will give you a chuckle or two.