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Author Topic: Why does my kitty try to eat plastic?
Aimee Evilpixie
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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We've had Glico about two months now, and she's settled in pretty well. She likes to wake us up at night to get us to pet her, but we're working on that... She used to scratch under the closet doors, which was really annoying, but one squirt from the water bottle and she stopped doing that. (She hid for about three or four hours... I felt really bad, but she eventually forgave me.)

The issue that's left is that she is obsessed with crinkly plastic. Shopping bags, the bows on presents, the shrink-wrapped stuff that some electronic comes in, anything plastic that makes noise. She used to just sniff it a lot, but lately she's been staring to chew on it. She's kinda doing a number on the bow on top of my little brother's Christmas present. (Yeah, I started early.)

Whenever I see her doing this, I tell her no and remove her from the offending object. Just a few minutes ago she got on the table (another issue she has) and started chewing on some packaging from Chris' MP3 player he just got. I squirted her with the water bottle and she ran. Five minutes later, she was back with the bow on the present. I got up and pointed the bottle at her, and she ran. She's sulking under the couch right now.

Any suggestions? Continue what I'm doing? Clean up the house? (Planning on doing that today, anyway...) Any and all advice is welcome.

Aimee "Failing anything else, the presents are going on top of a bookcase" Evilpixie

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LadyLockeout
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Aimee, not to put a damper on things, but one of my cats is 10 1/2 years old, I've had him since he was 2 weeks old, and I have never, ever, been able to break him from licking/chewing plastic bags no matter what I do. I've found it's easier to just keep all plastic bag objects out of reach.

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mags
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Whew, glad it's not just our weirdo cat. He loves to lick plastic bags. I wonder how they could possibly taste good to him, I guess he must like the texture.

I never realized how often each day I would be shouting "Don't eat plastic!" until I got this cat.

Fortunately he doesn't usually try to chew it, just licks. I did find a plastic straw wrapper in his puke once, though.

I don't have any suggestions either, except don't leave it around.

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csel's in 2nd Grade
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Yeah, we have the same issues with 2 of 3 of our owners. I've tried everything, no avail. I don't put ribbons on packages anymore (allthough they aren't quite as interested in bows, for some reason).

If it is a stiff plastic they aren't going to be able to swallow and that I don't care about (like discarded packaging) I often let them have their fun. No bags or ribbons or stuff that could cause trouble, though.

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Aimee Evilpixie
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Well, I'm at least reassured that many people's kitties have lived quite long and healthy lives despite their plastic-chewing obsessions. Really, this will just be motivation to actually keep the house a bit cleaner. I do have hopes that the squirt bottle will be able to break her of the habit. She really, really hates the squirt bottle.

Aimee "She's sulking under the bed right now because I got her with it earlier" Evilpixie

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Jenn
Layaway in a Manger


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Thalia also tries to eat plastic every chance she gets, though she's never managed to get enough before we've caught her to make her sick or anything. We haven't yet found anything that will deter her, we've learned to be very careful about what gets left around.

She also licks the new couch we got last February. We've mostly accepted that she's a freak.

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Lydia Oh Lydia
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I think my cats are absolutely obsessed with ribbons. Nothing will keep them from biting and trying to eat ribbons (I've tried "no", squirting water, a can of pennies).

I think you need to keep doing what you're doing to try to get them to stop. If they won't stop, put the ribbon or other plastic away.

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DaGuyWitBluGlasses
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Plastic = Solid petroleum (oil)
Fat = Solid vegetable/animal oil

Plastic is similar to fat.

So the best guess is that it tastes the same to cats for some reason. (I remember a study suggesting that sweet taste-buds on cats don't develop properly (compared to other animlals))

(Cat's also like to lick other petroleum products like lubricating oil, so far i've switched to using wax lubricants instead and haven't caught the cat trying to lick that.)

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Ariadne
Deck the Malls


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Two of my cats do the same thing. As others have mentioned, I take away anything that they could swallow or choke on and let them chew on things that can't hurt them, like hard plastic from packaging.

Cats are so strange, but that's why we love them.

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I'm Dreaming of a White Canvas
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I'm glad to find out my cats aren't the only plastic eaters out there. They will do anything to get at a fresh-from-the-box sandwich bag.

