Why Do Cats Lick Plastic?

Plastic bags are magical, exciting objects to many cats. Some just love to play with the crinkly bags and bat them around. Others love to lick them. But why do cats lick plastic?

Pica can also drive cats to lick other inedible objects, such as fabric, and it can be caused by a mineral or vitamin deficiency . Another theory holds that cats lick plastic simply because they enjoy the fun, crinkly texture and noise.

Pica can sometimes be caused by a lack of certain vitamins or micronutrients, so if your cat licks plastic (or other nonedible materials) regularly, its worth checking to make sure they are meeting all of their nutritional needs. Another theory points to certain food-based components that some plastic bags are created such (such as animal fat, fish oil, or corn starch). They love the sound it makes, it is full of interesting smells from both the bag and what it once carried, and the crinkly, smooth texture can appeal to cats with pica.

Why are cats attracted to plastic?

Kitties also find plastic bags especially alluring, explains the Pet Health Network, because “many bags are also coated in substances such as cornstarch, [and] stearates (salts of stearate acid), or are made of animal by-products such as gelatin, which makes them attractive to cats.” Your cat sees a plastic bag and …

Why do cats lick paper and plastic?

Whether they are licking or playing, plastic is a novel, exciting texture for cats. They love the sound it makes, it is full of interesting smells from both the bag and what it once carried, and the crinkly, smooth texture can appeal to cats with pica.

Why does my cat lick objects?

Cats who lick plastic and other non-food things may have a disorder known as pica. Pica can be the result of a health condition, dietary deficiency, compulsive disorder, lack of mental stimulation, or a stressful change in routine. You should talk with your veterinarian if you suspect your cat has pica.

Why does my cat lick metal and plastic?

If your cat licks, sucks, or consumes objects around the home that are not food, she could be suffering from a condition called pica. Pica in cats is the act of eating objects that are not food. … Other inedible objects, such as clothing and plastic, can block the intestine and prevent food from passing.

Some cats simply enjoy playing in and around plastic bags because, well, it’s fun. The crinkly noise those bags make a sound similar to prey scuttling through grass and leaves – which could be part of the reason some cats find it so enticing. Cats are innate hunters who need mental stimulation. If you notice your cat is attracted to the sound of a crinkling bag, find them crinkly cat toys that imitate this sound to encourage them to play with the toy instead. Plastic bags are potential choking and suffocation hazards, even for cats. Crinkly cat toys are often filled with catnip, too, making it extra fun!

If you’re not home during the day, leave your cat toys that will that give indoor enrichment for your kitty in your absence. Provide your kitty with fun alternatives, like crinkly cat-safe toys, or just make the switch to a reusable grocery tote !

Americans love their kittiesall 96 million of themand to help out their doting owners, Weird Animal Question of the Week is looking into strange cat behavior, also known as cat behavior. (Related: “What Is Your Cat Trying to Tell You? Vets Weigh In.”)

Its often linked to pica, the indiscriminate eating of inedible objects, says Dodman, author of Pets on the Couch . WATCH: An energetic cat named Jesperpus hits the trails with his two-legged friend Aina Stormo in Norway.

Licking plastic bags is a “texture-specific eating disorder, meaning the cats just like that texture, he adds. Katelynn Daviss foundling cat, rescued from behind a restaurant, used to sleep on her shoulder. Now, at two years old, he has what’s sometimes called the zoomies, randomly darting around the house and meowing constantly, often while sitting by the door.

The natural pattern of cats, big and small, is to sleep or nap and then have sudden bursts of activity.

All ailurophiles accept and adore the fact that cats are (more or less) weirdos. But why do cats lick plastic bags? Its one of the chart-toppers for strange feline behavior. Weve all been there: shuffling through your oddly quiet hallways, your eyes peeled for Kitty because he isnt in any of his usual spots, when the soft, unmistakable sound of crinkling plastic betrays him; and there you find Kitty, perched over the bag, or perhaps cradling it like a friend, making out to his hearts content; and you think oh, you weird, sweet, silly, darn cat, you.

Give him interactive playtime at least twice a day, using toys designed like a fishing pole so you can simulate the movements of prey. When hes alone, provide him with opportunities to stay busy: catnip toys, puzzle feeders, cat trees , or a window with a clear view of nature so he can distract himself by observing birds, squirrels, and the like.

