Why Do Cats Lick Plastic?
Pica is an eating condition that causes cats to consume odd items. They are attracted to non-food things, like as plastic, as a source of food. However, licking or chewing on plastic shopping bags, straws, rubbish bags, sandwich bags, cups, or other plastic goods may indicate anything other than pica. Here are six possible causes for your cat’s plastic obsession.
Plastic Has an Enticing Sound
The crinkly sound plastic makes when licked or chewed on isn’t particularly appealing to our ears, but it can resemble creatures scurrying around in leaves or across the grass to our feline friends. It’s a tempting sound, and it could be activating your cat’s prey drive.
Interesting Food Smells
The soft and porous plastic used to produce supermarket and sandwich bags traps food odors within. Because a cat’s sense of smell is so acute, they may easily detect food aromas in the bags we use to transport goods home; sandwich bags also retain the odor of whatever was kept inside. If your cat chews on a bag, she may think she’s found something tasty to eat and ingest some of the plastic.
Corn starch-based biodegradable packing “peanuts” have been around for a while. To help keep plastic out of our environment and conserve wildlife, some manufacturers of plastic shopping bags have begun to use biodegradable materials, such as corn starch. Many cats appear to enjoy the smell and taste of corn starch.
Lubricants in Plastic
If you notice your cat licking a photograph, it’s because the photographic emulsion, which is a light-sensitive colloid made up of silver halide crystals distributed in gelatin, contains gelatin.
Stearates, a saturated fatty acid present in animal and vegetable fat, are used to cure plastics. This acid is used to soften rubber and can be found in soaps, candles, cosmetics, oil pastels, and plastics. The chemical compound stearic acid ethyl ester is insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents. These substances are either fatty acids or by-products of fatty acids. This gives plastic a pleasant odor, which tempts some cats to chew or lick it.
Other compounds in some plastics have interesting smells that cats are attracted to. It’s possible that cats perceive a pheromone-like odor. It’s possible that licking the plastic could activate a flehmen response, which could explain why a cat will urinate on a plastic bag.
Cats Like the Feel of Plastic
Some cats may lick plastic because they enjoy the sensation of it on their tongue. Cats may be drawn to plastic because of its temperature, according to some feline specialists.
Some cats appear to like licking or chewing on plastic. A curious kitten who discovers that chewing on plastic is a fun “toy” may continue to do so as an adult just for the fun of it.
It’s possible that your cat seeks out plastic for medical reasons. She could be suffering from a lack of physical and mental stimulation, as well as dental illness, gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, stress, social issues with other family pets, noise phobia, and other medical disorders. Plastic licking or chewing could also be your cat’s way of coping with a difficult situation.
If your cat ingests shards of plastic of any kind, she could be in danger. Plastic can get stuck in her throat, block her GI system, and injure her gums and other soft mouth areas. Suffocation is also a possibility if she is wrapped in a plastic bag.
Make sure your cat doesn’t have access to plastic bags if you want her to avoid licking or chewing on them. To assist her satisfy her drive to assault things, give her appropriate toys to play with. Toys that allow her to explore a variety of textures, sounds, tastes, and smells are good. To keep your cat’s mind and body healthy, spend more time playing with her.
Although cats are more difficult to train than dogs, you can teach them basic commands with patience, effort, and a supply of tasty cat treats. Training is an excellent approach to build your bond with your cat while also improving her activity level. If you feel your cat’s desire to lick or chew plastic products is due to a medical issue, take her to the veterinarian.
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