It’s quite a source of fascination to consider what fearsome predators lurk beyond the cute and lovable behaviors of our adorable felines. They are one of the most efficient predators in the world. Yet, they express such endearing needs for safety, warmth and snugness. Hence their love of cat caves.
But what is it about these enclosed retreats that they love so much? Let’s take a closer look at how their needs are met by either frantically darting into – or casually sauntering into – their beloved cat cave.
Interestingly, our feline friends originated from the desert and maintain a body temperature of around 101.5°F (38.6 C). That is is a good few degrees higher than our own. Consequently, they tolerate warmer temperatures with relative ease and struggle more in colder weather. They always seek out a warm spot to cozy-up in or a fire to sprawl in front of.
Cat caves are made using big tufts of felted wool and are designed to be self-warming. This means that both the thermostatic nature of wool combined with the shape design of the cave promote enhanced warmth using the cat’s own body heat. Snug-alicious!
It’s no secret that cats love small, enclosed spaces and a cat cave provides just that. Firstly, cats feel vulnerable as they sleep. This is why they curl up into a ball to protect their tummies and find an enclosed spot where they feel less exposed to potential threat. Being almost completely encapsulated by a cat cave gives our furry friends the ultimate sense of safety in which to enjoy a good sleep or chill-out session. They feel at ease when hiding, which is also why they love high up, secure cat window perches, as their behavior has evolved specifically to avoid becoming prey to something with bigger teeth and claws than their own.
Peace and quiet
The knock-on effect of feeling so secure is the heightened relaxation they can enjoy when relieved of the pressures of needing to be highly vigilant. In addition to this, feline stress can peak when amongst the noise and busyness of a family home. Retreating to the solace of a cozy cat cave is therefore an ideal way for your cat to de-stress and enjoy some blissful peace and quiet.
Our Fit Pets explains that feline stress is a significant component/trigger of most common behavioral problems and even some more common diseases. For this reason it’s important to provide a safe, snug sanctuary for your cat to retreat to. They need a break, away from the hustle and bustle of the home.
As mentioned, cats may seem like fierce and confident hunters, but they are certainly aware of their vulnerability and will typically choose a stealthy vantage point when tracking prey. This is the same when they sleep; it matters to your cat that their sleeping position is a sensible one in the event of an attack.
Even when playing, your cat will enjoy their cat cave as they mimic hunting behaviors; and darting in and out of the cave opening can be a fun way to do this.
Cat caves allow for the protection from attack on all sides but one – the opening – in which they are peering out, ready to pounce! This feels like a great vantage point for cats in which they can relax, safe in the knowledge that they are in prime position for defence or attack.
For the love of wool!
Cats love to chase around a ball of wool. They also seem to be mysteriously attracted to wool in general. No one knows exactly why. Animal behaviorists’ best guess is that it has something to do with lanolin – a natural oil present in the fibers of sheep’s wool.
It’s possible that cats love the scent and taste of lanolin because it reminds them of their mother. Perhaps it’s simply because it is an animal by-product. Whatever the reason, cats do love wool. Being that many cat caves are made from wool, it’s yet another reason for a cat to love them!
So, there you have it – cats love their cave because it provides them warmth, security, peace and quiet and a strong vantage point, plus they get to be surrounded by their mysteriously favorite material. Providing such a retreat whether bought or made yourself is an important component to ensuring that your cat feels safe and loved, and enables us to keep our cats near whilst they fulfil their need for solace.