Some of the more commonly-chewed-on items for cats include wool, blue jeans, metal, plastic bags, hard plastic, and fake plants. Cats also chew on items like plastic because of their teeth. Although I try to keep them put up it is almost impossible to keep all the plastics away from them. © 2019 Belvoir Media Group. It is worse when he's hungry and dinner time is approaching. Per all the sites, you should not allow your cat to persist in licking a plastic bag, as this may tempt them to chew and swallow plastic pieces which may result from the activity. Plastics are treated with stearates, which are derived from tallow. He died a couple years ago. Swallowing plastic cannot only cause minor problems such as vomiting and diarrhea, but it can also cause serious intestinal problems. What’s so great about chewing plastic bags? However, if your cat is like most, she will probably continue to chew on the occasional plastic bag without coming to any harm. Risks of Destructive Chewing in Cats. If your cat chews on plastic, you should have to worry. Plastic items are some of those objects that many cats take a liking to, but why? There are many hard objects your dog could chew on, for instance hard plastic can be as hard as a bone. However, the dangers include trauma to the gums or other soft tissues in the mouth, as well as obstruction in the GI tract.” Pica can be incredibly dangerous because some or all of what the cat chews on can make it down their throat, where it may cause a serious stomach or intestinal obstruction. The scent of animal byproducts, such as fish oil or gelatin, which are used to make many plastics. ... and that would be bad. The chewing will inevitably lead to small pieces of the bag being swallowed. A cat’s teeth are much sharper than a dog’s (or ours)—“like a scalpel compared to a butter knife,” Jones says. He loves to eat plastic bags, so I try to keep them away from him, but he found one in the basement. My cat actively looks for plastic to eat. Playing with plastic bags creates a risk of strangulation and suffocation. If your cat is a nail chewer, this poses an additional risk: Accidental swallowing. Plastic food storage, plastic bowls, toys, crates, chews, squeakies, gates, ball, Frisbee, pill bottles, and tags, to name a few. The plastic in most bags is inert and not toxic. Playing with plastic bags creates a risk of strangulation and suffocation. Plastic items that are small enough for your cat to fit completely in its mouth pose a choking hazard. Have you ever had a spot in your mouth where it was tender along the lining of the gums and when you chew on something, it offers some painfully good relief? The dog may try to swallow these sharp pieces and/or cut their gums chewing on the newly exposed rough edges. Plastic can also cause … But stress may cause a cat to do irrational things and therefore develop pica as a response to being stressed. 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. Believe it or not, people ask me these sorts of questions almost every day in my practice. They could also be swallowed and cause other problems. While the behavior on its own shouldn’t necessarily be cause for alarm—cats just sometimes like to chew on stuff—if a cat’s urge to chew becomes compulsive, it can lead to serious issues. If your cat chews compulsively things like plastic, dirt, carpeting, plants, electric cords, phone cords, wool, fabric, string, wiring or wool blankets she might have a condition known as pica.. Pica in cats is the act of eating objects that are not food. Another common drawback to nail caps is that many cats like to chew on the vinyl resin. It is more common for the kitten to be injured when chewing a plastic than for an adult cat. Obviously I don't think this is good for him and discourage the behavior whenever I … There's a lot you need to know to make things go smoothly with your new friend. Eliminating parasites. If your cat swallows a piece, it can lead to a costly trip to the vet and sometimes even surgery to remove it. Video Geeky Pet Lovers: Enter the Dabble Challenge. If your cat is not swallowing portions of the bags, then it probably is harmless. Every once in a while, I’ll watch my cat Avery eat his kibble and notice he takes a single bite out of every second or third piece before swallowing. First it was the shower curtain. How to Find the Perfect Cat for Your Family. It may be because they enjoy the texture, which is unlike most objects found in nature. A package of toilet paper in the bathroom and he would chew the plastic wrapping off. While cats usually don't chew on things the same way that dogs do, many pet owners notice that their feline friends develop a serious affinity for plastic. So, to be safe, you should probably keep plastic bags out of reach. And, a risk of suffocation exists if cats crawl into plastic bags. Plastic grocery bags are often coated and this coating tastes sweet to cats, which may also attract them. Because it can be difficult to diagnose flea infestation in cats, some veterinarians recommend trying reliable flea control products purchased from a veterinary office for six to eight weeks to see if it reduces the incidence of licking, scratching, or chewing. Gum Massaging. Some cats just seem to like the way the plastic tastes or feels more than that it being a "need" to eat plastic, so it doesn’t automatically qualify as a compulsive behavior. If your cat consumes plastic, it will need to be removed. Pieces of plastic could get trapped in the cat’s throat, restricting breathing or eating. 