Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Category: Boxes

When Box Inspection becomes a Family Affair

Sometimes, box inspection isn’t a solitary activity — even when it starts out that way.

Often, other cats wander over and decide to insert themselves into the middle of the action. Pepe rarely approves. <<<Amateurs!>>>

Of course, not every cat is as well trained and as professional about the inspection process. Some just take up space and don’t seem to know what to do. <<<Dilettantes!>>> Others have short attention spans and wander away. <<<Good riddance!>>>

Box inspection is always best left to the professionals.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

The Inspector

Few appreciate the skills required and the responsibilities involved in being a box inspector.

First the outside must be completely sniffed. Then the inside must be completely sniffed. It’s important to know where the box originated and what it contained. How else can the house be kept safe?

Lastly, the box must be considered for its potential for sitting and snoozing. Is the bottom a bit springy? Do the sides have enough give to expand upon contact without collapsing? How hard will it be to turn around in and will all our body parts fit? This particular box, although a bit on the small side, does have potential.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Boxes are the BEST Toys…

In this house, toys that are purchased seem to be far less interesting than toys that the cats imagine (or actually) steal from the human.

Case in point: an empty box that recently brought something into the house is far more interesting than a light-up ball or a toy fish that flops around on the floor.

In most cases, it’s a waste of money buying fancy enrichment toys, as the kitties prefer to find their own enrichment from things the human has lying around.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

A New Box to Explore

Given that it’s the holidays, a lot of boxes have been coming into and leaving the house. That’s great news on two accounts. First, there are all kinds of new boxes to explore and mark with kitty scent. Second, there often are sheets of crackly paper the human removes from the boxes and lays on the floor for Corky and Pepe to slide around on and have fun. And soon Sandy Claws will come and leave the kitties more presents. Truly, this is a great time of year for the furry people.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.


It was time to take Pepe and Mac back to the new vet’s office for a recheck from their recent dental work and the extraction of a (mercifully) benign tumor from Pepe’s tail. The monsters were surprisingly tolerant of being scooped up and placed in their carriers and toted to the vet’s. We arrived a few minutes early, but the office seemed exceptionally busy that day, so we ended up having to sit outside and wait for a room to become available for 30 minutes. Neither cat put up a fuss, which was a miracle in itself. Upon their recheck, the vet was pleased with the progress both kitties had made in healing. <<<Yeah!>>> They were just happy to get home, even if they had to wait another week before they could have dry crunchies again. <<<Crunchies in water are an afront to nature!>>>

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Play Station

The cats have a new “toy” to play with. It’s a tall cardboard box that the human turned on its side and has filled with sheets of crackly paper. Pepe and Mac are especially prone to leaping into the box and smunching down the paper, although Corky will chase the laser dot or the fishing pole lure in there as well. When the human walks by and feels as though she’s being watched, a quick peek into the front of the box often reveals a pair of eyes looking out at her. Of course, in this house, the most successful toys are not the ones the human buys but rather the found ones or the ones the human makes of unneeded materials otherwise destined for the recycle bin.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

It Doesn’t Get Much Better than This

Trail of crackly paper: check.

Really big box: check.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, so much fun!

Where do you suppose the crackly paper trail ends?

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

An Even Smaller Box

The human had a cute box she thought the brothers would enjoy checking out. She put it on the floor and waited to see what would happen.

No surprise, Pepe sniffed it over, then climbed in. Unfortunately, his brother was also curious and got fairly close to the box, which he still occupied.

<<<Do I really have to share with my brother?>>>

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

New Arrival

<<<Hello, my pretty. Where did you come from?>>>

<<<Ah, a California box. You’ve traveled far.>>>

<<<What secrets do you hold?>>>

<<<Now, don’t move. Let me have another sniff.>>>

<<<Yes, a particularly nice size for a box too.>>>

<<<And I’m the first of my kind to conquer it. Hooorahhhh!>>>

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Girl in Box

When new boxes arrive at the house, the human usually empties them out and puts them down for the kitties to explore.

Quite often, the cat who hops in and claims the box is quite predictable: Pepe or Corky (who is walking past on the right (above) and hoping that the box will empty out so he can get into it).

However, sometimes the cat you’d least expect is the one who hops in. That was the case when Macaroni claimed this big box.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Don’t Try Pinning that on Me!

<<<Just because I stopped to look, doesn’t mean I’m the one that caused this. As we’ve discussed before, correlation does not imply causation. And, besides, I just got here.>>>

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

The Boxster

Pepe loves boxes:  big boxes, little boxes, tiny boxes that he can barely put a paw into, it doesn’t seem to matter to him. The human had been sorting out files and using a tall cardboard box to carry the papers out to the recycle bin.  Goofy Boy saw the box and wanted to know what it was. The obliging human turned the box on its side and, quick as a bunny, the boxster hopped in and had a look around.<<Yup, it’s a box. What fun!!>>

Honestly, how can you resist a face like that?


