The Morning Breeze w/ Carolyn McArdle & Cort Johnson

The Morning Breeze w/ Carolyn McArdle & Cort Johnson

The Morning Breeze on 98.1 The Breeze in San FranciscoFull Bio


Study: Cats Love ALL Boxes

Tortoiseshell Cat

Photo: Getty Images

If you have a cat... you already know. An open box is an open invitation for your cat.

An animal psychology researcher named Gabriella Smith wanted to know if cats would respond to "fake boxes" - or illusionary boxes.

“Cats like boxes and even shapes outlined on the floor,” she said. But, “would they sit in a box that is an illusion?”

In June of 2020 as the COVID pandemic began to unfold, Smith formed a research team and put out a call on Twitter to pent-up cat owners, asking if they’d like to help her answer this question. Would their cats sit in an optical illusion of a square?

Five hundred cat-owning citizen scientists answered the call. In April 2021, Smith’s research, entitled, If I Fits, I Sits: A Citizen Science Investigation Into Illusory Contour Susceptibility in Domestic Cats was published, using research from Twitter par

Smith se.nt the cat owners paper cut-outs that would serve as the corners of boxes on the floor. Some faced inward, creating the illusion of a 2D box, which is called Kanisza square. Others faced outward, so there was no illusion of a square.

Based on the resulting data, the answer to Smith’s question is yes: Cats can be fooled by an optical illusion. Not only do they tend to sit in 2D squares, but they will also sit inside a 2D shape that looks like a square.

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