Why Do Cats Like to Sit in Squares?

Cats are full of many bizarre quirks and habits.

Cats are prone to many strange behaviors, and one of them is their fascination with squares. Most cat parents know that if you draw a square on the floor,  your cat is going to come running and sit in it. While this behavior is endearing, it is also a little strange. Really, what is it with simple squares that make cats love them so much? Make sure you are aware of the reasons behind these 17 other mysterious cat behaviors.

Why do cats like to sit in squares?

“The simple answer is that it makes them feel secure and safe. The cat’s perception is that a square is a box without walls. The area provides security and comfort to the cat even though it is misplaced,” says Michelle Burch, DVM.

Of course, a square drawn on the ground is not a real box or boundary—but the cat is usually not aware of it, hence the false sense of security. However, this does not mean that all cats are fooled by this illusion, according to Dr. Burch.

What’s in a square?

To really understand a cats’ fascination with squares, we have to go back to when they were kittens. According to Claudine Sievert, DVM, a cat and dog veterinary doctor from Kansas and veterinary consultant at CatPet.club, kittens get a sense of comfort and security from cuddling with their mother and siblings. When they grow up, a box’s interior causes them to recall those feelings of intimacy.

“Squares excite a swaddling behavior in cats, releasing happy hormones (like endorphin and oxytocin) and therefore reducing stress,” says Dr. Sievert. And if you’re looking for ways to make sure your cat is happy, here are certain signs you should be on the lookout for.

A hiding space from predators

Of course, a square does not only provide a source of familial feelings. It also makes for a great hiding spot and ambush prey, even if a household cat’s “preys” are usually toys, household objects, and occasionally, your ankles. Squares can also provide a hiding space from imaginary predators.

“Even though a household cat will be safe and secure in their home, they still have the mentality that they need to protect themselves. A small space allows for them to hide and see a potential threat coming their way easily,” says Dr. Burch.

While a square on the ground may be fun to watch a cat enter, it is of course not a good substitute for an actual box. It is best if you have actual boxes or decorative cubes around your house to provide security for your cat. Next, check out the 10 things you shouldn’t own if you have a cat.