Why do Cats Like to Bite and Play with Plastic?

At least one of my cats does. Bite it, scratch it, whatever.

tastes good.

a friend had to keep earphones hidden because cats would chew it.

It’s not just plastic, but anything sparkly or crinkly, especially if it’s moving. They’re honing their skills for someday when they escape, and have to chase down their food out in the cruel world.

Mine like to chew rubber bands and sponges. Go figure.

Pepper Mill claims that the plasticizers taste “sweet” (or at least tasty) to cats. I’m not sure where she got this information, but it seems consistent with our cat’s love of licking plastic grocery bags.

Similarly, one of our cats LOVED petroleum jelly. A little Vaseline apparently is good for catsd – it lubricates hairballs. One hairball remedy, Petromalt, is apparently a malt composition in petroleum jelly. You’re supposed to put a dab on your cat’s paw, and they compulsively lick it clean, thus getting their dose.

except that Midnight LOVED the petromalt. And, we discovered, especially the Vaseline. If you opened a jar of it, he’d stick his head in and start licking it. we had to severely limit his intake.

"Had to severely limit … " why? Is it bad for them in large quantities? (Do the hairballs get TOO lubricated? :smiley: )

LISA: “Please don’t ruin this for me, Bart. I think he’s starting to like me.”
BART: “Milhouse likes you.”
LISA: “Oh, please, Milhouse likes Vaseline on toast.”

I’ve got a bag-licker in this house, too (let me clarify - my cat likes to lick plastic bags). Her favourite is the bags that toilet paper come in. She gets into a zen-like licking trance some times, then gets her paw in on it, too - licks the bag, licks her paw, licks the bag, licks the paw, and on and on like that.

I’d say they like the taste, too.

Obligatory cat ping-pong link.

Cats are incapable of tasting sweetness from sugar and stuff. They don’t have the taste buds. But replace with “tasty” and maybe that works, although I don’t know.

AFAIK it is pretty much flavored Vaseline.

Among my herd of cats (pride? murder?), the one who actively avoids Petromalt is the only one who actually needs it :frowning:
Hmm, some plastic is a petroleum product!

Plastic bags that contain toilet paper or paper towels. At first I wondered why my toilet paper was all scratched up. He also likes to play with rubber bands.

Btw, it is a pride of cats, but I don’t know what they are so proud of.

Clowder is one term, at least for feral cats.

I’ve had cats that love to unroll toilet paper and possible drag it into the living room. But one of mine now bites and scratches the roll, which was new to me. Afterwards it is hard to use, as the outer layers are embedded in the inside ones, and it doesn’t unroll right.

Our cat loves to rustle any loose plastic bags lying around. Drives us up the wall. We’ll be watching a movie and then all we can hear is rustlerustlerustlerustle.



-tentative rustle-


[quote=“HazelNutCoffee, post:11, topic:684633”]

Our cat loves to rustle any loose plastic bags lying around. Drives us up the wall. We’ll be watching a movie and then all we can hear is rustlerustlerustlerustle.{/QUOTE]This would not happen if you had the cat on your lap being petted, as is proper. Obviously you are poorly-trained humans.

My cat loves to chew on tape and if he finds them, photographs.

That’s why I put “sweet” in quotation marks.

I can guess, too. But I don’t know for sure, as you don’t

My cat knocks all kinds of shit around.


Ours is an obsessive plastic sniffer and licker, and also sits, creepily unmoving, with his face against plastic like the kid in the corner at the end of the Blair Witch Project movie.

From time to time he will get his head threaded through the handle loop of one of the plastic grocery bags we give him, and then walks around the house wearing it like a superhero cape. When he does that, he acts so stately and dignified that I start to wonder if he is enjoying it or if it bugs him but he’s too cat-proud to admit it was a mistake (i.e., the old “that’s exactly how I meant that to look” expression cats have when they’ve just done something embarrassing).

Mine likes to chew on vinyl plastic furniture coverings like seat cushions and my workout bench. I had both recovered in leather and they left them alone. I think it was a matter of taste. The cheap plastic just wasn’t up to there high standards. :smiley:

Plastic bags are made with a variety of chemicals, including a “slip” agent made from animal fat. Some believe that the infinitesimal amount left over after production attracts cats, or that the chemicals used in manufacturing leave a smell resembling food. Or it’s just that they’re cats and their mission is to confound us. My cat nibbles on paper: newspaper, paper bags, printer paper. No idea what that’s all about.

A long time ago, I noticed that “Why does my cat…?” was one of the clichés of the SDMB, and that the answer usually boiled down to, “Because he’s a cat; cats are crazy!”

Don’t get me wrong, I love cats. I had 'em for many years, but my asthma won’t let me have another.

I recall hearing about a major building project (BART in San Francisco) where underground cables used a new type of insulation coating that proved to be very attractive & tasty to gophers – they kept eating the cables and causing electrical problems. Eventually, all the cables had to be replaced or encased in protective covering.