Why Is My Cat Eating Cardboard?

Cats qualify as one of the most common household pets since ancient times and even up till now in the modern world.

Why? Because they’re adorable! Who wouldn’t want a fluff ball living in their house?

Why is my Cat eating Cardboard

Cats have a variety of habits that one can classify as delightful.

It can be playing around with any household objects, purring around their owners, or even nibbling on things.

You’ll often see your cat nibbling on things such as slippers, wooden objects, plastic items, etc.

Common things they also like to nibble or chew on are paper or cardboard.

People often regard it as something worrisome. Regardless, it’s not something to be too worried about.

Why Is Your Cat Chewing On Cardboard?

If your cat is chewing on cardboard, it could be for either of the following reasons:

Predatory Nature

Today’s cats living in people’s homes might be domestic animals, but it’s important to realize where their ancestry stems from.

It is obviously, from the wild. This is their reflex for maintaining the predatory nature of hunting prey.

Since household and domestic cats don’t get the opportunity to hunt for prey, this is their way to cope by re-enacting the behavior of their predatory species.

They Engage In Teething

Just like Human infants, cats also grow baby teeth, which then turn into adult teeth as they grow older.

Just like babies like to teeth in an attempt to ease their gums, kittens love to do the same.

At that point, they’ll try to teeth almost anything they see. Cardboard, as you can tell, in not an exemption.

Marking Their Territory

Cats are territorial by nature. They like to mark their territory to make sure other cats in the vicinity understand it’s their area.

They do this by leaving a trace of their scent so that other cats can sense it.

Among other ways of releasing their scent in their area, rubbing their fur against objects or chewing on them is a way to do that.

Many pet owners tend to keep their cats in cardboard boxes for at least some parts of their lifetime.

That in itself is also one reason for your cat to associate cardboard as something to chew on.

The Medical Aspect

If your cat is engaging in consuming items that are not edible, there is a possibility that your cat is experiencing a medical disorder such as cat pica.

Some reasons for cat pica to occur include the following:

Deficiencies

If your cat is not just chewing on cardboard but also eating it, there’s a possibility that your cat is deficient in some minerals in its diet.

To reduce that gap, your cat is eating something outside of its diet to make up for it.

Illness

If your cat is showing abnormal behavior in terms of eating, there’s a chance your cat is suffering from some form of illness like feline leukemia or some form of a virus.

In such a situation, the best thing to do is to go to the vet for a check-up at the earliest possible.

Mental/emotional Disorder

Linked to your cat’s background, your cat may be experiencing cat pica due to some trauma or even the species genetics. This pertains to some breeds more than others.

It’s Just The Way They Are

Cats are just playful by nature. Since they aren’t able to express their emotions through speaking, the only thing they can do is reflect it through their behavior.

Maybe your cat is just bored or in a very playful mood.

Or maybe it’s just feeling anxious or angry, and biting through cardboard is their way of showing it and, at the same time, getting rid of the excessive energy.

How Can I Stop My Cat From Chewing Cardboard?

There’s no harm in chewing cardboard for a cat.

However, it is essential to point out that they shouldn’t be encouraged to eat it.

Consuming cardboard for a cat could be harmful as it could lead to many problems in terms of intestinal blockage or gastric troubles.

There are many things you can do if you want your cat to stop chewing on cardboard.

  • One thing you can do is just to eliminate the problem by removing any cardboard items nearby. You could always store them up in a room and block your cat’s access to that area. If your cat insists on having something to chew on, you could always give them something else like a rubber or a chew toy to use. Cats typically like playing with cat toys, and they could be a significant help in this situation.
  • Spraying your cardboard items with non-lethal but bad-tasting deterrents is an excellent way to go about it. After experiencing the bad taste, they’re more likely to chew on something else. Who knows, over time, they might even develop a negative association with cardboard and let go of the habit altogether.
  • Another way to enforce a negative response against chewing cardboard is that you can always directly show it. Whenever your cat decides to chew on cardboard, spray some water on him/her using a spray bottle. Over time it’ll start associating a negative response with that particular action.
  • Whenever your cat chews on cardboard, take the cardboard away and start playing with your cat instead. If your cat is chewing cardboard out of boredom, this will help. It’ll give you some good time with your cat too.
  • Another thing you can do is to give your cat a piece of meat (like a chicken wing) to chew on. It’s better to keep the meat uncooked, so the bones don’t splint.
  • If the problem still persists and you feel that this could be due to a medical condition (cat pica, for example), it’s a good idea to reach out to a vet for professional help.