cat chewing cardboard

Why Do Cats Chew Cardboard?

Last Updated on January 30, 2023 by admin

Cats may chew cardboard for a variety of reasons. For some cats, it can be a sign of boredom or a way to pass time. Others may chew cardboard as a way to relieve sore gums or to make boxes more comfortable. In some cases, cats may suffer from pica which can lead to them deliberately eating cardboard. Dental disease is also a common problem in cats, and this could be the reason why some cats chew on paper and cardboard. Lastly, cats may chew cardboard due to hunger. Regardless of the reason, if your cat is chewing on cardboard, it’s important to monitor them and take them to the vet if the behavior persists or worsens.



If your cat is displaying signs of boredom, such as inactivity, lack of interest in toys and food, then they may be more likely to chew on cardboard. This could be an attempt to stimulate their brains, or a way to keep themselves entertained. Cats may also chew on cardboard boxes if they are seeking comfort or for a sense of security. This behavior is often seen in cats that have been recently adopted or are living in a new environment. If this is the case, try providing your cat with plenty of toys and activities to keep them busy and stimulated.

Sore Gums

Cats may also chew cardboard because of sore gums. Gums can become sore when their teeth are not in the best condition. If your cat’s gums are sore, they may be looking for something soft and easy to chew. Cardboard can provide some relief from the pain. If your cat seems to favor one side of their mouth when chewing, this could be a sign that they are trying to soothe a sore spot. If you notice your cat is chewing cardboard more than usual, it might be time to take them for a check-up at the vet.


Cats may also chew on cardboard when they’re hungry, but don’t want to eat the food they are offered. When cats become bored with their food, they may start to look for something else to eat. Chewing on cardboard is a way for them to satisfy their hunger without having to eat the same food. If your cat is constantly chewing on cardboard, it may be a sign of a deeper health issue like pica or dental disease. It’s important to keep an eye on your cat’s behavior and take them to the vet if you suspect any underlying medical condition.

Making a Box More Comfortable

Cats may not only be drawn to cardboard boxes for their novelty factor, but also because they make a great hiding spot or cave-like enclosure. Cardboard is an excellent insulator, so cats may be drawn to the small space inside for the warmth it provides. Additionally, cats have natural instincts that may be satisfied by the feeling of safety and security they get from being in a cardboard box. As an added bonus, the soft material is comfortable for cats to curl up and relax in.

Being Possessive

Cats love their “personal” belongings, and can be unwilling to share them with others, whether people or animals. They turn so possessive that they even try to claim cardboard boxes as their own. Many cats become so attached to their cardboard boxes that they become their safe place. This behavior can range from cats who hiss and avoid the target of their hostility to cats who full on attack their target. For this reason, it is important to observe your cat closely when introducing a new cardboard box into their environment.

Underlying Medical Condition

It’s important to note that occasionally chewing cardboard could be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormone levels) or diabetes. If your cat is exhibiting any other unusual behaviors, it could be a sign that they are feeling unwell and need to see a vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pet’s health.


While boredom, sore gums, hunger, making a box more comfortable, being possessive, and underlying medical conditions can all contribute to why cats chew cardboard, there is another potential cause – pica. Pica is a behavioral urge to eat nonedible materials. In cats, these items most often include fabrics, elastics such as hair binders, cardboard, paper, and other items with no nutritional value. Eating non-food items can be very dangerous to a cat and if your cat is exhibiting this behavior it is important to take them to the vet to rule out any underlying medical condition or dental disease.

Dental Disease

As cats age, they are more likely to experience dental issues. Studies have suggested that 50% to 90% of cats over the age of 4 suffer from some sort of dental disease. If your cat is chewing on cardboard or paper outside of the teething age, it could indicate that her teeth or gums have some issues, such as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums and the tissues surrounding teeth and is very common in cats. It is usually treated with a combination of medications and regular dental check-ups and cleaning.

Exploring and Playing

Cats are naturally curious creatures, always wanting to explore their surroundings. Chewing on cardboard can be a way for them to get familiar with the environment and identify what is theirs and what is not. Additionally, cats may chew on cardboard for the same reason they play with other toys – because it’s fun! Cardboard offers cats an interactive source of entertainment, as they can swat at it and chew it to shreds. It also provides mental stimulation, and cats can learn how to problem-solve when they try to get inside the box or reach something tucked away inside.

Enjoying the Smell and Taste

Cats have a strong sense of smell and taste, and they are attracted to certain scents that humans cannot detect. Cardboard has a particular smell and taste that cats find appealing, which is why they often chew on it. The texture of the cardboard also makes it an interesting object to explore, as it’s something different from their usual environment. This is why cats may spend a lot of time playing with cardboard boxes or scratching and biting at them. Not only do cats enjoy the smell and taste of cardboard, but it also offers sensory stimulation that can be quite satisfying for cats.