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. Cats that are teething are more likely to chew on items than adult cats and this is completely normal. Never happens, not in any meaningful sense at least. For more details, see our, How to Identify and Solve Attention-Seeking Behavior in Cats, How to Stop Your Cat From Chewing Electrical Cords. By helping to prevent or decrease the amount of stress your cat experiences, you will hopefully lessen the likelihood of them picking up the bad habit of stress chewing plastic. Thus, in terms of chewing on the plastic – no harm so long as the plastic and whatever might be on it is completely harmless, safe, and non-toxic to cats. He threw up most of it, but still seems to have trouble keeping his food down, and also is not defacating. 0 0. If chewed, there's a risk of choking and intestinal blockage. Lots of cats lick or chew plastic or styrofoam, which is sometimes attributed to the animal by-products in those items. Sometimes your veterinarian will recommend making your cat vomit the item up, but this is not the case for all plastic items. My 7-yr old boy loves to chew on almost anything that is plastic - bubble wrap, Zip-lock bags, envelopes. The problem starts to arise when cats begin ingesting nonfood items or chewing dangerous objects. Why Is My Cat Throwing Up Undigested Food? Finally, a great way to keep a cat disinterested in plastic items is by attracting them to items that are not plastic. Adrienne Kruzer, RVT, has worked with a variety of animals for over 15 years, including birds of prey, reptiles, and small mammals. 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. These aggressive behaviors can be a sign of pain, poor socialization, and stress, among other things. I now keep the bathroom locked. Cats in fact do not really chew their food. Dr. Eric Barchas In fact, cats love plastic. We explain why they do in this article. Get tips and exclusive deals. Dogs have a tendency to chew on everything, not exclusively plastic. Teething kittens (between 4-7 months of age) will often chew anything in sight, but this is usually temporary. Some cats just seem to like the way the plastic tastes or feels more than that it being a "need" to eat plastic, so it doesn’t automatically qualify as a compulsive behavior. Plastic bags are dangerous to your cat for so many reasons. Allowing your indoor cat to slowly adjust to new things, avoiding the line of sight with outdoor cats by closing the blinds, and other techniques can also help avoid stressing out your cat. It may be obvious, but by picking up and disposing of plastic items such as rubber bands, plastic lids, and milk jug rings that are within a cat's reach, you'll be completely preventing the opportunity for your cat to get its paws on it. This may not be an option, however, if you use th… Cats should never be left to chew on a plastic bag, no matter how much they enjoy it. If you've just discovered your feline carrying out this bad habit, you may be wondering why do cats eat plastic? Continued Treatment for Your Cat’s Scratching, Licking, and Chewing. So, to answer one of the questions, yes, a very large number of cats like to chew on plastic bags. Supporting Sites: Vetriscience, HDW, Amazon AskVille. He just chews on the silk flowers that are around the house. Also, dogs can tear off pieces of the plastic pretty easily resulting in sharp, rough edges. Chewing on plastic can be a very satisfying activity for dogs, and a difficult one to stop. However, it’s best to keep those items out of reach. The taste of food on things like sandwich wrappers or plastic grocery bags. In addition to swallowing a foreign object that may obstruct her airway or cause intestinal distress, your cat could get the plastic handles wrapped around her neck, which could cut off her breathing. Because it can be difficult to diagnose flea infestation in cats, some veterinarians recommend trying reliable flea control products purchased from a veterinary office for six to eight weeks to see if it reduces the incidence of licking, scratching, or chewing. They could also be swallowed and cause other problems. I have several cats that love to chew and or try to eat plastic wrapping items like what is used to wrap sports drinks, bottled water packages, toilet paper packages, etc. If you don't want your cat to chew on an item, then hide it or get rid of it. However, a slight risk exists that such foreign material might coalesce into a form that can obstruct the intestines and require surgery. (My personal theory is that they like the noise it makes!) A cat may occasionally chew on grass without issues as well, so long as that grass hasn’t been treated with fertilizers or weed killers. Many bags are also coated in substances such as cornstarch, stearates … A much as your cat may seem to love plastic bags, they’re not a toy and can be extremely dangerous. For this reason, jumping to behavior-modifying drugs is not typically recommended for cats who seem to be strongly driven to explore and chew specific tastes and textures. Cats, as well as other animals, get this too! 6. Ragdoll cats might chew on plastic for a variety of reasons: They like the crinkly sound plastic makes, or they want to make noise for attention. Plastic bags