Cats can sometimes be similar to children – they might find more enjoyment in playing with the box that a new toy came in rather than the toy itself. It’s common for cats to have fun with cardboard, but it can cause concern for cat owners when their cat starts chewing on it. This often leads to the question: why does my cat chew cardboard?
Cats may begin chewing on cardboard out of boredom, as it can be an enjoyable game for them. However, there are other possible reasons why a cat might chew on cardboard, including hunger, discomfort in their gums, and a possessive nature towards their belongings.
This article will cover all the reasons why cats chew on cardboard. We’ll also discuss whether it’s normal and safe for cats to do so, and provide additional factors to consider. Let’s dive in!
Reasons Why Cats Chew On Cardboard
There are five primary explanations for why cats chew on cardboard. These reasons consist of being bored, having sore gums, feeling hungry, wanting to make a box more cozy, and being possessive or territorial over their belongings. Now, let’s delve into these five reasons why cats chew on cardboard with more depth.
Your Cat Is Bored
Cats can get up to some mischief when they’re bored and left alone, and that can sometimes involve chewing on cardboard. This playful activity of chewing on cardboard can awaken their natural hunting instincts as they bite and gnaw on the object.
To decrease this type of behavior in cats, the most effective approach is to spend more time playing with and exercising your cats. Additionally, you might consider getting your cat additional toys if they don’t already have many.
It Feels Good On Their Gums
Occasionally, cats may chew on cardboard to alleviate discomfort in their gums or teeth. Dental disease is the primary reason for this type of pain in cats. Additional indications of dental disease in cats may include, but are not restricted to:
● Bad breath
● Red and bleeding gums
● Struggling to consume solid foods
It’s important to take care of your cat’s teeth to avoid dental problems. However, certain factors like their diet and how their teeth grow can increase the chances of older cats getting dental disease.
If you think your cat chews cardboard because of dental problems, it’s important to take them to the vet for treatment and to avoid any future issues.
Your Cat Is Hungry
Occasionally, cats may also munch on cardboard due to hunger. It may seem puzzling to some cat owners, but it is actually quite common. This is particularly true for choosy cats that are selective about the food they eat.
Your Cat Is Making A Box More Comfortable To Sit In
If your cat is chewing on a cardboard box, it could be because they want to make it more cozy for themselves. This behavior is not as common as other reasons we mentioned, but some cats do it. Some cats may even chew on the box to create a chin or armrest!
Your Cat Is Being Possessive
Sometimes cats chew on things they like because they feel possessive of them. Many cats see cardboard boxes and pieces of cardboard as their toys or beds, so it’s normal for a cat to consider them their own. This is especially true when a cat lives with other cats in the same house.
Cardboard Boxes Are Soothing To Cats
Have you ever seen your cat scratching the carpet? Maybe you’ve even caught them scratching the couch or chewing on some cotton. Now think about why they do this?
Cats are creatures that have routines, and certain actions bring them comfort. This applies to cardboard boxes as well. Some cats find solace and a sense of security in cardboard boxes, rather than being bored.
Your cat might even chew on cardboard boxes as part of their nightly routine. Or maybe they do it when you come home after a long day of work. Some cats do it to feel comfortable in their surroundings and find some peace.
The only problem is when cats take this behavior to the extreme and actually eat the cardboard. If your cat experiences separation anxiety, the chewing can become intense and turn into a full-on feast.
Definitely, we don’t want that, so it’s important for you to figure out if your cat is chewing cardboard as a way to feel comfortable, and find a different activity to replace that behavior.
Maybe you could cover the cardboard box with a soft blanket so that your cat can still enjoy chewing on it without any harmful materials. You could also try hiding the cardboard box and replacing it with other things in the room, like your cat’s favorite chew toy, catnip, water fountains, and other interesting items to keep their attention.
Although chewing on cardboard boxes is not harmful, it is completely normal behavior, which we will explore further!
Is It Normal For Cats To Chew Cardboard
It’s totally normal for cats to chew on cardboard, and lots of cats do it. You don’t really need to be concerned about it unless your cat is eating a lot of cardboard.
