It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Why does my cat eat plastic?

page: 1
4
<<   2 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on May, 7 2012 @ 08:19 AM
link   
Hello again, ATS!

This past weekend you helped me better understand my cats' proliclivity for drinking from the toilet and faucets. I got a lot of great advice, thank you. So I figured I'd ask another question for our resident cat experts.

My two indoor cats like to chew on plastic. Any idea why? They will munch on plastic grocery store bags, plastic beach balls, the bubble-wrap that comes in fragile packages, or pretty much anything else. I asked our vet about it, thinking that perhaps since they are both indoor cats that they might be missing something from their diet causing them to crave plastic. The vet said no, but not to let them chew it because they could get choked.

So we do our best to keep plastic items stored away from the cats...but they are cats and they seem able to find there way into anything. We store the plastic bag under the sink and have installed a child-proof lock on the door....unfortunantly, child-proof does not mean cat proof. They figured it out in about a week. So now the bags are stored above the laundry area and we hope that will keep them out of their paws.

Does anyone else's cats chew plastic? Have you found a substitute? I've tried the cat grass you can grow, taken them outside to chew on grass (which just leaves a big mess to clean up later), I've given them toys that have a similar texture and they usually will play with these until the toy falls apart.

Any ideas, ATS?




posted on May, 7 2012 @ 08:23 AM
link   
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


There is nothing. It's funny, I have 3 cats. 1 of them, the oldest female, will lick anything that is plastic, anything. For hours, until you lose your mind and throw whatever it is out.

They also love to tear up our couch. So we bought a pack of these little strips that you place on the couch where they scratch, basically double-sided tape. the oldest female hates that stuff and won't scratch it or go near it.

the youngest female however, who usually doesn't lick plastic, loves it, chews on it, licks it, tears it off in pieces and eats it. I really don't know what it is about plastic, but they love to lick it, it has to be something with the texture. toiletpaper plastic bags is the worst, cause it makes a ton of noise.

We grow catgrass on our balcony and also purchase the little easy to grow kits. The problem with those kits is there is no weight to the planter, and the cats like to tear at the grass, so we usually replant in something heavier so they can't knock it over.



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 08:26 AM
link   
Well, one of my indoor cats does something similar; she licks plastic bags. She loves the black garbage can bags and licks them as if her life depends on it..



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 08:27 AM
link   
That's strange. Being indoor cat's, I assume they don't catch anything, which is a normal part of a cat's instincts. I think it has something to do with this, they're sort of exercising their jaws, and it would also help to keep their teeth clean and free from plaque. It sounds like something a dog would do, maybe get them some jerky type treats, like dog chews but for cats. I don't think it's anything specifically to do with the plastic.



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 08:29 AM
link   
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


I had a cat that sometimes ate stryofoam, and was always munching on paper.

He lived to be 16, so not too dangerous. But eating non food items should be discouraged.


----------------------------------------




posted on May, 7 2012 @ 08:34 AM
link   
I've actually googled this before, since my cats like licking plastic too. It's a fairly common behavior, but it looks like no one has an answer for why they do it..

My theory is that cats like the rustling noise it makes, and they're also just weird little animals.


One of my cats does this odd thing, where when you crinkle a piece of plastic in front of him, he'll start licking the air and yawning, I've never seen another cat do that!



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 08:40 AM
link   
The most annoying thing...my female cat loves to drag her found plastic bags and stash them under our bed. Then at 2;00 in the morning, I wake up hearing this strange sound under the bed. Uggh, that's frustrating!

Glad to know other people's cats are just as strange. Thanks for the replies!



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 08:40 AM
link   
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Finally, someone else who also has a cat who eats plastic! We have 4 cats and only one of them is a plastic addict. The other 3 don't try to eat it like my Jubi does. It is the thin crinkly plastic that she craves and it almost seems to be an addiction for her. If she sees or hears some she will do anything to get to it! She once ate some of a mylar ballon and got very very sick. She can't get along with the other cats so she lives in mommy's bedroom anyhow which makes it much easier to keep the plastic away from her. She is very healthy so my vet said he doesn't think it is a nutrition defficiency. He said that many thin plastics contain gelatin and animal fat, so taste good to them, and that some cats like the crinkle and texture of them. Bear in mind it can be very dangerous to them and also expensive. I thought I was going to lose her over the mylar balloon incident, and my total vet bill by the time all the tests were run was around $600.



