Various internet fads and, no doubt, your own moggie, have informed you that cats love small spaces. Whether it be a cardboard box, a plant pot or even a circle taped on the floor, cats seem to find defined areas irresistible.
The Internet Does Not Lie
The fact that you are reading this article means you are likely aware of the “If I fits, I sits” craze and the phenomenon of cat circles. If somehow you have missed them, here’s a quick update.
Cat circles: Like crop circles, they have an air of mystery. The phenomenon began in 2014 when a Reddit user noticed his cat sit in the middle of a power cord coiled in a circle. He then made a circle on the floor using masking tape and the cat’s reaction was the same. This led to a worldwide response from cat owners testing the theory by making circles with anything they could think of and posting their cats’ responses online. It’s fair to say that lots of cats went ahead and sat in those circles.
If I fits, I sits: The term was adapted from a 2009 US Postal Service advertising campaign that stated: “If it fits, it ships.” The slogan started to be used on Reddit memes showing cats sitting in boxes and, by 2012, had evolved to include cats who had awkwardly stuffed themselves into all manner of undersized vessels. The memes became a worldwide sensation and, quite possibly, the greatest thing the internet has ever known.
Why Do They Do This?
Security: Like any of us, cats feel secure when they have walls around them. However, due to primitive instincts, cats like those walls to be really close, as in touching-them-on-all-sides close. This enables them to feel safe from predators as they can’t be sneaked up on – which is especially good for sleeping. Even a low barrier can allow a cat to feel less exposed and therefore, more safe.
Conflict avoidance: Cats are really bad at conflict resolution. Being naturally anti-social creatures, they much prefer to run away from disagreements with other felines and find a safe place to wait it out until it all blows over. If only human relationships were this straightforward.
Hunting: Of course, the less visible your kitty is, the more likely they are able to pounce on their prey.
Warmth: You may have noticed that cats like to be really warm, as in “lying dangerously close to the heater” warm in winter and “sprawled out on the concrete” warm in summer. When electricity or the sun aren’t available, puss likes nothing more than to curl up within a confined area to retain body heat.
What About Cat Circles Then?
How can a circle on the ground made with tape provide any of the above benefits?, you may ask. Good question – and it seems as though no one really has a definite answer. We can only assume that such a set-up provides a somewhat false sense of security in that, because a small space has been defined, it conjures up feelings of warmth, safety and concealment, even though none of these are actually provided.
Another theory is that circles hold mystical powers (think witches in circles casting spells) and that cats, being super cool and all, are naturally attracted to this energy. I’m gonna go with this theory.
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