Why does my cat eat plastic bags?

In this brief discussion, we’ll answer the question, “why does my cat eat plastic bags?” We will also discuss how to prevent this behaviour in cats and when to take your pet to the vet.

Why does my cat eat plastic bags?

Basically, because she enjoys it. The crinkle of the plastic, the aroma of the food it formerly contained, and the smooth surface beneath her paws are just a few of the senses that your cat finds appealing. It is the ultimate sensory experience for your furry friend.

According to the Pet Health Network, plastic bags are particularly tempting to cats because they are frequently coated with ingredients like cornstarch and stearates (salts of stearic acid) or are comprised of animal byproducts like gelatin. 

Because of this, your cat mistakes a plastic bag for a treat. Similarly, your cat might chew on bags and other tougher plastic items like milk jug rings and straws to calm its nerves due to environmental or medical stressors. 

These can include everything from relocating to a new residence, bringing a new pet or child into the family, to disease and aging.

How to prevent your cat from eating plastic bags?

Plastic bags could be hazardous to cats for several reasons. Your cat might swallow a foreign object that could clog her airway or cause intestinal trouble, as well as wrap the plastic handles around her neck and become unconscious.

The best method to avoid these kinds of mishaps is to always keep plastic bags out of your cat’s reach. Store extra bags in the garage, a closet, or another area away from the cats. 

However, if you use the bags to line her litter box or garbage cans, this might not be an option (although you probably don’t have to worry about her gnawing on a little pan liner because most healthy cats do not associate their litter boxes with snacks).

Invest in a trash can with a lid so you can tuck the bag under it if you can’t shut off the room with the garbage can. If she can’t get to it, she can’t chew on it. This adage applies to other dangerous toys as well, such as electrical wires.

Increase your everyday playtime with your cat to help it become more physically and psychologically stimulated. Look for toys that demand your whole attention, such as “fishing wand”-style toys. 

It’s also a good idea to keep cats’ minds and bodies active by giving them interactive food toys where they must search for food within. It’s a great way to enhance your cat’s exercise and a great activity for strengthening your relationship to train your cat to do simple actions like sit, down, and other tricks.

Can I use a bitter spray to stop my cat from eating plastic bags?

If none of the strategies to prevent your cat from eating plastic bags work, spray items that are regularly chewed or could be chewed on with bitter-tasting liquids. 

Your cat might be discouraged by this, but it won’t stop him from chewing on the next untreated object he comes across. This strategy works best when combined with at least one other because it is unrealistic to try to spray everything you own.

Should I be concerned if my cat starts to eat plastic bags?

Make an appointment with your veterinarian to learn more about the pressing issue of why your cat is eating plastic if you have any suspicions that there may be something going on other than simple sensory delight. 

According to the Animal Behavior College, they can rule out any underlying medical disorders like pica, a sickness that drives animals to chew on non-food things like plastic, rubber, or cloth. 

Pica may also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as feline leukaemia. Therefore, it is wise to have your cat examined as soon as possible.

How can a vet help me address this behaviour in my cat?

Take your cat to the clinic as soon as possible if he is already displaying pica. Talk to your vet about your cat’s nutrition and bowel movements, and be careful to bring up any additional symptoms that might be unusual, such as vomiting or coughing. 

A physical examination and a faecal test will be performed by your veterinarian. She might suggest lab tests as well in order to get a more certain diagnosis. 

Your vet will suggest certain strategies that involve enriching your cat’s environment, restricting your cat’s access to plastic, and introducing alternative chew toys.

Ask for a recommendation from a veterinary behaviourist if these suggestions and the trip to the clinic are ineffective. 

Conclusion:

We answered the question, “why does my cat eat plastic bags?” We also discussed how to prevent this behaviour in cats and when to take your pet to the vet.

References:

https://www.dailypaws.com/cats-kittens/behavior/common-cat-behaviors/why-do-cats-eat-plastic
https://www.pethealthnetwork.com/cat-health/cat-behavior/why-does-my-cat-chew-plastic-bags
https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/behavior-appearance/why-do-cats-eat-plastic#:~:text=Why%20does%20my%20cat%20try,smooth%20surface%20under%20her%20paws.
https://www.cathealth.com/behavior/how-and-why/2348-why-does-my-cat-eat-plastic

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