Hood insulator - really necessary?

We drive a 1995 Ford Windstar. Close to 180k on it (about 25k on current engine). Our friendly but feral cat recently had kittens and during a rainstorm decided to scratch out a new home in the hood insulator of our van. Now the shredded material seems to be vulnerable to dropping into the engine compartment during operation.

Due to my limited expertise, I perused a variety of sources online to find out the real purpose of the hood insulator and it appears to be chiefly for noise suppression and to keep the engine’s heat from deteriorating the paint on the hood.

Regarding engine noise: we drive with three children 8 and under. A little engine noise would actually be nice most of the time.

Regarding declining quality of the paint job: the van is old enough to vote. We’re not that concerned with aesthetics.

Other ancillary purposes (heat suppression, etc) appear to be wives tales, but I would like to get at least some confirmation that there is no serious risk to removing the insulator panel from underneath the hood.

There are many cars on the road that no longer have their original underhood blanket, having lost it through various means of deterioration. I have never heard of any problems that have arisen as a result of this loss of insulation.

Go back about 20 years and you will find that the underhood insulation was not standard equipment on many low-end cars, but available only as part of an optional sound-deadening package (insulation plus trunk mat). Your van will do just fine without it.

As a substitute…you can use rubberized undercoating. It will add some weight to the hood…but it does a good job at sound deadening.

If you don;t mind a bit of exta noise and don’t care about the paint, than there is absolutely no reason to replace the hood insulation. The cat is another question…