Cats like to sit in boxes, even if it’s an optical illusion

Cats love boxes so much that they even sit in a square drawn on the floor. A new study by animal experts has found that cats come to sit even inside an unfinished square painted on the floor.

The experts tested the cats’ love of boxes using a so-called Canizh square, which creates the optical illusion of this four-cornered figure. It turned out that cats as well as people are able to mentally complete the figures, drawing invisible lines. During the experiment, the cats would come and sit inside the illusory square depicted on the floor. This proves that they feel safe inside at least a virtually enclosed space.

Gabriella Smith, a graduate student at New York University, conducted an experiment in which 30 cat owners drew squares on the floor and watched how their pets would react to them.

In total, the animals were offered a choice of two options: a square depicted with duct tape with solid lines, and a square of Canizh, marked with only corners. All experiments were recorded on video. It turned out that cats like not only boxes and squares drawn on the floor with solid lines. The pets came to “sit inside” the square of Canizh as often as inside the usual square depicted on the floor.

From which the researchers concluded that the illusionary square was perceived by cats just as a real square, drawing mentally the “missing” lines. Studying how animals perceive the world, including visual illusions, helps scientists learn more about the way animals interact with humans.