Cat habit question

Why does my cat lick and chew on those plastic bags you get from the grocery store?

:confused: No idea; but one of mine does the licking thing too - no chewing, though.

That crinkle - pause - crinkle sound drives me nuts and she has noticed that I come running (to (threaten to)whack her silly) after she’s been at it for a minute or so - so now she does it when she wants me to come & feed her…

BAD kitty!

She also likes to lick (and therefore shred/create large spitballs out of) paper napkins & tissues.

Cats are weird.

Good thing they’re cute, too. :slight_smile:

One of my cats does this. I’ve noticed a few things:

  1. He’ll lick and lick and lick at the same spot on the bag for several minutes before he moves to a fresh spot.

  2. His eyes are closed while he does this, as if he’s deeply concentrating.

  3. He never bites or claws the bag.

  4. He never moves it from where he found it.

  5. He’ll often take a break and go back for seconds, later.

  6. My other cats have never displayed this behaviour. They’ll play with plastic bags, but it’s the standard get inside, chew it, shred it, make lots of noise, run off before the big slow human shows up with the water gun.
    Some theories:

  7. He likes the texture.

  8. He likes the crinkly sound.

  9. He likes the taste. Perhaps there’s talc residue or some other release agent on the bag (so they don’t stick together when the cashier is trying to open them). I don’t know if this is true or not. Just speculatin’, but that’s where I’d put my money.

  10. He’s a castrated, indoor cat. He’s got nothing better to do.

By the way, if there is talc or somesuch on the bags, it won’t likely be toxic to the cat. After all, they are grocery bags.

Hey All,

Out cat does the exact same thing that Kamandi described.

My theory is that the plastic is out gassing some scent that triggers some instinctive licking behaviour.


All good theories–esp found that talc powder one interesting. She must be enjoying it , but it’s funny how sometimes she passes up the bag and other times its her new best friend. I wonder if her gums are sore, like teething, but for grown-ups?


The plastic is softened with lard, tallow, etc, and the cat’s sensitive nose can pick it up.

They are extremely dangerous, though, and if you love your cat you will put the bags up. The handles can get wrapped around the cat’s neck or chest and cause strangulation. Also, if the cat swallows the bag, it could possibly cause a blockage or strangulation of the digestive tract.

Is this true? I would have thought that modern plastics manufacturers wouldn’t use such materials, since they’d probably have substantial handling costs (refrigeration, for example). Wouldn’t vegans and Kosher shoppers disapprove of their groceries being in contact with bags leaking lard or tallow? Do you have a cite for this?

Although I guess something on the bags might smell good to a cat. Interesting idea.

Good points. Supervise your cat while he’s playing with bags.

I was told that it had something to do with the cat being weened too soon. Hoax?

You know those little listerine strips? Cat’s freak out with those. They think it’s the normal plastic they love to chew in, but when it starts dissolving on their tongue and sticking to the roof of their mouth, they don’t know what to do!

Of course, after my kitty ate it, she loved it. Every time I took one out she’d want one. :slight_smile:

That lard/tallow thing is wild!!!
“Cha Ching. Will that be paper or plastic…or low fat plastic?”

That seems to make sense–don’t worry no strangulation going on here–

You wonder who the poor sucker is getting paid $5/hr spreading lard on plastic. :wink:

Catnip is in the mint family, so I’m not surprised that cats are interested in those things. Our cat loves anything minty (and plastic bags, too).

I think you’ll find this thread interesting;
wierd cats
Scroll down a little.

Awww, thanx 4 sharing!!:cool:

Yes, yes, and yes:

That answers it! Thanks!! Great links.
I would have never in a milliion years guessed it. Goes to show how sensitive cat noses are!

Well, toss me in a skillet and call me Bacon! I never would have guessed there were animal products in plastics manufacturing. Thanks for the links lorinada.