Why Does My Cat Chew Cardboard?
Why Does My Cat Chew Cardboard?

Why Does My Cat Chew Cardboard?

Why Does My Cat Chew Cardboard?

If you’ve gotten yourself a cute cat, you’ve probably caught it red-handed chewing on cardboard. One of my cats would sink her teeth into pretty much any box of cardboard she could find laying around.

cat in a cardboard box

It may be surprising to find felines nibbling on an old piece of cardboard piling up a mess of paper shreds but it's pretty normal for cats to do. They engage on such activities very often, as I've found.

But is the behavior harmful? Let’s find out!

Why Cats Chew On Cardboard

Teeth Problems

cat teeth problems

Dental problems are very common in cats above the age of three. A furry feline on a wet diet is even more susceptible to teeth problems.

It can be painful for the kitty to eat cat food and they can experience severe discomfort while chewing fishes or meats.

Cats chew on cardboard or other soft things as a means to relieve their pain.

Building a Place of Comfort

Cats are strange yet have a classy taste in things!

Cats are known to be quite creative when it comes to finding ways to relax, and chewing cardboard can be one of them.

If your kitty feels that the cardboard box is too uncomfortable to sleep in, the feline will carve their home into something that feels cozier.

cats chew cardboard to build cozy homes

They may even make holes in their boxes to see outside of their home while laying down.

Cravings For Tearing Things Aparts

While cats may look like mannered gentlemen with their adorable tails and pointed ears, they are certainly not! 

These guys are brave predators and their natural instincts often drive them to destroy things. I've often found my cats ripping pillows to shreds when I came back home.

Messing things up may also be because a cat has excess energy that contributes to the restless behavior.

If you're going to have delicate objects around, I highly recommend taking out the time to train your cats to not damage them.

Picky Kitty!

Cats can be very picky eaters at times. When it comes to food, some kitties just won't eat something they don't like even if they're very hungry.

cats can be picky

They would rather sulk and walk away than taste what they don't find tasty enough.

A hungry kitty readily chews on cardboard to show that they aren't full, and sometimes may eat parts of the boxes too.


Just chewing on cardboard is not a sign of pica. However, chewing and eating cardboard can be a serious indicator of the cat's feeding habit. 

Having pica means that your dear kitty will chew and eat a wide variety of things including plastics and harmful stuff. If you find such behavior, you should take your kitty for a quick vet exam.

It's always better to stay on the safer side when it comes to cat health.

Is it harmful to cat’s health?

Just chewing on cardboard or other things is not that serious. If, however, your cat is consuming anything it can find, it may be due to an uncommon condition called pica and be quite serious.

The ingested non-food items can sometimes get clogged in your kitty's intestines and also cause food poisoning. Chewing on things like paperback books doesn't cause much discomfort to cats but it may be sad for you to see your favorite book in shreds.

If your kitty is always nibbling at something, it's something you need to look into as soon as possible. Chewing on nonfood items may not be serious most of the time but it also means that your cat may chew into things like power cables and headphones.

Prevention is always better than cure, right?  

How Do I Stop My Kitty From Chewing On Cardboard?

Using a deterrent spray

You can use bitter sprays as a means to tell your cat that something is off limits. Apple spray or a simple spray of water can also be a harmless thing to try and dissuade your kitty from chewing on stuff.

It's necessary that you do not talk loudly or scare your cat when you want to teach them stuff as it can be traumatic for the kitty.

Looking out for underlying issues

There may be many reasons as to why your cat likes chewing on cardboard. Anxiety, stress and unsatiated hunger can be one of those.

A bored cat may also indulge in such behaviors, so it's important that you figure out if your kitty needs a playmate. If you're not spending enough time with the cat, getting a second cat can also be a nice option.

Once you have a diagnosis, it's fairly easy to get your cat to stop chewing on stuff.

Using Chew Toys

cat with a mouse chew toy

What do you do if your cat just won't stop making messes out of cardboard boxes?

You keep them distracted!

Giving them dental treats or tasty snacks is a great idea as it keeps the cat occupied. It also helps them relax and feel at ease.

Final Thoughts 

Tearing and chewing on things is just a part of the feline primal instinct and isn't something that poses a serious threat to cat health. However, if you notice that your cat is also fond of eating other nonfood items, you should be concerned.

Even if there's nothing serious going on, a vet visit for dental checkups or routine checks is always a good idea.