Going through roll after roll of toilet paper because your cat has used them as toys can be annoying. If done regularly, it starts to take up more of your time and becomes expensive. Understanding why your cat is shredding toilet paper and finding out how to stop it immediately is crucial.
The movement of the paper, the enticing color, texture, and the ability to manipulate all appeal to a cat. A lack of mental and physical stimulation during the day are further contributing factors. Your cat may seek out household objects as toys if its entertainment needs are not being fulfilled.
It is a source of great frustration for owners, and toilet paper consumption can make your cat sick. The chewing and swallowing of toilet paper can potentially lead to an intestinal blockage.
Why Do Cats Play with Toilet Paper?
Toilet paper, especially the way it sits on the roll, is tempting. Because cats are naturally curious creatures, the visual of toilet paper is very intriguing. If they are bored with their normal routine, you will likely notice other behavioral changes, such as your cat following you around the house.
The fact that is can seemingly flutter in the breeze by itself and can also be easily moved is all a cat needs for a playtime party.
Toilet paper can flap about due to a breeze created by an air conditioner, ceiling fan, stationary fan, etc. If a strand is dangling from the roll, this is all the more likely to occur. Cats are predatory creatures, and their eyes are keen on even the smallest of details. This involves sudden movements.
Given a cat’s instincts, “attacking” moving toilet paper is natural because it is prey. All aspects of hunting, stalking, and capturing are on full display which is what cats more or less live to do.
Cats also use toilet paper to mark their territory. After victory has been claimed and the roll has been defeated, your cat may use its claws to shred it. This is both a scent mark and visual claim of territory.
Chewy.com notes this practice as “Marking Mayhem” in its guidance. While the marking aspect could be a forgotten reason, it likely holds the key to why the shredding aspect is necessary. Your cat is displaying its victory to you.
Most toilet paper is white. The color white is not only attractive to a cat, but it is also a bit “scary” in some ways. The whiter the color, the brighter it appears to a cat. It is often said that pure white appears as a glow to cats. It is appealing because it stands out so much.
While logic would suggest that white toilet paper would send a cat running, the opposite can occur. A cat may wish to “fight” the paper instead.
Depending on how your bathroom is structured and how much natural light shines through the window, the appeal of toilet paper could be a combination of color and positioning.
Cats like toilet paper for the same reason people do. It is soft. If your cat is shredding it, the texture plays a significant part. The soft feel of the paper is what keeps your cat coming back for more.
Toilet paper is also easy to tear. Grabbing, pulling, and shredding can provide endless entertainment for your pet. You only have to look at your cat’s bulging eyes to see how happy it has become.
- Tissue and paper towels are equally appealing for the same reason. Because these items are soft and do not make irritating sounds, it can make playtime that much more enjoyable. Similar to a baby or young child, cats love to touch and play with soft items.
4) Easy to Manipulate
While tearing toilet paper is to be expected, cats also like to see what they can do with it. When loo paper is on a roll, they can tear it and spin around in circles while doing so. Paw movements that can cause the paper to go flying all over the bathroom area provide a lot of quick and easy fun.
The spinning aspect triggers the movement of prey. This is the same reason that cats follow mice as well as yarn or a stick being dragged across the ground. Movement is the ultimate trigger for cats, especially if they can play a direct hand (or paw) in the process.
5) Lack of Stimulation
Although toilet paper itself has various aspects of the appeal, the core reason for this type of behavior could be due to a lack of other entertainment outlets.
If your cat has the pent-up energy, it needs to be released. If a proper outlet is not provided, that energy will be released on your property and household belongings instead.
Playing with your cat on a regular basis can go a long way. Exercising your cat’s mind and body through one-on-one interaction and the use of toys can allow your cat to receive attention while using its natural hunting instincts.
If your cat is hunting a toy wand or chasing after a piece of string, for example, it will be less inclined to stake out your toilet paper.
- Before attempting to dissect why toilet paper is intriguing to your cat, you must address the reason for the behavior in the first place. This means getting to the root of the issue. If it is a new behavior, it is essential to determine what has changed. Have you started to leave more doors open? Are you making enough time to fuss and play with your cat?
Is Toilet Paper Dangerous?
Consuming too much toilet paper can lead to a blockage. Although small amounts of paper will likely pass without issue, cats with existing digestive concerns can start to feel unwell.
If your cat has a craving for toilet paper, your pet may have a disorder known as Pica. This condition involves the consumption of non-foods such as paper, plastic, etc. While the core reason for this behavior is not fully understood, early diabetes or a mineral deficiency could be to blame.
If your pet is tearing the paper with the goal of eating it, you should consult a vet about the issue.
How to Stop This Behavior
This behavior can be changed and avoided. Through training and safeguarding measures, your pet’s days or destroying toilet paper with its claws could soon be a thing of the past. It is not that different from when a cat starts drinking from the toilet bowl rather than its own bowl.
Let’s explore several preventative and protective options…
- Close the bathroom door. While this can seem like a no-brainer, it can often be an inconvenience depending on how your home is structured. Until you are satisfied with your pet’s progress, this solution will likely be the best measure available.
- Toilet paper guard. The use of a toilet paper guard can cover the paper and prevent it from being unrolled in the conventional sense. This will protect the integrity of the paper and leave your cat a bit miffed. Once your cat realizes that things are not as easy as they once were, a new activity would have to be explored.
- Reward your cat. Regardless of your tactics, it is vital to reward your cat for doing the right thing. It will realize that food and treats are given when the bathroom is avoided. Cats love to be spoiled. They will quickly give up paper for affection and a full stomach. If your cat is a little heavy, you can also reward your cat with a prolonged petting session on the couch. Here are some of the places that your cat likes to be petted the most.
- Toys. Establish a play area for your cat with toys. If your cat’s toilet paper fascination is the byproduct of having no other play outlet, your objective should be to create new opportunities.
- Scratching post. By placing a designated scratching post in your home, you are providing a cheaper and less destructive alternative. Unless your cat is eating the paper, the actions involved are more appealing than perhaps the paper itself.
Toilet paper is the perfect visual for a cat, and it can be easily manipulated with their paws. If you can provide various outlets with the same (or greater) appeal, then your toilet paper will be safe from being torn to pieces. This is good for your cat, your home environment, and your finances.