Why Do Cats Like Plastic Bags?

September 2, 2021
6 mins read

Why is it that cats love to lie on plastic bags so much? We don’t know why cats like to sit on plastic bags, but it is possible that they enjoy the comfort of being wrapped up in warm plastic bags and the distinctive crinkly sound. Plastic bags are a very interesting item for cats and they have fun playing with them.

This is the short answer.

Let’s dig a little deeper to find out what happens inside our furry friends’ heads. There are 6 reasons why cats love plastic bags!

Reason 1: Plastic Bags Are Unique Interesting For Cats
Take a moment to see the world through the eyes of your cat. Only humans have control over doors, which are constantly changing and confusing. Most objects are too heavy, bulky, and burdensome to move about. It’s possible to push and paw on most objects, but nothing happens.

For your cat, anything that isn’t too heavy is good.

While cardboard boxes are great fun and you can get the thrill from knocking small objects off the counter, plastic bags are just as much fun! Plastic bags are one the most fascinating and interactive items cats can find. Plastic bags are easy to manipulate into many shapes and make a unique sound that cats love. They also move in a strange wispy manner that is unmatched by anything cats have ever seen. Once they place a paw on one spot, another spot appears!

Ok, I know that I sound like a plastic bag evangelist but these bags are amazing for cats and they are very popular with them. It is possible that cats find plastic bags attractive because they can lay on them.

You have to think about it. There is nothing else in the cat’s world with the same properties as a bag made of plastic.

Look at these cats having a lot of fun with a bag made from paper and plastic!

Reason 2: It’s Your Cats Insulation Instinct
Cats are naturally drawn to warm and comfortable places. This would likely be a place covered in leaves or other foliage. A plastic bag’s crinkly crunch might mimic the sound made by crunchy leaves and cat instinctively seek out this sound.

Plastic bags can provide insulation. But, it’s probably much more than you think. You’ll quickly discover that plastic is not well-known for its breathability if you’ve ever worn one of these plastic ponchos or something similar. A plastic bag not only sounds like natural insulation, but also works.

Reason #3: Cats love being snuggled
Cats like to be snug and wrapped up.

These are not the only ones.

A Journal of Veterinary Behavior published a study on the effects of a pressure wrapping on canine anxiety. A pressure wrap, a type canine clothing, applies light pressure across the torso. Thunder Shirts, a pressure wrap made of cotton and applied to the torso, have been shown to reduce anxiety and heart beat. Thunder Shirts are a snug shirt dogs can wear to reduce anxiety.

Amazon has Thunder Shirts available for cats.

The Thunder Shirt might be a very extreme example of being snug in a rug like a bug, but it’s easy for a plastic bag to give that same feeling. Plastic bags are easy to mold to the cat’s shape and could give them the same feeling as we do when we’re covered up!

Some cats just like to plop down on the bags without any preparation, but others seem to really take the time and make sure the bag fits exactly where they need it to!

Reason 4: Beef Tallow is the reason
Plastic bags are a favorite place for cats to lie on. However, they can also be chewed on by them. Although it is still unclear exactly what is happening, beef tallow seems like the best answer. It’s a fat made from beef tallow and is used in the manufacture of many plastic bags. Arnold Plotnick, a vet, says that it is possible for some cats to sense the faint fat smell and enjoy the taste of it which causes them to lick and chew it.

Remember, cats can sense beef tallow 14 times better than humans.
This is what it has to do with cats laying down on plastic bags. It is part of the overall attraction cats have to plastic bags. Once they are explored, they then decide that they make good beds.

It’s possible for cats to enjoy smells the same as humans. We might prefer fresh cookies or vanilla extracts, but cats love the smells of plastic and beef grease!

What’s so special about chewing plastic bags
Bags purchased at a grocery store or another food shop can have a pleasant scent and taste that can be ingested. Many bags can also be coated in cornstarch, gelatin, or stearates (saltsof stearate acids), which make them appealing to cats. Cats also love the crinkly sound that plastic bags make.

