You’re going home after a hard day’s work. And your kitty welcomes you into a living room full of ripped up cardboard.
Surely can’t be mad at them for the act. It’s cute if you think about it.
And, it’s completely normal for your playful kitty to tear up and chew on cardboard occasionally. But it’s not okay for them to eat it.
Why do cats shred cardboard?
Cats are obsessed with cardboard boxes. And not just that. Paper, tissue paper boxes, amazon gift wraps, toys, cords, strings or anything they can rip apart, they will. But the good news is, as long as they’re not eating it, you have nothing to worry.
This love affair is real. Last winter, we bought a couple of comfy beds for our cat but she’d rather sleep in her little cardboard box home than expensive cat beds. It just gives them a warm, cozy and protected feel.
While they are at it, they find it relaxing to scratch, shred the corners and chew at it.
Whilst there are no scientific studies to explain this behaviour but many vets believe it’s because they’re either being playful, bored, angry or it may simply be a case of having too much un-spent energy. For example, my cat starts ripping cardboard if she hasn’t got a play session that day. And every play session starts with her scratching the cardboard, out of excitement.
The possible cause of shredding cardboard can only be determined by closely observing the events prior to it.
Is it okay for my cat to eat cardboard. Can cats digest cardboard?
Scratching and ripping are considered normal whereas eating cardboard can be fatal, as it can block their intestines. If you find your cat eating cardboard, you may consider spraying something safe yet unpleasant on the box, to discourage this behavior. If that doesn’t work, getting rid of the boxes might be a good idea. There may be a few reasons why your cat is eating cardboard. Pica comes to mind.
It’s a common cat behaviour of eating things that are not food. Things like strings, cords, plants, paper, wool or cloth. Many cats have this problem. It happens mostly in kittens but essentially can happen to cats of any age or breed.
How can you tell if your cat has pica?
If you frequently find your kitty eating anything weird lying around, they may be dealing with feline pica. Other than that, they could be showing symptoms like constipation or diarrhoea. They tend to be lethargic with a lack of appetite and sometimes also throw up.
This may be happening due to an eating disorder, deficiencies in diet or in older cats due to cognitive decline. If you suspect signs of pica, have your cat inspected by a vet.
To wrap up
Cats are predatory in nature and the tearing, biting & chewing are an extension of those instincts. As long as it’s not caused due to a medical condition, this is normal cat behavior.