They scared me half to death the first time they tried to eat bubble wrap!

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Ariadne
Deck the Malls


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Ah, yes...the allure of bubble wrap. Once we had the kind with the big bubbles (the bubbles are about the size of a quarter). One of our cats attacked the bubbles and jumped back in surprise when she punctured one and air blew into her face. She would then look quizzically at the wrap for awhile, then go for another bubble only to jump back in suprise again when she poked a hole in it with her teeth. It was hilarious.

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Aimee Evilpixie
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Frell. I knew I should have put the presents somewhere she couldn't get to before I left to get more kitty litter, but I didn't. So I came home to find two bows removed from their respective packages and some of the curled ribbon sitting on the floor in a puddle of what looked like cat saliva. It may have been vomit, but there wasn't anything in it but the ribbon. There were a couple more puddles in the bedroom. I cleaned everything up and I'm keeping an eye on Glico, but she doesn't seem to be exhibiting any distress, thank goodness.

Damn cat.

The gifts get to stay on top of a bookshelf this year, I think. This makes me really sad, though, because one of my favorite things about the holidays is wrapping presents, and I like to make them really fancy. If I want to have them under the tree, though, it seems I won't be able to have ribbon or bows on them. *sigh* Maybe I'll just add bows and ribbons right before we leave for my parents' house on Christmas Eve.

Aimee "I might give the squirt bottle another try, though." Evilpixie

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Elsie
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When my male cat was just a wee kitten, he had a thing for rubber bands. He would eat them off the newspaper or eat the elasticized strings off his toys. Let me tell ya'... I freaked the first time I saw a chewed up rubber band in his litter box because I thought he had worms! [Eek!]

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csel's in 2nd Grade
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I add bows before I leave, Aimee. Or, try using cloth ribbons, mine aren't nearly as interested in those (unless they are moving). It bugged me for a while, too, but now I just go with it - kinda like the scratched up couches. [Smile]

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Aimee Evilpixie
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by csel's in 2nd Grade:
I add bows before I leave, Aimee. Or, try using cloth ribbons, mine aren't nearly as interested in those (unless they are moving). It bugged me for a while, too, but now I just go with it - kinda like the scratched up couches. [Smile]

Yeah, I realized that I could actually crochet or knit reusable ribbons and bows to go on presents--she likes to lay on my knitting but doesn't try to eat it most of the time. A bonus is that if I used cloth ribbons and bows I could spray them with citrus oils and since cats hate citrus, she'd probably leave them alone.

I sense a possible upcoming battle over the Christmas tree, though.

Aimee "Now if I just spray the tree with citrus oil..." Evilpixie

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Em
Happy Holly Days


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Could you spray the plastic bows with citrus oil as well? I know it wouldn't soak in properly, but if she doesn't like it a surface coating might do the trick.

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Aimee Evilpixie
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I'm thinking about giving that a shot, too. I have to get some citrus oil first, though.

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Em
Happy Holly Days


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That might help. [lol]

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Ariadne
Deck the Malls


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My husband and I gave up on Christmas trees a few years ago. After picking up ornaments that had been knocked to the floor and shooing cats off of the branches, the final straw was when we came home one day to find the entire tree tipped over. Luckily the tree was artificial and the ornaments were all metal or wood. Since we aren't huge on Christmas anyway, it was no big deal to give up the tree.

Csel, I agree--it is amazing how much you get used to when there are furry creatures in the house. For instance, it is second nature now to check inside my shoes for toys before putting them on and to fish cat hairs out of my tea.

They are worth it, though. [Smile]

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Loony
Deck the Malls


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Both of my cats like to lick and chew up plastic bags, wrap, bows whatever they can get into really. Petra likes it the best when he can use the old chew on plastic manueuver in the middle of the night and get someone, anyone out of bed where he does the old "oh my god, I'm starving meow yowl" sometimes resulting in him being fed.

It's really annoying to wake up to the sound of plastic being chewed up. Ick.

However it's not as bad as Petra's cover the food habit, he needs to be physically re-directed from that activity in order to be stopped. It's very odd he seems to be totally fixated on that behaviour while he is doing it.

[Frown]

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