Hey Pet Parents & Pet Lovers,
It’s no secret that most cats have habits that can seem odd and lying on pieces of paper is one of the weirdest.
Being a teacher, I have a lot of experience with my cats thinking that my course materials are their new bed. With Kalista, in particular, it doesn’t seem to matter whether or not the paper is a standard legal size or a cue card, whatever the paper… she will sit or sleep on it.
So what is it about paper that gets your cat so excited?
Now, similar to other cat behaviours and habits there aren’t many studies or conclusions from vets, however, cat owners all over the world have come up with theories and many of them have a lot of ground to be true. So what are some of these theories?
INSULATION & WARMTH
Cats like to be warm, even in the summer. This is why we’re huge fans of wool cat beds, cat trees and carpets. Well, due to the fact that paper is actually a great insulator, many believe that cats like to sit/lie down on paper because it reflects their body heat.
This always reminds me of the episode of the Magic School Bus where the children stuff their jackets with paper (if I’m not wrong… it was either that or blubber…). I know in the past I’ve put duotangs and folders in my jacket when walking from building to building for the extra warmth. It’s also why a number of homeless people lay down newspaper during the winter to stay warm.
Now this theory would be a perfectly good explanation for those of us who have hardwood, concrete or tile floors (as paper tends to be warmer than these floorings), however, as you may know we recently put a carpet in my office and Kalista still prefers to sleep on paper, even though she’s always so excited to sleep on the carpet. So is there another reason why Kalista prefers the paper?
THEY WANT ATTENTION
I’m sure you’ve all been in a situation where your cat comes to scent the object you’re using. For example, whenever I’m working on the couch with my laptop both cats rub their faces onto the screen.
Cats are creatures of habit and just like Pavlov’s dogs, cats can be conditioned to act in particular ways to get certain results.
“If I rub my face on my owner’s laptop, they will pet me.”
“If I meow before dinner, my owner will feed me.”
“If I paw at my owner’s face while they’re sleeping they will wake up and feed me.”
Many people believe that cats lie down on paper as a result of their owners picking them up immediately after they lie down.
This theory holds quite a bit of ground, especially if you have a cat who lies down on paper while you’re doing homework or reading and the owner’s immediate reaction is to move or positively reinforce the cat.
SCENT & TERRITORY
It’s no secret that cats like marking everything with their scent, but did you know that paper is actually very easy for cats to mark or scent?
This is due to the fact that paper is made out of wood (which is also fairly easy for cats to scent.)
The coolest thing about this theory is the fact that it has scientific merit. Since cats are territorial animals, the more objects they scent in your house, the safer they feel.
I JUST LOVE THE FEELING!
Sometimes we forget the fact that cats like particular textures as we do.
For example, as squishy as leather chairs are, I absolutely hate them. There’s something about the texture and the way I slide around the place that I absolutely hate. It’s the same thing for pillowed couches that are way too fluffy! I need to be sitting on something more firm, but still has a bit of give to it.
It’s, for this reason, a number of folks believe cats love sitting or lying down on paper. Maybe it’s just how smooth the paper is?
NEW TOY! NEW TOY! NEW TOY!
Cats are curious, it’s why Kalista always runs into the hallway, and so many theorize that cats want to sit on the paper because it’s new to them.
The only thing I can think of to debunk this theory is… then why do they stick around?
Although, I guess it could be a combination of reasons… maybe cats are initially curious, then decide they want to scent the new object, then realize… well darn this paper is making me feel super comfy/warm! Could it be a mixture of all of these theories into one?
THEY LIKE ENCLOSED SPACES
Instinctually cats love enclosed spaces as it makes them feel safe. It’s one of the main reasons why cats love cardboard boxes so much, but did you know that cats are also attracted to “enclosed spaces” that don’t really exist?
You may be thinking, well what do you mean by that? Well, some cats have been known to sit and sleep in boxes made of tape. Try it out for yourself, put some tape on the floor and see if your kitty sits or sleeps inside of it.
Now, your cat won’t spend their whole day in the tape box, but it is fairly interesting to see your kitty stay “confined” in that space until they are bored.
But I still don’t get it… why does that make sense?
Well, in the wild cats may find warmth in things like caves, holes or… cardboard boxes! The tighter the space, the more chance it’s going to be warm.
Think about it like this, when you have a large space you’re going to need a lot more heat to make it warm, but if you have a smaller space like a closet all you need for warmth is your breath!
Even though the walls aren’t there, your cat may still be attracted to the paper/tape, just because they remember spaces that were that small were very warm.
So, while it hasn’t been scientifically proven why it is cats like sleeping on paper, I personally feel like the reason is a mixture of all of these above. I’m curious, does your cat sleep on paper and if so, why do you think they do?
OTHER CAT HABITS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN READING ABOUT
- Why Does My Cat Bite and then Lick me?
- Why Do Cats Scratch? Can I Stop Them?
- What is Pica in Cats & How Can I Help My Cat Stop Chewing?
- Why Do Cats Lay on Paper?
- Why Do Cats Rub Their Faces on Everything? Why Does My Cat Bunt or Headbutt Me?
- Why Do Cats Knead?
- Why Do Cats Run Away from Me? Does My Cat Hate Me? (Advice for Cats Who Run & Hide)