Why Do Cats Sit On Squares?

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Captivating image of a cat comfortably sitting inside a box, showcasing their affinity for cozy and enclosed spaces.

Cats have lots of quirky ways that don’t necessarily make sense to their pet parents. They often try to fit in the most unrealistically small containers, or have a moment of zoomies where they climb up and down the headboard of the bed, with wide eyes as if they’re possessed.

Key Takeaways

Cats probably don't understand or recognize different shapes the way humans do, but can recognize the sides and corners of a square.

Even if the square is flat and two-dimensional, being surrounded by a boundary makes cats feel like they’re hiding and are protected.

Cats might sit on pieces of paper, cardboard, or other squares simply because they like the texture.

But have you ever spotted your cat sitting on a piece of paper in the middle of the room? Or a flattened cardboard box? What is it about squares? Why do cats choose to sit on squares when they have so many other options? Let’s find out about this strange cat behavior.

Why Do Cats Sit On Squares?

It seems that cats prefer squares, so why might that be?

1. It’s A Boundary

Serene image of a cat sitting on a soft carpet, radiating relaxation and contentment in a peaceful environment.

Even if a square is flat and two-dimensional, cats might still feel safely enclosed within a boundary line.

Domestic cats like to be enclosed, and even if the square is flat and two-dimensional, it might still make them feel safe. Being surrounded by a boundary will give them the perception that they’re hiding, and are protected from threats and are less “out in the open” than if they were outside of the square.

Of course, they’re no more safe and secure on a piece of paper than they are on the carpet next to them, but mentally, cats feel much better. This is due to an optical illusion that makes them think they’re enclosed and safe from predators.

Also Read: 5 Ways To Build A Stronger Bond With Your Cat

2. They Like Boxes

Enthusiastic cat immersed in play, enjoying a cardboard box as a source of amusement and entertainment.

Cats just love squeezing themselves into small boxes.

Cats love boxes, especially if they’re small, and it’s a bit of a squeeze to get into them. Again, this is because feeling enclosed and feeling the comforting pressure from the walls of the box helps them to feel safe.

Although it’s three-dimensional, a box is a square. Cats might also consider the straight sides and the right-angled corners of a flat, square object to be on par with a cardboard box.

Also Read: 11 Best Cat Litter Boxes In 2022 – We Tried Them All

3. They Like Small Spaces

Image capturing a cat curiously exploring a newspaper, reflecting their inquisitive nature and penchant for investigating their surroundings.

Cats like to hide, and square shapes might make them feel  less exposed, even if in reality they are not.

In some ways, cats aren’t very adventurous. They don’t like to feel exposed and prefer to be hidden away somewhere safe. For this reason, they prefer small spaces. Even though a piece of cardboard on the floor, a newspaper, magazine, or wayward sofa cushion is relatively flat, they still provide your cat with the impression of being comfortably hidden.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Like Boxes? 8 Reasons Why!

4. It Belongs To You

Image of a cat perched on a laptop keyboard, embodying a blend of curiosity and companionship in a modern setting.

Cats know that they can get your attention if they lie on something important to you.

Everyone knows that cats love to sit on your computer keyboard or your laptop when you’re trying to concentrate. It doesn’t take them long to realize that they can get your attention if they get in your way or lounge on something important.

That’s why you might find them lying on one of your important work documents or a textbook when you’re trying to revise.

Also Read: 7 Signs Your Cat Is Not Getting Enough Love

5. They Like The Warmth

Ginger cat peacefully asleep on a radiator, enjoying the warmth and coziness of its chosen resting spot.

Sometimes cats choose square surfaces for their warmth rather than their shape.

It goes without saying that if a surface is warm, your cat will want to sit there. That’s why cats seek out the part of the floor where the hot water pipes run, or they love their radiator bed. Not all square objects generate heat, but they might provide good insulation, making your cat feel warmer than it would sitting on the floor.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Love To Sunbathe?

6. They Like The Texture

Image illustrating the phenomenon of why cats like boxes, showcasing a cat's fascination and comfort within an enclosed space.

A piece of paper or cardboard box might not seem particularly cozy, but it might appeal to your cat.

It might seem odd, but a piece of paper, thin blanket, or cardboard might feel very cozy to your cat. If not for snuggling or sleeping, they could certainly use it to knead or sharpen their claws.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Love Paper As Much As They Do?

7. It’s Comfortable

Image of a cat sitting on a towel, displaying relaxation and ease in a soft and inviting space.

Your cat might seek out certain square objects simply because they are soft and comfortable.

Even if it’s not warm, it might be more comfortable for your cat to sit on a square object. Not because it’s square, of course, but because of the material it’s made of. If it’s a cloth, towel, cushion, blanket, or even a thick piece of cardboard, it might be more comfortable than the hard, cold floor.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Suck on Blankets? A Veterinarian Explains

8. They’re Marking It

Cat sitting gracefully on a rug, embodying a sense of calm and elegance in its surroundings.

When cats lie on a favorite resting place, they transfer their pheromones to it, marking it as theirs.

Cats communicate via scent, and they like to mark their territory. By sitting on their favorite resting place, they’re transferring their pheromones onto it and making sure other felines know it’s theirs.

Also Read: How Do Cats Communicate With Each Other? A Veterinarian Explains

How Do You Stop A Cat From Sitting On Your Things?

Curious cat exploring a shoe rack, showcasing their tendency to investigate and interact with everyday objects.

The best way to keep your cat from lying on something is to stow it away in a cupboard or other closed area.

It’s not easy to stop a cat from sitting on your things. They just want your attention. However, if you try to keep important belongings secure in cupboards or behind closed doors, you can protect your prized possessions.

It’s also worth making sure that your cat is getting enough playtime, attention, and mental and physical stimulation. If they’re bored or lonely, they’re more likely to see interaction with you and contact with your belongings.


Image featuring a top-entry cat litter box, designed to provide privacy for cats while containing litter mess and offering convenience for both felines and their caregivers.

Cats are drawn to squares for many reasons, all of which make them feel safe and comfortable.

When you think about it, it’s easy to see why cats would rather sit on an object rather than on the floor! They feel protected, they feel more comfortable, and if the object belongs to you they have the added benefit of getting your attention.

Also Read: Do Cats Like It When You Talk To Them?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do cats sit on boxes?

Cats might sit on boxes because they’re comfortable and, because cardboard is a good insulator, they warm up quickly. Boxes also provide a raised vantage point for keeping watch and surveying for predators or other threats.

Why do cats sit on things on the floor?

Sitting on the bare floor might feel more exposed and vulnerable than sitting on an object on the floor. Even if the object they're sitting on doesn't enclose them, visualizing the borders of the object around them might help your cat feel safer and more secure.

Why do cats like boxes that are too small?

For cats, size is everything, and the smaller the better! Small means safe and secure, so the tighter the fit, the less likely they’ll be found by predators. Of course, sometimes that means they end up giving up while half in and half out of the box, which is the perfect photo opportunity for you as a cat owner!

Do cats understand shapes?

Cats don't understand shapes as humans do. Their vision allows them to see a broader range of colors than we do, and they can certainly see the sides of a shape. However, it doesn't appear that they can understand or recognize different shapes in the way we do. Despite this, they are able to recognize the sides and corners of a square.

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About Dr. Hannah Godfrey BVETMED MRCVS

Hannah graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, UK in 2011 and began work straight away at a busy mixed practice. Initially, she treated all species, but as the small animal hospital became busier, she focussed on small animals. Hannah is an expert on cat behavior and nutrition.

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