Much of cat behavior is a mystery. While humans have kept cats as pets for centuries, we still don’t understand many of their behaviors. Cats’ preference for paper is an excellent example of this. You may have noticed their joy of sitting on paper if you own a cat. However, we don’t know exactly why many cats exhibit this behavior. We can’t exactly ask them, after all.
That said, we have a few guesses as to why cats exhibit these behaviors and there are several potential reasons cats might like sitting on paper. Let’s look at some of them:
The 7 Reasons Why Cats Like to Sit on Paper So Much
Cats have a higher body temperature than people, so they are drawn to warm spaces. The normal body temperature for a cat is around 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, while humans have an average body temperature of around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Seeking out warm places is one way that cats regulate their body temperature. Most cat owners have seen their feline cuddling on a blanket or basking in the sun. Cats may even sneak into a batch of fresh laundry to bask in the warmth.
Paper can be somewhat insulating, especially when there is much of it. Furthermore, the sun or a warm object can easily heat up the paper, providing your cat with a warm, flat surface to lay on.
Cats are drawn to sit and lay in places they consider comfortable. This can range from soft blankets to crinkly things like paper. Many cats like the texture of paper, which may draw them to sit on paper wherever they find it. Furthermore, paper can provide padding between your cat and the hard surface below them. It can add a layer of comfort they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Simply put, your cat may like laying on paper just like some cats prefer soft blankets.
3. It’s Bedding-Like
In the wild, cats would make their own bedding out of whatever they had around. Often, they would scratch or paw at a surface to remove hard objects and spread out softer materials. In captivity, cats have beds and soft blankets to lay on. However, they still exhibit some of these bed-making instincts. For instance, you may notice your cat scratching a soft blanket before lying down.
However, many things in our homes can’t be moved easily by our cats. The couch’s cushion will hold its shape no matter how much your cat paws at it. Paper is one of the few things cats can spread around relatively easily, and it may resemble some natural materials cats may find in the wild, like leaves.
Therefore, cats who like making beds often enjoy laying on paper because it allows them to easily make the bed.
If your cat often lays on your important papers, they may do it solely for attention. If you regularly make your cat get off the paper, they may quickly figure out that laying on the paper makes you pay attention to them.
Cats are very bad at distinguishing between positive and negative attention. Therefore, even if you aren’t particularly pleased about your feline lying on the paper, they may not know that. Any attention is good attention, according to many cats.
5. It’s Interesting
Cats are notoriously curious creatures. Cats may regularly do things solely because it’s interesting and new. Cats love novel things. Most cats won’t sit on paper all that much. Therefore, when they do, it may be because it’s different from what they’re used to lying on. The cat may like the paper’s interesting texture and sound when lying down.
Sometimes, cats just do things because they can.
6.It’s a Box?
Cats love boxes because they naturally prefer enclosed things for safety. In the wild, cats would have spent much of their time hidden in small spaces where predators couldn’t get them. Today, they still prefer hiding in small spaces, as anyone with a cat will tell you.
Interestingly enough, cats aren’t the best at figuring out what a box is. One study found that cats like to sit in “fake” boxes, which were just a piece of paper on the ground. The small size of the paper compared to the bigger floor makes cats think it’s a secure space, even when it isn’t from our point of view.
Therefore, when your cat sits on a piece of paper, it may be because they think it’s a secure place to rest—just like a box.
7. Territorial Behavior
Cats have several scent glands that let them “claim” things. We can’t smell the pheromones these glands leave behind, but other cats can. Therefore, even in a one-cat household, your feline may spend some time rubbing against things to spread their pheromones.
They may decide to sit on a piece of paper to “claim” it in this manner. When a cat sits on an object, their scent will be transferred onto it. Then, theoretically, any other cat that comes along will know it belongs to them. If a cat had lived in a home for a while, everything probably smells like their territory. Therefore, when you bring something new (like a piece of paper), the fact that it doesn’t smell like them is amplified.
In this way, they may decide it’s important to claim this strange object they haven’t claimed yet. That said, cats typically don’t sit on things to claim them. Therefore, this is one of the unlikely theories. Instead, cats have scent glands in their face and between their toes that they often use to mark things.
Cats have many different strange behaviors, including sitting on paper. Sadly, we don’t know exactly why they do this. Studying “why” is very difficult in science, and studying why cats sit on paper probably isn’t on most people’s priority list.
Therefore, all we have to go off of are educated guesses. Either way, many cat owners agree that their felines like sitting on paper, even if we don’t know why.
Featured Image Credit: Felix Tchvertkin, Shutterstock