Why do Cats Like to Bite and Play with Plastic?

We are very properly trained - our cat just waves her paw in the general direction of a cupboard door and we open it for her.

One of my cats likes paper and the other one likes plastic.

The one that prefers paper also loves rubber bands and black socks. He likes to stalk and kill the black socks all over the house. If you catch him killing one (and he’s noisy about it) he will pretend he doesn’t know anything about that black sock that’s lying there.

The one that likes plastic will also play with a paper bag if there’s one lying around. She also likes tennis balls. Just like the other one she will disavow all knowledge of that tennis ball if she’s caught.

Neither one of them is at all interested in those shiny aluminum thingies sold as cat toys, in rolled up and crinkled foil, or in play catnip mice.

Every once in awhile we will encounter a clawed, chewed up, ruined roll of toilet paper. In some cases it is still in the plastic when that happens. We suspect the paper lover although neither one of them is ever anywhere near the scene of the crime, because they are cats.

I had a cat that was so obsessed with plastic bags and wrappers that I had to buy a wastebasket with a lid, because she’d go rooting looking for plastic. And when you tried to take it off of her, she’d get pissed.

My cat eats plastic. He takes big bites and swallows and he will go to any length to feed his addiction. All garbage cans must be locked away since he eats the liners. He opens my cabinets, pulls plastic bags from their boxes and takes them upstairs to consume in private. If you remember the Peanuts Halloween episode where Charlie Brown makes a ghost costume with too many eyeholes-that is what a plastic bag looks like after Boris gets hold of it. Bread must be locked away as he eats the bag. I tried litterbox liners when he was a kitten but didn’t understand how anybody could use them as he pulled them from the box to eat them. If I use a plastic bag to scoop litter clumps into for disposal he will come up and try to eat it while I am scooping. I have tried to remove all plastic bags from the house but he had been known to eat the grocery bags while I am unpacking groceries so he now must be locked up until the bags are secured. Do not even get me started on the idiot who decided to put plastic handles on the boxes of litter since he will also eat those. Luckily, he usually throw up any plastic he eats before it does permanent damage.

I think I know the answer, after having considered this at length…

the cats may be classically conditioned over long periods to associate the sound of ruffling plastic bags with food. This happens because one common thing all pet owners probably do is go to the grocery store and bring home their food in plastic bags. From my own personal situation I think this effect may have been more acute because there have been times when Im late on their feeding because of running out of food, so when I return with a grocery bag full of food when they are in a panic about not being fed maybe they are more likely to remember and associate the sound of rustling plastic with food… just my two cents

I say they, but actually of my two cats only one licks bags…the other one is a bit of a recluse, if she licks bags its never in the open