5 Most Common Reasons Why Cats Eat Plastic
Many cat owners have noticed their cats eating some sort of plastic in their lifetime, and they didn't understand why is this happening. Many of them will look at their cat playing and eating plastic and won't do anything about it since they will consider it harmless behavior. In reality, eating plastic can be a serious problem and could lead to additional problems for your cat, so you must act immediately.
To help you better understand your cat and the reasons behind eating plastic, we talked to our vet, and she listed the 5 most common reasons why your cat could start to eat plastic in any form. Also, she gave us a few tips and solutions for all the cat owners that are battling this problem.
Here are the 5 reasons why cats like to eat plastic
Number one and the most common reason behind eating plastic is a health condition called pica. Pica is characterized as a behavior condition where cats eat non-edible things, including plastic. Although it may seem funny to you to see your cat eat a piece of plastic, it is a serious problem that can quickly cause additional health issues for your cat.
The exact reason for pica is still unknown, and if this is the reason why your cat has started to eat plastic, you will have to talk to your vet and find the best treatment option. In the meantime, here you can read more about pica in cats to better understand this condition – Pica In Cats
In the modern world, cat owners often time don't devote enough time to their cats, which can result in boredom. Bored cats will try to entertain themselves and will, in most cases, do things that are not so good. Eating plastic could be one of them.
You must ensure that you always provide enough toys, cat trees, or some other interactive toys for your cat, so she can be occupied, especially if she is left alone for a longer period.
Did you recently go shopping and leave plastic bags where your cat can approach them? In this situation, your cat could start to eat plastic bags because she smells the food you have brought. The easiest way to resolve this problem is to not allow your cat to come near your bags when you return from shopping.
4. Lack of proper diet
Every cat deserves a well-balanced diet in order to get all the important nutrients they need to get through the day. In reality, many cats often time don't have a good enough diet, resulting in a lack of required nutrients.
In this scenario, your cat could start to eat plastic because she lacks different nutrients, and she will eat whatever she can since she will try to make up for it.
You might think this is pretty rare, but you'd be surprised to learn that most cats don't have the proper diet and lack many healthy nutrients.
5. Some medical condition
The last reason our vet has listed is, of course, a medical condition. Different health problems can cause different symptoms in your cat; if your cat starts to show this behavior, some medical condition could bother her.
In most cases, this will be referred to as stress or anxiety, but there could be any health problem that is causing this behavior to appear. To help your cat, you must find what is bothering her and get her the right treatment.
What to do if your cat starts to eat plastic?
Whenever you notice your cat starts to eat plastic, you should take immediate action and stop this behavior. Although it seems funny and cute, eating plastic could very fast turn into health problems for your cat.
Our vet has listed the top five things you can do to ensure this behavior will be removed from your cat's life. Depending on your cat, you can spend more or less time teaching your cat not to eat plastic. Either way, make sure to have enough patience and don't quit. Some cats will require more time, but in the end, you can be sure that your cat will not eat plastic anymore.
1. Remove plastic access
The first and easiest step is to remove access to plastic. Whenever you are handling any plastic, and your cat is around, you should immediately remove plastic from her sight. That way, she will not be tempted to start eating.
You need to understand that this is only a temporary solution and that you will have to find the right reason behind eating plastic because even if you always remove plastic from your cat, she could still find something outside or during your walk, and your problem will not be solved.
2. Play with your cat
The majority of cats start to eat plastic because of boredom. The second thing you can do is devote more playing time to your cat. If you don't have enough time for playing, make sure to get your cat some interactive toys that could occupy her mind.
If your cat is stimulated enough, you can be sure she will not start eating plastic because of boredom. For the majority of cat owners, this trick has solved their problems.
3. Make changes in her diet.
Slight changes in cats' diets could also be a solution to stop this behavior. If your cat doesn't receive proper nutrients during the day, you can be sure that she will try to find nutrients that are missing in her body, and she could start eating all sorts of different and often time inedible things, including plastic.
If you are not sure if a current cat's diet is good enough for your cat, speak with your vet and list what he has to say. He will surely have some useful tips that you will be able to try with your cat.
4. Examine your cat
If your cat shows any additional symptoms or signs that could indicate that some health problem is bothering her and causing plastic eating, you should talk to your vet and schedule a meeting. After examining your cat, the vet can set the right diagnosis and proper treatment.
When the underlying problem is resolved, so should be eating plastic, and you should not be able to see this cat behavior anymore.
5. Talk to the cat trainer and behaviorist.
If the first 4 steps didn't help you and your cat is still showing this behavior, the last thing we could suggest is to talk to an experienced cat trainer and behaviorist. They have much more experience with these things and behaviors and could possibly understand the main reason why your cat is showing this behavior.
What to do if your cat has swallowed a piece of plastic?
If you notice that your cat has swallowed a piece of plastic, you should immediately take action. This could potentially be fatal for your cat, depending on the size of plastic your cat has ingested.
Plastic poses a choking hazard and can easily block cats' airways, and in no time, your cat could fall into come because of the lack of oxygen.
IMPORTANT: You should never put your fingers in your cat's mouth and try to find a piece of plastic. Rather, you must contact your vet and let him remove the plastic if it's stuck in your cat's mouth. By using a finger, you can only push the plastic further and create more problems.
When to see your vet?
You should contact your vet whenever you notice something unusual in your cat's behavior or if you see some symptoms that can indicate something is bothering your cat.
Your vet is here for you and your pet, and don't be shy to call whenever you have some questions regarding your cat. They will gladly help you if they can with every question you might have.
World Cat Finder Team