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 08:45 AM
link   
reply to post by Astrithr
 





they're also just weird little animals.



Yup, that suits cats to a T.
Another theory to throw out there is cats do it just to mess with us, knowing that we'll spend hours just trying to figure out why there doing it.



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 08:51 AM
link   
I work with cats, although I have never owned them. This is a fairly common behavior. A common theory, although there is not actual proof, is that plastic, especially plastic bags, contain rendered animals fats. With your cats being indoor cats, they do not get the same opportunity to hunt as outdoor cats so this could be their substitution. I've also heard from a client that her vet told her an ingredient in plastic mimics a cat hormone, but I've only heard that once and to be honest I feel like it is not as truthful because the cats seem to play with the plastic more as opposed to being 'attracted' to it.
edit on 7-5-2012 by headorheart because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 08:58 AM
link   
reply to post by headorheart
 


Do you have any suggestions on how I could help provide a better environment for the cats?

We do have cat toys and we play with them every night. Particularly my five yaer old son, who loves to drag a ribbon through the house while the cats chase it. Also, my female cat loves to play fetch with her cat toys and will do so for a long time if possible (the longest is 45 minutes so far). She will literally bring it back to our lap so that we can rethrow it.

Shoudl we get a dog bone for them to lick and gnaw? Or would that be dangerous? I know some dog bones can splinter and cause the dogs problems, but would a cat be able to crack one of the big bones?

We feed them both dry food and a variety of canned food. We also give them tuna fish on occasion to try and give them a variety in their diets.

Thanks for your input!



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 09:04 AM
link   
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


The only solution I have found is to Scold your cat harshly like you would a dog.
At first they will not listen at all, and even "get back" at you for being mean.
It takes about 10 times as long, but they will learn.

My cat doesn't eat human food,
does not beg,
cannot get on any table or counter,

AND

No longer eats plastic. He especially LOVED tape. haha
Even when he sometimes throws up now he doesn't want to make a mess so he tries to do it in the toilet if it's open, and he once threw up in a plastic pet carrier after looking around frantically surrounded by carpet in all directions. It was the only piece of property that he owned in the whole house. I love the little bugger.


Even trained him to roll over and shake

edit on 5/7/2012 by Dustytoad because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 09:14 AM
link   
Does he/she eat paint chips as well...?




posted on May, 7 2012 @ 09:17 AM
link   
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


The 'disease' your cat is called PICA. I'll let you do your own research, but this website is pretty helpful. www.messybeast.com...
First, take your cat to the vet. It does not have to be a special appointment, your next check up is fine. This could all be related to a dietary issue. If there is no dietary problem, move on, if the vet finds something, simply altering the type of food your cat eats can solve this issue.

As you have been doing hide the bags. If other specific plastic is being attacked, try to move that. If the cat is still finding ways around this try Bitter Apple.
www.sears.com...
Bitter Apple has worked with every cat I've interacted with. Household items like hot sauce and air freshener can be used as well. Although I wouldn't blame you if you did not want to layer your house with these things.

You made comment how your cat will fetch for almost an hour. Sometimes boredom or lack of attention can cause PICA, this does not sound like your case. Nevertheless, added playtime can help.

As far as toys. Plastic cat toys seem to work, also rawhide bones and pig ears are safe to give to your cats although meant for dogs. Just do not buy non digestible dog bones. The edible ones are much safer, especially since they are not exactly meant for felines.

Also, be careful with scolding. It is a great technique for some animals, but it makes other hide the behavior. It will be much easier to control the behavior if the cat is doing it in front of you as opposed to hiding it from you.

edit on 7-5-2012 by headorheart because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 09:17 AM
link   
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


my cat is an indoor cat since my girlfriend is too scared to let him run free because of cars.

One thing I do to help enrich him is to take him outside.

