Cats are one of the cleanest pets available. They spend enough time grooming themselves by cleaning their coats with their tongues. They enjoy playing in general, especially kittens. Likewise, they have also been observed fighting with other cats and humans. Cats enjoy being around and chewing cardboard, which is something that cat owners have noticed. Because cats prefer enclosed spaces, you may find your cat curled up inside a cardboard box, happy. Cats chew on cardboard, yes! And it makes them happy.
What’s even more surprising is that this cardboard box contained a toy intended for your cat, but instead of playing with its toy, your cat prefers to play with the cardboard box. What causes cats to chew on cardboard? Cats enjoy munching on a wide range of materials, primarily cardboard. Your cat can keep biting on a cozy, warm cardboard box while enjoying it. But why are they doing this?
Cats Chew on Cardboard for a Variety of Reasons
Cats chew on a range of things, such as cardboard boxes, slippers, book covers, and sometimes even paper towels. Cat owners most often consider placing their pets in cardboard boxes, letting them chew on the box. They could also access cardboard boxes and chew on them. What causes cats to chew on cardboard? Here are some of the reasons why:
They Chew on Cardboard Just for the Fun of It.
Cats have been known to like to knock things over. They love to play with their owners’ hair, and flip their water bowls. These activities are satisfying for them, and they also enjoy chewing on cardboard. When your cat is bored and looking for something to chew on, you bet, it may end up chewing on cardboard. They may also be chewing on books, or other types of paper because of the sound and texture it create and feel. They absolutely love it.
When your cat is feeling antsy and has nowhere to go, it may chew on cardboard to keep itself occupied. If your cat doesn’t have any toys to play with, it may start chewing on cardboard.
Cats Chew on Cardboard Because They are Territorial
Another reason cats chew on cardboard is to mark their territory. Most animals leave their scent on objects and humans by rubbing their bodies against them or urinating on the objects they want to claim. They will also bite or chew on objects to demonstrate ownership. Chewing on cardboard is a way for cats to communicate to other cats that they must not touch what belongs to them.
Kittens grow baby teeth in the same way that human babies do. If you’re a parent, you’ll understand how difficult it is when your child is teething. They always want to bite on whatever they can get their teeth on. The same is true for kittens. Kittens who are teething may be looking for a way to alleviate the discomfort that comes with tooth growth. Kittens can be seen chewing on any object they see or touch since it gives relief to them. Because of the irritation on the gums, kittens rub their mouths against cardboard boxes.
Cats Chew on Cardboard as a Predatory Behavior
Cats were wild animals prior to domestication. They are naturally carnivorous. Cats are natural predators. Another reason your cat is chewing on cardboard is that the cardboard is a prey item to it. Cats stalk, capture, kill, and eat their prey while hunting. This is why cats consume cardboard. They dissect the cardboard as if it were prey
Medical condition – why does my cat chew on everything?
One of the most serious reason cats chew on cardboard is a medical condition known as “cat pica”. You may have noticed that your cat chews on almost everything it comes into contact with, not just cardboard. Pica is a behavioral urge in cats to eat inedible materials or substances.
One of the materials that cats can chew on as an outcome of this behavioral disorder is cardboard. Clothes, socks, paper towels, plastic, electrical cords, grocery bags, or curtains are several items that cats with this condition may chew on. The cause of this condition is unknown, but some expert speculations have shown that weaning a cat when it is too young can be a cause. Also, genetics, stress, or compulsive disorder can also cause your cat to develop this condition.
What is Pica Syndrome?
Pica is the behavioral desire to consume inedible materials. Fabrics, elastics such as hair binders, cardboard, paper, and plastic are the most common items found in cats. Pica syndrome is more likely to affect young cats. Pica syndrome is distinct from normal chewing because a cat suffering from pica will not only chew the material but will also grind it continuously with its molar teeth before swallowing it.
Pica’s cause is unknown. Experts speculate that it could be caused by a number of factors, like being weaned too young or dietary deficiencies. Other causes are genetics, boredom, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or stress. Pica can appear as early as 3 months of age, and some cats are able to grow out of it by the age of 1-2 years.
Although many young cats will chew or tear apart objects while playing, a pica sufferer will grind the object repeatedly along with their back molar teeth before swallowing. For susceptible individuals, this behavior is highly rewarding, and they will go to great lengths to obtain material.
The more susceptible to pica are the oriental breeds. This is due to their inclination for wool sucking. Wool sucking is when a cat simply sucks on bedding, but this behavior can quickly become addictive and lead to the cat ingesting the materials.
Causes of Cat Pica :
- Genetic: Pica is a genetic disorder that affects some cats. Wool sucking in Siamese and Birman cats is known to cause pica.
- Behavioral disorder: Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a behavioral disorder in which a cat engages in repetitive, abnormal behaviors for no apparent reason.
- Medical disorder: Leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, diabetes, and brain tumors, pica has been linked to these.
- Diet: Anemia can develop if your cat does not get enough nutrients in his or her diet. Anemic cats can also be seen chewing on inedible objects.
Is it safe for cats to chew on cardboard?
It is completely safe for your cat to chew as long as the reason for the chewing is not medically related. It is indeed safer to keep an eye on your cats and make sure they aren’t eating the cardboard. Some cardboard may contain sharp objects like staple wires or even harsh chemicals. You should ensure that the cardboard with which your cat plays is free of these potentially harmful substances.
What to-do with your cat’s behavior?
If stress is the catalyst for self-soothing, mental/physical stimulation can be beneficial. A bored cat will look for something to do, which may include chewing and ingesting non-food items. To keep their minds occupied, the cats like to lay outside and watch the birds for a few minutes each day. To keep cats entertained, give them puzzle feeders and scratching posts. Interactive toys are some other ways to keep cats entertained. Hiding kibbles in easily accessible areas can also be beneficial.
By removing all preferential materials, it helps curb behavior. Sometimes dietary changes, such as increased fiber content or larger kibble, can be beneficial. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your pet.
Many veterinarians believe that cats tear up cardboard boxes because it is in their primal instincts to rip apart and play with their prey. When cats have a lot of energy, they may choose to shred cardboard boxes with their nails or teeth as a form of relaxation and play. Cats do strange things that their owners find amusing and frustrating. Most of the time, you can’t tell why they do what they do. A universal trait shared by all cats are chewing on cardboard. The reasons may also differ from one cat to the next. Cats chewing on cardboard are generally harmless.