why do cats like to play with toilet paper

Why Do Cats Like to Play with Toilet Paper?

All of us have strange obsessions and ways to cope with our stress and emotions. How can cats be any different?

Like humans, they also have many emotions and go through many different feelings throughout their day. This is why sometimes cats exhibit certain behaviors that may seem a little weird to us.

One such rather common behavior is their obsessions with toilet paper. Almost every cat owner would vouch that their cat has played with toilet paper at some point in time. Well, let’s try to understand what could be the possible reasons for this behavior and why toilet paper, considering that there are so many things in your house.

cat playing with a toilette paper

What Do Cats Do With Toilet Paper?

Cats love to grab the loose ends of the toilet paper in her mouth and wind it around a piece of furniture like a chair or a table. Sometimes, they just like to roll it along like a ball. Other times, you can see the cat playing with the loose ends and possibly even littering the place with paper.

Though the clean up can be a little frustrating, especially if you hate doing it or have just finished cleaning, it is nevertheless cute to watch them play. The curiosity in their eyes and their actions only make them more adorable.

Why Do Cats Like Toilet Paper?

Here are some theories and reasons why cats like toilet paper.

  • Genetics

By nature, cats are predatory creatures. In the wild, they catch small mice and other small rodents for food. But as pets, they do not have the need to do this. Yet, their instincts remain intact.

They like to catch anything that has sudden movements and toilet paper’s loose ends perfectly fit this description! When the toilet paper’s loose ends move slightly in the breeze, it attracts the cats. In fact, the cats see it as a perfect invitation to attack it.

Though you might wonder why in the world toilet paper, the cat doesn’t probably see it in the same way. From your cat’s perspective, this is an object worthy of attack. Also, this provides an opportunity for her to hone and practice her hunting instincts that she rarely gets to use inside your home. Maybe she wants to make sure she has these instincts, so she can pass it on to her kittens.

  • Boredom

Cats are like humans in this aspect too. Just like how we get bored with the latest video games and look forward to the next series, cats too want to play with something that is different and interesting. Probably, they are bored of seeing the same furniture and things all around the house all through the day.

So, playing with a toilet paper is something new and interesting. It is also likely to keep her busy for some time and can be an avenue for her boredom. This is why she is after the toilet paper to entertain herself in her own unique way.

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  • Nature of toilet rolls

Toilet paper is attractive and tantalizing. It is soft to touch and cats sure love to touch soft things as they know this texture cannot harm them in any way. Also, the smooth surface of the toilet paper means that there are no nasty surprises for her in the form of nails or thorns. All this means, she knows it is a great plaything and this is why she is after it all the time.

Moreover, the bits of shredded paper are fun too. How many times have we seen cats have pieces of toilet paper on their nose or head? It’s not just cute for us to watch, but can also be quite entertaining for the cat.

As she pulls out one roll after another to play with it, the toilet paper keeps coming. For her, this is endless fun and entertainment.

Thus, the very nature of toilet paper including its features such as softness make it a fun object for her to play.

  • Expanding energy

Your cat tends to have a lot of energy building up within her. In the wild, her body is designed to hunt for prey and to protect herself from predators. So, she is genetically predisposed to have a lot of energy within her.

At home, there is no need for such energy.  All that she has to do is eat, sleep and cuddle with you. That hardly burns any calories for her. So, she has a lot of energy in her system and wants to get them out. Running after toilet paper, shaking it and stalking it uses some of her energy, so she is ready to digest food in the next meal.

What Can You Do About It?

One thing for sure that you can do is to sit back and enjoy your cat playing with a toilet paper roll. It is sure to be entertaining for you as well unless you can resist from picking your cat and cuddle her.

Another good aspect for you is that cleaning up the bits of toilet paper is relatively easy. You can sweep it within a few minutes and get done with it. No messy areas that require extensive cleaning.

You can also spend time with your cat and maybe even play with her, so you not only develop a good bonding but can also relieve some of that built-up energy. Your cat will get to hone her running and hunting skills too by chasing you instead of the toilet paper. You can even consider buying some toys that mimic the natural hunting process of your cat.

In short, cats play with toilet paper to hone their hunting and stalking skills, to kill their boredom and to release their energy. The soft and attractive nature of toilet paper makes them an ideal plaything for your cat. Also, your cat’s natural curiosity is satisfied when it tries out different things with the toilet paper like putting the pieces on its head or wrapping it around a piece of furniture.


  1. Mikkel Becker, Why Does My Cat… Play With Toilet Paper?, VetStreet
  2. Dr. Melissa Nelson, DVM, PhD, How to Prevent Your Cat from Unrolling Toilet Paper, WikiHow

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