When Twitter user @prograpslady shared a photo of her mom’s cat inside of a taped square on their floor (a suggestion from Pinterest), it caused nothing short of a viral sensation.
Pet parents from all over couldn’t wait to see if their felines would do the same thing, and began sharing their own experiences online.
Some pet parents said they were “shook” to learn that their cats will totally hang out in a square-shaped tape outline on their floor, while others discovered their cats preferred to “think outside the box.”
So, is there a science behind what makes certain cats head towards the square? Well, sort of.
“Put simply, I think that cats are drawn to novel changes in their environment,” says cat behavior consultant Daniel Quagliozzi. “If you put a newspaper or magazine on the floor or on a counter top, a lot of times a cat will sit right on it. It’s another location, slightly different than the floor or counter to place ownership on.”
He adds that a square shape placed on a floor is particularly intriguing to cats, as it caters to a cat’s sense of ownership over his or her territory.
Certified cat behavior consultant Ingrid Johnson agrees that with this behavior, cats are simply exploring something new in their territory. She adds that this behavior (getting inside the square) gives the cats a sense of “perception of security” of being inside something.
“Cats have very poor close-up vision,” Johnson says. “Much of what they see right in front of their muzzle is a bit of a blur so to them they might feel as if they are inside a shallow box. Cats like to feel as if they are in something and feel protected.”
Of course, it could all come down to the kitty’s personality (and if they are being stimulated enough as an indoor cat) on whether they decide to step inside the “box” on the floor.
“A confident, assertive cat may be more likely to quickly investigate and sit inside the square,” says certified feline training and behavior specialist Paula Garber. “A less confident, less assertive cat might take longer to do this, or might not do it at all.”
So, as long as your cat is game (don’t force them to participate if they aren’t into it), give this experiment as whirl in your own household.
Image via Twitter