There are many reasons why cats like plastic bags, they may smell interesting, they’re comfortable to sit on, they make an exciting rustling noise, and sometimes they can even taste good due to the animal fats that are used in their production.
Regardless of how much joy your cat gets from plastic bags please don’t allow your cat to play with them.
Plastic bags can easily be torn and eaten, this can cause serious issues which can kill your cat.
1. They Smell Of Food
The most common use for plastic bags is carrying home food from the grocery store.
This means that they inevitably smell of whatever delicious things you have bought.
Scent is very important to cats, they use it to as one of their primary methods of gathering information.
Your cat will notice the interesting scent of a plastic bag, this will immediately make the bag an item of intrigue for them.
They will be very keen to have a good smell of it to try and gather information about where it’s from and what has been carried in it.
2. They Are Comfortable
Cats are great at finding the warmest and most comfortable spot in the house, this is part of the reason why they love boxes, because they insulate them and make them feel secure.
The same is true (to a lesser degree) of plastic bags:
- Plastic bags provide a bit of cushioning against a hard floor.
- Plastic bags provide a small amount of insulation against cold surfaces.
- Hiding inside a plastic bag can make your cat feel hidden and secure.
3. The Noise They Make
Cats have a love/hate relationship with plastic bags and their noise.
If you use litter tray liners you may notice that your cat runs for cover when your shake the plastic liner out, the same is true of bin bags.
However with smaller bags the rustling sound that they make can be intriguing to cats, smaller plastic bags are less intimidating to cats and the rustling noise they make when your cat pounces on them and paws at them can trigger the same response in them that they would get from catching a mouse.
4. Animal Fats Used On Plastic Bags
It’s not common knowledge but many plastic bag manufacturers use animal fats as a ‘slip agent’.
A slip agent is something that stops the bag from sticking together, making it slip open easily allowing you to fill it up without having to spend ages peeling each bag apart.
Slip agents are usually made from either beef or chicken fat, this is then coated on the plastic bags.
Even though these animal fats have been treated and processed into something altogether different your cat has a very strong sense of smell.
In fact, cats have over 200 million odor-sensitive cells in their noses, this is 14 times as many as us humans who only have 5 million.
You won’t notice the smell of animal fats on your plastic bags but your cat most likely will, even if there is only a very faint trace of scent remaining.
Why Cats Like Sitting In Plastic Bags
Cats love being in tight spaces such as small boxes, drawers and anything that they can squeeze themselves into.
Cats particularly enjoy sitting in plastic bags because static electricity on the bag often causes the bag to stick tightly to your cat’s coat making them feel safe, secure and well hidden.
Why Cats Lick Or Chew Plastic Bags
There are a number of reasons why your cat may lick or chew plastic bags:
- One of the reasons is that your cat may have a condition called ‘Pica’.
This is a compulsive disorder that causes cats to lick, suck or chew inedible objects such as wires, plastics, metals and even poop, simply because they like the feel of the texture in their mouth.
Pica is common in kittens though it can happen to cats of any age, it is particularly common in certain breeds including Oriental and Siamese cats.
- Another reason is they may like the taste.
As we’ve already mentioned animal fats are often used to produce slip agents which are used on plastic bags.
Even though the amount of animal fat on a plastic bag is minimal your cat may be able to taste it which explains why they may love licking plastic bags.
- They smell of food.
Again, as we’ve mentioned, if you have carried something which smells particularly delicious to your cat such as cat food, fish, or some sort of dairy then your cat may lick the bag in the hope of tasting a morsel of whatever it is that they can smell on it.
How To Stop Your Cat Lick & Chewing Plastic Bags
Chewing bags can be fatal to cats so stopping this behaviour is very important.
Don’t try and train your cat to not eat bags as this will take time and accidents (which could be fatal) could happen.
Instead do one of these:
- Get rid of all your plastic bags.
- Keep every plastic bag securely locked away in a place where your cat can’t get to them, make sure you are diligent about locking the cupboard/drawer every time you open it so that your cat is tempted to play with them.
Are Plastic Bags Dangerous To Cats?
Plastic bags can be very dangerous to cats.
Cats love to chew them, this means that bits of plastic are likely to be swallowed and may get stuck somewhere in their digestive system, this can require surgery to fix.
A cat may also asphyxiate themselves with a plastic bag.
Should You Let Your Cat Play With Plastic bags?
No, you should never let your cat play with plastic bags.
Sadly there are all too many stories of cats dying after playing with plastic bags:
If you are anything like me you probably have a drawer or cupboard in your kitchen which is stuffed full of plastic bags.
As a cat owner you must make sure that all of your plastic bags go in there and that the cupboard is completely inaccessible to your cat.
A better option would be to completely get rid of all of your plastic bags and switch to using only paper bags or reusable long-life bags.
Long-life bags are cat safe because they are very sturdy so your cat won’t be able to bite bits off them.
Paper bags are cat safe too because even though your cat will be able to bite bits off them paper is digestible so won’t cause a dangerous blockage if they eat it.
Plastic bags regularly kill cats, don’t let your cat become another sorry statistic.