What Does It Mean When Cats Eat Paper?

As a cat owner, you may have witnessed your furry friend indulging in some bizarre behavior. But nothing quite compares to the sight of your cat chomping down on a piece of paper. It’s a strange habit that leaves us wondering what could possibly be going through their minds. Is it just a case of curiosity or something more sinister?

Well, the truth is that there are several reasons why cats eat paper. For one, they could be feeling bored or anxious and are seeking out new ways to entertain themselves. Alternatively, they may simply be drawn to the texture and taste of paper products. However, it’s crucial to note that there could also be an underlying medical issue causing this behavior.

In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into the various reasons why cats eat paper and discuss potential health risks associated with this habit. We’ll provide practical tips on how to prevent your kitty from munching on paper products and guide you on when to seek professional help if necessary.

So if you’re tired of finding shredded bits of paper all over your home or concerned about your cat’s well-being, keep reading. We’ve got everything you need to know about this peculiar habit and how to keep your feline friend happy and healthy.

What is Pica?

Your cat may be suffering from pica – a condition that compels animals to crave and consume non-food items. While not limited to cats, felines are often associated with this behavior due to their playful and curious nature.

Pica in cats is often caused by boredom or stress. Cats who do not receive enough stimulation in their environment may turn to eating paper as a form of entertainment. Another possible factor that may contribute to pica in cats is nutritional deficiencies. If your cat isn’t getting the necessary nutrition through its diet, it may develop cravings for non-food items.

However, it’s crucial to note that pica in cats can also indicate an underlying medical condition. Some infections, such as feline leukemia virus or intestinal parasites, can cause cats to crave non-food items. Therefore, it’s essential to take your cat to the vet for a check-up if you suspect that your cat has pica.

Your veterinarian can perform tests to rule out any underlying medical conditions and provide advice on how to manage your cat’s pica behavior. In the meantime, you can discourage your cat from eating paper by providing plenty of toys and playtime to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated. You can also try offering your cat alternative chew toys made specifically for cats.

Causes of Pica in Cats

This could be a sign of pica – a medical condition where cats exhibit an abnormal behavior of eating non-food items. What causes pica in cats, you may ask? Let’s dive into some potential causes.

Nutritional deficiencies are one of the common causes of pica in cats. Cats who do not receive adequate nutrition may start consuming non-food items to compensate for the lack of essential nutrients in their diet. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your cat’s diet is well-balanced and provides all the necessary nutrients to prevent pica.

Stress and anxiety can also trigger pica in cats. Cats who experience stress or anxiety may start chewing on non-food items as a coping mechanism. Any changes in the cat’s environment, such as moving to a new home or the addition of a new pet, can cause stress and anxiety in cats. Therefore, it’s important to create a stress-free environment for your feline friend by providing them with a safe and comfortable space.

Medical conditions such as dental problems or gastrointestinal issues can also cause pica in cats. Cats with dental issues may start chewing on paper or other objects to alleviate oral discomfort. Gastrointestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease can cause cats to seek out unusual items to eat. Therefore, it’s crucial to take your cat to the vet for regular check-ups and address any medical issues promptly.

Lastly, boredom and lack of stimulation can also lead to pica in cats. Cats are curious creatures and require mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom. A lack of stimulation can cause cats to turn to unusual items for entertainment, leading to pica. It’s essential to offer your cat plenty of toys and playtime to keep them mentally stimulated while discouraging their paper-eating habit.

Signs and Symptoms of Pica

It may seem like an innocuous habit, but it could actually be a sign of a serious medical condition called pica. As an expert on this topic, let me enlighten you on the telltale signs and symptoms of pica in cats, so that you can act promptly and seek veterinary care if necessary.

The most conspicuous sign of pica in cats is the ingestion of non-food items. If you witness your cat persistently devouring these objects, it’s time to take action. Although pica can affect cats of any age or breed, it’s more commonly seen in younger felines.

Pica in cats can cause several other symptoms such as repeated vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. This could be an outcome of an intestinal blockage that can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Moreover, cats with pica may suffer from nutritional deficiencies due to their consumption of non-food items. Symptoms of malnutrition include weight loss, lethargy, and poor coat quality.

If you suspect that your cat has pica, seeking veterinary care is crucial. A veterinarian can conduct a thorough physical exam and run diagnostic tests to determine the root cause of the behavior. Treatment for pica may involve addressing any underlying medical conditions and behavioral modification techniques to discourage the ingestion of non-food items.

How to Diagnose Pica in Cats

Do you constantly catch your feline friend munching on paper, plastic, or fabric? While it may seem like a harmless behavior, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue. Pica is a condition where cats develop a craving for non-food items, and it can be caused by various factors, including nutritional deficiencies, stress, anxiety, boredom, or medical conditions such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism. Here are five subtopics to help you diagnose pica in cats:

Observe Your Cat’s Behavior:

Observing your cat’s behavior is the first step in diagnosing pica. Take note of when and where they eat non-food items. Do they only eat paper when you are not around, or do they do it openly? Do they show any other unusual behaviors like excessive grooming or scratching? These observations can help your vet determine if your cat has pica or any other underlying medical conditions.

