If you have a cat in your house, then you are probably aware of their affection towards plastic objects. God knows how many times I found my cat licking a plastic film, emulsions, or basically any type of plastic in the house and outside. And it really isn’t as naive as it sounds. People may find it funny, or even intriguing, and I’m not saying it can’t be, but first and foremost, it’s dangerous for your cat’s health.
So, why do cats do this? What’s up with their obsession with things that can potentially be lethal for them? Well, there are several theories explaining it:
#1. Alluring food smells
Soft plastics usually trap the odor of whatever was previously stored in them, and we all know how strong of a smell cats have. And if you’re a busy person, or you just like to keep your fridge organized, you probably store food in plastic containers, from fish to meat, to everything else. So it makes sense to see your cat licking the plastic container that once had food inside it.
#2. Corn starch
In the middle of the environment protection craze, more and more plastic bags are made out of biodegradable materials which contain corn starch. Many cats find this smell appealing.
#3. Crinkly fun
It’s like back when you were a child and you loved playing with things that make funny noises. A shopping bag can make all kinds of cool noises that probably remind cats of the sounds rodents make while walking in the grass and leaves.
#4. Tasty lubricants
In the making of plastic, they treat it with stearates, which are derived from tallow. Lanolin is also used in the production process. Both of these things might seem tempting to your curious feline. Also, they use gelatin in photo emulsion, which might just explain all the weird Kodak moments with your cat.
Many plastics may contain chemicals that mimic pheromones. There’s a chance that by licking the plastic, animals actually extend the flehmen reaction (for those of you who are not familiar with the term, it’s the thing when animals curl back their upper lips and inhale, many times staying in that exact position for a few seconds).
#6. All about the texture
There are many experts who think that it’s the smooth texture of plastic that attracts cats, especially because it feels good on their tongues. Some even think that the temperature of the plastic has a role as well in the whole process.
#7. The mind has its weird ways
Many cats gain a habit of eating things that you wouldn’t normally consider to be food. It’s a condition called pica and it’s considered to be a mental compulsion of some sort, or it can simply be the cat’s urge to try to get some extra nutrients that can’t be found in their regular diet.
What are your thoughts on this? Does your cat behave this way?
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You like finding out why cats do weird stuff? Then you might want to read more about why cats don’t like drinking water out of their water bowls. If you’re up to educating yourself even more on the feline subject, find out all the things you might not know about desexing your cat.