Why Do Cats Eat Cardboard? Is it Normal?

Why Do Cats Eat Cardboard? Is it Normal?

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Cats are a great companion for many reasons. They are fun, furry, and can provide you with hours of entertainment when they play. Many cats enjoy chewing on cardboard. It's not uncommon to see a chewed-up piece of cardboard laying around the house.

It is not just your cat! Many people report that their cats love to chew cardboard boxes or other pieces of cardboard around the house. This article will explore why this might happen and what you can do to prevent it from happening in the future.

infographic cats eating cardboard explained

Why Does My Cat Chew On Cardboard?

Here are some common reasons:

1. Natural Predatory Instinct

A cat's strong sense of smell and curiosity drives them to explore the world. Cats often chew on cardboard to simulate the act of hunting. Scratching, chewing, or licking on a cardboard surface is an instinctual behavior for your pet that they may not have outgrown as kittens.

Cats are natural hunters with predatory instincts that involve investigating new objects in their environment by biting, clawing, and scratching at them before moving onto something else.

2. Teething And Health Concerns

Cats use their teeth to eat and drink, so it might feel good for them to chew on card boards and other items. Kittens have baby teeth just like humans do- but they grow faster! It may be soothing for your cat's sore gums if she is chewing cardboard because her adult tooth is coming out.

Some cats even start eating nonfood items when there's an issue with their thyroid hormones, causing inflammation of their gum tissues! Contact your veterinarian immediately if you're concerned.

3. Marking Habits

One explanation for why cats chew on the cardboard can come down to marking habits. Cats have a unique way of keeping their territory by rubbing against objects and people. It is called "marking." Cats will often bite or chew on items they want to claim as theirs, like furniture or paper towel tubes. Your cat might chew on cardboard for a similar reason.

Your cat may not be too keen on the idea of cardboard, but they still use it as a mark for their territory. Not all cats will interact with this type of material in between chewing it. However, your kitty might rub their cheeks against whatever piece is closest to them when you're around.

While playing with these materials isn't always encouraged, but there's typically nothing wrong if you see your feline marking up any old box that happens to lie about the house! 

In the case that you don't want just old boxes laying around your house for your kitties to mark, why not consider a cat-safe and adorable cardboard cat home? Not only are they cat-safe and non-toxic, they're adorable and a huge upgrade over scattering your house with old cardboard waste.


Learn more about our Cardboard Cat Homes >

4. To Relieve Boredom

Feline instincts are complicated, and it's hard to know what they're thinking. Your cat may not be interested in the cardboard, but they can have fun with it! They're likely to enjoy how their paws feel on a piece of paper and will love exploring its sound. But beware: your kitty might end up making quite a mess.

If your kitty has anxiety issues or feels stressed at home, it might turn towards destructive behaviors like biting furniture or tearing apart paper products. This type of behavior can often seem pretty random, but the root of this problem can usually be found in the feline's environment.

Cats are naturally curious and playful animals, so they'll find ways to keep themselves entertained if there isn't enough stimulation around. If your cat is bored or not feeling well at home, you may want to consider shifting their routine a little bit by adding some new toys!

Our Puzzle Feeder is perfect for giving your kitty hours of stimulation. Just place treats or the included cardboard toys and watch them play!

Explore our Cardboard Cat Homes >

Is It Normal For Cats To Chew Cardboard?

It is not common for cats to chew on cardboard, especially if they are chewing and licking their paws. Cats typically find it engaging because the textures feel good against their teeth and provide a satisfying noise. The cat considers it a fun activity and, therefore, is a normal instinct.

olympia cat chewing cardboard

Is Chewing Cardboard Boxes Safe for Cats?

You might be wondering if it's the same as eating paper, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First of all, make sure that your cat is only biting and not swallowing any pieces because some adhesives may cause vomiting or intestinal blockages. Secondly, avoid using anything with sharp edges (or toxic substances) to stay on the safe side!

1. Ensure That Your Cat Don't Swallow cardboard

If your cat is eating cardboard, you have a problem! Cats are known to love playing with paper and boxes. Throwing them some scrap pieces of cardboard can be harmless fun for both animals and their human caretakers. But what happens when they start wolfing down those scraps?

 If you've caught your cat eating a lot of cardboard lately, take notice. Overeating could harm their digestive system, and it might be caused by pica. So pay close attention to what's going on with this behavior.

2. Avoid Chemicals And Sharp Ends

Avoid harsh chemicals that can be found on the cardboard your cat plays with. The most common are those created to make it water-resistant or sturdier. However, even clean and untreated versions should not be eaten by felines because of its potential adverse effects, such as stomach aches. Also, make sure that there are no sharp edges on the cardboard.

How To Prevent Your Cat From Chewing Cardboard?

Here are some tips that you can follow to redirect your cat's attention from the cardboard and ensure that they're away from it.

1. Redirect The Behavior

Did you know that it's not enough to scold your cat when they're chewing on cardboard? There are many more effective ways of changing their behavior. First, to change the habit, figure out why they chew on cardboard and then redirect them to something else, which is acceptable for a kitty!

Redirecting your cat's behavior can be tricky, so it helps to know what the problem is. Think about why they like to do this and divert their attention towards other things to keep them from getting into trouble.

2. Remove The Boxes

Your cat needs to feel like the king of their castle. Keep cardboard boxes out of reach from your furry friend! This way, they can't use them as a scratching post or litter box. If you're not ready to break down and recycle these items right away, try storing them in an area that is off-limits for your kitty's paws. It'll keep things cleaner too!

3. Behavior Deterrence

If you can't keep your cat from chewing on things, try using a spray that makes it taste not good. This should discourage the behavior and help them get back to more appropriate activities like playing with their toys or cuddling up next to you for some pets!

You could also use water as an alternative deterrent. Catch them in the act of chewing cardboard and give them a light spritz every time they go for it again. Most cats don't enjoy getting wet. So, overdoing this method will quickly teach your kitty not to chew on anything but her own toy box!

Summing Up

If you've found your cat chewing on cardboard, it's time to look into the underlying motivation. Whether your feline friend is feeling anxious or just looking for a new toy, there are many ways to prevent this behavior. If your cat is exhibiting any of these signs that indicate that they are chewing on cardboard for a reason, talk to your veterinarian to get them checked out.

We hope you found this article interesting. Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or like to share your experiences.

Cat-Safe and Adorable Cardboard Options

Check out our selection of non-toxic, adorable, and sustainable cardboard cat homes made of 100% recyclable cardboard:

Check out our Cardboard Cat Homes >

References and Citations


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Where it say Behaviour Deterrence. DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT follow that advice. Please DO NOT spray your cats with water. They just see you attached to that spray bottle, so they just get scared of you. And when you use that spray bottle, you’ve just broken a bond and trust you’ve built up


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