Why Do Cats Chew On Cardboard?

Cats love to play with their toys. They also enjoy chewing on things such as paper, string or even plastic.

Sometimes they get bored with these toys and start looking for something new. This is where cardboard comes into play.

Cats are natural hunters. They are very curious creatures and love exploring their surroundings.

Why Do Cats Chew On Cardboard

In order to satisfy their curiosity, they often engage in activities such as digging, climbing, jumping, sniffing and scratching.

These behaviors can cause damage to furniture, carpets and other household items.

But why are cats so adamant on chewing cardboard and plastic rather than their toys designated for chewing?

Let’s find out together.

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Chewing Cardboard

There are many reasons why your cat might start chewing cardboard.

We’ve listed the top four reasons why cardboard might be your cat’s new favorite toy.

Hunting Practice

Cats are natural born hunters, meaning that they often use these tenancies around the house.

It doesn’t matter if they’re an indoor cat or they’ve never hunted wildlife before.

These habits can make themselves known at random times throughout your cat’s life.

Chewing on cardboard might be your cat’s hunting instincts coming out.

You might have noticed that your cat enjoys investigating anything new in the house.

This can include cardboard from any deliveries that you might have received.

So, your cat might be chewing cardboard to stimulate their hunting instincts.

If your cat is also scratching, licking, and clawing the cardboard, then you can put it down to the fact that they’re hunting the cardboard.

Marking Their Territory

Another reason why your cat is biting cardboard is that they are marking their territory.

Some cats will mark their territory by spraying urine or feces. But some cats prefer to do this through a different method.

They’ll bite objects like cardboard or plastic to show others that they own the area.

This is especially true of male cats who want to establish dominance over their territories.

Another common way of marking their territory is for cats to rub their bodies against furniture or something else in their house.

However, it has been known that a cat would bite an item to let others know of their presence.

As long as you don’t need the cardboard for something else, there is no problem with allowing your cat to chew cardboard to establish dominance.

Teething Issues

If your cat is relatively young, it might be possible that they are experiencing pain from teething.

Just like humans, cats have baby teeth that need to be replaced with adult teeth.

However, kitten teeth are much quicker than human babies.

So, you might not even know that your cat is teething.

If your cat is chewing on everything in sight, including cardboard, then their teeth might be bothering them.

As long as they’re not consuming the cardboard, then you can leave them with teeth on it.

Alternatively you can get a kitten teether and remove the temptation of cardboard altogether.

They’re Bored

They're Bored

The last reason why your cat might be chewing on cardboard is because they’re bored.

If your cat spends most of their time sleeping, then when they wake up, they might start looking for entertainment.

And sometimes, all they see is cardboard.

If you don’t offer your cat enough stimulation to ensure that they don’t get bored, then you might find them creating their own fun.

This might be as simple as biting cardboard.

While cardboard might be a good toy for some cats, others will get bored of it easily.

Cats will often be more responsive to toys specifically designed for cats rather than a cardboard box.

If your cat seems happy and content with chewing cardboard to alleviate their boredom, then you can leave them to it.

However, if they still seem bored, they might just be biting the cardboard to get your attention.

Try and play with them often to prevent boredom setting in.

Is Chewing Cardboard Safe For Cats?

Now that you have a better idea as to why your cat is chewing cardboard, you might be wondering whether you should continue to let them do it.

Cardboard isn’t toxic to cats when they’re biting it.

There are some cat toys made of cardboard due to how much cats enjoy playing with it.

However, you should always ensure that your cat is only chewing the cardboard and not swallowing it.

Don’t give them small pieces to play with – give them an entire box that they can scratch and chew.

With an entire box to play with, they will chew the corners without ripping it into smaller pieces to swallow.

Swallowing cardboard is not safe for cats.

It could cause blockages in their intestines which can lead to serious health issues.

So, make sure that your cat doesn’t swallow any cardboard.

Another thing you should avoid is allowing your cat to chew on any cardboard with adhesives or plastic on it.

Cats like to chew plastic as it is easier to break than cardboard, making it easier to swallow.

This is incredibly dangerous.

So, before giving a box to a cat, make sure that you have removed all labels, tape, and anything else that might be on it.

You should also avoid giving cats boxes with ink written on it to play with, as the ink might be toxic to them too.

Preventing Your Cat From Chewing Cardboard

If you cannot watch your cat every second of the day (who has time for that?), you could prevent them from chewing it altogether.

Of course, the easiest way to do this is to remove all temptation and hide the cardboard from them.

Another way to stop them from chewing cardboard is to fix the issue that is causing it.

If they are chewing out of boredom, give them more toys and play with them. If they are teething, give them a teether to chew.


Cats love cardboard. They love to chew on it and use it as a scratching post.

There are many reasons why they might be doing so, such as teething or practicing their hunting.

Chewing on cardboard should be fine for your cat as long as they’re not swallowing any or there are no toxic labels or ink on the cardboard.

Courtney Trent
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