Is chewing cardboard normal for a cat?

  • For quite some time now my cat's new hobby have been destroying cardboard boxes. He can spend sometimes up to a few hours in a box chewing the walls non-stop and ripping it to pieces. My cat used to destroy loose sheets he found laying around and the corner of a few boxes, but now it seems more serious as there's cardboard pieces everywhere (and I even drag some to work without knowing). I doubt eating that much cardboard is normal.

    At first I thought it was because I wasn't feeding him enough, but the fact that he is spitting the pieces around makes me think otherwise. Could it be toothache or is chewing cardboard is a "normal" cat thing?

    Here's one of the boxes, took less than three weeks :

    Box destruction

    Since you noticed this behavior last year, have you been to the vet, and if so did the vet say anything about the behavior and or about your cats teeth and gum health?

    @JamesJenkins At her last annual check-up (A couple months ago) her teeth were fine, no sign of damage. Same thing for the gum, they were not irritated or swollen. Totally forgot to ask him about pica though :( However since it's probably that (My cat also love to eat hair / rubber bands I forgot to pick up, which is a sign for pica), I have been removing any cardboard box from the floor or reachable areas. I will probably reintroduce them in a couple years to see if my cat will have forgotten this behavior. I introduced even more toys to compensate that loss.

    The last photo is hilarious. I just figure my cat is teething, she's a year old. How old is yours?

  • John Cavan

    John Cavan Correct answer

    8 years ago

    Chewing cardboard, amongst other things, can be a sign of pica in cats. Basically, this is an eating disorder that could be a consequence of dietary deficiencies or cognitive dysfunction (old age, senility), and some others. This isn't entirely normal, though not all that uncommon, so it would be a good idea to get him checked out by a vet to make sure that he's generally healthy (he looks it though).

    Is it still considered pica even if the product is not ingested? He's not actually eating the pieces, only chewing and spitting it.

    Don't know if he's ingesting some or not, so I can't entirely say. I think pica covers both cases though.

    By that, by the way, I mean that he's appearing not to ingest, but that may not be entirely the case.

    Pica seems plausible then, I'll definitely look into it. Thanks!

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM