Why Does My Cat Lick Plastic Bags?

Dogs and cats alike, have strange behaviors. Some make sense, like dogs eating poop and puke, which is typically explained by the fact that they are scavenger animals and will eat anything they deem even a little bit edible, however, cats are more finicky animals, so to try to explain the fact that they eat or put their mouths on strange things, is a bit more difficult. Some people report that their cat tends to want to lick plastic bags, which may seem odd, and believe me, all kinds of people in high positions of cat authority, have tried to explain this odd behavior, and all that has been determined so far, are there are some theories, and that is it, just theories. But here they are:

First theory

It could be what the bags are made of that attract the cat. Apparently, some bags are made with animal fat, which is a cat attraction. It is also speculated that some plastic bags are made from fish scales and the use of fish oils, which we all know cats love. Sometimes even just the chemicals in the bags might attract a cat to want to lick it. They respond to smell and taste, and as simple as it may sound, this is a good theory. On the other hand, although it may explain why they lick plastic bags that do contain these elements, it doesn’t explain why they lick other plastic items that we know do not contain these products or elements, so this theory might only be partly accurate.

Second theory

There are mental issues that have been known to cause any mammal to have a dive to lick or eat things that are not food items. One such condition is called Pica and it is the illness that drives mammals to eat non-nutritive substances; dirt, hair or other odd and disgusting things. It can also fall under the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder if the problem turns into an incessant need to do this. Although this could be a reason some cats lick plastic bags, it doesn’t mean that all plastic-bag licking cats have mental issues. You should watch your cat though, and try to narrow it down to when he does this. Does it seem to be only in high-stress times or at any time, and consistently. You may want to have him checked at the Vet, if this is the case.

Third theory

One of the most real possibilities is that the bag they are licking may have contained something in it that smells yummy to them. Maybe it had a type of food, like delicious chicken, that attracts your cat, or cat food or treats. They can detect just a hint of a good smell and it can send them a’licking.

Fourth theory

The fourth theory has to do with noise. The noise factor is a big part of why cats like to lick plastic bags, according to many cat scholars, owners, veterinarians and others who have studied cats and their behaviors, including, just plain old cat owners and bloggers. Some say that the sound a plastic bag makes, mimics the same noise a rodent would make when caught.

Final thoughts

In the end, there is no definite answer as to why cats like to lick plastic bags. As far as the experts can tell, there could be a variety of reasons why cats do this odd behavior and it could be an individual reason, from cat-to-cat. The bottom line, though, that plastic bags can be a danger to animals, so all plastic bags should be kept out of reach of your cat at all times, and they shouldn’t be allowed to, or encouraged to engage in this behavior. If you do happen to notice your cat wanting to do this on a regular basis, however, have him checked by your veterinarian to make sure there isn’t something going on that may be detectable by a doctor.


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