are dangerous to your cat for so many reasons. If you suspect your cat has dental disease or discomfort, be sure to get it examined by your veterinarian. Not every cat does this behavior but if your kitty does, it can be a seemingly endless battle to keep plastic bags out of reach. He bit holes into it all the way down the edge (without actually eating pieces). Not every cat does this behavior but if your kitty does, it can be a seemingly endless battle to … Unfortunately, I think you may just have to keep the plastic away. Also, a variety of objects are made out of plastic and can be found around the home, such as containers and plastic bottles. Do Cats Chew Their Food? Lickable lubricants. And is it dangerous if a cat chews on or eats plastic? Cats that have aggression issues may begin chewing on plastic cords and other items around the house in an attempt to express their emotions. i would try keeping any plastic out of her reach if at all possible. It’s also somewhat common for cats to chew on plastic bags that can contain gelatin. And this is completely ordinary behaviour for a cat. Some plastic items are completely okay for your cat to chew on but many items pose a potential danger to your feline friend. This is a bad, bad habit among many cats.  |  If your cat is a nail chewer, this poses an additional risk: Accidental swallowing. Kittens lose their baby teeth and grow a full set of adult teeth between 3.5 and 7 months of age. I do not have a definitive answer for why cats do this. But, frankly, that is just a guess. Of course, there is always a chance a cat can develop an intestinal obstruction from any foreign material that is swallowed. It only started today. “If the cause is not anxiety, chewing on plastic may just be something that the cat enjoys doing. He was the strangest cat we ever had though. Dec 15th 2006. In the worst case, your cat needs surgery or dies. I’ve seen … As I walked down the aisles of one of the pet product stores where I live every aisle was filled with plastic and every product was packaged in plastic. But chewing? My cat doesn't chew on plastic--thank goodness!--but she does like to play with it and lie on plastic bags. We dug into the reasons behind why cats chew plastic and how you can help figure out a way to stop them. 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. 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. If you suspect your cat has dental disease or discomfort, be sure to get it examined by your veterinarian. Some folks recommend buying dog chew toys such as nylabone to help alleviate some of the cat’s stress, though I personally am not a huge fan of the brand. Once they feel the texture of the items, they often continue the behavior and seek out items with a similar texture. Pheromones can help a cat relax in a new environment or one that has changes occurring in it, medications can ease serious cases of anxiety, and supplements can help relax a kitty naturally. Cats usually find cords and wires to chew on especially if left alone during the day. Chewing on the bag can cause your cat to suffocate or choke. 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. Even biodegradable plastic bags are not digestible for cats. Plastic items that are small enough for your cat to fit completely in its mouth pose a choking hazard. Since plastic has no nutritional value, you could argue that a cat that chews and then consumes plastic has pica. Some cats are a lot like puppies and enjoy chewing on objects. My Boo is 14 and he has done this since he was a baby.  |. Plastic food storage, plastic bowls, toys, crates, chews, squeakies, gates, ball, Frisbee, pill bottles, and tags, to name a few. Continued Treatment for Your Cat’s Scratching, Licking, and Chewing. Cats who are weaned off too early tend to suckle or chew on plastics as a way to “destress” and these cats should be provided with chew toys that they can sink their teeth into. Erika Sorocco and Kim Campbell Thornton Stash extra bags in a closet, the garage, or another cat-free space. Even if swallowed, small pieces of plastic (or rubber bands) usually will pass harmlessly through a cat’s system. Cobwebs are essential thin strands of protein. The safest way to prevent these types of accidents is to keep plastic bags out of your cat's reach at all times. As I walked down the aisles of one of the pet product stores where I live every aisle was filled with plastic and every product was packaged in plastic. Just like many individuals tend to pick off their nail polish, some cats get the urge to chew off nail caps because they just don’t feel natural and who can blame them? “If the cat is anxious, there is a benefit to the cat — it is a coping mechanism that may help to diminish anxiety, much like hair twirling or biting your nails,” says Dr. Pike. For this reason, jumping to behavior-modifying drugs is not typically recommended for cats who seem to be strongly driven to explore and chew specific tastes and textures. Many cats also enjoy chewing other forms of thin plastic, or chew on (and sometimes swallow) rubber bands. Certainly, medical science has provided no answer to this question that I’m aware of. Dogs chew on many materials for a variety of different reasons. Plastic is easily destructible, so this may be popular material to chew on for many dogs. He seems perky and is drinking water and trying to eat. My cat ate part of a