You brought something home in a paper bag, and as soon as you emptied the bag, your cat was right there playing with it and climbing inside. You might have also noticed that your cat’s ears perk up every time you crinkle a piece of paper into a ball. Why do cats like crinkly paper?
Cats like crinkly paper because the sound mimics that of mice or rabbits walking or burrowing in crisp, brown leaves. Grass and leaves also provide insulation from the cool earth, which sounds a lot like crinkly paper. And paper is easy for cats to leave their scent on.
When your cat plays with your papers, it is normal behavior. Stay tuned to see why your cat loves crinkly paper and how to keep it from marking its territory on paper.
Crinkly Paper Mimics the Sound of Prey
Indoor cats need to hunt and play, as it’s part of their instincts. Every part of a cat has evolved to hunt prey. Their ears can turn in the direction of the sound to pinpoint the exact location of the prey. Their noses are highly sensitive, and they can smell a rodent or rabbit before they hear it. And their whiskers and paw pads feel vibrations in the ground.
If you listen to mice, rats, squirrels, or rabbits while they scurry through leaves or grass, you’ll notice that it sounds very similar to crinkly paper. Your cat notices it too, and when you wad up a piece of paper, your cat’s ears perk up, and they’re ready to hunt.
Cats will sit on paper, partially for the sound it has when they walk on paper or shift while sitting on it. Paper is also similar to boxes, so if you’ve watched your cat get into a box, you understand why cats love paper.
Try throwing the ball of paper and see how your cat responds. If it is in a playful mood, it will chase it and play with it. It’s one way to keep your cat active while inside, especially if you don’t have money for cat toys. That is also why some cat toys sound crinkly when you squeeze them and why cats love them so much.
Paper Indicates Warmth and Comfort
Paper adds a thin layer of insulation against a cold floor, so if your cat gravitates to paper on the floor, it might be due to your cold floor. It is a natural insulator, so pieces of paper, paper bags, and other paper products are warmer for your cat to sit on.
Place a paper bag on the floor and watch your cat worm its way inside the bag. The paper on all sides of your cat provides extra protection from any breeze in your home and keeps it warmer.
Cats’ normal body temperatures are between 10 to 15 degrees warmer than humans, which means that they must expend more energy to keep warm. If the ambient room temperature is on the cool side, cats will seek warm substances to stay warm to conserve energy. Blankets work better than paper, but cats will gravitate to that instead if any crinkly paper is the only thing around.
Cats Are Naturally Curious About Human Things
Try the following experiment:
- Get some construction paper, tape, scissors, and markers, and sit on the floor.
- Start making a project that involves laying the paper flat on the floor while making a little noise with the paper.
- Wait for your cat to come over to investigate the sound or sit on the paper.
Cats are naturally curious about human things, and if they see you messing around with something that sounds like prey, they will come running to you. They will then lay down on the paper with their entire underside on the paper. Since their bellies are more sensitive than the rest of their bodies, they use that side to experience new sensations and textures.
Being curious will also explain why your cat will come to you when you’re working on your computer or reading. They want to know what you are doing and see if it’s something fun for them. Even if they aren’t interested in what you’re doing, they will at least try to get some cuddle time with you while you’re working or reading.
Paper Is Easy to Mark With Their Scent
You might have noticed that if you have any paper on the floor in a pile, at some point, your cat will urinate on the stack. While this might be frustrating to you, your cat is marking its territory and telling you that they claim your home as its own. Paper holds this scent very well, and if left long enough, will get into the carpet as well.
To avoid this issue with your cat, be sure to keep all paper off the floor when you’re not there to supervise your cat and keep it from marking its territory. Books should also be kept off the floor, as cats tend to urinate on them if they feel like paper.
Why Do Cats Paw at Paper?
Cats will paw at paper simply because they like the sound it makes under their paws. The crinkly sound reminds them of playing and hunting, and they are looking for an adventure. They have an active imagination and pretend that the sound results from a mouse or rat scurrying about. And because your cat sees you as either the head cat or an inferior cat, it wants to show you its hunting abilities.
Another possible reason that cats paw at a paper is that it might be fluttering by an open window, and they think that something is under the paper. Cats are intuitive creatures who can detect the slightest movement. If they think something is happening under a sheet of paper, they are instantly there, monitoring the situation, hoping to catch whatever is making the paper flutter.
Try Getting Crinkly Toys to Stimulate Your Cat’s Senses
Because cats love crinkly paper, pet toy manufacturers create toys that have the paper underneath the felt covering. The toys are usually shaped like mice, and some have a catnip scent to make your cat go crazy over the toy. Crinkly toys are best used for stimulating your cat’s instinct to hunt and play.
Toys made for dogs often have the same crinkly paper built inside because dogs often react the same way as cats do when they hear crinkly paper.
If you think your cat is bored and might benefit from some distraction, try getting some crinkly cat toys to liven up their playtime. Throw the toy across the room after you crinkle it and see if your cat chases it. Use it to engage them in a batting contest where you use it to touch their paw to see if they are interested in catching it.
Crinkly toys can help your cat sharpen its hunting senses too.
Crinkly paper, to cats, sounds exactly like mice scurrying through fallen leaves. A cat’s imagination can be as active as yours when they hear sounds they don’t recognize immediately.
There is nothing wrong with cats playing with paper or pawing at it, as long as they don’t start chewing it or swallowing it. You might need to watch your cat play with a piece of paper if you know that it has a habit of doing just that. But if you want to protect your cat completely from swallowing paper, a crinkly toy might be a better solution.