The health of cats’ teeth can also be a reason why they chew bags. You should take your cat to the veterinarian if she is engaging in such activities. Your veterinarian may want to talk with you about your cat’s diet. Too many chewable objects could indicate a lack of proper nutrition. Boredom may also be a factor in such habits. To keep your cat safe, you should have a plan that includes enrichment and management.

Tips to prevent your cat’s habit of chewing plastic bags

Bag chewing can pose a risk to your cat’s safety. You should make sure she has no access to bags. Bags are easy to get rid of. It is important that you dispose of bags in a secure place so your cat can’t get into them. These bags can be kept in your trash can if you want to recycle them later.

Enrichment can play a significant role in keeping your cat from chewing on unsuitable items. Miranda K. Workman, an International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants Adjunct Prof of Animal Learning at Canisius College was a certified animal behavior consultant and said, “Addressing cats’ sensory needs: smell and taste, texture, sound, and texture.” Also, look for items that are not like these so your cats can have a wide range of textures and sounds to chew on and play with. Workman said, “I use puppy Nylabones(r), to chew toys for cats that are very orally focused.”

Your cat will be happier if you play more with him/her daily. Toys that require your attention, such as the “fishing rod” or “fishing wand”, are good options. Interactive food toys are great for engaging felines minds and bodies. They require that your cat hunts for food within the toy. Training your cat (clicking training), to perform basic behaviors like sit, down, and other tricks can be a wonderful way of increasing their exercise and bonding time.

Why is my cat so obsessed with plastic bags? Plastic bags are her favorite food. Plastic bags appeal to your cat’s senses because of a number of factors: the crinkle and smell of plastic, the scent of food in the bag wafting through her air, and the smooth, flat surface under her feet. For your cat, it’s an entire sensory experience.

The Pet Health Network explains that plastic bags are particularly attractive to cats as they can be coated with cornstarch, stearates (salts stearate acids), or made from animal by-products like gelatin. When your cat sees a bag made of plastic, it thinks “Oh, that’s a treat!”

Your cat may also be able to chew on hard plastic objects such as straws or milk jug rings in order to relieve anxiety due to medical or environmental stressors. These stressors could include moving to a better home, adopting a pet or adding a child to the household, as well as illness or aging.

Ginger cat, wrapped in paper bags, chewing on sausages.

Safety and Prevention
For a number of reasons, plastic bags and cats can be dangerous together. Plastic bags can be dangerous for cats because they could swallow foreign objects that could obstruct their airways or cause intestinal distress. Your cat might also get the handles wrapped around her neck which could reduce her ability to breathe.

It is best to keep plastic bags away from your cat’s reach. Keep extra bags out of reach of your cat in a closet, garage or any other space that is not used by cats. However, this may not be possible if the bags are used to line garbage cans and litter boxes. You don’t need to worry about your cat chewing on panliners, as most cats don’t associate their litter box with food. A lid can be used to cover the trash can. It’s impossible for her to reach it so she can’t chew it. This is also true for electrical cords.

To find out the real reason your cat is eating plastic, consult your veterinarian. The Animal Behavior College says that they can rule any other conditions, such as pica. This is a disorder in which animals eat nonfood items like rubber, plastic, and fabric. Pica can also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as feline cancer. It is a good idea for your cat to be examined as soon as possible.

Plastic Alternatives
You can use stealth diversion strategies to seperate cats and plastic bags. If the temptation is too tempting to be removed, give her something more appealing. To stimulate her senses, you can give her food puzzles or mazes. She will love soft toys for cats that she can chase around her house, as her hunting instinct is strong. Many cats love dog toys, especially those that are sturdy and durable.

A safe area for your cat to chew is another option. Give your feline friend a safe place to chew toys or cat treats. Her own garden is a healthier, more fun option to toxic and unhealthy plastic.

I am a contributing author and co-founder of animalsanswers.com. Every now and then i find myself hooked to my laptop researching and trying to discover new species of animals.

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