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Purr-fectly Irresistible: Why Pets Adore Cardboard Delights

Pet owners around the world can attest to the inexplicable joy their furry companions find in the simplest of things. One universally cherished item that seems to captivate pets, from cats and dogs to rabbits and guinea pigs, is cardboard.

So, what is it about this humble material that has pets pouncing, scratching, and nesting with unbridled enthusiasm?

Texture and Sensation

Cardboard, with its rough and fibrous texture, provides pets with a satisfying sensory experience. For cats in particular, the coarse surface offers an ideal canvas for scratching, which not only helps them shed old layers from their claws but also provides a comforting tactile sensation. Dogs, on the other hand, enjoy the crunching sound when they bite into cardboard, adding an auditory element to the experience.

Olga Stock
cat-in-box
Africa Images

Nesting Instincts

Many animals, especially small mammals like rabbits and guinea pigs, have a natural nesting instinct. Cardboard is a versatile material that can be shredded, torn, and shaped into cosy nests. Pets find comfort in burrowing into the soft fibres of cardboard, creating a snug and secure space reminiscent of their natural habitats.

Entertainment Value

Cardboard offers endless entertainment possibilities for pets. Whether it’s a simple box or a complex maze constructed from various cardboard pieces, pets love exploring and interacting with these structures. Cats, revel in the joy of jumping in and out of boxes, honing their hunting instincts as they stalk imaginary prey. Dogs on the other hand can safely let out their unrestrained energy by playing (Throwing, pulling, chewing) with cardboard.

©Cecilia34 Bohn

Safe and Chewable

Cardboard is a safe and non-toxic material for pets to chew on. Unlike some plastic toys that can pose a choking hazard or be harmful when ingested, cardboard is a natural and easily digestible option. For rodents like hamsters and mice, cardboard chew toys serve not only as a source of entertainment but also contribute to dental health by helping to wear down their continuously growing teeth.

Cats often find comfort and security in enclosed spaces, which is why they love spending time in cardboard boxes. They tend to use them as hiding places and boxes are great for that as their predators can’t sneak up on them as easily.

A recent study carried out by the University of Utrecht recently discovered that there is another reason why cats like cardboard boxes. The study was performed on cats that were in a shelter, around half were given a box and the others were not. This research showed that the cats with boxes adapted to their environment quicker than those without. So not only are they a fun toy, but they also help with wellbeing and reduce anxiety.

Marking Territory

Cats are territorial creatures, and they often mark their territory through scent glands located on their paws. Scratching cardboard not only provides a physical outlet for this behaviour but also leaves behind scent markers, allowing them to establish a familiar and comforting environment.

Cardboard Keeps Them Warm

Another reason your pet might be enjoying your cardboard boxes is simply that they are warm! Not only is cardboard a great insulator, but the small spaces that boxes offers, encourages your pet to curl up and relax in a comfy, warm cardboard bed. FACT: the ideal temperature for cats is around 37 degrees so being warm is very important for your feline friend.

Speaking of beds, a cardboard box of just the right size is more enticing to your cat than catnip. This is because it provides the perfect haven for lounging and indulging in daydreams. Cats, astonishingly, can dedicate up to a whopping 20 hours each day to sleep! While you may perceive a mere cardboard box, your cat envisions a secure and cozy refuge, perfect for their daily catnaps.

Paper-Based Fun

Want to know where to get your furry friend a little cardboard treat? We have compiled a list of the best and most loved toys out there right now which are all made of cardboard and paper, some of which, you could make yourself at home!

Tubes And Tunnels!

Cats, Dogs and other small furry friends love to hide, rip, shred, pounce, chase, forage, and nap in play tunnels. If your tunnel is made of cardboard and paper, when your pet destroys it— and they will — you won’t feel guilty about the waste as it is all fully recyclable. It folds flat too, so it’s easy to keep a replacement on hand. TIP: You can make these at home with a couple of paper bags, glue and scissors!

Also, a lot of smaller pets like rabbits and guinea pigs love to run through a tunnel, you can get small and large paper tubes from most pet shops, or raid your recycling bin, you never know what might come in handy!

CATMAT - Amazon
CATMAT - Amazon
Two young little cats playing together with a toy. Scratching cardboard ball game.

Puzzle Feeders

These are a great way for your cat to find joy in their toys again if they are bored, but also to slow down eating if they are a savage when it comes to their food bowl. Simply find an old shoe box and cut some holes in the top, pop some food and treats inside the box and you have yourself a fun game for your pet!

Scratching tunnels

These can help to not only protect your furniture but also allow your cat to carry our natural instincts. You can now get them totally paper-based and they consist of corrugated cardboard being stuck together with a cat-sized hole in the middle.

Pets At Home

Cardboard And Recycling

It’s not only animals that appreciate paper and cardboard; these materials also offer environmental benefits with an impressive recycling rate of 82% [Cepi, 2021, Eurostat 2020]. Serving as sustainable toys that extend beyond packaging, cardboard proves to be a versatile and eco-friendly choice.

So, the next time you witness your pet joyfully tearing into a cardboard box or your creating a cosy nest from cardboard scraps, take pride in providing them with a straightforward yet fulfilling source of delight.

Why not capture these delightful moments and share them on your social media platforms? If you decide to do so, be sure to mention @LovePaperUK in your posts so we can enjoy seeing your pets having fun with cardboard!

The Paper Fact File

Paper is one of the most sustainable and recycled materials in the world!

Visit the Paper Fact File to discover the facts about paper’s sustainable attributes. Some might surprise you!