I told him if he wants to go out he has to be chill, so he stays in the yard and talks to the birds, and attacks the evil bushes with all their many tentacles lol.

I also run around and play with his cat toys like I'm a giant cat, and we run around chasing each other and play fight. He likes to sneak up on me and "kill" my ankles with his soft kitty paws. He has amazingly sharp claws, but for some reason he has always known to keep them inside his paw. He even lets go of a play bite if you say ow, and he fixes you by licking it and making sure it's all patched up. lol

guess im losing the topic, but I love my kitty haha


Originally posted by headorheart

Also, be careful with scolding. It is a great technique for some animals, but it makes other hide the behavior. It will be much easier to control the behavior if the cat is doing it in front of you as opposed to hiding it from you.

edit on 7-5-2012 by headorheart because: (no reason given)


Yea that may be true too. My cat spends all his free time with me. So he can't hide anything from me. I have noticed this hiding behavior problem with other animals that other people train. I shower love on my pets like no ones buisness so that they always trust me. The scolding in this case changes their behavior without them trying to get away since they want to stay around the love and be on the "good list"

By the way, kitty is sitting right here reading everything you guys are saying.
edit on 5/7/2012 by Dustytoad because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 09:56 AM
link   
reply to post by smyleegrl
 

Maybe it is bored to heck from being indoors all day. We have had a few cats but they were all cats that could go outdoor when they wanted and none of them ever had this issue.



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 10:35 AM
link   
I had a cat for 13 years that loved to chew on particular types of cords and electrical wires (anything spongy -- the iron and curling iron cords, for example). She once chewed up my favorite set of headphones. She also chewed on my hair while I slept so that I would wake up and find clumps of hair on my pillow in the morning -- yikes!! I had to sleep with a scarf over my head while she was a small kitten. Thank goodness that, with time, she quit chewing on my hair.

Now I have a chewer who favors anything cardboard or cardboard feeling, i.e., lampshapes, paperback books, giftwrap paper. I'll have to figure that one out later as to how to deal with it.

For your problem kitty with a plastic fetish, here is what I did with the electrical wires around my home for Kitty No. 1: Go to the pet store and buy bitter apple spray. It says it's for dogs, but it works for cats as well. I used to go around my home every two weeks or so and spray all of my electrical cords (as long as they were intact, of course). The taste is soooo bad that after a time, even though I hadn't sprayed for several weeks, my kitty had already decided that the taste was bad enough not to go there or try it. But make no mistake, for 13 years off and on, I had to continually go around my entire home and spray all electrical wiring. If I waited too long, she'd figure it out and start chewing again. My vacuum cleaner eventually became so chewed up that I had to replace the cord because I kept forgetting to spray it, as was the case with several other cords around my home.

You can definitely use this method on plastic. Spray the outside of the garbage can or the cabinet or drawer where your garbage is located. Spray the outside container where the plastic is located. Spray the plastic itself. The main ingredient in the spray is alcohol, and it soaks into whatever it is sprayed on. It also works if I spray it onto cardboard boxes to keep my Kitty No. 2 from chewing on the box.
Trust me -- it will work!

P.S. No, Kitty No. 1 didn't eventually die of electrocution due to chewing on a live wire, thank goodness. Also, you can buy giant-sized refills for the bitter apple spray bottles. Good luck!



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 10:35 AM
link   

Originally posted by headorheart
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


The 'disease' your cat is called PICA. I'll let you do your own research, but this website is pretty helpful. www.messybeast.com...
First, take your cat to the vet. It does not have to be a special appointment, your next check up is fine. This could all be related to a dietary issue. If there is no dietary problem, move on, if the vet finds something, simply altering the type of food your cat eats can solve this issue.

As you have been doing hide the bags. If other specific plastic is being attacked, try to move that. If the cat is still finding ways around this try Bitter Apple.
www.sears.com...
Bitter Apple has worked with every cat I've interacted with. Household items like hot sauce and air freshener can be used as well. Although I wouldn't blame you if you did not want to layer your house with these things.