(c) Copyright 2020, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Image my own.

Fait Accompli

Whatever the cat was looking for in this toy box, presumably he or she found it.



(c) Copyright 2020, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Image my own.

No Box Too Small

In this house, the rule is that no paper bag and no box is too small for Pepe and Corky to explore. They may not exactly be able to fit all that much of their bodies into said bag or box, but they are definitely going to check it out anyway.


(c) Copyright 2020, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

All the Tiny Little Mice

It’s been very hot during the day, so the cats have been low-energy and haven’t tormented the human much while she was working.  On the other hand, it’s been blissfully cool at night, and that’s brought out all kinds of silly behavior in all the cats.  There have been feisty chases up and down the stairs, there have been many sessions each night of 2 or 3 cats ganging up on the sleeping human by standing around and poking her in the face with their cute paws.  And there have been nearly nightly sessions of pulling all the cute little mice out of the 3 toy boxes on the stairs and carrying them all over the house. That pretty much guarantees that the silly human will step on or trip over at least one of them as she stumbles around early morning getting ready for her day. On this particular night, someone rummaged through several toy boxes and strategically selected the small mice while leaving the other toys to sit around with nothing to do.  Perhaps the human needs to go back to the kitty toy store and purchase another box of the toy mice, as many are starting to look pretty sad.


(c) Copyright 2019, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

More Rummaging

After the triple toy box excavations several days back, the human put all the toys away.  The next morning, many of them were dragged back out.  Theorizing that the cats were really searching for those tiny toy mice they like so much, and that they have strewn throughout the house, later that day the human opened her stash of toys, pulled out a few she thought the cats would like, then leaned over the banister and dropped 6 new fake-fur mice into the toy boxes from upstairs.The next morning she found that during the night more toys were pulled out and dumped, including 2 of the 6 new mice.  Since the cats left those mice on the stairs, instead of carrying them around to all their favorite locations, presumably they were not of an acceptable color and type that the cats like.  It may well be time to visit the pet store to restock.



(c) Copyright 2019, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Toy-Box Tango

Some kitty or kitties had a grand time scooping toys out of the toy boxes this morning and tossing them on the stairs.  Usually, when they go digging for something, they stop with one or maybe two boxes, but their search must have been frustrated as all three boxes had been partially emptied. If only the human knew what they were looking for…


(c) Copyright 2019, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.


To celebrate the kitties’ arrival anniversaries, which are less than 2 weeks apart, the silly human purchased two toys that were supposed to enrich their environment and stimulate both their problem-solving and hunting skills. Both toys have been pretty much ignored. For example, this cute one is a rectangular box covered with fake grass on top and with cutouts both on top and on the sides. It has 3 or 4 cute little blue balls inside (with bells) that the cats are supposed to cuff around by poking their paws through the holes. They can’t pull the balls out through the holes in the side of the box but they can scoop them out through the top.  Only Pepe plays with this toy and only when the human has run the laser pointer’s red dot along its surface.  So much for smart toys for smart cats.


(c) Copyright 2019, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Help with the Mail

Pepe is just such a helpful kitty.  During the lead up to the holidays, the human got all her presents purchased, wrapped, boxed, addressed, and ready to mail to friends and family. Foolishly she preassembled too many Priority Mail boxes, then had to set them aside when gifts didn’t fit or the boxes weren’t needed. (They’ll get used shortly for other outgoing packages.)  At one point in the assembly process, the human lined the boxes up next to each other on the floor.  The Merry Pepster came along and pushed the first box over, which knocked down the other boxes like dominoes. The human laughed and stood them up again. The Pepster laughed and knocked them over again. This time he climbed on top of the boxes and explored them further. Although the human continued to be amused, this time she removed the boxes and put them out of reach of mischievous kitties.



(c) Copyright 2019, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Double Decker

It’s that time of the month when boxes arrive at the house with litter, crunchies, and special kitty treats. Of course, the best part of any package is the box itself and the crackly paper inside it.  The other night, the human folded down the flaps on two boxes and then put the smaller one inside the larger and set them on the floor to see what would happen. Predictably, the Merry Pepster hopped inside the combo boxes.  At first, all that could be seen was his tail waiving in the air.   Then Pepe flipped on his back as the human got up close and personal with the camera.  Finally, he sat nicely in the boxes…at which point the bored human wandered away with her dreaded camera and its flash.



(c) Copyright 2018, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.