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Why Do Cats Love Paper So Much? 10 Reasons for This Behavior

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

cat in a wrapping paper

Have you ever left the room for a few minutes to find your cat sitting on your letter, newspaper, or piece of paper? If you have witnessed this more than once, you must wonder why cats love paper so much. Some cats seemed obsessed with it and would happily play with balled-up paper instead of a cat toy. Luckily, there are reasons for the eccentric behavior, and they include:


10 Reasons Cats Love Paper

1. Paper is a Great Insulator

Did you know that cats feel cold most of the time? They have a higher thermoneutral zone than humans. A thermoneutral zone is the temperature range where your cat does not need to expend additional energy to stay warm or cool off.

A cat’s normal temperature range is 86 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit. This explains why your cat is always looking for warmer surfaces. But what is the connection between paper and heat?

Well, paper comes from trees, which means it has insulating properties. Papers, especially newspapers, are warm for cats, help regulate their temperature, and reflect their body heat. Therefore, your cat will prefer sleeping on paper instead of a concrete, hardwood, or tile floor.

However, this theory is questionable for pet owners with fluffy carpets. Even then, their cats leave the warm carpet and prefer to sleep on paper.

kitten lying on a pieces of paper on the table
Image Credit: birgl, Pixabay

2. They are Seeking Attention

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever done to get someone’s attention? It turns out that cats use tricks, such as playing with paper, to capture your attention.

Cats are intelligent and learn through conditioning. If your pet observes that you pick them up any time they lie on paper, they will be more inclined to repeat the behavior.

3. They are Checking Out the New Object

Your cat’s curious nature will draw them toward the paper in the room. The quiet, still, and harmless nature of the object will attract your cat to look. When they discover it does not particularly belong, they sit or lie on it to mark their territory.

black cat sitting on pile of papers
Image Credit: Nathan Riley, Unsplash

4. They are Marking Their Territory

Cats are territorial and curious animals. So, when you bring a piece of paper out, your cat will sniff, knead, or lie on it for some time. The reason behind this behavior is that your cat is adding their scent to the paper.

A sheet of paper has a neutral smell. So, when your cat kneads paper, they claim it by covering it with their scent. Unknown to many, cats have scent glands in their paws, forehead, cheeks, and chin. When the cat deposits pheromones and oils on the paper, it becomes part of their territory.

But what should you do if you find your cat lying on a piece of paper on the floor? The best thing is to let your cat enjoy the new territory. Taking the paper away can inspire aggression. Besides, cats lose interest fast. So, wait until their interest shifts, then toss the paper.

5. Cats are Fascinated by the Noise Produced

Crinkly paper fascinates cats because it is noisy. Therefore, your cat will spend several happy hours batting and pawing a piece around. In addition, the crinkling noise triggers a feline’s hunting instincts. It is like the crushing of leaves, or the noise rodents produce as they scamper, which reminds your cat of the outdoor territory.

You need to be alert in case your pet starts to swallow paper. If your cat ingests large pieces of paper, it can suffer a digestive blockage. In addition, some prints are toxic to cats.

tabby cat sitting on pieces of paper on the table
Image Credit: PxHere

6. They are Enjoying the Sensation of Different Textures

As mentioned, cats are curious and like experimenting with new things. They want to feel the texture of the paper on their paws. That is why it is not uncommon to find your cat sitting on paper that has been in the room for weeks. Doing so helps them enjoy the sensation of the paper’s texture that their paw pads have not felt in a while.

7. They Associate Small Enclosed Spaces with Warmth

Like humans, cats have evolved over the years. They have come to love small, well-defined spaces because they would be warm if they were outdoors. The tighter the enclosed space, the warmer it will be.

Likewise, you’ll find your kitty curled up inside a small cardboard box because it keeps them warm. In addition, the box gives them a sense of safety and security. Do cats associate a piece of paper with warmth, too? Yes, they do. Researchers have concluded that cats create an optical illusion that paper and boxes are similar.

So, the next time you find your cat curled up on a piece of paper, remember that it offers your pet an imaginary sense of security and safety.

black and white cat curled up in a pape bag with tissue
Image Credit: edbo23, Pixabay

8. The Paper Smells Like You

Did you know you have 5 million scent receptors while cats have between 100 and 200 million? With this in mind, it is safe to say that your cat loves paper because it smells like you.

Your feline can identify your odor from the objects you touch. Since you are a source of your cat’s happiness, they will be attracted to anything with your scent, including paper.

9. Childhood Memory Association

Lastly, it could be that your cat loves paper so much because they were litter-trained with newspaper as a kitten. If so, your pet may like paper because it makes them feel safe.

However, some researchers question this theory. This is because some cats were not litter trained with newspaper, yet they love paper.

black and white cat grooming itself while sitting on paper
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

10. It is Comfortable

Yes, sitting or sleeping on paper is comfortable for some cats. They will leave their cozy, soft bed and lay on paper. And if your cat is not resting on paper, you might find them inside a cardboard box.

hepper cat paw divider

Final Thoughts

Now, you know why cats love paper so much. It is stimulating and comfortable, and it offers a sense of security. Should you find your cat playing, shredding, or sitting on paper, try to discern why they do so with the previous reasons.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Carla Luca de Tena, Unsplash

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