Why Do Cats Like to Chew Plastic Items?
8 January, 2018
Our cats do have many peculiar behaviors that keep us amused and confused. Eating or chewing on plastic bags, bands, and cords are a common habit of many cats. There are a few reasons why your cat might be chewing on plastic and ways to stop it.
Chewing plastic or other inedible objects is called Pica
Chewing or eating inedible objects is called pica. Some cats simply decide they want to chew or swallow nonfood objects. Keeping an eye on this behavior is important, as chewing and eating plastic can be dangerous for cats; when the plastic is ingested, it may lead to blockages in the intestine. It is always a good idea to take your cat to the vet to make sure there isn’t an underlying medical issue.
Below are some steps you can take to stop your cats from chewing on plastic:
Take a look at your cat’s diet
Some extreme deficiencies in nutrients can cause pica. Sometimes a lack of fiber can cause cats to choose plastic. Talk to your vet about your cat’s diet and if fiber might help
Your cat is simply bored and needs more interaction
A bored cat can be a destructive cat. Play with your kitty when you’re home and consider getting some puzzle toys for them while you’re out. Make sure your cat has a nice place by the window to watch birds or spy on people walking past. This will help ease boredom and provide some mental stimulation. Teach your cat a new trick or play a new game.
Your cat might be feeling anxious
Your cat may feel anxious about something and eat items to cope. If you’ve moved recently and changed the cat’s environment or if there is stress at home that your cat is picking up on, this may be the cause of your kitty’s anxiety. Provide your cat with lots of safe spaces, including enclosed areas like boxes, elevated perches so your kitty can keep an eye on their environment, and a secure litter box area.
Have plenty of cat scratching posts.
Cats release stress, mark territory, and exercise by scratching. Having plenty of good scratching posts around can decrease unwanted behaviors in cats.
Redirect your cat’s attention when he or she starts chewing plastic
If you see your cat chewing on something plastic, redirect her attention by calling her or throwing a toy in the opposite direction as the targeted plastic item. Praise her when she leaves the plastic to pursue the more acceptable behavior.
Keep plastic items away
Because of the possible health hazards to cats associated with chewing on and eating plastic, everyone in your home should be aware of the importance of keeping all plastic out of her reach.
Make plastic items less appealing. There are nontoxic cat deterrent sprays that can safely repel your cat from electrical cords or other objects that you can’t put away all the time. Substances with a strong smell or bad taste may also work, like citrus sprays or hot sauces.
Provide safe alternatives. Give your cat some safe, chewable cat toys with treats inside or puzzle toys that will keep them busy. Instead of allowing your cat to nibble on grass or houseplants, try growing some catnip or a catnip alternative that your kitty can safely chew.
If your kitty keeps chewing on plastic items and you have ruled out medical conditions, you might consider speaking to a behaviorist.
Love cats? You should read these articles: