Why Do Cats Play With Toilet Paper?

When a cat finds a roll of toilet paper, destruction is inevitable. Cats have so much fun shredding toilet paper, rummaging through it, and rolling around in it.

Cats unroll toilet paper and play with it because it satisfies their natural hunting instinct. Roll a roll of toilet paper across the floor and the cat will immediately chase it. Once the toilet paper is in the cat’s paws, it will be torn without further ado. This imitates the cat tearing the flesh of a prey animal from its bones.

Shredding toilet paper is a messy but safe activity. So feel free to let your cat play with it.

Small amounts of toilet paper are also soft enough to pass through the digestive tract if swallowed. You only need to spoil your cat’s fun if he chews and eats too much of it.

Why Do Cats Play With Toilet Paper?

A roll of toilet paper can provide hours of entertainment for a cat. Many cats steal toilet paper rolls from the bathroom and play with them contentedly for a while.

Cats do not understand what humans do with toilet paper. Cats do their emergency urination in a litter box and clean themselves by preening.

Therefore, toilet paper has no purpose for them. Placing toilet paper in the bathroom also contributes to the ambiguity. People often close the door to this room to make access difficult.

Toilet paper entertains cats because it stimulates their hunting instincts. The toilet paper roll flutters and moves, attracting the cat’s attention.

The roll is then unrolled with delight. Once this is done, the cat does not hesitate to tear it to pieces.

In some cases, the cat acts out of a defensive posture. If it does not understand the purpose of the toilet paper roll, it will attack it.

Perfumed paper is more likely to cause her to have this reaction. However, a bright white paper may also attract the cat’s attention.

Hunting Instinct

All cats, including apartment cats, are ruled by their wild instincts. This includes, first and foremost, the desire to hunt. Domesticated cats hunt as often as their wild counterparts.

Toilet paper stimulates a cat’s hunting instinct because it is so soft and flexible. It flutters in the air.

This movement attracts the cat’s attention. The cat sees the toilet paper roll as prey. Stalking, chasing, and catching follows.

Once the cat has tracked down the toilet paper roll, it sets out to capture it. In doing so, it pounces on the toilet paper roll and grabs it with its paws.

Then the cats begin to shred them, possibly as if in a frenzy.

This is also fun for the cat because it makes a noise. It also mimics another important part of the hunting process.

When a cat has made prey, it tears the skin from the bones. This makes the meat of the prey animal more accessible. Thus, the cat peels off the outer shell of the toilet paper roll.

Another instinct of the cat, although not as strong, is the urge to burrow. Some cats are burrowing animals by nature.

Shredding material is one way to satisfy this drive. Many cats will happily tear up even ordinary paper or cardboard.

Toilet paper, however, is much softer and, therefore, easier to tear.

Soft Material

Many cats are naturally looking for comfort. A cat will often settle down and relax on the softest cushion in the house.

This is also true when it comes to shredding. Toilet paper feels soft and soothing under a cat’s paw pads.

Cats have an instinct to scratch and tear at objects. This is also why scratching posts are so important.

However, coarse materials can be painful for cats, especially older cats. Toilet paper offers a much more comfortable texture.

Allowing your cat to shred toilet paper will also prevent scratching your carpet.


Some cats use the softness of toilet paper to build a temporary nest. This is often the case with cats that do not have a territory of their own.

If the cat doesn’t have a safe place to retreat to, it will build a nest. So expect an unfriendly reaction when you put away the toilet paper.

If your cat is female, watch to see if she crushes the toilet paper and brings it to her bed. This is a common behavior in pregnant female cats.

Your cat is creating a warm, soft and hospitable environment for her upcoming litter of kittens.

Rolling Out

Cats will play with their prey after a successful hunt, knocking it around with their paws. This is not an act of malice or sadism.

It is the cat’s way of ensuring the prey is too tired or injured to fight back. This is more common with hungry cats.

Instinctively, a cat will exhibit the same behavior with toilet paper.

Remember, the cat has successfully stalked and captured this object.

As it plays with the toilet paper roll, more paper is unrolled. This opens up a new level of pleasure for the cat.

Cats have no idea how much toilet paper is on a roll when they start playing.

They see something they want and take it. When the toilet paper roll unrolls, it moves on the floor.

The cat will be constantly excited by this movement. Movement captures the cat’s attention.

The cat learns that stroking the toilet paper roll makes it move. This creates more and more paper available to chase and shred.