Seek Veterinary Care:

If you notice your cat frequently chewing or ingesting non-food items, take them to a veterinarian for a thorough examination. The vet will conduct a physical checkup and may recommend blood tests or imaging scans to rule out any underlying medical conditions that can cause pica.

Identify Potential Triggers:

Identifying potential triggers can help address your cat’s pica behavior. Keep a record of their eating habits and environment to identify any patterns or triggers for their behavior. For example, if your cat eats paper when anxious or bored, providing them with more toys or engaging them in playtime can reduce their cravings for non-food items.

Treat Underlying Medical Conditions:

Treating underlying medical conditions can help manage pica in cats. Depending on the cause of the pica behavior, dietary supplements or medication can address any underlying medical issues that may be causing the cat to crave non-food items.

Consult with a Veterinary Behaviorist:

If the pica behavior persists despite treatment, it may be necessary to consult with a veterinary behaviorist who can help identify and address any behavioral causes of pica. They can help your cat overcome any anxiety, stress, or boredom that may be causing their pica behavior and provide recommendations for managing it.

Treatment for Pica in Cats

While it may seem like a quirky habit, pica in cats can lead to serious health issues, such as digestive problems and intestinal blockages. But fret not. There are treatments available for pica in cats.

Before starting treatment for pica in cats, it’s essential to determine the underlying cause. A visit to the veterinarian can help rule out any medical issues that could be causing the behavior. Nutritional deficiencies or anemia can lead cats to crave non-food items, so it’s vital to address these issues.

Once medical problems have been ruled out, behavioral modification techniques can be used to tackle the pica behavior. Redirecting your cat’s attention towards safe objects for them to chew on can be helpful. Additionally, providing increased playtime and stimulation can alleviate boredom and stress.

In some cases, medication may be recommended to manage pica behavior. Anti-anxiety medication or medication to address any underlying medical conditions contributing to the behavior may be prescribed.

It’s crucial for cat owners to work closely with their veterinarian to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for pica in their cat. With proper treatment and management, cats with pica can lead happy and healthy lives without the risk of complications from ingesting non-food items such as paper.

Other Reasons Why Cats Eat Paper

Cats are curious creatures, and their love for exploring their surroundings can lead them to chew on various objects, including paper. While boredom and hunger are common reasons why cats may eat paper, there are several other explanations for this behavior. In this article, we’ll explore five possible reasons why cats eat paper and what you can do to prevent it.


Pica is a condition characterized by the consumption of non-food items such as paper, plastic, or fabric. It can be caused by several factors, including nutritional deficiencies, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If your cat is exhibiting pica behavior, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues.

Natural Hunting Instincts

In the wild, cats consume the entire prey, including bones and fur. As such, they may be attracted to paper or cardboard boxes as they simulate the texture of fur or feathers. The act of tearing and shredding paper can provide a satisfying outlet for their predatory instincts. Providing your cat with appropriate toys and activities can help alleviate boredom and reduce their desire to eat inappropriate items.


Cats groom themselves by licking their fur, and sometimes this behavior can extend to other objects such as paper. In this case, eating paper may help remove any hairballs or debris from their digestive system. However, it’s essential to monitor your cat’s behavior and prevent excessive consumption of paper that could lead to digestive issues or blockages.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can cause cats to engage in destructive behaviors such as eating paper to relieve stress or anxiety. Identifying the underlying cause of stress and addressing it accordingly with the help of a veterinarian is crucial. Providing your cat with a safe and comfortable environment can also help reduce their stress levels.

Enjoyment of Texture and Taste

Lastly, some cats may simply enjoy the texture or taste of paper. While it’s not harmful for cats to consume small amounts of paper, it’s essential to monitor their behavior and prevent them from ingesting large quantities that could lead to digestive issues or blockages.


In conclusion, if you catch your cat munching on paper, don’t dismiss it as a quirky habit. It could be a sign of an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed. Pica is the condition where cats crave non-food items, and it can stem from various factors such as nutritional deficiencies, boredom, anxiety, stress or medical conditions like diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

As a responsible cat owner, it’s imperative to keep an eye on your feline friend’s behavior and seek veterinary care if necessary. Your vet can conduct a thorough physical exam and run diagnostic tests to determine the root cause of the behavior. Treatment for pica may involve addressing any underlying medical conditions and behavioral modification techniques to discourage paper-eating.

In addition to seeking medical attention, providing your cat with plenty of toys and playtime can help them stay mentally stimulated while deterring their paper-eating habit. Furthermore, creating a stress-free environment for your furry buddy by giving them a safe and comfortable space can help reduce their stress levels.

By understanding the potential causes of pica in cats and taking proactive steps to prevent this behavior, you can ensure that your furry friend stays happy and healthy for years to come.