Why Do Cats Like to Lay on Paper? 9 Possible Reasons

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Cats can be some of the most mysterious creatures sometimes. Even if your cat has been a part of your family for years, you’re bound to discover some new quirky behaviors every one in a while. It’s impossible to know what these creatures are thinking, so most of us just chalk up to cats being cats!

One of the strangest things that cat owners witness is an odd affinity for paper.

cat laying on paper books

Think about how your cat has explored your home. Chances are, they found all of your paper products fascinating! You may catch them messing around your recycling bin, playing with scraps, or even laying on an open book.

It’s certainly strange, but where does that love for paper come from? Here are nine reasons why cats like to lay on paper.

9 Reasons Why Cats Like to Sit & Lay on Paper

#1. Fond Memories of the Kitten Years

If your cat is still relatively young, they may associate paper with their time spent as a kitten. This is especially true if your furry friend comes from a breeder.

Many breeders utilize newspapers to line bins for mothers while they give birth. Some also use paper as a tool for litter training.

Either way, those memories could be what’s drawing your cat to paper products throughout your home. Kittens are very vulnerable and often stick by their original nesting spot until they’re comfortable enough to roam the world.

It’s where they fed off their mother’s milk, where they slept, and where their mother cleaned them.

Over time, they eventually stray farther and farther from those newspaper-lines spaces until they never return. While they have moved on to bigger and better things, that doesn’t mean they have forgotten that time.

Those crusty old newspapers made them feel comfortable. So, it’s thought that paper products provide a feeling of safety and protection.

#2. A Curious New Thing

Cats are notoriously curious creatures. Sometimes, that curiosity puts them in precarious situations. Other times, it makes them go crazy over a stray sheet of paper on the floor!

Your cat could like laying on paper simply because it’s brand-new to them. They spend their days roaming around your house seeing the same things. When something new like a piece of paper comes into the mix, it’s exciting!

If it’s unfamiliar to them, cats will go and investigate. It’s just part of their personality. They might not have noticed or even cared about those stacks of paper in your office. But the moment a piece falls on the floor, it’s something they want to investigate.

Here is a video of cats playing with a piece of kraft paper

#3. A Fun New Texture to Explore

Speaking of new experiences, their love of paper could just be a product of enjoyment for the texture. Cats always have a strong reaction to texture items. Think about all of their favorite hangout spots.

Whether it’s a carpeted cat tower or a wooden bookshelf, those items all have a unique texture that they like. The same could be said about a piece of paper.

Maybe they saw that stray piece of paper on the floor and went to investigate. Upon feeling the smooth texture under their paws, they realized that they loved it! So your kitten may start kneading it with their paws or rubbing their head over it.

Eventually, they’ll just lie on it to enjoy the smooth texture.

#4. Warmth and Comfort

If you have bare wood or tile floors, there’s a good chance that your cat doesn’t like to lay on it. Cats enjoy warm cozy spaces. A smooth floor doesn’t offer much in terms of warmth or insulation.

It might not seem like much, but paper can provide the warmth that they are after. It insulates and reflects their body heat, so laying down and taking a nap on it makes perfect sense.

*Cardboard boxes can also reduce stress, according to this research

#5. A Love of Enclosed Spaces

cat sitting in paper bag

This reason applies more to paper boxes, but the principle still applies. We all know that cats love enclosed spaces. It makes them feel safe and secure.

If you’ve ever encountered a cat in the wild, it probably scurried off into the bushes to hide. That’s because those defined and enclosed spaces provide warmth.

Even if your kitty has spent all of their life indoors, they still have that way of thinking. You might find your cat curled up any random paper box they can find.

Most have no problem trying to get into a box that’s clearly too small for their body. It doesn’t matter! That feeling of warmth and protection those paper boxes provide is good enough.

#6. A Desire for Attention

What better way to grab your attention than to sit on an important document? While cats have a reputation for being aloof, they do want some loving from time to time.

If you’re ignoring them and working away at your computer all day, don’t be surprised if your cat jumps on your desk and sits down on your documents!

Sometimes, cats will do this even if they don’t want your immediate attention. Say, for example, that you dropped an envelope on the floor when you came through the door.

Your cat knows that you’ll eventually get it. So, why not take that opportunity to get some pets in?

They may cunningly plop themselves down right on top of that paper so that you have to interact with them when you inevitably pick it up.

#7. Marking Their Territory

cat sitting on paper mail in bed

Cats are very territorial by nature. As a result, they tend to mark everything they can. However, cats do not bestow their scent on items in the same way that dogs do. There’s no urinating involved.

All they have to do is lay on it for a while.

The interesting thing about paper is that it’s very easy to scent. It’s porous and has a similar texture to wood. It doesn’t take long for the paper to be covered in their smell, so they’ll take the opportunity when they see it.

You might see your kitty kneading the paper as well. This could be a deliberate way of spreading their scent faster. A cat’s paw has scent glands in it. So, that kneading helps to spread the scent even faster.

Realated: 10 Scents that Repel Cats

#8. A Brand-New Toy to Play With

Has your cat ever gone crazy around the holiday season when you start wrapping presents? It’s a pretty common cat quirk! Cats are very playful and will look for anything to have fun with. This weird new thing you brought out could be just the thing!

Lying down on the paper after a session of pawing and chewing is just icing on the cake.

The same goes for a roll of toilet paper

#9. A Strong Audible Response

Finally, your cat could like laying down on paper because of the sound it makes. Kittens love nothing more than a good crinkly toy. Many believe it’s because the sound is reminiscent of tall grass.

In the wild, cats enjoy sleeping in beds of grass, so it makes sense why they would enjoy the sound.

While you might not be able to hear all those sounds for yourself, your cat sure does. Even smooth paper creates a distinct sound as it slides on the floor. It also makes a noise when your cat is rubbing on it. It’s subtle but cats find it enjoyable and comforting.


All of these possible reasons are just theories. The truth is that we still don’t know for sure. There’s no way to tell what’s going on in your cat’s brain! Luckily, laying on paper is a relatively innocent behavior.

Feel free to provide some paper for them to enjoy. You can even take things a step further and invest in some paper-based toys. Whatever you do, your cat will love you for it.

Also Read: My Cat Smells Like Poop: 6 Causes & Solutions

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