Why Do Cats Shred Toilet Paper?

Cats are curious, funny creatures. They like to scratch everything, brush past you when they want something, and could chase laser beams for hours. While most of their behavior is oh- so-cute, there is one habit you want your kitty to break: she shreds toilet paper rolls.

cat lying in shredded toilet paper
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You can't leave your bathroom door open without her coming in and making a mess. You've tried to train her but haven't had much success. Your goal is to find out why she's doing this and how you can stop her from continuing this bad behavior.

Here are some reasons why she's attacking your toilet paper holder, along with solutions for how to keep her from doing it in the future.

Why cats shred toilet paper

Since we sadly can't read our cats' minds (though they're probably just thinking about food, cuddling, and playing), we don't know exactly why they shred toilet paper rolls.

However, one theory is that because cats are predatory, they see a moving toilet paper roll and are inclined to attack it. It's just another way your cat can hunt, even if she's not taking down another animal.

Another reason why she may shred toilet paper rolls is because she thinks she can use the soft material for bedding. She's naturally looking for something comfy to sleep on, and she thinks toilet paper will be perfect for that.

Eight week old tortoiseshell kitten playing with toilet roll
credit: Westend61/Westend61/GettyImages

She also may think you're playing with it when you're putting it on the toilet paper holder. This might lead her to believe it's fair game for playtime.

On a simpler level, your cat may be bored or anxious depending on when she is shredding the toilet paper. It's fun to watch the toilet paper roll around and around and provides some comfort to her to shred it.

Preventing your cat from shredding toilet paper rolls

Even though cats naturally love toilet paper—or any paper, for that matter—you can prevent this behavior from happening in the future.

You can always make sure to leave your bathroom door closed, and/or invest in a toilet paper protector that will stop your cat from having access to it.

You need to make sure that you're playing with your cat on a regular basis. You should engage with your cat for at least 20 minutes a day and give her plenty of toys to play with when you're not home. Cats love things they can scratch, chew, and chase things like balls, wands, and scratchers. Put some catnip inside of her toys and she'll go wild with joy.

Keep in mind that your cat will respond better to positive training than negative training. Instead of breaking out the spray bottle or yelling at her, give her treats to reward her when she does something correctly. You can also use a clicker to signal to her that she is on the right track.

British Blue cat and toilet paper.
credit: g215/iStock/GettyImages

When to see a vet

If your cat is eating the toilet paper she shreds, or you haven't had any success training her not to engage in this behavior, you'll want to see a veterinarian. It may also be time to go to the vet if you notice symptoms of possible sickness or stress, like lethargy, a lack of appetite, or withdrawal. If the home recently changed in any way – perhaps you moved, got another animal, or had a baby – this may be triggering something inside your cat and causing her to want to suddenly shred toilet paper rolls.

Going to the vet will help you rule out any medical or emotional issues that may be playing out, and will ensure that your kitty stays healthy now and in the future.