MIA cardboard playhouse – an effective way to reduce stress in cats


They say that home is where the family is, right? And cats are most definitely family members. It’s a truly amazing feeling to be able to offer our furry friends a place they can call their own. Today we’d like to share a story of a product inspired, as usual, by life itself.

And this is how the story goes.

For many years we had intended to create a solution that would relieve stressed cats – and we knew quite many. Our Luis, a cat from a shelter, suffered from the same problem before he found a safe harbour. There’s nothing sadder than a frightened cat. But there’s also nothing more motivating to take some action to help the poor thing.

What appeared to be an additional impetus to act was something that happened about seven years ago, when our other cat, Figo (now 8 years), started to behave rather strangely. He was at an early stage of adolescence and one day he just transformed from a self-confident, brave ginger meowster into an actual scaredy-cat. We decided to keep a close eye on him to find the reason behind this unusual behaviour. Knowing that cats have a really high threshold for pain and that symptoms of diseases tend to become apparent quite late in their case, we focused on any anomalies that would suggest some sort of condition. Seeing nothing suspicious apart from the fact that Figo seemed unusually timid, we decided to consult with a cat behaviourist, to ask her about the possible causes of his behaviour. And it turned out that there could’ve been quite many of them, i.e. Figo might have got scared of some noises from the outside, a neighbour’s dog barking, or even the door bell. We thought that since such trivial (at least from a human point of view) situations, and ones that could not be avoided, could increase the stress level in our Figo, it was necessary to come up with a solution that would help alleviate this stress effectively. 

Cats versus science

And that’s how we embarked on the quest for the right solution. One of the things we considered was cardboard and boxes. After all, all cats love ‘em. It wasn’t long until we came across the findings of studies by scientists from Utrecht University, who got interested in reducing the stress level in cats by offering them shelter in corrugated cardboard houses. A team of scientists managed by Claudia Vinke, PhD, divided a certain population of cats into two groups at random:

  • one group got an opportunity to use corrugated cardboard playhouses,
  • the other had no such opportunity.

The cats’ behaviour was monitored for two weeks and evaluated using the “Kessker and Turner Cat-Stress-Score (CSS)”, a system to estimate the stress level in cats.

After as little as 3 days it appeared that the cats that got to use the playhouses scored lower, which meant that they experienced a much lower level of stress. The cats from the other group turned out to be much more stressed than their sheltered fellows. But the scientists were unable to come up with an unambiguous answer to the question of why cats love cardboard, assuming that it was the heat of the natural material that attracted them so much.

Time to act!

The study findings proving that cats needed shelter to feel safer made us so curious that we simply couldn’t ignore them. We set the ball rolling. Countless brainstorming sessions spawned an idea of a cardboard playhouse for cats, which was supposed to be something more than just a cardboard box. 5 months of design work, dozens of prototypes, and hundreds of strength tests eventually bore fruit – we arrived at a playhouse based on a solid foundation and easier to assemble than IKEA furniture (follow the link and see how easy it is!), a single product that offered two colour variants (it could be assembled with either white or brown panels on the outside). The effect surpassed our expectations!

We also made sure to that the manufacturing of MIA houses involved only the highest quality corrugated cardboard – Kraftliner, made 100% of non-bleached virgin fibres originating from coniferous trees. 

This light, compact construction is the essence of a place for leisure, relaxation, and entertainment. After receiving his own ‘flat’, Figo, one of the first testers of the MIA house, started to recover. We watched him become the cat he once used to be by the day. He was soon joined by Luis.

Based on our own and our clients-friends’ experience, we can say with full confidence that cats love corrugated cardboard houses because:

  1. They can feel safe there, hiding inside if they feel threatened.

  2. Cardboard, which is a natural material, gives them warmth and shelter.

  3. They are perfect places to take loooong naps or to frolic around freely both indoors and outdoors – on top of the house.

Other features of the MIA house

The MIA reversible cat house is a perfect solution to provide your fur-end with shelter and grant them a sense of safety, which will relieve their immune system of the effects of stress. Dozens of thousands of MIAs sold and the positive reviews and opinions of customers confirm our conviction that every single minute spent working hard on this product was totally worth it.

See the reviews and opinions


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  1. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Very useful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such information much.
    I was looking for this particular info for a very long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

    1. Thank you 🙂

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