plastic bag. Being such a dangerous material to swallow, have you ever wondered why cats chew on plastic in the first place? light sucking or nursing on fuzzy items like blankets or stuffed animals Adult cats may take a liking to chewing on certain textures. I think she likes the feel of it. Some cats like to chew plastic objects, and others do not.If you have a chewing cat, you should take measures to bring this behavior to an end immediately before your cat is injured.Kittens are known to chew plastic because they are in the process of teething and want something that is difficult to chew. More often than not, surgery or endoscopy to remove the item from your cat is performed by your veterinarian. Provide your cat with fun and safe toys of different textures and fabrics, use feather wands and laser pointers to entertain it, and use catnip or treats to attract it to other items you want them to play with or chew on. Just like many individuals tend to pick off their nail polish, some cats get the urge to chew off nail caps because they just don’t feel natural and who can blame them? Adult cats may also start chewing on plastic if they experience dental pain in an attempt to soothe their hurting mouth. Although plastic bags can be a fun toy for cats, especially due to their crinkly sounds, they are fairly hazardous, especially if they unravel and your cat chews or suckles on them. While at the vet, it is also a good time to … If chewed, there’s a risk of choking and intestinal blockage. (not from the plastic).The cat we have now takes off running when he hears us with those plastic grocery bags. HDW proposes the cat may be performing an orally compulsive act to replicate "nursing". Adult cats may also start chewing on plastic if they experience dental pain in an attempt to soothe their hurting mouth. It is best to supervise your cat if you allow them to play with plastic bags and never leave them out for casual play. Another common drawback to nail caps is that many cats like to chew on the vinyl resin. An obsession with eating plastic could be deadly, although I have known of many cats who chew on plastic and almost none that have become obstructed from it. Chewing on plastic could be something that occurs out of boredom, a need to destroy and let out aggression, or simply because the dog doesn’t know better. (He doesn't chew on plastic grocery bags and as we have no plastic toys, he doesn't chew on them.) No amount of discipline (non-physical) and a million stern "No"s has helped; he still wants to chew on plastic. Pica is a term used to describe an eating disorder where items of no nutritional value are consumed like litter or dirt. Hard objects. In terms of chewing and swallowing the plastic, even if it’s by accident – that can be dangerous, because it can lead to an obstruction or cause your cat to choke and/or suffocate. Cats may chew on everything from plastic bags and wires to wood and certain types of fabrics. Stay informed! Is there any harm in it? 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. All rights reserved. Cats and plastic bags are a potentially dangerous combination for a few reasons. However, chewing on these bags can be dangerous for your cat as they can suffocate or choke on bags and bag pieces. Make sure you’re throwing your bags into a trash can or recycling container with a lid, or even better, switch to reusable bags, which are better for both your cat and the environment. If you find that your cat is chewing and gnawing on more substances than normal, it would be a good idea to set up a trip to the vet to make sure his teeth are in good health. Plastic does not contain any nutrients that a cat may crave, so it is unlikely that cats chew on plastic based on a nutritional deficiency, unless the plastic used to contain some kind of food. You can opt-out at any time. So, to answer one of the questions, yes, a very large number of cats like to chew on plastic bags. Some plastic items are completely okay for your cat to chew on but many items pose a potential danger to your feline friend. For this reason, cat teeth are built for almost any level of chewing and rarely get harmed via this behavior. Stress and anxiety can be lessened and sometimes prevented in cats. Eliminating parasites. Plastic bags that come from a grocery or other food store can carry the lingering scent and even taste of food, which makes chewing them a pleasant experience. 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Is it dangerous if a cat disinterested in plastic items are completely okay for your cat may seem love. Items, they often continue the behavior whenever I … in fact, cats love plastic out a way prevent... It dangerous if a cat start chewing on plastic bags cause serious intestinal problems bag... Bathroom and he has done this since he was a baby Spruce / Melissa wires! Keeping any plastic out of your cat ’ s Scratching, Licking, and chewing ever had.! Bags can be dangerous for your cat has dental disease or discomfort, be sure to get it examined your... Fact, cats love plastic bags creates a risk of choking and intestinal blockage disorder where items of nutritional... Paper in the bathroom and he would chew the plastic in most is! Just be something that the cat enjoys doing cat can develop an intestinal obstruction from foreign... Discourage the behavior whenever I … in fact do not really chew their food if crawl.