Why Do Cats Eat Paper?

A cream coloured cat with blue eyes looking up next to two balls of scrunched up paper.

Does your cat enjoy eating paper? Have you discovered your kitty chewing other indigestible items? Why do cats eat paper? Are you bothered by your kitty’s “weird” appetite? Etc.

These are the common questions asked by cat owners. If you are one of those to learn more about “why do cats eat paper?”, you are in the right place. Continue reading to learn more about cat abnormal eating behaviours.

While these weird habits aren’t all that common, some kitties enjoy eating strange things that can be frustrating for their owners to understand.

We can’t begin to count the numbers of questions when people ask us why their cats are magnetically attracted to non-food objects? Including some of the most popular “delectable” items maybe wool, wood, paper, leather, shoes, rubber, rubber bands, toilet paper, silk, cellophane, tissues and even though children’s plastic toys.

Why Do Cats Eat Paper?

Cats eat paper for a variety of reasons including:

  • Having a mineral deficiency.
  • Due to bad vices that occurred at a very early age.
  • Loneliness or boredom.
  • Shortage of food for some time

[icon name=”info-circle” prefix=”fas fa-2x”] You may also be interested in our article on What are Cat Zoomies?

What Is Pica?

The medical term for this abnormal condition in which cat eat the non-food item, including paper is known as Pica. It is derived from the Latin word “Magpie”; a bird with indiscriminate and notorious dietary customs.

Pica is the behavioural urge to eat non-edible materials. These items must also include clothes and cardboard additional to the things mentioned above.

Young cats are more likely to have Pica syndrome. The primary cause of Pica is not known. Still, experts tell that there may be several reasons that lead to this abnormal eating behavioural problem such as weaned at a very early age (lack of milk), genetics, anger, boredom, minerals and vitamins deficiencies especially the deficiency phosphorus, compulsive disorders or stress.

The onset of Pica can be as early as 2-3 months of age, and some cats can recover from it by 1.5-2 years of age.

Although many young cats will chew or tear things during play, a Pica patient will repeatedly grind non-food object such as paper with its posterior Molar teeth before swallowing. This behaviour is too addicted to sensitive cats, and they will go to great lengths to find content.

Read more about the research study on Pica by well-known scientists: Factors affecting Pica in the domestic cat

What Cat Breeds Are More Prone To Pica?

Oriental breeds are thought to be more susceptible to eating paper due to their paper eating and wool-sucking behaviour. The habit of sucking wool occurs when a cat is easily useless on the bed, but this behaviour can be addictive and quickly transform into ingesting the materials.

Because many researchers consider Pica to be a genetic disorder, the cats most at risk are Oriental Shorthairs, Siamese and Birmans. However, mixed breeds are also more prone to Pica.

We all know that the main reason for Pica is behavioural issues, while other reasons for Pica are also significant.

Having A Cat That Is A Book Lover:

Living with a cat can be like living with a small, automatic paper shredder for cats that are book lovers.

If your cat enjoys eating paper you may find your books have little teeth marks in all of your favourite stationary equipment. These can include; books, greeting cards, posters.

Basically, anything made out of paper might not be safe if you have a cat that enjoys the taste of paper. So make sure you keep all your valuable documents locked away, nothing is safe from cats.

Why Do Cats Like Paper?

A tabby kitten sitting down next two colourful paper butterflies on the floor

In short, cats like paper because it’s fun and rewarding. Paper is something that cats can sink their claws into and tear into pieces easily. Most of the time, your cat is attacking your toilet paper or moving around in paper bags because she is bored and the paper is fun.

Some cats think paper bags are a place to hide, and during that, they shred paper due to their curiosity and joy. This type of catastrophe is not usually a cause for concern, but some cats have taken it too far and eat the paper.

Marta Amat, Tomàs Camps and Xavier Manteca recently published their research and discuss, “Stress in owned cats: behavioural changes and welfare implications.”

What Are The Other Causes Of Pica In Cats.

The cats genetics play a huge factor in if the cat suffers from pica. The other factors include:

  1. Dietary deficiencies: Some cats will eat cat litter and paper if they are anaemic. Although it is normal for cats to eat a little grass, eating many plants can indicate something missing from the cat’s diet.
  2. Medical conditions: Cat Pica/cat eating paper is also linked to Feline immunodeficiency and Feline leukaemia virus and can be caused by conditions such as brain tumours or diabetes.
  3. Genetic abnormalities: For some cats, Pica is in their genes. For example, wool sucking and paper eating, which is sometimes a precursor to Pica, is more common in Siamese and Birman cats.
  4. Environmental factors: Is the cat is bored or in need of attention? Do they need more mental/physical stimulation? Some cats need environmental stimulation and love than others, such as Persian cats.
  5. Compulsive Disorder: Once other issues are ruled out, we begin to investigate whether this abnormal behaviour may be a compulsive disorder or not. But it is usually a compulsive disorder because we see that it happens a lot in some generations.

What Should I Do If My Cat Eats Paper?

If your cat enjoys eating paper, physical and mental stimulation can be helpful if stress is a trigger for self-soothe. A bored cat will like to do something, and in boredom, they may start chewing and eating non-food items such as papers.

Other Ideas To Keep Cats Busy

Here are some of our favourite things to keep our cats busy during the day. Keeping your cat’s mind and body stimulated can help to reduce negative actions such as eating paper.

  1. Puzzle feeders
  2. Scratching posts
  3. Interactive toys.
  4. Cat Trees

It may also be helpful to hide the kibbles around their accessible areas.

Once you find out the medical reasons for your cat’s strange eating habits (including eating paper), this treatment may require a lot of patience on your part.

[icon name=”info-circle” prefix=”fas fa-2x”] You may also be interested in our article on Recommended Cat Products

How To Help Cure The Paper Eating Habit Of Your Cat?

You can treat this condition by following under given steps:

  1. Adjust your cat’s diet: But only under the supervision of your doctor. Adding fibre or something else may be enough to discourage eating other foods.
  2. Take away the temptation: Keep blankets, power lines, papers and VIP tour posters out of reach. If you have to keep the bathroom door locked to keep the TP safe, do so. Anything your cat can get is a fair game
  3. Provide alternatives: Give your cat plenty of ‘legal’ things to chew on. Cat-friendly chewing toys, rawhides and raw chicken necks are great options.
  4. Provide enough stimulation: Pica is a prevalent behaviour problem in lonely or bored cats. Please make time to play with your cat regularly every day, releasing some of its extra energy will help keep both the kitty and your belongings safe.
  5. De-stress your cat: Anxiety can lead to many unwanted behaviours and is terrible for Kitty. Even simple things like new visitors or new furniture can cause a useless freakout, so try to identify the cause of your cat’s anxiety and do whatever you can to minimize it.
  6. Call the experts: Call a professional cat veterinarian to seek guidance. If all else fails, get a cat behaviour specialists to explain why your kitty is behaving strangely.


Cats eating paper is an abnormal condition, usually referred to as Pica. Some experts suggest that it may be due to an underlying medical condition, such as malnutrition, gastrointestinal disease, leukaemia, or AIDS. But the leading cause of this is behavioural issues.

So if your cat is eating strange things like wool, wood, paper etc., they should go through a complete veterinary examination and get proper treatment.


Rochelle is a self-claimed crazy cat lady and proud cat mum to Owlie! She has owned, rescued, and fostered cats throughout her whole life. Rochelle created Cats On My Mind as a hub for likeminded cat parents to get all the information they will ever need to give their fur babies their best life!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts