Why do Cats Like to Lay on Paper: Decoding Kitty Behavior

Have you ever been in the middle of a project and had a cat park themselves right on your notebook or another piece of paper? It’s weird, but so is a lot of the stuff cats do. Regardless of how we see their actions, it makes perfect sense to your kitty. Paper is a desirable parking or napping location for several possible reasons. Which one your cat is thinking of is a whole different issue. I’ll walk you through all the reasons cats like to lay on paper so much.

Why do cats like to lay on paper? Cats like to lay on paper because it makes an excellent insulator. Your cat doesn’t like the temperature of the surrounding floor or other areas. Paper will keep them warm in winter and cool in summer. 


Whether they lay on paper, nap in posh kitty beds, or curl up on a sunny window sill, we love our cats. For the last ten thousand years, give or take a few, they’ve been our companions. People and felines have been around each other for long enough to work out a lot of the details of our relationship, yet some things remain a mystery.

Fortunately, feline behavior not one of those tremendously difficult, nigh unsolvable problems like the meaning of life. Though science and the study of animal behavior came about some time after we started sharing our homes and villages with cats, we’ve still had hundreds of years to work it out.

Why Cats Pick Paper

  1. Insulation.
  2. Sound.
  3. It gets your attention.
  4. Marking new territory.
  5. Tactile input (they like the feel).

When your cat lays on paper, he or she is not merely trying to confuse you. Cats aren’t masterminds who delight in tormenting us mentally. It’s simply that most people aren’t experts, and they have other concerns. Fortunately, the experts have made plenty of information available for us if we only take the time to search it out.

If your kitty loves paper, then give them a place to express that love. You can get a spectacular Furhaven Corrugated Cat Scratcher Cardboard & Pet House Tower made from paper and cardboard. It won’t stop your cat from wanting your attention, but it will make them happy. Check prices and availability by clicking here

Paper is Cat Insulation

Part of the appeal when your cat lays on paper is the insulation. While most people don’t use paper insulators for homes anymore, it’s highly effective. Keeping cool when you have a fur coat is a high priority, so laying on paper will help your kitty avoid overheating and discomfort.

On the other side of that argument is staying warm. You may have noticed your cat loves to be warm and sleep in sunny places, even in summer. There are two reasons for this behavior. First, cats are desert creatures. Even with all that fur, they originally came from a hot environment, and their kitty bones know it.

Secondly, cats run a higher body temperature than we do. A cat is typically 100.5-102.5 degrees on the inside. That means they feel colder sooner than we do with our lower body temp. Any kitty lover can tell you they’ll seek out high places (heat rises after all), and warm spots like heater vents, and fireplaces for their many long naps.

Paper is made of cellulose. Since cellulose doesn’t transfer heat energy quickly, it makes ideal insulation for your pet. Even a single sheet is better than none at all. Cat-parents know that comfort is a big deal to their furry friends, so laying on paper satisfies this deep inner drive for finding the perfect temperature, or something close to it.

Cats Lay on Paper for Attention

Your cat might be laying on your papers to get attention. As surrogate parents, cats crave attention, and ego validation from us in many forms. Even negative attention can be gratifying to them, like a kid who acts out to show their parent they need something more.

We are mommy surrogates for our housecats. It doesn’t matter what your gender is, the role you fulfill in their kitty lives is the same. When they are small, all the love and attention comes from mommy. Once you adopt and raise cats, you effectively become a mommy cat to them.

They will meow and cry for your attention. However, using their voice to make demands is only second nature for kittens and house pets. In the wild, cats use other forms of communication. For example, they stake a claim on some other cats’ territory by marking it to get their attention and pass on the eviction notice. At home with us, they sit on paper to get you to notice them.

You may find that if you take the time to stop and give them a little cuddle, your cat is more willing to move along and stop. Naturally, cats have different personalities and motivations, so it won’t always work. Still, it’s worth a try. With a little luck, your pet will be more willing to reconsider your offer of a warm windowsill after collecting their ration of love, instead of insisting they need to park on your book.

Cats Mark New Territory When They Sit On Paper

Sitting on things, like paper, or your computer, is a time-honored cat pastime. From the latest new and exciting cardboard box to the sink and even stranger places like inside a row of hangars in your closet, if they fit, they sit. It’s kitty prerogative.

Why do cats feel compelled to put their butts on everything? It’s a question many pet parents ponder, but sadly few bother to look into. I’ll tell you the secret of the star-print. Cats have scent glands in their anuses. That’s right, more than poop comes out of your pets’ backside.

Though most humans don’t detect it, unless your cat sprays something, all cats have scent glands in their derriere. Sometimes all they want is to let any other animal who might think about coming in their house know that everything, including your comic books, or that file you just printed out, belongs to the resident cat.

While it may sound a little gross to you, it’s just natural to your housecat. Feline instincts tell them that the gift wrap you dropped on the floor smells wrong. Hence, they correct the problem the only way they can, by sitting on top of it and making it into part of their home. Try to think of it as a welcome mat made of fur, but for an inanimate object.

If you’re wondering whether this is related to why they put their butts in your face, it is. However, instead of marking you, they’re saying hi. In cat culture, just as it is in doggy-land, friends sniff each other’s butts. Cats are just more selective about how they choose their companions since they aren’t pack animals.

By putting their backside near your nose, kitty is telling you they trust you enough to let you get a whiff of everything that proves their identity. It’s a bit like the cat version of letting you see their social security card and bank information.

Celebrate your favorite cats’ love of paper by picking up some that’s made just for them to use. You can get a fantastic recycled cat litter made from paper from SO PHRESH. My kitties enjoy the Odor Control Paper Pellet Cat Litter, though fortunately, they don’t lay on it. Grab some to try out by clicking right here

Paper Provides Sensory Stimulation to Your Cat

The other reason cats enjoy sitting on paper is for the thrill of it. Paper is exciting stuff, after all. Your cat may enjoy the texture of the paper. Alternately, they might be in it for the sound or smell. Realistically, it doesn’t have to be just one of those answers. In fact, your cat could be sitting on paper for all these reasons combined.

The reason some cats like cardboard, while others prefer the daily newspaper or a glossy magazine, is personal preference. Just as some cats are content to sleep on paper in situ, and others feel the drive to knead it into a shredded paper nest, texture matters, but they don’t all enjoy the same things.

The chemicals used to treat and create different kinds of paper may also smell nice to your kitty. Their noses are much more sensitive than ours. Delightful new book smell has more depth and odor to your cat than we will ever be able to appreciate.

There’s also the matter of sound. Cats are well known for their love of all things crinkly and crunchy. Cats’ ears are so sensitive that they hear both lower and higher tones than we do. Moreover, they can hear better than dogs. Cats hear dog whistles, but they don’t respond because they’re cats, and they don’t care about your silly dog whistle.

Doubtless, some of our feline friends enjoy the rustle of their fur against the paper. Similarly, they might enjoy the crunching or the slide of pages on various surfaces. Whatever the case, there are lots of reasons for your cat to sit on paper.

Final Thoughts

No matter whether your housecat prefers one specific paper, or they enjoy them all; the appeal is there. Cats are sophisticated, thinking, feeling creatures with multifaceted personalities. Their preferences are their own, just like yours.

Your cat wants to mark their territory. Likewise, feline companions need you to notice and adore them on the schedule set. Also, your favorite feline has a deep and abiding love of sensory stimulation, and by sitting on paper, they can often get any or all of those things, plus a good bit of insulated comfort. For the kitty, it’s a win no matter what.

A cat may seem like a strange, almost mystical being with unfathomable tastes, but they’re not all that mysterious. Once you know more about how cats work, it’s simple enough to figure out why they do odd things like parking on your papers.

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