Why Does My Cat Eat Plastic?

As a pet owner, you obviously love your cat. But while you love your cat all too much (at times it feels too much for your own good), you feel the need to be honest with yourself. Yes, being honest is great, I have been in a position where I have had to accept that my cat is weird. And it probably is time that you do too. It does not mean that you love your cat any less. 

Given that you are reading this, you must have noticed that your cat loves to chew and at times even eat plastic. It could be plastic bags or plastic cords. Whichever the case, it is weird and out of your cat’s character. Your feline is after all, carnivorous, and plastic does not fall under the meat category.

At this point, you should note that this is a common occurrence. But be it as it may, it does not make it normal. On this piece we review why this happens and if it is harmful to your cat. Below is a long-tail answer to the question ‘why does my cat eat plastic?’


Is Plastic Poisonous for Cats?

Along with the question ‘why does my cat eat plastic? It is also important to know whether the behaviour puts your cat at risk of death or developing a deadly health condition. Well, while there isn’t a lot of scientific proof that plastic is not harmful to cats, from experience, my cat is alive and kicking.

Here is the thing, from the little science I gather, most plastic bags and plastic products are designed as inert. They are nontoxic. This way, even when your feline swallows pieces of plastic, they will pass through the digestive system harmlessly. It is the same thing with babies. I am sure you have seen your child swallow a lot of weird objects but did not flood yourself with worry as you knew it will pass through the system of your child without causing harm. Well, the same case applies to you cat.

Why do cats love chewing plastic?

Plastic bags, the kind that you get from grocery stores feature a sweet lingering scent that cats find tasty. At times, they even taste like food. This makes them pleasant for the cats to chew and eat. Additionally, most plastic bags are laced with steatites, cornstarch or are made using gelatine, an animal by product. I discovered my cat even loves the crinkly sounds that plastic bags make.

Another reason why your feline will be chewing or eating plastic is because of its dental health. If your cat is eating plastic many times, you should call in a professional vet to ensure that her dental health is intact. You may also want to review your feline’s diet with the vet.

Boredom could also be a contributing factor to this habit. Speaking of habits, professionals refer to this habit/condition as Pica.

Is Plastic Bad for my Cat?

But being harmful and bad for your cat are two different things. While it may not contain chemicals that may harm your cat, it is not advisable to let your cat have a plastic buffet. Why? Well, there is a slight risk that the plastic in form of a bag or tiny bits of plastic pipe may coalesce to form an object that will obstruct the digestive tract and might eventually need surgery to remove.

If the plastic bag is big enough, there is also the risk of your cat crawling into it and suffocating. So while eating and playing with plastic bags may not be harmful to your cat, it is not good for your cat (hopefully you understand the difference – it took me a while to grasp this concept).

How do I get my Cat to Stop Chewing Plastic?

Now that you understand what you are dealing with, it is in your best interest to earn how you can stop, or at the very least reduce the number of times your cat eats plastic or even gets to play with it. You surely cannot treat your cat as a child, though you might love it like one.  Below are some things you can do to prevent and avoid this behaviour.

Visit Your Vet

The first thing you should do when you notice anything out of your cat’s character is to schedule a visit with your vet. The situation may be nothing to worry about, but you can never be too sure. Visiting a veterinary will provide you with professional insight to the situation and help you have a deeper understanding of it.

Your vet will also provide you with tried and tested solutions that are bound to yield great results with your cat. You should never try any solution without professional insight. Your cat’s life is worth too much to conduct trial and error.

Increase Your Interactive Play

Boredom is one of the reasons why your cat results to eating and playing with plastic. When you create time to play with your cat on a daily basis, you could very well enrich your feline’s life. This will keep her busy and distracted from her tendencies and urges to eat and play with plastic.

Use Prey Mimicking toys

Cats are playful animals. Yes, yours may want to sleep all the time, but trust me, given the chance and presented with the right opportunities and resources, you will be shocked as to how active it can get. To bring out your cat’s playfulness, you should get it several cat toys that mimic prey behaviour. Wand toys that have been designed to move like mice and birds. Winding these toys and releasing them to scoot around the house will excite your cat’s predator instincts. Additionally, it will help it to be healthier and happier.

The Bazaar Cat Toy and the Mechanism Mouse Cat toy are an example of an excellent winding cat toy.

Have a Lot of Scratching Posts

Cats love to scratch. It is a way of keeping their claws sharp. However, scratching posts can also act as a stress reliever, exercise and mark their territory. Having a lot of scratching posts in the house, or just one elaborate post (like a cat tower or condo) can help reduce your cats’ behaviour of eating plastic.

Keep All Plastic Away from Your Cat’s Reach

While you could get a GPS tracker for your cat to know its whereabouts at all times and ensure that it is not eating plastic, it is easier if you just work to keep all plastics away from your cats reach. And yes, this is easier said than done since cats are flexible and have long reach. But be it as it may, you should try. If need be, you should enrol the help of your family members. Have them understand the importance of having plastic out of your cats reach.

Behaviour Modification

Now you probably are wondering what this has to do with why cats eat plastic right? Well, it is a way to ensure that your cat stops feeding on plastic. Every time your cat starts eating plastic, try and redirect her attention by throwing toys in its direction or in the opposite direction. Every time she leaves the plastic praise and pet your cat to make her know that that is acceptable behaviour. For this to work, you need to do it repeatedly. With time, your cat will get the idea.

The same technique is used to ensure that your cat grows to be a friendly cat.

Bottom Line

So there you have it, to answering your qyestion why does my cat eat plastic. A comprehensive answer to ‘why does my cat eat plastic’ and just how you can prevent it from happening. But if you forget everything else on this piece, remember to bring in a professional vet.

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

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