Oh goody, it’s a story about cats, because it’s probably been ages since you came across anything about kittens on the Internet. And it’s not just about cats; it’s about cats and boxes. Why do cats like to squeeze themselves into boxes that are too small for them? Scientists think it may be for a similar reason that a child likes to make a fort: it makes the cats feel safe. What’s more, it helps reduce their stress levels. Yes, that’s right: cats get stress. There’s even a way to measure it – the Kessker and Turner Cat-Stress-Score (CSS). Veterinary scientists from the University of Utrecht were curious to see if stray cats brought to shelters would have suffer less stress if they had hiding boxes, reports iflscence.
“The team led by Dr. Claudia Vinke randomly divided a sample of cats arriving at a shelter into a group that would be provided with a hiding box and one that would not. The behavior of the cats was observed over a fortnight … By day 3, the cats with hiding boxes had lower CSS scores on average, as well as less variability. Some cats without boxes were just fine, but others showed signs of stress much greater than any of the box-provided cats. Stress levels for the cats without boxes fell with time, and by day 14, they caught up with the luckier members of their species.” Knowing that cats feel safer in boxes, one charity is raising funds to buy cat castles. So the next time Dr Kenneth Noisewater curls up in a box he can barely fit in, just be cool: he’s chilling.