Cats are frisky creatures that need constant stimulation. They are always active and they tend to swat, bite, and poke things as an expression of their hunting instincts. Objects like string, balls, and paper appeal to them. Read on to discover why cats are attracted to paper and why they like to scratch it.
Cats scratching paper: What are the reasons?
There are several probable reasons why cats love to scratch paper:
1. To relieve their frustration, stress, or boredom
Cats are easily bored, especially if you are rarely at home and they are left alone for long periods. They tend to look for outlets to relieve their boredom by scratching walls or objects like cardboard and paper. They may also be frustrated about something, like seeing a bird or squirrel outside the window. Since they are confined inside the home, they become disappointed and instead will lash out at nearby objects (like paper).
Felines may also scratch paper and other items to relieve their stress and anxiety. If you have recently moved your furniture or relocated to another place, your cat may be stressed and anxious due to changes in routine.
2. To mark their territory
Cats are territorial creatures who will mark their territories even if there are no other animals nearby. They will scratch objects like paper to rub their scent on it since their paws have scent glands. Felines will mark their territories to assert possession.
3. To exhibit their hunting skills
Your cat may also be scratching paper because she is showcasing her hunting skills and her ability to catch prey. Cats are natural hunters and predators, so scratching on objects like paper is an expression of their instincts.
4. To grab your attention
Cats may also be scratching on paper to catch your attention. Studies show that felines value human interaction, even though they may appear aloof or snobbish. Felines that lack physical stimulation may also resort to scratching items like paper.
Other reasons include scratching paper because it reminds cats of their litter when they were kittens. They may also like the paper’s crinkly sound and become curious, which leads them to investigate by scratching it to bits.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), it is not a cause for worry if your cat tends to scratch paper. They note that playing with it is important for stimulation, it is a fun activity, and it shows that you have a happy cat. However, it can become alarming when the scratching leads to destructive clawing. At this point, you have to correct your cat’s behavior.
How to stop your cat from scratching paper
Here are ways to stop your cat from scratching paper:
1. Spend time playing with your cat.
Set aside playtime sessions with your cat to keep her mentally and physically stimulated. Play with her for 15 to 20 minutes at least twice each day. This also helps relieve your cat’s boredom and is a great way to bond with it. You can stimulate a hunting scene through interactive toys that allow your cat to chase its “prey.”
2. Hire a pet sitter for your cat.
If you are always away because of work or other reasons, your cat may become bored since she is always left alone at home. Hire a pet sitter to visit her and keep her occupied so she won’t resort to scratching paper or other items at home.
3. Use cat pheromones at home.
Keep your cat calm and relaxed by using cat pheromones at home, like Feliway Diffuser. It helps alleviate stress and anxiety, may reduce your cat’s hyperactivity, and lessens the tendency to scratch paper and objects.
4. Consult your veterinarian.
Scratching paper may look harmless, but it can become alarming if your cat will also chew or eat it. This could indicate oral issues or a nutritional deficiency and may also result in an upset stomach due to obstructions. Consult your veterinarian if you suspect that your cat is ingesting the paper that she is playing with.
5. Redirect your cat’s habit to acceptable objects.
If your cat already resorts to destructive clawing and scratching items other than paper, you may have to redirect her habit to acceptable objects. Providing her with scratching posts or corrugated cardboard boxes allows her to release pent-up energy and exhibit her hunting skills.
6. Restrict her access to areas that have paper.
If you have a home office where you keep important paperwork, do not allow your cat to enter that room. Store magazines and newspapers on shelves that have covers, and close your bathroom doors so she won’t get hold of the toilet paper.
Cats are playful, so they tend to scratch on objects that they can easily access around the home, like paper. They tend to scratch because they are bored, frustrated, or stressed. Felines may also scratch paper because they are marking their territory, exhibiting their hunting skills, or trying to catch your attention.
Image: istockphoto.com / kozorog