Bring home a box and a cat will instantly be enamored with it. Why? It’s just a box. It’s not a special toy, it doesn’t move around, there are no flashing lights inside of it. There is no glitter, no other cats to play with inside, and no treats.
The shape of the box doesn’t seem to matter, and it doesn’t even seem to matter much how well he fits inside of it. What is it about a new box that is so interesting? Why does a new empty box seem to be my cat’s favorite toy above all else?
To analyze his reaction, it helped me to think of the new box as a metaphor for something new coming into my life. Not just anything of course, but someone, or some thing that changed me for the better.
Viewed from this perspective I again ask why a box, and what did it take to make my cat as well as myself really happy? I’ve come up with a few possibilities, from the perspective of a cat of course.. probably..
A new place to explore
The box presents a new and completely fresh place to explore. The cat has no idea what is contained in the box and has to go inside for a look to see. The possibilities are boundless. There could literally be anything at all in the box. Once you get into the box there is no telling how large it actually is on the inside! Maybe you could spend the rest of your life looking around.
A new adventure
I was pretty bored with my old box, but this one will be different. I can bring some of my toys in here and find ways to play that I never thought were possible. Maybe I can bring my kitty friends with me and we can find new and exciting things to do. Can you imagine all the new things that we can try now?
I have no idea what might happen in this box. It is scary, but it is also exciting. There would be little point in life if we always knew exactly how each day was going to go. Even though I am uneasy at first, I really like this feeling.
A place to feel safe
Inside this box no one can hurt me. If I want to be hidden I can stay hidden. If I want to be seen, I can invite my most trusted friends in to share this experience with me. I am safe here. No one can attack me because I can see anything coming at me from here. This box shelters me and keeps me warm. It wraps around me when I am feeling afraid and gives me comfort. In just being there, it promises I will never have to be exposed out in the open and alone.
A place that feels like home
I think I’ll snuggle up inside this box and take a nap. I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be. I’ve left little bits of myself here. I see some of my fur, a couple of my favorite toys. See over there? I made a little mark with my claws once when I was in here chasing a fly. I recognize this feeling and this place. It is so familiar to me.
I’ve been so happy here that it almost feels like home.
But it’s just a box.