Cats who eat plastic are exhibiting a dangerous behavioral urge called pica. Whether theyre chewing on plastic bags, eating sandals, or biting into the covering of electrical wires, consuming plastic can be life-threatening for cats. Heres what you need to know about pica, including how to break your kitty of this bad habit for good.
If you have a kitty who is purebred or is a Burmese or Siamese cross, preventative measures should be taken to ensure that he doesn’t develop pica. If left untreated, pica can become a compulsive behavior that often will require lifetime treatment including medications.
If your kitty is a Siamese, Burmese, or a cross of these breeds, take preventative measures early; otherwise, your cat might start this behavior before his first birthday. But cats are highly intelligent and curious creatures, and boredom can lead to trouble as your four-legged friend tries to find things in the environment to keep himself occupied. Discuss your kitty’s diet and bowel movements with your veterinarian, and be sure to bring up any other signs that would be considered out of the norm; some examples are vomiting or coughing.
Pick up grocery bags, close doors to rooms with plastic-coated cords, and put away any stray items that might tempt your cat.
Is it normal for cats to eat plastic?
Actually, plastic pica – a recurring behavior of eating or chewing on plastic – is quite common in cats. If your cat is nibbling on grocery bags, packing pillows, and shrink wrap, there may be an underlying reason – other than that your cat is just weird.
How do I get my cat to stop eating plastic?
Enrich Your Cat’s Environment. Remember: Enrichment is more than toys. ….Remove or Restrict Your Cat’s Access to Plastic. Pick up grocery bags, close doors to rooms with plastic-coated cords, and put away any stray items that might tempt your cat. ….Offer Chew Toy Alternatives.
What happens if a cat swallows plastic?
Plastic is indigestible and so could cause a blockage. If this is left untreated, your cat could become very unwell. The risks increase if he becomes dehydrated through vomiting or if he develops life-threatening peritonitis. This is why you should call your veterinarian for advice as soon as you can.
Why is my cat liking plastic?
Cats lick plastic because of a condition called “pica,” where a cat may lick or eat non-food items. Other reasons cats lick plastic include the lingering scents of food, tasty gelatin or cornstarch added to the plastic, the satisfying crinkling sounds, or the smooth texture on a cat’s rough tongue.
Have you ever looked over as youre unpacking the groceries to see your cat innocently chewing on a plastic bag? Whats up with that? The technical term for a cat eating a non-food item is pica, so in this case, were specifically looking at plastic pica.
Cat food should be high in protein , free from fillers like grains, and contain real meat, not by-products. Image Credit: PixabayWe know that cats can come across as independent and in control, but our little furry friends are actually easily affected by changes in their environment.
Some cats retain their playful, kitten-like tendencies well into adulthood, and they may not be able to resist chewing on a plastic item thats been left lying around. Indulging their hunting instincts during supervised playtime means theyre less likely to go looking for things to play with or chew on when youre not around.
Some cats are a lot like puppies and enjoy chewing on objects. Plastic items are some of those objects that many cats take a liking to, but why? And is it dangerous if a cat chews on or eats plastic?
Adult cats may also start chewing on plastic if they experience dental pain in an attempt to soothe their hurting mouth. Pica is a term used to describe an eating disorder where items of no nutritional value are consumed like litter or dirt .
Cats that have aggression issues may begin chewing on plastic cords and other items around the house in an attempt to express their emotions.
Why Does My Cat Eat Plastic?
Cats who eat plastic are exhibiting a dangerous behavioral urge called pica. Whether they’re chewing on plastic bags, eating sandals, or biting into the covering of electrical wires, consuming plastic can be life-threatening for cats. Here’s what you need to know about pica, including how to break your kitty of this bad habit for good.Why would a well-fed cat eating three squares a day decide to also eat plastic? It’s unlikely that it tastes good. Maybe cats who eat plastic are concerned about climate change. After all, eating plastic is better than sending it to the landfill, right?While it’s unlikely that your cat is making a feeble attempt at recycling, some cats eat plastic—whether it be the covering on wires, plastic bags, or flip flops—no matter how much their owners tempt them with more appropriate treats, and this behavior can leave owners feeling baffled.It might seem like a silly quirk or an annoying habit, but cats who eat plastic are exhibiting a dangerous behavioral urge called pica, and the consequences associated with it can be life-threatening. Ingested plastic can become lodged in the intestine requiring emergency surgery. Kitties can suffer burns or can be electrocuted from chewing wires. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to break your beloved feline of this bad habit for good.
Enrich Your Cat’s Environment
Remember: Enrichment is more than toys. It includes vertical space (resting spaces), hiding space, training, stimulation of the senses, things to chew on, and toys to hunt. Another way to keep your cat busy is to teach him some new tricks. By teaching your cat to come to you when you call him, you can call him away from negative behaviors. You can find out more about training in these books:
Offer Chew Toy Alternatives
You’ll also want to get creative and offer safe items that will feel the same as plastic in his mouth. This may mean looking at chews that are intended for dogs or thinking outside of the box. Try dehydrated or freeze-dried meats or safe dog chews. If that’s not possible, give him something you know is safe for him to chew on. Cat grass or catnip are great options as long as catnip doesn’t make your cat upset. You can also use food toys to satiate his need to use his mouth. The world of toys that spill food is infinite. Just remember to introduce these to your cat slowly, and make the toy easy at first and use his favorite treats.
