Cats are the most popular pets in this country. According to Statista data, around 16.7 million of them lived in German households in 2021. That was significantly more than dogs, of which there were "only" 10.3 million specimens.
As many cats there are, there are probably just as many stories about how they initially explored their new home. It's easy for some. Especially if they are still quite young or generally like people.
In one case from my childhood, however, the two shy cat brothers sat under the basement steps for literally weeks and only peeked out when there was food. We thought they would never be tame.
But at some point the cats plucked up courage and later even got really cuddly. Until then, however, patience was required. The tomcats - one black, one gray - had been born wild in a barn and had had no contact with humans before.
If we had known a trick back then, our new roommates might have ventured out of the shelter of the basement stairs a little earlier. Because we should have just given each of the adolescent youngsters a small box. It is not unlikely that acclimatization would have been more successful that way.
The trick doesn't have to work - but it can, as a study from the Netherlands suggests, which is already a few years old but whose results are still useful. Because some cats are just really scared. A tight box can help them feel secure.
At the time, the researchers found out with a behavioral experiment that animal shelter cats gain confidence more quickly and show fewer stress symptoms if they are provided with a cardboard box in which they can retreat – in addition to their sleeping place.
At the time, the scientists were able to show in the study that cats feel secure when their bodies snuggle up tightly in a box or cave. This behavior also leads to the release of endorphins. Overall, even the immune system improves, the results suggest. So providing a box or snuggle cave can have several positive effects.
Snuggled up in a box, the animals can safely observe their surroundings and are protected from attacks. It is also assumed that the animals in their small shelter are reminded of their childhood - when they were cuddled closely to their mother and siblings.
You probably won't win the heart of every anxious cat with a vile cardboard box. But it's worth a try.
Sources: Science Direct, "Stuttgarter Zeitung", "Petbook", Statista, CBS
You can see in the photo gallery: Yes, there are cats that love to swim, others are much smaller than our house cats: lions, tigers or lynxes are among the well-known wild cats. But there are also many species that are little known. An overview.