Is It Bad For Cats To Chew On Cardboard
No, it’s not harmful for cats to chew on cardboard. While chewing on cardboard can sometimes indicate a dental problem, it’s not always the reason.
Is Cardboard Poisonous To Cats
Cats can safely chew on cardboard without any negative health effects.
While cardboard itself may not pose a direct threat to cats, the objects it has been in contact with could be potentially harmful. It’s important to consider that cardboard boxes often enter homes through delivery services.
This could indicate that the cardboard box has been exposed to other harmful substances, chemicals, and is generally unclean. Similarly, if a cardboard box is on a store shelf, it may have been touched and handled by various people from different locations.
Just picture your cat slurping up all those germs and even eating them. Although a few nibbles probably won’t cause any harm, as a pet owner, you should discourage this behavior. If you catch your cat in the act, intervene and redirect their attention, and that should solve the problem.
Can Cats Digest Cardboard
If your cat only eats a little bit of cardboard every now and then, it’s not something you should be concerned about because cats can handle digesting small amounts of it.
But if your cat eats a lot of cardboard, it can cause issues in their stomach and intestines. The stomach and intestines are important for cats because that’s where their food gets digested.
If your cat chews on cardboard and has a negative reaction, you can anticipate observing the following:
- Frequent diarrhea
- Upset stomach
- GI tract inflammation
- Bacterial infections
Furthermore, you need to take into account the size of the cardboard pieces that your cat chews. Not all cardboard is equal, and some types are thicker and less likely to break apart. This could result in a blockage, which would require a visit to the vet for your cat.
What Happens If My Cat Eats Cardboard
If your cat consumes only a small quantity of cardboard, you probably won’t observe any unusual or unfamiliar behavior in your cat.
But if your cat eats a lot of cardboard, it could get stuck in their stomach or intestines, which is not good. Some signs that your cat might have a blockage include, but are not limited to:
● Signs of dehydration
● Cats may experience weight loss and a decrease in their desire to eat.
If you think your cat has an intestinal blockage or if you catch them munching on a lot of cardboard, it’s crucial to get them to the vet right away.
How Do I Stop My Cat From Eating Cardboard
To prevent your cat from chewing on cardboard, you need to understand the reason behind this behavior. If your cat is doing it out of boredom, the best way to stop it is by giving them more playtime and getting them more toys.
If you want to prevent your cat from chewing on cardboard because they’re hungry, try finding cat food that they really enjoy. And if their chewing is caused by dental issues, it might be a good idea to take them to the vet.
Things To Consider
When it comes to cats chewing on cardboard, there are a few other factors to think about. This includes knowing when to ask for assistance from a professional and when it’s necessary to take your cat to the veterinarian. Here are some additional points to consider regarding cats chewing on cardboard.
When To Seek Professional Help
Although it’s typical for cats to chew on cardboard boxes, there are instances when this behavior becomes more serious. If you think your cat’s chewing habits have reached a point where intervention is necessary, it might be a good idea to seek professional assistance.
Not everyone is aware that there are experts called cat behaviorists who focus on fixing behavioral issues in cats. They do a similar job to dog trainers, but for our furry feline friends.
If your cat is chewing on cardboard and other objects due to possessiveness or territorial behavior, it might be helpful to seek professional assistance, especially if the behavior is getting out of control.
However, these services can be quite pricey. Typically, consultations with cat behaviorists can cost anywhere between $375 and $450. These consultations usually include a schedule and last for about 30 days in order to fully understand the situation and find the best way to address your cat’s behavior.
In the end, the easiest and cheapest solution is to simply get rid of cardboard boxes in the house and not encourage the behavior. It’s best to do this early on, as it becomes difficult to change this habit once cats grow out of their kitten stage.
When To See A Vet
If you think your cat is chewing on cardboard because they have dental issues or some other medical problem, you should take them to the vet right away.
By following this advice, not only will you decrease this behavior in your cat, but you will also help them recover. Likewise, if you suspect your cat may have a bowel obstruction, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian right away.