Why Does My Cat Eat Plastic?

Is it normal for cats to chew on plastic?

Does your cat do everything she can to get ahold of your plastic grocery bags? Do you find tiny cat-tooth marks in your sandwich baggies? Do you have to lock up garbage bags, packaging, dry-cleaning bags, cups, straws, and all other plastic items in your home so your cat doesn't chew on them?

If you have a cat that loves to lick, chew on, or eat plastic, you're not alone. Cats that do this are in the minority, but it's still common enough that people ask their veterinarians about it fairly often. So why would a cat eat plastic?

Your Plastic-Loving Cat Is Demonstrating Pica

Pica is a medical term that means having the propensity for chewing on or eating non-food items. Cats may suffer from pica for a number of different reasons including:

You can learn more about cats that chew on or eat non-food items here: "Pica in Cats: Why Cats Eat Strange Things."

What Can Be Done About a Cat Eating Plastic?

If your cat chews on plastic, you should be concerned. Ingesting plastic may not only result in minor problems such as vomiting and diarrhea, but it can also cause a serious intestinal obstruction that may require surgery. Plastic can be a choking or suffocation hazard, too, and plastic bags can be a strangulation danger. Hard plastic items can cause damage to sensitive mouth tissues when they are chewed.

Here are some things you can do if your cat licks, chews on, or eats plastic:

If your veterinarian feels that your cat is truly experiencing an obsessive-compulsive issue, he or she may prescribe medications to be used short-term to enhance the efficacy of the behavior modification work you are doing at home. Never give your cat any medications without talking with your veterinarian first.

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