Why Does My Cat Shred Paper?

Does your cat like tearing paper?

Our cat has always liked tearing paper.

We first noticed this a long time ago, one Christmas Day. It is tradition at our place that all of the Christmas wrapping paper is thrown into the middle of the room as each person opens a gift.  

At some point during the day the paper is collected, however it tends to stay there most of the day.

Many Christmas moons ago, when kitty was actually a little kitty, he climbed into the middle of all the paper and to our surprise and amusement began tearing and ripping the paper and flipping his head from side to side. 

Scroll down to see a video of this ripping and tearing- live footage!

He held the paper down with his paws, grabbed the paper in his mouth and just ripped.

He didn’t eat the paper and when paper did stick to his face, his shook his head to dislodge it. He just enjoyed tearing the paper. 

 We were somewhat dumbfounded at this behavior but we all laughed because it was funny and it was Christmas and all seemed in good fun.

Why does my cat shred paper?

cat tearing paper

We were probably unintentionally supporting paper ripping behavior as we responded positively to his efforts.
It was funny at the time and it provided the family with much fun on the day. We noticed that he preferred the cheaper, thinner paper probably because it was easier for him to tear.

That started a tradition where we had to include the cheaper, thinner paper when wrapping gifts, so that kitty could have his own little Christmas tearing session.

It was always a bit touch and go as to whether he would actually go ahead with the tearing. Cats being cats nothing is entirely predictable except unpredictability.

He has never let us down, even though we have had some slow starts and even thought the paper tearing was going to be a ''no go'' that year.

His paper tearing did become a bit problematic there for a few years and it was not safe to leave any documents on A4 white paper, within easy kitty reach as as there was a pretty good chance it would be shredded overnight.

Newspaper was fair game too as can be seen in the image below.

the cat tearing newspaper

Several important documents have been shredded, one being a document I needed to submit to the tax office.  I had to tape the pieces back together like a jigsaw and attach a note of apology.

No the dog did not eat my homework but the cat did shred my tax information.

Several of the kids assignments suffered kitty attacks as they were always on white paper and office documents were also shredded until eventually we remembered to put away any potentially tempting pieces of paper.

Now he is nearly 18 and we hope he is here to see a few more Christmases.

Here is a short video from a couple of years ago showing a brief snippet of paper tearing skills.

Why Does My Cat Shred Paper?

It has always been a bit of a mystery as not all cats shred paper.  The assumption is that he liked the ripping and tearing and just couldn't stop once he had started.  Maybe he had some OCD and this was his thing. To be fair to kitty we did encourage the shredding paper.

Will he tear paper again this year? We are going to have to wait to find out.
Check this space at the end of December 2018 for a Christmas tearing paper update.

Update: Sadly our beloved kitty did not make it to Christmas 2018. It is actually really good to have the video and the memory.

Does your kitty rip or shred paper? Send us a photo or leave a comment telling us the incriminating details.

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