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Why Do Cats Like To Lay On Paper?

by Amber
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You can’t leave a single sheet of paper on your desk or scattered on the floor without your curious cat staking a claim. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blank sheet of printer paper, a stray piece of mail, or the most important document you’ve ever read, cats see it all the same. If they don’t end up shredding it, they’ll treat it like the world’s comfiest cat bed. They might even hide it under their furry bulk as you scramble around worried it’s lost. From kittens to seniors, they all do it. So, why do cats lay on paper?

We don’t know exactly what they’re thinking, but there are a few interesting theories to explain the behavior. 

They Like the Texture

Paper is smooth, and sometimes soft, and that can be intriguing to a pet that spends a lot of time trying to find comfy places to nap. Even if your cat has claim to multiple cat bets, the living room sofa, a recliner, and your bed, a single sheet of paper could be just what they’re looking for. When the hardwood floor or padded carpet gets old, a nice piece of paper is an interesting change in texture. 

cats lay on paper

It Gets Them Attention

Even though cats are known for being independent, they can still be avid attention seekers. The most people-friendly felines always want to know what their humans are doing. They meow loudly from across the room, rub against your ankles, and jump lovingly into your lap. There’s no such thing as alone time, or even personal space. If a newspaper or work document is hogging your attention, you can bet your cat will take notice.

A popular theory as to why cats lay on paper has to do with their urge to always be the center of attention. They learn quickly that if they cover up the object of your attention, they’ll get their own attention in turn. It’s a clever scheme that also happens to be incredibly cute.

Cats Are Attracted to Small Spaces

There’s another theory that says cats lay on paper because it looks like it could be a small, enclosed area. Cats are programmed to be attracted to tight spaces, because it makes them feel safe. It’s why they can’t resist a good box, and it’s where the whole “if I fits, I sits” concept comes from.

A thin sheet of paper obviously isn’t going to provide any protection. But neither does a square taped to the floor, and the Internet has already proven that the #catsquare challenge is both real and impressive. Cats could be attracted to paper because it gives them the opportunity to curl up in a confined space and feel more secure.

It’s Warm

Along with feeling safe and secure, cats also like to be warm. Their attraction to all things warm stems from a survival instinct they’ve carried with them for generations. In the wild, a little warmth could be the difference between life and death. Cozy blankets, the sunny spot on the floor, and even a random piece of paper provide that all-powerful warmth they desire.

Paper might not strike you as being particularly warm, but even one degree difference can be enough for a cat. If the paper is on the floor, that thin piece of insulation separating them from the colder ground could be enough to make laying on paper a lifelong habit.

Cats are Curious

Our final credible theory for why cats lay on paper has to do with their undeniably curious personalities. Some cats will run and hide from new things. Even those scaredy cats, however, will feel slightly intrigued by something new in their environment.

Cats are experts at spotting when something looks different. They can tell right away when you bring home something new, and they usually want to conduct their own kind of investigation. A piece of paper that’s on the floor now, but wasn’t there an hour ago, is definitely worth checking out. And what better way to inspect it than by laying on top?

Do you have any additional theories for why cats lay on paper? We’d love to hear them!

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