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Why Do Cats Eat Plastic? Should You Be Concerned?

Why Do Cats Eat Plastic? Should You Be Concerned?

If you are a pet owner, you will notice that your pet has some unusual habits, especially if you own a cat. Cats are one of the most common pets in the United States; however, they have some habits that would make their owner worried. If you notice your cat eating plastic, it is natural to be worried. Let us find out what causes this habit in cats and if it is healthy.

Cats eat plastic for several reasons, such as stress, anxiety, lack of nutrients, and predatory instinct. As a pet cat owner, you should be concerned if your cat eats plastic because ingesting plastic can cause diarrhea, vomiting, intestinal obstruction, suffocation, and choking. 

Chewing plastic is one of the dangerous things cats do; however, they indulge in this for some reason. As a pet cat owner, you must understand this habit and curtail it as the results might be hazardous. Leaving your cat to eat plastic will cause serious harm, so you should always monitor your cat and not leave plastics lying around.

kitten in bag

Is It Normal For Cats To Eat Plastic?

When you notice your cat always wanting to eat plastic, the first question that comes to your mind is if such a habit is normal. Eating plastic is a common habit in cats; however, there are several reasons why cats eat plastic, so we cannot say if it is normal or not.

Eating plastic or constantly chewing plastic is classified under the medical term pica; however, in this case, it is referred to as plastic pica. Pica refers to the habit of chewing or eating non-food items. Cats eat plastic when they are stressed or anxious; when a cat has a strained relationship with its owner and is not having enough playtime, it can result in stress.

So, when a cat is stressed, it can start eating plastic to relieve stress and anxiety. When a cat is not getting enough nutrients from its diet, it usually resolves to chew on other stuff to eat. In most cases, the other stuff is usually plastic. Eating plastic can be a result of nutrient deficiency. It is usually an impulse move.

The best way to ensure your cat gets the nutrients it needs is by feeding the cat with homemade cat food that includes all food groups. If your cat has obsessive-compulsive disorder, it could be why the cat eats plastic. This medical issue is caused by stress and can make your cat forget about all its usual activities and concentrate on eating plastic.

Another reason a cat will eat plastic is predatory instincts; your cat might think of a plastic bag as prey that needs to be caught for food. Hence, the cat might start to eat the plastic. A plastic bag is the most common form of plastic a cat will eat; so, when a cat notices a plastic bag moving, its instinct tells it to grab the bag and feed on it.

A cat suffering from diabetes, anemia, brain tumors, and dental problems can exhibit the habit of eating plastic. This is because most cats are self-soothers; they prefer to make themselves feel better before letting anyone know they are not feeling well. So, nibbling on plastic can be a way your cat tries to make itself feel better.

How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Eating Plastic?

Once you notice your cat always eating plastic, you should look for ways to get it to stop because feeding on plastic is dangerous for your cat. The first step to getting your cat to stop eating plastic is to take it to the veterinarian for an examination. This is because you might not know the exact cause of this action.

Once you get to the veterinarian with your cat, discuss the cat’s bowel movement and diet and let the veterinarian run a physical examination on the cat. If the cat is cleared and deemed to be in perfect health, then you know the cause for eating plastic has nothing to do with the cat’s health.

One of the best ways to stop your cat from eating plastic is to enrich its environment. This includes providing hiding spaces and resting space for the cat, giving it the proper training, providing it with things to chew on and toys to hunt. When your cat is occupied with different activities, it might never consider chewing or eating plastics.

Also, training your cat is very important in curtailing the habit of eating plastic. When your cat is properly trained, it will be obedient when you instruct it not to eat the plastic and leave the area. You should also restrict the access of your cat to plastics. When your cat has continuous access to plastic, it can get overcome by curiosity, leading it to eat the plastic.

You should stop leaving plastic bags, utensils, and plastic coated cords lying around in the house so that your cat does not feed on them. In cases where you are not around to monitor your cat, you can confine it to a room. However, this room must have a bed for the cat, a window, food, water, and activities for the cat to engage in.

To get your cat to stop eating plastic, you should provide an alternative for it. Get several chew toys for your cat so that it has something to chew on instead of plastics. If you have other items in the house made of plastic, you can spray them with bitter-tasting spray so that your cat will stop eating the plastics because of their taste.

cat at the vet

What Happens If A Cat Eats Plastic?

As stated earlier, plastics and cats should not be together at all; several health issues can arise when a cat eats plastic. First, when a cat eats plastic, it can result in choking as the plastic can get stuck in the cat’s throat. If such happens and medical care is not provided immediately, the cat can choke to death.

Plastic is indigestible, so when a cat feeds on them, it will not break down in the cat’s stomach. If a cat eats plastic, it can cause intestinal obstruction because it is indigestible. When intestinal obstruction occurs in cats, water and food cannot pass through the stomach or small intestines.

This can result in vomiting as the foods will not move to the intestines for digestion. When a cat cannot feed, it cannot get the nutrients it requires for survival. The cat will also be unable to excrete in any form. The cat should be rushed to the veterinarian for medical attention in cases like this. Also, when ingested even in small fragments, rigid and sharp plastic can cause issues for the cat.

The rigid and sharp fragments of plastics ingested by a cat can become lodged in the walls of the intestine or stomach. This could result in inflammation and sometimes cause a dangerous perforation. When a perforation or hole in the intestine occurs, the cat might develop a peritonitis infection, leading to high temperature or fainting.

When a cat eats plastic, it can also result in abdominal discomfort, blood in the stool, diarrhea, inability to stool, and lethargy. Once you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, you should immediately take it for a visit to the veterinarian for a physical examination and diagnosis.

Final Thoughts

When you have a cat as a pet, you must study your cat to notice any strange or unusual habits. If you notice your cat eating plastic, you should take the right action by visiting the veterinarian. You should also take precautionary measures to ensure your cat does not eat plastic or have access to them. This little act keeps your cat safe and protects it from any possible chance of serious health issues or death.

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