Why do cats lick plastic shopping bags?

There are a few theories as to why cats like to lick shopping bags. One theory is that it is caused by pica, a texture-based eating disorder. Another theory points to certain food-based components that some plastic bags are created such (such as animal fat, fish oil, or corn starch). And yet another theory is that they simply love the fun texture and sound of the plastic.

Why is my cat obsessed with plastic?

Whether they are licking or playing, plastic is a novel, exciting texture for cats. They love the sound it makes, it is full of interesting smells from both the bag and what it once carried, and the crinkly, smooth texture can appeal to cats with pica.

Why do cats lick fabric?

Cats can also lick fabric for a variety of reasons. They may smell something tantalizing, or if they cannot reach certain areas for grooming, they may groom other areas (or other things, such as the carpet). A thorough brushing session may help. Cats can also lick fabric as a form of pica, a texture-based eating disorder. While licking is relatively harmless, eating and swallowing fabric can be dangerous to cats.

The Crinkle Factor

Some cats simply enjoy playing in and around plastic bags because, well,

Leftover Food Smells

Plastic bags are soft and porous and readily absorb the smells of their contents. It could be as simple as that yummy rotisserie chicken you picked up from the grocery store left its tantalizing smell on the bag, and your cat just has to have a taste.

Flavorful Materials

Plastic shopping bags are often created using biodegradable materials containing corn starch. Some cats might find this starchy, corny smell, and taste delicious. The more likely cause? Plastics, and plastic bags, are often treated with stearates, which are derived from animal fat or tallow. Others use materials like fish oils or even fish scales to keep the plastic from sticking together. All these flavorful materials attract a cat’s keen sense of smell, especially as a carnivore. Animal fat and fish oil are right up their alley!

They’re Just Plain Bored

Cats are intelligent creatures that need mental and physical stimulation, just like us humans. So if your cat’s playing around in plastic bags (or whatever might be lying around), it could be because your cat is simply looking for something new and exciting. If you’re not home during the day, leave your cat toys that will that give indoor enrichment for your kitty in your absence.Provide your favorite feline with toys that they can bat around and play with at their own leisure. Catnip-filled toys are a great choice as the catnip also stimulates and encourages your cat to play – instead of nap all day.

It’s Compulsive

Some veterinary behaviorists believe that licking or sucking on plastic (or other strange materials) may be a mild version of a compulsive disorder called “wool sucking.” This disorder is linked to pica, which is the compulsive eating of non-food items. It is thought some cats do this as an attempt to get nutrients that aren’t present in their diet. If your cat seems to get into a licking frenzy when stressed or upset or they lick frequently, it might be time to see a vet.

Plastic Is His Bag

Catarina Dias doesn’t have to ask her cat “paper or plastic?”She already knows he likes licking the plastic bag lining her trash can, and she’s keen to find out why.Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary behaviorist at Tufts University, says it’s likely a mild version of a compulsive disorder called wool sucking, which isn’t just about wool.Cats with this condition lick or suck on plastic, including shower curtains or shoelaces. It’s often linked to pica, “the indiscriminate eating of inedible objects,” says Dodman, author ofLicking plastic bags is a “texture-specific eating disorder,” meaning the cats just like that texture, he adds. It’s not dangerous—unless the cat is ingesting the plastic, which can lead to intestinal blockages. (See National Geographic readers’ pictures of cats.)

Cat Mats

Laura’s orange tabby grows a two-inch-long winter coat but doesn’t shed. Instead, the feline tends to pull his fur out with his teeth in spring, sometimes leaving bare patches. The fur then grows back short and smooth, getting longer in winter.”I’ve mentioned this to other people, and most say this is very unusual. What do you say!?”Some cats do engage in stress-induced hair-pulling, but the seasonal nature of this cat’s behavior suggests an allergy, Dodman says. The best course of action is to take the animal to the vet to get checked out, he suggests. (Related: “What Do Cats Think About Us? You May Be Surprised.”)Long-haired cats often get mats from their winter coats, which can get itchy come spring, adds John Bradshaw of the U.K.’s University of Bristol and author ofThe pets sometimes “will try to shift the [mats] with their teeth,” which can leave bald patches.