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Why do cats chew on plastic?

Whether it’s Christmas lights, computer cords, straws, or plastic bags, some cats will seek out plastic in your home that you never knew existed. Chewing plastic is a common and risky behavior. If your cat swallows a piece, it can lead to a costly trip to the vet and sometimes even surgery to remove it. Being such a dangerous material to swallow, have you ever wondered why cats chew on plastic in the first place?

They’re teething

Between 3 and 7 months, kittens lose their baby teeth in order to grow a set of adult teeth. During this time, it’s perfectly normal for them to teeth. Just like human children, sometimes they will teeth on anything that will fit in their mouths. If your kitten is chewing on wires, provide safer and more attractive alternatives to stop the behavior.

They think it’s a toy

Have you ever seen your cat bat around a milk container pull tab? Or perhaps they finally caught a hold of a hanging phone charger and began to consume their caught prey. If your cat has found these plastic “toys” too appealing, it’s a big hint that it’s time to get some safer cat toys from the pet store.

Plastic hijacks their taste buds

Even a rinsed plastic food container from a leftover meal can absorb the aroma of the food it was holding, causing your cat to seek it out. Your cat may even knock over your trash can to get to it. Plastic bags also have a special coating that has an addictive flavor to your cat.

It might be pica

When a cat wants to eat something that has no nutritional value, it’s called pica. Pica can manifest for a number of reasons, such as dietary deficiencies, environmental factors, or compulsive disorders. Pica can also be the first sign of serious medical conditions, such as leukemia, tumors, FIV, and liver failure.

Or it could be something worse

As always, it’s a good idea to take your cat to the vet to rule out any medical problems first. Once your kitty is given a clean bill of health, you can talk to the doctor about how to change the behavior. When it comes to chewing on plastic, though, the solution is usually pretty simple. Keep all hazardous plastic out of kitty’s reach!

Are worried about your mischievous kitty that always seems to find plastic items to nibble while you’re out of town? Hire a pet sitter! Our sitters will keep a close eye on your cat. There’s still time left to book for the holiday! Don’t wait, book today!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

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