Why Does My Cat... Play With Toilet Paper?

Cat playing with toilet paper
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Any attention you give your cat for playing with TP — whether it is negative or positive — will likely encourage her to continue the behavior.

My cat constantly plays with the toilet paper — she unrolls it and bats it around and makes a huge mess. Why does she do this, and is there some way to put a stop to this behavior?

Having your house TP'd from the inside by your own cat may seem like a cruel prank. Toilet paper streamers aren’t anyone’s ideal home decor, and the constant cleanup may well feel frustrating.

Your cat may play with the toilet paper for several reasons: She may be acting on her instinct to hunt, imitating your actions in the bathroom or just trying to keep herself occupied during the day. Regardless of her motivation, the solution is to redirect her away from the TP and get her focused on something more constructive — and less messy.

To end the mess, focus on redirecting your cat's energy to more acceptable alternative behaviors.

Put a Stop to the TP Party

You will have the best chance of putting a stop to the constant TP party if you focus on prevention plus redirection. Closing the bathroom door when you’re not around makes this space off-limits to your cat. A toilet paper holder that covers the roll may be another useful alternative, especially if it’s difficult to keep the bathroom door closed all the time.

Provide other outlets for your cat and reward her when she chooses them. Cats have an instinctive desire to hunt, and because of this, they appreciate interactive toys that respond to their movements and can be ripped and pulled apart similar to killing and devouring prey. Food puzzles are one good option. There are a range of food puzzles for cats designed to provide a more natural hunting-type experience. Movable puzzles where contents are unearthed with paw action may be especially beneficial in this situation.

Start with easy-to-access food puzzles; as your cat learns how to make them work, increase the difficulty. Puzzles may be filled with kibble or treats.

Additionally, you can encourage explorative behavior by hiding food puzzles, kibble, treats, cat grass and prized toys throughout your home in areas your cat is particularly fond of, like perches or climbing structures. Rotate toys and hidden items to help keep the activity interesting for your cat.

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