Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Why Do Cats Mess with the Toilet Paper?

Playing with toilet paper is fun.

Have you ever returned home from work to find shredded toilet paper strewn from one end of your home to the other? It's not too fun to have all that clean-up and toilet paper waste; why do cats engage in this behavior?

Cats Are Hunters: Toilet Paper Is Imaginary Prey

Cats are predatory animals, and the dangling end of the toilet paper can just be too much for them to resist pouncing on sometimes. Then, once it starts unraveling, it's "game on" for your furry killing machine. Playing with toilet paper is fun!

Your cat is really not trying to make a mess for you; he's just following his instincts and making his own fun. Still, even if the toilet paper mess isn't a big problem for you, it's good to do what you can to discourage the habit because if your cat were to actually eat a big amount of the paper (this is rare but possible), it could lead to a dangerous intestinal obstruction.

How to Keep Your Cat from Playing with the Toilet Paper

Here are some things you can do to redirect your cat away from the toilet paper:

  • Keep the bathroom door closed.
  • Place a "cat guard" over your toilet paper.
  • Schedule at least 20 minutes of interactive play with your cat daily. Use wand toys to provide an outlet for your cat's hunter instincts.
  • When you aren't home, leave puzzle toys or automatic toys that have a "play while you are away" function to keep your cat busy.
  • Create a "hunt" for your cat by breaking up his daily allotment of kibble and hiding it in various places around the house, to give him something to do while you're gone.

Most cats will grow out of their toilet paper obsession as they leave kitten-hood, but some cats keep their youthful spirit and antics well into adulthood.

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