You made comment how your cat will fetch for almost an hour. Sometimes boredom or lack of attention can cause PICA, this does not sound like your case. Nevertheless, added playtime can help.

As far as toys. Plastic cat toys seem to work, also rawhide bones and pig ears are safe to give to your cats although meant for dogs. Just do not buy non digestible dog bones. The edible ones are much safer, especially since they are not exactly meant for felines.

Also, be careful with scolding. It is a great technique for some animals, but it makes other hide the behavior. It will be much easier to control the behavior if the cat is doing it in front of you as opposed to hiding it from you.

edit on 7-5-2012 by headorheart because: (no reason given)


Thank you for the information and ideas. I will research pica immediately. We just had our yearly vet checkup and I mentioned the plastic fetish. Our vet said it was fairly common and said the cat food we are using is fine.

I don't like to scold the cats. Ransom (the male) was a feral kitten when we adopted him from the shelter. He's terrified of people anyway and only really interacts with my son. Luckily the two of them seem to be soul mates of a sort; Ransom will play tag, tackle, and just about any other rough game with my son. My female cat, Kyrie, is very sweet and only wants to sit in your lap. I think scolding either one of these cats could be very traumatic, so we don't scold.



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 10:41 AM
link   

Originally posted by Dustytoad
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


my cat is an indoor cat since my girlfriend is too scared to let him run free because of cars.

One thing I do to help enrich him is to take him outside.

I told him if he wants to go out he has to be chill, so he stays in the yard and talks to the birds, and attacks the evil bushes with all their many tentacles lol.

I also run around and play with his cat toys like I'm a giant cat, and we run around chasing each other and play fight. He likes to sneak up on me and "kill" my ankles with his soft kitty paws. He has amazingly sharp claws, but for some reason he has always known to keep them inside his paw. He even lets go of a play bite if you say ow, and he fixes you by licking it and making sure it's all patched up. lol

guess im losing the topic, but I love my kitty haha


Originally posted by headorheart

Also, be careful with scolding. It is a great technique for some animals, but it makes other hide the behavior. It will be much easier to control the behavior if the cat is doing it in front of you as opposed to hiding it from you.

edit on 7-5-2012 by headorheart because: (no reason given)


Yea that may be true too. My cat spends all his free time with me. So he can't hide anything from me. I have noticed this hiding behavior problem with other animals that other people train. I shower love on my pets like no ones buisness so that they always trust me. The scolding in this case changes their behavior without them trying to get away since they want to stay around the love and be on the "good list"

By the way, kitty is sitting right here reading everything you guys are saying.
edit on 5/7/2012 by Dustytoad because: (no reason given)


We have a three story house with a deck on the second story. When the family is out on the deck, we let the cats out with us to enjoy the sun and fresh air. So far they've never tried to jump off the deck, but they seem content to curl up in the biggest patch of sun and snooze.

My son and Ransom love tag as well. It's quite amusing to watch a five year old running through the house giggling, with a big grey tom fast on his heels. When Ransom catches him, my son laughs and they switch roles. Like your cat, Ransom often swipes at my son or even nips at him, but always with gentleness. The one time my son sustained a real scratch was when he tried to flush Ransom down the toilet. He got a scratch for his troubles and learned a lesson.

My son also loves to play laser tag with the cats, shining a laser beam or flashlight on the walls. Very entertaining.

Thanks for your reply!



posted on May, 7 2012 @ 10:45 AM
link   

Originally posted by juleol
reply to post by smyleegrl
 

Maybe it is bored to heck from being indoors all day. We have had a few cats but they were all cats that could go outdoor when they wanted and none of them ever had this issue.


That could be a possibility. Where we live its simply not safe for the cats to be allowed outside. Lots of heavy traffic, coyotes, and neighborhood dogs in the area.

Since the cats seem to spend most of their time sleeping, we make a special effort to get them moving and engaged when we are at home. Every night we play with them, cuddle them (or at least the one who will let you cuddle her), etc. I have come home unexpectedly during the day and found both cats curled up in a patch of sunshine....they just move with the sun.

Thank you for your reply!




top topics



 
4
<<   2 >>

log in

join