When a cat has an entire roll of toilet paper, it will keep unrolling it until it is empty.

Every time a cat completes a kill – in this case, shredding toilet paper – its brain is flooded with endorphins. This can be addictive.

The cat will keep going until there is nothing left to shred.

Access to the Cardboard Tube

The fun is not over once a cat has shredded the toilet paper. The cardboard tube in the middle of the toilet paper roll serves as a reward for cats.

This is especially the case with cats that eat their prey. The hunt was satisfying, but there is more to be gained from the experience.

Even if your cat is not fixated on eating, toilet paper rolls can be used for additional fun.

Due to their cylindrical shape, the rolls can be rolled around and chased. They are also slightly harder than toilet paper. This makes crushing them more of a challenge.

You can use your cat’s fascination with toilet paper rolls to your advantage. Save money on expensive toys by making alternatives yourself.

Examples might include:

  • Treat rattle: Fold the corners of the tube over and fill it with treats.
  • Mobile cat tree: Stuff the empty roll and wrap it with string.
  • Puzzles: Glue empty toilet paper rolls together and hide treats inside.
  • Chase and hunt: Attach string to the empty roll and let your cat chase it.

There are many ways for cat owners to use the toilet paper rolls.

Don’t just throw them in the trash. They are a great, inexpensive remedy for boredom.

Is Toilet Paper Safe for Cats?

Toilet paper is safe for cats. Your cat will not injure his claws when crushing the paper.

However, you should still be careful when playing with your cat.

Watch out for an allergic reaction from your cat after crushing toilet paper. If the paper contains perfume or other chemicals, it could trigger an allergy.

Common signs that your cat is allergic to toilet paper are:

  • Sneezing, coughing and wheezing
  • Watering eyes
  • Skin rashes and hives
  • Itchy skin
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

To test whether toilet paper is to blame, offer your cat a plain, unscented paper towel.

Theoretically, the cat will have the same fun tearing it up. If your cat is not allergic to the tissue, the toilet paper was to blame.

Handkerchiefs can also be used as an occasional treat, especially for cats who like to shred things.

However, don’t let your cat eat tissues. Most are thicker than toilet paper. This means tissues are more likely to cause intestinal blockage.

Can Cats Eat Toilet Paper?

After your cat has chewed up the toilet paper, he may chew on it. In small quantities, this is perfectly safe.

Many cats will eat paper and cardboard. If your cat has this habit, toilet paper is the best material to eat.

Toilet paper is soft enough to be primarily soluble. Small amounts of toilet paper dissolve well in a cat’s digestive tract.

As long as it is not consumed excessively, the cat will excrete it as part of its regular elimination routine.

But pay attention if your cat does not crush the toilet paper, but simply eats it. This indicates that your cat is suffering from pica syndrome. Pica syndrome can be described as an appetite for non-food material.

Pica syndrome is rarely a stand-alone problem. It is usually a side effect of another health problem.

This may be psychological, such as stress or boredom. But it can also be due to improper nutrition of your cat.

By the way, this problem does not only affect cats. Dogs can also be fixated on toilet paper due to pica.

When Cats Look for Toilet Paper

Another potential hazard for cats associated with toilet paper is searching for it.

Think carefully about where you store your toilet paper. Your cat may fall into the toilet while trying to grab a roll.

The toilet water itself is probably the cleanest water in your home. The supply is replenished with every flush.

For this reason, cats often drink from the toilet. However, there may be residual detergents in the water.

You will also experience some degree of frustration if your cat helps himself to the toilet paper.

Your supply may run out at the most inopportune time. Also, you will have to clean up a trail of shredded paper constantly.

If you have a cat, it’s best to keep toilet paper in a bathroom cabinet. If you can’t do that, close the bathroom door.

Letting your cat play with the toilet paper is okay, but do it on your terms.

Summary: Why Do Cats Play With Toilet Paper?

Playing with and crushing toilet paper is an excellent game for cats.

It’s a way for cats to act out their natural instincts around the house using soft materials.

As long as your cat plays with it safely, this household item provides fantastic stimulation.

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I, Daniel Popovic (Place of residence: Germany), process personal data to operate this website only to the extent technically necessary. All details in my privacy policy.
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I, Daniel Popovic (Place of residence: Germany), process personal data to operate this website only to the extent technically necessary. All details in my privacy policy.