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Why is My Cat Eating Paper? Is It Safe [Explained]

You may have bought a book you were looking forward to reading or have important documents lying around. Only to come home and find a huge chunk of it gone. You might wonder why the toilet paper keeps running out or have spotted your cat munching on a stack of paper. Of course, as a cat parent, this is a cause for concern.

Why is My Cat Eating Paper? Cats indulge in this odd behaviour for various reasons. If your feline is a kitten, it could simply be because of teething. If you have an adult cat, the reasons range from simple boredom to obsession to a condition called pica. That being said, it’s not a good idea to let your cat eat paper; if this happens, all paper-made items should be kept out of your pet’s reach. Keep reading to find out more about why this unusual habit occurs

Why Do Cats Eat Paper

Reasons Why Do Cats Eat Paper?

Pica Syndrome

Some cats eat non-edible things. It is known as pica, which is not exclusive to cats. Humans can also develop a craving for objects of zero nutritional value. There are a few causes linked to this behaviour: genetics, life circumstances and health issues.

Certain cat breeds such as Oriental Shorthairs, Burmese, Birman, and Siamese cats have been reported to have a greater chance of developing this disorder, which shows that genetics play a crucial role.

Stressful Situations

Pica maybe your cat’s way of coping with stressful situations. Just like how humans bite their nails, cats exhibit bizarre behaviours when bored, lonely, jealous (yes, felines don’t like sharing your attention) or as a substitute for hunting in the wild.

Health Problems

Also, pica appears to be linked to some health problems. There is a link between feline leukaemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, diabetes, and brain tumours in cats with pica. Pica symptoms can appear in cats with intestinal parasites, inflammatory bowel illness, or even an obstruction in the digestive tract. Also, cats with dental problems like gingivitis, periodontitis, or tooth resorption might chew on paper or cardboard to relieve pain.


Lastly, if you have a kitten, it may be teething. Unlike human babies, kittens go to teething twice in their lifetime, once at two weeks and again around 3-4 months of age. The pressure of emerging teeth makes their gums painful. You might notice blood spots on chewed items and a loss of appetite in your kitten. If this is the case, you can offer your kitten a teething toy made specifically for baby felines.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Like The Bathroom?

Is It Safe for Cats to Eat Paper? / What Should I Do If My Cat Ate Paper?

Is It Safe for Cats to Eat Paper  What Should I Do If My Cat Ate Paper

If your cat ate a few shreds of paper, there is nothing to worry about, as the paper will pass undigested through its system. However, do not let paper eating become a habit. Many chemicals are used to bleach wood pulp and to give the paper its qualities. These chemicals and the ink on them both include compounds that could be harmful to cats.

Also, paper is made of cellulose. Cats are obligate carnivores, so they cannot digest cellulose. Ingesting large amounts of paper will clump into a ball in your feline’s intestine, causing an obstruction. Symptoms of obstruction are:

If you suspect obstruction in your pet, rush them to the vet immediately, as this is a veterinary emergency.

How to Stop Your Cat from Eating Paper? / How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Eating Toilet Paper?

How to Stop Your Cat from Eating Paper  How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Eating Toilet Paper

First of all, book an appointment with a vet. You will want to rule out all diseases which may be causing this issue, such as feline leukaemia, feline immunodeficiency virus(FIV), diabetes, brain tumours, intestinal parasites, and inflammatory bowel illness.

Secondly, make sure that all paper and similar products are kept out of reach of cats. Ensure to dispose of cardboard boxes and keep your books out of reach. Keep important documents in plastic folders and safe in cupboards.

Finally, find stimulating activities for your cat to do. Spend time playing with your cat. Invest in cat toys and scratchers. Hide toys or food around the house to satisfy their hunting instincts. Consider adding vertical space in your house, like cat shelves. Many cats can be trained not to eat non-edible materials using the clicker method. Use a cue word to teach your cat a new habit and a clicker to reinforce it. When your cat has been clicker-trained, utilize the cue word that has been practised to get her to look at you instead of the paper. Say the cue word when your cat is attempting to consume something that she shouldn’t. Click and reward your cat if it cooperates.

Why Is My Cat Obsessed With Paper Towels?

Why Is My Cat Obsessed With Paper Towels

It’s common (and annoying) for cat parents to find unravelled toilet paper on the bathroom floor or a completely shredded toilet roll. “Cats like digging their claws into toilet paper and paper towels as these objects function as an inferior scratching post,” say the experts of the Companion Animals department at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

“The unravelling of the toilet paper may happen by chance as the cat digs into the paper, or the cat may enjoy the movement of the paper, which is stimulating to him or her.”

In this case, a simple scratching post might solve the problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cats are exclusively able to digest meat since they are obligate carnivores. Cats lack the enzymes needed to degrade cellulose, which is what cardboard is made of.

Kittens chew on paper to relieve the pain from their raw, swollen gums. Nevertheless, letting your kitten eat paper is not a good idea. While it helps with the pain, consuming paper is harmful to your kitten, and a teether should be arranged.

Cats are fantasized about the way toilet paper rolls out and find it fun and stimulating to play with. If the roll is intact, they use it as a scratching post.

The Bottom Line on Why is My Cat Eating Paper

Pica is a condition where cats consume non-edible things, such as paper or cardboard. There are many reasons for this. Your cat may just be acting out in stress, or boredom, or it might be an underlying health condition. In any case, never let your pet consume paper. Paper clumps together in your feline’s intestine, causing an obstruction. Obstruction is a surgical emergency, and your cat needs to be rushed to a vet immediately.

LearnAboutCat Author Isabella

Who is Isabella?

My name is Isabella, and I am a dedicated and knowledgeable cat enthusiast. With years of experience caring for cats and a deep love for felines, I made a mission to help other cat lovers navigate the challenges of cat ownership.

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