7 Causes of Cat Paper Eating and How to Prevent It

why does my cat eat paper

Some cats like eating or chewing on paper as a habit. Cats may display strange behavior for a number of reasons, which leaves their owners perplexed. Although eating paper is typically safe for cats, there are some possible risks.

Why Do Cats Eat Paper?

Cats are inquisitive animals who use their lips and noses to investigate, taste, and even chew fascinating objects to learn more about their surroundings. They are able to taste and smell things that humans cannot. As weird as it may sound, many cats like playing with paper and cardboard. This may be printer paper, money, books, magazines, cardboard boxes, toilet paper, and paper towels, depending on the cat.

Cats may lick and chew paper to explore it or play, then realize they enjoy the smell and taste. Some cats will simply chew paper and cardboard, but others will actually ingest it.

Cats are carnivores that instinctively enjoy hunting prey. It is possible that tearing paper and cardboard mimics the act of tearing through the meat of their prey.

The urge to consume non-food objects with little nutritional value is known as pica. Cats, dogs, people, and other animals can all suffer from this illness. In cats, eating paper is a sort of pica, and there are a few potential causes.

  • Curiosity
  • Boredom
  • Fun/play (cats often enjoy the texture)
  • Teething in kittens
  • or anxiety
  • Medical condition or nutritional deficiency

Is It Safe for Cats to Eat Paper?

Cats who chew paper often only consume little amounts. However, consuming a lot of paper might have negative effects on your health. Paper is created from cellulose fiber that is taken from wood or other comparable materials, and the manufacturing may involve the use of different chemicals. Ink and dyes are frequently found in finished paper. If enough of the compounds in any paper is consumed, it might be dangerous. Fortunately, toxicity would need a significant amount of paper.

The biggest risk of cats ingesting paper is gastrointestinal blockage. The stomach can often digest small amounts of paper. Large quantities of paper, however, may absorb moisture and clump in the intestines or stomach. Paper clumps can prevent food from moving through the GI tract if they are big enough to do so. The body will make an effort to pass the paper or eliminate it. The entire or partial paper may be vomited up by your cat. However, there is a chance that the underwear will get stuck in the digestive system and cause a blockage. It is important to get prompt veterinarian care for this dangerous condition.

Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and fatigue are potential early symptoms of a GI blockage. It's possible for the stomach to hurt and/or swell. Visit the closest open vet clinic right away if you see these symptoms and believe your cat may have eaten anything harmful. Radiographs or ultrasonography may be used to find a GI blockage. If so, the foreign body must be taken out. Endoscopy may be used to get rid of the foreign object if it's in the stomach. Abdominal surgery is required for intestinal blockages.

If you observe that your cat is consuming excessive quantities of paper or other unsuitable objects, or if your cat is displaying any symptoms of disease, call your veterinarian. Before making any attempts to change the behavior, it's critical to rule out any medical or dietary causes for the pica.

How to Stop Your Cat from Eating Paper

Keeping paper out of your cat's reach is the greatest method to stop them from eating it. Place periodicals and books on shelves or in drawers. Keep crucial documents in drawers or plastic folders (unless your cat also ). Avoid putting boxes out if your cat has a tendency to consume huge amounts of cardboard.

Make an effort to improve your cat's surroundings and lessen boredom. Play with your cat and build a relationship with her. To keep your cat entertained, scatter cat toys and scratchers throughout the house. Think about constructing cat shelves on the wall or adding other to the house.

Your cat may stop eating paper if you train it not to. Many cats really react well to clicker training, especially if they are food motivated, despite the fact that some cats are obstinate and set in their ways. Use precise cue phrases to teach your cat new habits, and then reinforce them with the clicker. After clicker-training your cat, use a pre-trained cue phrase to draw their focus away from the paper and toward you. Say the cue word to your cat when she is attempting to eat something she shouldn't. Click after rewarding your cat if it behaves.


"Demontigny-Bédard, Isabelle, et al. “Characterization of Pica and Chewing Behaviors in Privately Owned Cats: A Case-Control Study.” Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, vol. 18, no. 8, 2016, pp. 652–657." ;