Why Do Cats Lick Plastic? What Should You Do About It? | Kidadl


Why Do Cats Lick Plastic? What Should You Do About It?

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A cat's behavior is often very strange and makes us wonder why they do certain bizarre things.

Licking plastic is one such behavior that is very common in cats. Cat experts state that there are many reasons why cats lick plastic items.

Returning home after a trip to the grocery store and finding your kitty attacking all the grocery bags might not seem like an unusual thing to you. However, it can make you wonder, 'what exactly does plastic have in it that makes it so attractive to cats?'. There is a wide range of answers to this question. Licking plastic bags is considered to be a 'texture-specific' eating disorder. The cool and smooth surface of a plastic bag can tempt your kitty to chew and lick it. This means that your kitty just likes the taste of plastic!

Cats may also be attracted to plastic because they like the texture of it against their tongue. A veterinary behaviorist from Tufts University claims that a milder version of compulsive disorder includes licking plastic and it is called 'wool sucking'. It doesn't actually involve sucking wool. Having close links to a pica, cats with this condition often tend to lick plastic bags, grocery bags that are made out of plastic, and other plastic items too. A condition that every animal experiences when they get into a habit or a desire to eat, chew, or lick non-food items is called Pica. Pica takes place in cats and dogs mostly because the food they consume does not contain certain essential vitamins and nutrients. This behavior is not really dangerous and is harmless until it's consumed or ingested by your kitty.

Furthermore, cats have a strong sense of smell and taste that is more enhanced than dogs. Their sense of sound is also better. Plastic bags are made out of ethene polymers and ethylene, and most plastic shopping bags today are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE). This type of plastic bag can absorb smells and odors easily and, so, catches the smell of the products it holds.

Cats, with their enhanced senses of smell and taste, are attracted to those plastic bags whose food smells are appealing to them. Furthermore, some plastic bags may be treated with stearates. This is obtained from saturated fatty acids that can be found in vegetables, oils, and animal fat too. Some plastic grocery bags consist of certain chemicals called 'slip agents' that are derived from stearic acid, which is found in animal fat. This could be another reason why plastic bags are appealing to cats.

The crinkly sounds of a plastic bag are also very enticing for a kitten or an adult cat. Cats end up chewing on plastic bags or playing with them when there is no other form of stimulation in the environment. Cats, especially kittens, love to play, so it is essential for you as their owner to provide interactive toys with which they can play. Whether your kitty is obsessed with licking, chewing, or eating plastic, it is important to know what it licks on. If you find your feline often trying to eat plastic, start keeping plastic materials away from their reach. Kittens and cats licking plastic bags out of obsessive or compulsive behavior can be a sign of stress, lethargy, weight fluctuations, diarrhea, or anxiety. In such cases, it is best to get your pet cat to a vet immediately.

Do cats lick all kinds of plastic things or only plastic bags?

Apart from being obsessed with fish, cats are also extremely obsessed with all sorts of plastic materials!

Not only do cats lick plastic grocery bags, but they also love licking other plastic items too. However, among all plastic materials, plastic shopping bags tend to be their favorite for a number of reasons. Soft and smooth plastic bags are porous and retain the scent or smell of the food or items they hold. Cats are known to have a strong sense of smell as well as taste. This is probably why your cat runs to the plastic bags you hold when you enter the house after a trip to the grocery store. Currently, a new trend is taking over the commercial industries where biodegradable bags contain cornstarch! Cats don't usually find the taste of sweet treats to alluring. However, with respect to corn starch, there is something about it that appeals to a cat's senses.

Should you get cats to stop licking plastic?

An adult cat will meow to humans only, but not to other cats!

Cats lick plastic for many reasons. One of them is because of an eating disorder called pica, which is the compulsive behavior of eating objects that aren't edible and is driven primarily by texture.

In general, licking plastic is not really considered a dangerous behavior. Nonetheless, it can become a serious problem if your pet cat ends up ingesting it. Accidental consumption of plastic by your cat can lead to intestinal blockages, so if it does happen, get your cat to your local vet immediately. Plastic bags are a big attraction for cats, and licking them is fine to a certain extent, but when your cat starts eating plastic, it is a danger.

Apart from licking plastic bags and materials out of fun or to satisfy their cat senses, cats can also lick plastic if they're feeling stressed, anxious, or irritated. In order to get your cat to stop eating plastic bags or licking them, there are a number of things you can do. Keep all plastic items away from them. Store them in a place where your pet cat will not be able to reach them.

If your pet feline is in a stage of life where they are constantly chewing on almost everything, make sure to purchase some soft toys or chewables for your pet. When your cat is playing with some plastic bags, supervise it. Make sure that while they're playing with or licking plastic, they don't accidentally end up eating it. Cats also lick and chew on plastic when they're bored, so make sure that you take some time out of your schedule to play with them for a few hours each day. Physical and mental stimulation are very important for these cute fluffballs, and exercise is also essential to keep them active and energetic.

Why do cats like to lie on plastic bags?

Cats and plastic have a strange relationship. It is particularly fun to sit and enjoy your cat stalking, pouncing, or playing with some plastic and even licking or chewing on it when you're not looking.

Even though you've provided your pet cat with the softest and fluffiest blanket and bed you could find, your cat might end up laying on some plastic at times. They lie on plastic bags because of the crinkly sounds they make, the smells and scents they give off, or simply because they want to warm their bodies when the weather gets cold.

Every cat is also known to pass out wherever they feel comfortable, and passing out in odd places is very common among cats. Hence, cats could be marking some plastic bags as their new sleeping territory. Cats also love a comfy spot that provides them with safety too. Plastic bags tend to do exactly that. They gently take the shape of your pet cat's body when they lie on it, giving them a sense of comfort.

What else do they like to chew on?

Apart from a plastic bag, your pet cat loves to lick and chew on a large variety of items lying around your home!

Unlike dogs, cats are not very notorious when it comes to chewing things they're not supposed to. Cats will chew on almost everything, from wires and plastic bags to certain types of fabric and wood. Cats just sometimes like to chew on stuff, and this behavior on its own isn't necessarily a cause for alarm.

However, if a cat’s desire to chew becomes compulsive, it can lead to serious issues. Chewing among cats is very normal behavior and is especially common among kittens that are just getting their first set of teeth. Every cat is different, and each cat behaves differently. Some cat owners claim that they have never experienced their cat chewing on fabrics and plastics around the house, while others explain how their curtains, sofas, clothes, and shoes have all been chewed out by their pet. Cats will chew on almost everything that is chewable and can fit in their mouths.

Sharon Judith
Written By
Sharon Judith

<p>A humanities and Science student, Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a specialization in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology from Mount Carmel College and is currently pursuing her Master's in Science from Bournemouth University. She is passionate about research, content writing, and development, and has a keen interest in international finance and economics. With her strong analytical skills and inquisitive mind, she is always striving to deepen her knowledge and understanding of these subjects.</p>

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