Why Do Cats Sit in Squares Taped to Floors?

Cats have definitely taken over the Internet. It seems there’s a new funny cat video or new cat trend on the rise each week. Cats are hardly to blame. They are absolutely adorable, endearing, and oftentimes extremely entertaining—without even trying too hard. During the ongoing pandemic, many cats have proven to be excellent companions for their pet owners, and the pandemic has actually given owners the opportunity to get to know their cats better. Although it may not be a new phenomenon, more people seem to be noticing an unusual cat behavior that has recently gone viral online.

So what exactly is this behavior? There’s an ongoing rumor about a certain cat behavior that’s become more of a debate. The rumor is simple: cats will stay inside a square taped onto floors—for an indeterminate amount of time and regardless of how big or small the square is. It may be a silly notion, but we all know how cats can be sometimes. They are highly intelligent creatures, and some of their behaviors just can’t be explained. Whether this confinement behavior is intentional or whether it means something has been the subject of speculation recently. However, this isn’t the first time this kind of cat behavior has been witnessed.

The cat in a taped square scenario gained attention in 2017 when a couple discovered that their cat confined itself on a taped square on the floor. It started off as a simple experiment. The idea was based on the observation that cats love to sit inside boxes, which offers warmth, coziness, comfort, and all the good and fun things for the furry friends. The couple decided to outsmart their cat by taping a square on the floor to mimic a borderless box. It seemed at the time that the couple did outsmart their pet cat.

Recently, the phenomenon has been rediscovered. It could yet be another thing we can blame the pandemic for, but it’s all in the name of fun. You can call it boredom or you can call it creativity, but cat owners have been using the square tape on the floor method to provide entertainment for themselves and for their cats. The only thing worth noting about the hundreds of videos and photos on this recent thing is the fact that it doesn’t always work. The crowd has gotten mixed results, and it has left many cat naysayers that the whole thing might be a fluke.

Could it be that some cats are just smarter than others? Maybe some are just easier to trick than others? Could it be that many cat owners are simply being overzealous about the whole thing? It’s highly likely. After all, just because it’s on social media doesn’t mean it’s true. The first few people that have posted about the square tape on the floor experiment have inspired so many others to test the theory out for themselves. Because cats are naturally curious creatures, it’s possible that they might inspect the squares you create just because they’re interested. It doesn’t necessarily mean that any squares on floors will make cats stay put.

This is exactly what Snopes.com have explained. Upon closer study of the phenomenon, the myth-debunking site has shown exactly why the claim that cats will automatically sit on squares taped onto floors is false. According to Snopes, cats will likely be curious about an unusual square on a floor, but it doesn’t always mean that cats will sit and stay inside of the square. It seems there’s a lot of confirmation bias going on—with owners only posting results that show the behavior. Even though we’ve seen some photos and videos of cats not following suit and totally going against the grain, it’s definitely not the norm in this scenario.

Although this may be the case, some scientists and animal behaviorists have claimed that they have observed the behavior in cats that are nesting. When female cats are pregnant, they prepare for the birth of their kittens by making nests. Nesting behavior is characterized by pregnant cats constantly looking for a warm place to snuggle and get cozy in. During this period, you might find your cat missing or simply spending too much time in one spot. This spot might be a box or a simple corner or nook in your home. This is the closest behavior to sitting in squares that we’ll ever see in cats, and at this point it’s a bit of a stretch to even compare.

The claim is just legitimately false. If you still aren’t fully convinced, just look at cat behavior in the wild. Cats survive in the wild through adaptability and the ability to stay obscured when in danger or when hunting for food. You’ll never see cats sitting in squares in the wild for two reasons. For one, it just goes against their natural instincts. Also, you’ll never find random perfect squares anywhere in the wild. You might find them on paved city streets and walkways, and you’ll find cats sitting within the confines of a paved square. However, this is purely coincidental and not an indication of cat inclination whatsoever.

It’s true that there’s still a lot we don’t know about cats and their behaviors. It’s great that we’re asking questions on why cats do what they do. However, it’s always important to find out the truth instead of just going by speculation. There’s no harm in all of it though. It’s always nice to see more photos and videos of cats doing silly things or cats just being their normal adorable selves. It’s also just nice to see that cat owners are spending time to get to know their cats better.

Image via Flickr

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