1. Their diet is nutritionally deficient
If your cat’s regular food isn’t meeting their nutritional needs, they may be compelled to eat other items to make up the shortfall. Of course, plastic doesn’t contain any nutritional benefits for your cat at all, but if it’s plastic that’s contained meat or other tasty foodstuffs, then your cat might give it a nibble, anyway.Upgrade your cat’s food to something nutritionally balanced. Cat food should be high in protein, free from fillers like grains, and contain real meat, not by-products. Make sure any food is approved by the AAFCO for your cat’s specific life stage.
2. Your cat is stressed
We know that cats can come across as independent and in control, but our little furry friends are actually easily affected by changes in their environment. Something that you may not even consider stressful, like rearranging the furniture or inviting a friend over, can cause your cat to feel anxious and stressed out. This might lead them to indulge in self-soothing behavior, which in some cases, can include plastic pica.If you’ve changed anything around your house recently, this may be the cause of your cat’s stress. Consider booking a check-up with your cat’s vet so they can advise you on what to do next. You can also use pheromone diffusers to help your cat feel soothed and content.
3. Your cat is curious
Some cats, especially inquisitive kittens, love to investigate the world around them. This includes eating things that they really shouldn’t! Some cats retain their playful, kitten-like tendencies well into adulthood, and they may not be able to resist chewing on a plastic item that’s been left lying around.Make sure you provide your cat with plenty of distractions and safe items to chew and dedicate time to playing with your kitten or cat as often as possible. Indulging their hunting instincts during supervised playtime means they’re less likely to go looking for things to play with or chew on when you’re not around.
5. Your cat has a medical condition
Pica can be a sign of your cat trying to self-soothe themselves. If you catch your cat chewing on plastic or any other non-food item, this may be the first sign that they’re feeling unwell. Cats are masters of hiding pain, so keeping an eye out for subtle signs like this can give you a clue that your cat might not be feeling 100%.Make an appointment for your cat to see the vet, and explain that you’ve seen them chewing on plastic. Pica can be a sign of dental issues, anemia, diabetes, and immune deficiencies, so your vet will likely want to run a few tests.
Normal Cat Chewing Behaviors
Cats that are teething are more likely to chew on items than adult cats and this is completely normal. Kittens lose their baby teeth and grow a full set of adult teeth between 3.5 and 7 months of age. Different teeth will fall out at different times, but the drive to chew may be stronger during these 4 months while your kitten attempts to get relief from the 30 new teeth that are coming in.Kittens love to play with small objects and sometimes they grab these objects, such as bottle caps, bottle nipples, or rubber bands, and put them in their mouths. Once they feel the texture of the items, they often continue the behavior and seek out items with a similar texture.Adult cats may take a liking to chewing on certain textures. The attraction to a specific item may have started after it was covered or filled with catnip, treats, or another tasty edible, or it may have blossomed out of pure curiosity. Some cats are more adventurous than others and may lick or bite items to see what happens and when the item makes a fun noise or has an interesting taste, they continue. Plastic grocery bags are often coated and this coating tastes sweet to cats, which may also attract them.Adult cats may also start chewing on plastic if they experience dental pain in an attempt to soothe their hurting mouth. If you suspect your cat has dental disease or discomfort, be sure to get it examined by your veterinarian.
Abnormal Cat Chewing Behaviors
Pica is a term used to describe an eating disorder where items of no nutritional value are consumed like litter or dirt. Since plastic has no nutritional value, you could argue that a cat that chews and then consumes plastic has pica. Most cats that chew or eat plastic, though, start doing so because the object tasted good or they enjoyed playing with it, not because they have an eating disorder. But stress may cause a cat to do irrational things and therefore develop pica as a response to being stressed.Cats that have aggression issues may begin chewing on plastic cords and other items around the house in an attempt to express their emotions. These aggressive behaviors can be a sign of pain, poor socialization, and stress, among other things.
Problems With Chewing Plastic
Some plastic items are completely okay for your cat to chew on but many items pose a potential danger to your feline friend. Plastic items that are small enough for your cat to fit completely in its mouth pose a choking hazard. They could also be swallowed and cause other problems.Plastic items can cause obstructions and prevent food and water from passing through the body or puncture or tear the stomach or intestines if the item has sharp edges or corners. If your cat consumes plastic, it will need to be removed. Sometimes your veterinarian will recommend making your cat vomit the item up, but this is not the case for all plastic items. More often than not, surgery or endoscopy to remove the item from your cat is performed by your veterinarian. These procedures require general anesthesia and are not without their risks, so it is always best to prevent your cat from eating plastic in the first place.