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Why Do Cats Sit On Squares, Even Squares of Tape? 9 Likely Reasons

Gregory Iacono

By Gregory Iacono

Cat touching a square made of tape

If you have a cat, you already know that they do some weird and interesting things, like killing birds and giving them to you as “presents.” There’s one habit that’s so fascinating that it’s even been reported by the venerable writers in Smithsonian magazine. Some cats sit on squares or anything square-like, including simple squares made on the floor with tape. For some reason, cats love sitting on them. If you’re wondering why cats sit on squares, even squares of tape, read on!

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The 9 Likely Reasons Cats Sit on Squares

1. Cats Love Square Items

Just look at YouTube, and you’ll see thousands of videos of curious cats trying to squeeze into squares of all kinds. That includes things like drawers, boxes, storage bins, wicker baskets, and anything else that’s square. There are also plenty of videos of cats finding square shapes on the floor and sitting or lying down on them for no obvious reason. In other words, for some reason, we might never understand why cats love to sit in and on square things.

cat sitting on a square
Image Credit: JumpStory

2. Cats Feel Secure in Small Spaces

While a cat will sit in a square made of tape on the floor, it’s not a great hiding spot or a safe area to stay. That, however, is one of the big reasons that cats sit in and on squares; to feel safe and secure. A cat will squeeze itself into a small, square object because, once inside, it feels safe and secure from the world. It’s an easy way to hide, too, although if cats knew how flimsy cardboard is, they might think twice before squeezing into a box to be “safe.”


3. Cats Want to Feel Like they Did with their Mother as Kittens

When cats are kittens, they do a lot of snuggling with their momma, mostly to get food and stay warm and safe. Some folks believe that when they squeeze into a box or sit in a square, a cat is simply trying to regain that warm, cozy, safe feeling that it used to have with its mother.


4. Squares Provide a Modicum of Psychosomatic Comfort

When someone has a psychosomatic issue, they have various symptoms caused by their mind rather than their body. The same goes for cats, some researchers believe, when they sit on a square made with tape on the floor. The theory is that, since it’s square, the “box” drawn on the floor with tape provides some protection and security (which it obviously does not). Still, if your cat feels secure (and there’s nothing around to take that security away) and sitting in a square makes them content and happy, there’s no harm in it.

gray british shorthair kitten in cat litter box
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

5. Cats Like the Texture or Feel of the Square

Cats have a keen sense of touch and look for objects with interesting textures. That includes square objects like boxes, a sheet of paper on the floor, a piece of cardboard, and even the shape of a square on a floor with an interesting surface. Not only do they like the feel of textured objects, but since many square objects can be climbed into like a box, they can use them to sharpen their claws or simply get cozy. That feels good to a cat and makes a compelling reason to sit on a square.


6. The Square Is Yours

Although they may seem aloof and uncaring at times, the typical cat loves being around its owner and will do whatever it can to get some “me time” with them. If that means, for example, sitting on your square laptop, desk, or document you’ve been working on for your boss, so be it. They like to sit on these types of squares because they’re yours, and the average cat is also smart enough to know that doing so will immediately get your attention. So, for example, if they’re hungry or want to play, sitting on your square items is a great way to let you know.


7. Some Squares Provide Warmth and Insulation

Cats, like most mammals, like to sit on or near a heat source like a space heater or on the floor above where hot water pipes run. If that spot happens to be a square, the better it is for your cat because they get warmth and security at the same time. A square of cardboard on a cold floor also provides a modicum of insulation from the floor and makes a perfect spot to sit or sleep and stay cozy and warm.

ragdoll cat in the cardboard box
Image Credit: Snowice_81, Shutterstock

8. Your Cat is Marking the Square with its Scent

One of the ways cats communicate with other cats is the same as dogs; they “mark” something with their scent. If that something belongs to you, even better, because your cat’s scent says, “keep off; this is my owner’s!” So, for example, a small rug or another square object that belongs to you is very attractive to your cat. Your precious cat will want to sit on it to mark it and keep other cats away.


9. Your Cat Can’t See That the Square Isn’t “Real”

Cats have a keen sense of smell and touch, but their sight is another matter. Sure, they can see well enough to catch a mouse on the run or a bird taking off, but that’s because a cat’s vision is made to see things running and flying fast around them. Up close and personal, however, the average cat is blind as a bat (almost). For that reason, cats may see a square made from tape and believe that it’s the sides of a box that will give them protection.

devon rex cat sitting on a square shelf
Image Credit: Kozak Bohdan, Shutterstock

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Do Cats Understand What Shapes Are?

Scientists and researchers know many things about cats, including that they see more colors than we do. They certainly can see square shapes, but it’s believed that they don’t have a clue as to the difference between, say, a square and a circle or a triangle. Cats see the sides of a shape, and that’s why they can find, and sit on, square shapes with such accuracy. This study, for example, found that even a “box” that wasn’t 3D (or was an optical illusion) would still attract a cat.

Do All Cats Like Sitting on Squares?

While it’s true that many cats love to sit on squares, some couldn’t care less. Many cats, when presented with a square on the floor made with tape, will have no interest in it at all. Some might quickly look and then move on to something more interesting. It all depends on the cat and its particular habits and likes.

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In Conclusion

Why do cats sit on squares? As we’ve seen today, there are several possible reasons, including that cats think square objects provide some level of protection and privacy from the outside world. There are others, too, but the truth is we may never know exactly why cats love sitting on squares. However, for some fascinating but ultimately undetermined reason, most cats love sitting on squares and will seek out and sit on them rather than circles, triangles, and other shapes.

 

Featured Image Credit: Hepper

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