Having a cat in the home can be like living with a small, automatic paper shredder. There are tooth marks on books, on greeting cards, on your important papers, on your children’s homework. The destruction is endless and almost nothing is certain.
Put a few cats in a room with paper or cardboard and some will start chewing.
But why do cats eat paper and cardboard?
For the same reason cats do most things, because they can. But there is often more than that. Here are the possible reasons and problems that can cause your cat to eat paper and cardboard.
Why do cats like paper and cardboard?
In short, because it is fun and rewarding. Paper is something cats can dig their claws into and break easily, they love to shred, nibble and eat paper.
The smell, texture, or sound is likely to appeal to your senses. Most of the time, your cat tears off your toilet paper or rolls playing with paper bags because he’s bored and the paper is entertaining. For example, paper bags are fun hiding places that make noises.
This type of destruction is generally not a cause for concern, eating small pieces of shredded paper occasionally does not pose any real harm to cats. Cats are carnivores, so they do not have the enzymes to digest cellulose in paper, if they eat small pieces infrequently, these pieces turn into mush in the digestive tract and are eliminated from the body along with feces.
I do not need to point out that eating paper, in large quantities and frequently, is not a good idea, and can cause health problems for your cat.
Eating too much paper blocks the cat’s gut
When a cat eats larger and larger amounts of paper, this behavior becomes problematic. The chemicals in some types of paper such as ink, dyes, wax, bleaching agents, and perfumes can be harmful if ingested frequently. The presence of substantial amounts of paper in your body can cause an obstruction to the normal movement of food in the intestine.
Watch for symptoms associated with the obstruction: vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea , abdominal pain . The intestinal obstruction is an emergency, so if you notice any of these symptoms, take your cat to the vet quickly.
Don’t try to induce your vomit at home without checking with your vet first. Prolonged obstruction can lead to severe dehydration and intestinal perforation that can lead to the death of the cat. Eating small pieces of paper every now and then out of curiosity can be normal, but don’t let it get out of hand. Involve your cat more often in interactive play and provide toys that are safe and stimulating both mentally and physically.
How to prevent your cat from eating paper and cardboard
Provide your cat with a safe home environment. If the paper-eating activity persists, you should take your cat to the vet to identify the factors that trigger this abnormal feeding behavior and establish a behavioral and medical modification program to help curb your cat’s paper-eating habit.
More in detail I offer you these tips:
Understand their behavior
In most cases, cats tear paper out of boredom . Your playful cat may find it gratifying to throw scraps of paper on your dining room floor, or shred the toilet paper in the bathroom.
Boredom can usually be avoided by establishing daily play sessions with your cat. In some cases, anxiety is to blame for your pet’s annoying behavior. If feline stress is causing your cat to shred paper, ask your vet about how to deal with the problem.
Relieve your boredom
Cats have a natural hunting instinct, and your prized paper doll may be your cat’s next victim. To avoid these inconveniences, provide plenty of toys to keep your cat busy. Simulate a hunting scene by attaching a toy to the end of a fishing pole, allowing a cat to stalk and capture its prey.
Offer your cat toys filled with tasty treats, as they are challenging for cats. If your cat simply needs to have paper, give him the paper of your choice and see that he does not eat it. For example, create tunnels out of paper bags.
Discouraging your cat from bad habits
If you find your cat wreaking havoc on your home’s paper supply, try lowering his interest. If your cat has an area of the wallpaper that he loves to tear, place a sheet of plastic along the floor facing the wall. Cats are bothered by the sensation of walking on plastic.
You have to be smart in your attempts to dissuade your cat from the paper, such as placing a small cup of water on the toilet paper roll. If all your tricks fail, you may need to close down the place where your cat is causing the mess.
Rule out physical diseases
While tearing paper is usually a harmless habit, eating too much paper can cause internal blockages. If you notice your cat chewing or ingesting paper products sparingly, consult your vet, as this may indicate a dental problem or a nutritional deficiency.
If destructive behaviors get out of hand, your cat may need help from an animal behavior specialist.
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