Most people know that cats love to sit in boxes. The reason behind this is that boxes help them feel safe and secure. Cats feel like nobody can see or sneak up on them when they are in a box, which can also help them feel less stressed. The University of Utrecht conducted a study at an animal shelter. Half of the cats at the shelter were given boxes and half were not. The cats that were given boxes were shown to have less anxiety because they recovered and adapted to their environment quicker than the other cats.
Scientists also wondered if cats like to sit in squares that are two-dimensional and on the ground. They created a “Kanizsa Contour Illusion” which allows us to perceive shapes that are not actually there. Cat owners were given Kanizsa shapes to put on the ground to see what their cats would do. Fifteen cats sat in the Kanizsa squares and only two of the cats chose to sit in the misshapen square. They concluded that cats’ eyes are made to find enclosures, so even things that look similar to enclosures attract the box-seeking cats.