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Why Do Cats Lie On Paper? Something To Do With Warmth?

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Why do cats lie on paper? Place a piece of paper in the middle of the floor and your cat is likely going to go up to the paper and at some point plop down on the paper.

Cats love paper! They are not fussy about the size of the paper. The cat will still sit on the paper, even if the size of the paper is small.

Have you ever been in the process of opening a bill (some bills still come via snail mail) and along comes kitty to investigate. Paw pads are popped on to the discarded envelope or bill that is on the countertop. Just checking things out!

Here are a few reasons why cats might lie on paper. One reason could be that they enjoy the sensation of the paper against their fur. Cats are very tactile creatures, and they often enjoy lying on things that feel different from their usual surfaces.

Another possibility is that cats use paper in a territorial behaviour way, to mark their territory. When cats plop down on paper, they leave their own scent behind, which helps them to feel more comfortable in their environment.

Some cats simply enjoy the heat that paper produces. If the paper is placed in a warm spot, it can provide cats with a cozy place to relax. Even if the paper is not in a warm spot it is often warmer than a hardwood floor or a tile floor. Paper is a great insulator! Whatever the reason, it’s clear that cats enjoy lying on paper – and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Why do cats lie on paper? Let’s look at these reasons in more detail.

why do cats lie on paper
I’ve struck gold! Look at all this paper!

Four Reasons To Explain – Why Do Cats Lie On Paper?

Heat Insulation

The cat can gravitate to paper because of the insulating properties. A cat lying on newspaper will have some protection from the coldness of the floor, when trying to stay warm, particularly tile floors, hardwood floors or stone floors.

This also equates to homeless people who frequently use newspaper as protection from the cold because of the insulating properties of the newspaper.

Heat insulation can often help explain why cats like to sit or sleep on paper on the floor. It doesn’t have to be newspaper, it can be any paper. Cats do feel the cold and cats living in cold climates can be susceptible to low body temperature problems.

This makes sense, however, there is always an however with cats, cats do also tend to gravitate to paper left on the floor even when the floor covering is carpet. No cold floors there kitty! Maybe there is more than one factor at play here.

We already know that cats like tight spaces like cardboard boxes, any type of shelf, even a cupboard when the door has been left open. This love of confined spaces can also help to explain why cats are drawn to sit on the paper on the carpet.


Many felines enjoy the sound of rustling paper in their toys, and they will paw at paper to investigate further.

The crinkling of paper stimulates a cat’s hunting instinct.

Our cat loved nothing more than ripping Christmas wrapping paper to shreds but when he had had enough he would quite happily sit on the paper. Whether he felt he had killed the paper is just conjecture on our part.

a cat lying on multiple note pads and paper products
I’m not thinking of moving! my eyes are closed!


The cat likes attention, we know this and if we weren’t prepared to give the cat attention we wouldn’t be cat owners.

A cat will sit on any paper anywhere. The cat may be facing you but equally the cat may be facing away from you, as they often like to do anyway. This isn’t really attention seeking behavior. We may think it is or not but it isn’t something that we have a clear understanding about.

It is not the same as the cat sitting on the newspaper while you are reading the paper or sitting on the pages of an open book when you leave the book unattended for a minute. Has the cat just been waiting for that opportunity? Those are attention seeking behaviors but in reality the cat wants your attention because he loves you.

Although none of us can say for sure as there simply isn’t enough research into cat behavior, the cats definitely will be drawn to sit on paper even when the room is large and there is nothing else in the room.

Picture an empty hall with a piece of paper in the middle. the cat will be drawn to that piece of paper. There was an experiment where someone taped a square in the middle of a large empty space.

The cat still gravitated to the square marked out by tape. There is more information about that experiment here.

a small kitten biting and playing with a paper bag
This is fun!


Cats are territorial animals and marking their territory using their scent glands is one way of doing this. By lying on paper, they are essentially leaving their mark and claiming the area as their own.

Lying on paper gives cats a sense of security, as they feel surrounded by something familiar. The new object, the paper now has his scent.

