Why Do Cats Lay on Paper?

Cats are perhaps one of the most fascinating and mysterious creatures that we have been blessed with the company of. Part of their charm is that they seem to do the strangest of things for no reason whatsoever, leaving their owners confused and fascinated.

An example of their strange and unexplainable behavior is their love for paper. You can buy them the most expensive bed, put in the most comfortable mattress for their comfort but our felines will reject those items in favor of…well, paper! You’ll be busy minding your own business reading your newspaper or looking at your bills or doing your homework and your cat will waltz in and the minute you look away they’ll settle right smack dab on the paper.

Does this behavior often lead to cat owners questioning why do cats lay on paper? Do they have a reason for their attraction to paper or is it something they just do for the sake of it?

We’ve investigated all the possible reasons as to why cats like to lay on paper.

Theory #1: Your cat finds paper to be warm and comfortable

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You’d imagine that our furry felines have enough fur to keep them nice and warm all year wrong. But that’s not necessarily true. Turns out, cats have a higher body temperature that makes them feel cold and thus they don’t particularly enjoy the cold.

And on the other hand, you have paper, especially a newspaper, which is a great insulator. It’s much warmer than the cold floors and so our feline friends are drawn to the heat and comfort that the paper can give them so they like to plop their furry behinds on any piece of paper they will find.

Theory #2: Cats like to enjoy different textures

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Curiosity is said to have killed the cat and cat owners can agree to the fact that cats are inherently curious. Now when they see an object that isn’t a natural part of the room set up, they’ll want to explore. And for a cat exploring doesn’t mean simply sniffing the item and walking away. Not only will they sniff, but they’ll also want to feel the item and even taste if they can get away with it.

So when you bring paper into the room that naturally piques their curiosity and since they’re so drawn to paper, we can assume they approve of its texture which is why they have no qualms about making themselves comfortable and lying down on it.

Theory #3: They might be marking their territory

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Think of it this way, your favorite shirt that you always wear probably smells very distinctly of you. That way when cats sit on an object for an extended period, their smell transfers onto that object, and paper is no exception.

Cats are naturally very territorial creatures, so it makes sense that they want to mark their territory onto different objects. This theory can be backed up with the evidence that before sitting on the piece of paper, cats will knead it. Since the scent glands are located on their paws, cats are transferring their scent onto the paper.

Cats also mark their territory by peeing on things. I’m sure you’re happy they’re simply laying on the paper rather than drenching it in their pee!

Theory #4: The paper smells like you and creates a sense of familiarity for your cats

Some theories suggest an opposite version of the previous theory. They believe that it is less about the cat’s scent on the paper and more about their owners. Since you’ve been handling the paper item for a while your smell transfers onto it, even if distinctively. Since cats have such a strong sense they can pick it up on the paper item and want to lay down on it because it makes them feel closer to you and feel a sense of security and comfort. This is especially true in two scenarios: i) when you aren’t home and your cat is missing you and ii) in typical cat behavior, when they want to be close to you without really being close to you and having to touch you, this is the best alternative for them!

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Theory #5: They just want attention

Cats are known for their catty attitude. They’ll ignore your existence when you’re desperate for their attention but the minute you busy yourself with your work and don’t have time to give them attention, they’ll pop up and demand you focus wholly and solely on them.

So when you’re busy with your homework or you’re reading the paper your cat will feel that you’re giving that paper unnecessarily attention and will wiggle their way onto it and lay smack dub on it with purpose. Their purpose is that you give them attention by being vocal about how naughty they’re being and then they expect you to pick them up to remove them. And obviously, you’ll feel guilty about it because they look so adorable sitting there and you’ll end up petting them and cooing at them. Mission gain attention: achieved.

Theory #6: They just like the texture

Maybe we’re giving our cats too much credit for their actions. Maybe our feline buddies lay on paper…. just because. Cats like and dislike different textures. When they dislike a texture, they will go out their way to avoid it but when they like something they will cling to it for dear life. So maybe the texture of paper appeals to them and they like to lay down on it for that reason.

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Theory #7: It’s a new toy for them

Cats can make a game out of anything and paper is no exception. One theory suggests that because the paper is a new object in the room, they will want to play with it. They’ll paw at it, scratch it, roll around on it. And when they tire out, they’ll simply just lay down on it and fall into a peaceful slumber.

Theory #8: Cats like enclosed spaces

“If I fit, I sit” is a motto for cats. Your big furry friend will suddenly transform into liquid form to sit in the smallest, enclosed space they can find, and you’ll just wonder how that is even comfortable?!

But apparently, it is comfortable for them so why not? While the paper isn’t necessarily an enclosed space per se, visually it might serve that purpose for your cat. An a4 paper and its fixed dimensions might seem like a fixed small space for your cat and so that might explain their attraction to it and why they lay down on it.

So, there you have it, a list of possible reasons to attempt to make sense of your cat’s strange behavior. What is your favorite theory out of the ones we’ve provided? If there’s one thing we know it is the simple fact that while we can sit and theorize the possible explanations of our cat’s behaviors, the truth is we might not ever fully be able to understand our cat’s behavior or the reason behind it. Instead, we’ll always remain in awe of our cats and accept them as superior beings!

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