A cat’s sense of smell is far superior to ours. As humans the paper will have little smell but smell is hugely important to the cat.

By scent marking the cat claims the paper as belonging to his territory.

kitten sitting on a white paper bag
I found this bag on the floor. It’s mine now!

Why Do Cats Like Paper Bags?

Cats can spend ages writhing around in paper bags. Pet owners do tend to assess any paper bags or cardboard boxes that come their way as being possible play materials for the cat.

It is their love of small spaces and the feeling of security from being in an enclosed space that means lots of fun can be had from a paper bag.

Related: Some cats like to rip and tear paper? Does this sound like your cat? Why does ripping paper seem like so much fun?

Why Do Cats Lie On Your Notebooks?

Many cats sit at desks and laptops and on notepads in order to stay close to their favorite person.

This can be irritating when you are working and you need to use the notepad or keyboard. Changing unwanted behavior is the best way forward.

How you do that is by providing the cat with somewhere to sit or lie that is close by where he can see you and he still feels part of the action.

Often a desk won’t have the space for this. It may be necessary to look for a cat tree or even a small chest of drawers that can be placed near the desk. It then becomes the cats special office place to hang out and you can coexist in the working space together.

This bed/scratching post is about 24 inches high. Not super high but high enough to pull the post up close to your chair near your desk or wherever you may be sitting. What I really like about this bed/scratching post is that the bed part is large and comfy. Even quite a large cat can stretch out. often the sleeping spaces on cat trees can be quite small.

Catry Cat Bed with Scratching Post - Minimalist Style Design of Cat Tree with Cozy Cat Bed and Teasing Scratching Post, Allure Kitten to Stay Around This Sturdy and Easy to Assemble Cat Furniture

Why Does My Cat Lie On The Book I’m Reading?

The book you are reading is currently getting the attention. Therefore, the cat assumes whoever sits where your book currently is, will be the center of your attention.

Along comes kitty and sits right on top of the book or if nearby already, may place his paws on the book. The paws are a little reminder that his is there, seeking attention in a kitty way,

Solution: Just move kitty next to you and give kitty a pat or two to show him that he is still included. Note: If you get up to move elsewhere the cat will quite likely see that as an opportunity to sit on the book.

why do cats lie on paper and in paper bags
I’m not really here! Leave me alone!

Why Does My Cat Lay On My Things?

A cat loves to sit down on your things including while you are in the middle of doing something. Hello, all of a sudden the cat strolls across your knitting, fluffy tail in your face, or you sit down to some craft work and hey presto, there is kitty on your lap.

The cat wants to stay close to you. If the cat can be there too, he will try to be there with you.

Our cat loved anything white, including paper. Eventually we had to discourage this sitting on paper behavior. He began shredding documents that were innocently waiting our attention. He always did this at night.

It was probably our punishment for sleeping. Tired of taping things together we had to remember to keep paper out of sight.

We used to purchase compost for the garden that was packaged in a large white bag. The bag was not paper but a woven fabric that had paper like qualities. Being white like paper, the cat loved to lie on these bags when they were empty. It was pretty much a guarantee that we could find him there if any of the bags left lying around in the back yard.

It often seems to be us, the pet owners, who adapt our behavior to fit in with what ever our cat is doing. Cats love paper.

The cat may also receive conflicting messages. For example in our house, tearing the Christmas paper was something we all laughed at but we didn’t laugh when the cat tore important documents. Now that is a mixed message. We also gave the cat paper bags to play with so really the cat was probably very confused.

Just move the cat if the cat is lying on paper that is important in any way and put it out of sight when you won’t be around.

Meanwhile we cat lovers can rest easy knowing that our cat want to be close to us when he lies on the book we are reading.

The three most common answers to – Why do cats lie on paper? are the thermal properties from lying or sitting on paper and we suspect that he likes to mark the paper as being part of his territory and of course the attention a cat receives from sitting right where you are even if that means on tops of paper.

Pretty smart really!

two cats reading the paper vector
I like reading the paper!

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