Why? Why does my cat insist on eating things that are clearly inedible?

I know, I know…the obvious answer is “She’s a cat. Cat’s are stoopid. End of story.”

But honestly…what would possess an animal to eat, with complete disregard for the obvious forthcoming aftereffects, all manner of completely inedible items?

To date, my cat has:

[li] Eaten the inside ribbon tie of my bathrobe while I was in the shower…right down to where the ribbon was sewn into the seam. I didn’t realize this when I got out of the shower and saw her crouched on my robe with her lips pressed to the fabric. I yanked my robe out from underneath her and witnessed the most gawdawful wretching known to man when I pulled 18" of ribbon out of her gullet. Yeesh.[/li][li] Eaten a piece of string that she found somewhere in my apartment, I never figured out where. When the string started to…ahem…reappear at the other end, it wouldn’t pass. Every time she tried to use the litterbox, it was pulling in her guts and she’d jump out and vomit. To spare you the sordid details, just let it be said that it required approximately $1000 in vet bills and a month of recuperation on her part.[/li][li] Eaten every single rubberband that I have had the misfortune of not putting promptly away. Fortunately for me, her stomach seems to have caught on after the debacle listed above, and she doesn’t actually digest rubberbands. She just swallows them and then yarks them back up somewhere in the house later. She seems to prefer the white wool rug in the living room as opposed to the acres of hardwood floor or linoleum in my house. One must yark in comfort after all.[/li][li] Just today, eaten a clothing tag that I had snipped out of the shirt I was wearing and thought I’d thrown in the trash. I guess that I missed the trash can, because I found it in a pile of regurgitated cat food on the arm of my sofa this afternoon. I knew that investing in the fabric protection was a good idea.[/li][/ul]

Are all animals like this? To add to her enormous food idiosyncracies, she absolutely refuses to eat most actual, edible food. Not my wretched beast, no. No cheese, no meat, no fish. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach (ha!) only for her. You could leave a steak out in the middle of the floor and while she’d most certainly investigage the appearance of this interloper, there would be nary a lick or nibble. But ah…leave a delectable rubber band on the kitchen counter and it’s down her gaping maw before you can blink.

She is demon spawn. I’m quite sure of it.

Gah! And why? Why am I incapable of titling a post without messing it up? That should be things…THINGS that are clearly inedible.


Mine are the same way, and I’d love to hear if anybody is forthcoming with any biological or evoloutionary explanation for this.

Rubber bands are big around here too, and for some reason the post office around here has started puttin them around all of my mail, so i end up getting a new one every day, and they all end up half-digested on the floor. lovely.

but anyway. waiting for someone with some insight into the answer to come along, if there is an answer beyond “cats are stupid”

I have the same problem with one of my cats. He LOVES rubber bands. If I have my hair in a ponytail, he can sniff it out and he wont quit swatting my head until I give it to him. That brings me to either one of two conclusions, he either hates the way my hair looks pulled back (highly unlikely since he is a cat) or it has something to do with the smell. Another crazy thing he does is steals plastic straws from cups with lids. I cant leave a drink with a straw on the table without him knocking over the drink to get the straw. Then he chews on it for hours. Maybe it is just the chewing they like??? I dont know…

Minor product promotion…I have one cat who “failed to thrive” on just about every food out there, she’d shed a lot and was always a little skinny. Your kitty reminds me of her because she also will not eat treats of any kind, however she was starved as a kitten and may have some permanent digestive absorption problems. Anywaya, she is currently glossy and happy on Iams lamb and rice cat food. Many cats get fat on Iams though, so if your puddy isn’t in poor condition, disregard.

BTW, with string, once they start swallowing it they can’t always stop because their raspy tongues have small hooks that face back into the throat…that doesn’t explain why she starts to swallow stuff, but it’s not always intended to be eaten. Some kittens just play very enthusiastically with string and get themselves in trouble.

Bubber rands are yummy. mmmmm…

seriously, I agree with snermy. I think it has something to do with the fact that they know they can’t eat it. Case in point: Dogs/cats eating grass. They are naturally carnivores, and therefore do not digest vegetables/rubber bands as well. They eat it because their tummy is upset, and they know they will puke afterwords. Ever been really drunk and needed to puke, yet you can’t make yourself? I think it’s the same sort of thing. Extreme Acid reflux is similar, as I’m told by a close friend who has this disease. He says that when he empties the contents of his stomach, he feels better. This is just my theory, but I think animals know what they’re doing, much better than we do, as we tend to overanalyze things.

I could almost agree with your theory, moe

Except that I have two kitties. One kitty has a sensitive tummy like his mommy. But it’s the other one that eats anything she can get to.

Favorite? Adhesive packing tape. :rolleyes:

Fortunately, Max’s penchant for newspaper doesn’t upset his stomach too much (guess it adds fiber to his diet). It’s when he attacks my books (dustjackets or pages, doesn’t matter) that I get annoyed. Many of my paperbacks are “personalized” with tooth holes perforating the cover.

Plastic bags and ribbon, on the other hand, are problems. Although he’s never actually ingested this, he loves licking umbrellas and other things of similar texture (including the lining of my dress pants). Also, those bread twist-ties.

Ferrets love to eat sponges or rubber bands, but can really run into trouble with those things blocking up their intestines. My first ferret ate a thick rubber band (it came into my apartment around the mail I assume, as otherwise I got rid of rubber bands and hid sponges and erasers), and ended up needing surgery to save his life. I’m not sure what it is, something about the rubbery/chewy consistency seems to encourage them to chew up that sort of thing. Any chew toys that I buy have to be those usually made for large dogs and designed to take a lot of punishment, and I have to check them now and then for any damage.

So there are more animals on this planet that lick plastic bags!!! I thought my cat was absolutley insane, but I guess not. It is nice to know there are other animals licking plastic bags out there. Although, it really isnt a problem, he doesnt try and eat it. I guess the annoying part is hearing the bag crinkle when you are trying to sleep:)

Lets see, Ember when he was a kitten LOVED licking plastic or gnawing on it. He didn’t eat it, he’d just taste/chew it. He also ate speaker cable and power cords. YES POWER CORDS. Like X-mas tree lights, that we plugged in.

This damn cat would crawl into the vcr slot in the tv stand and crawl all the way to the back to get at the cords. Luckilly he grew out of it.

As for rubber bands, ribbons and string… Damned if I know why they eat them. But its just like having a small child around you make sure there is nothing edable anywhere in reach.

Kru-baby I hate that… when the cat finds, or HIDES a plastic bag just so they can chew on it late at night when everyone was asleep. I swear to god Ember hid the bag for just that. Every night at 2 am he’d wake me up chewing on it so I’d go track him down and I’d find him doing something else… Took 3 months to find that bag

CRorex You’re cat’s not alone, both of my kittens chewed power cords. They are the reason I now have all CORDLESS telephones. They also lick pictures as well as plastic bags. Sheesh.

heheheee… Oh, the joys of being a cat’s pet. :wink:

My last kitty dearly loved to lick plastic bags. Would sit and lick them for hours and hours, purring up a storm the whole time. Her vet told me that it was because the plastic in bags is made from a petroleum byproduct that smells and tastes remarkably like animal fat. She was also partial to photographs, and would lick them till the color was all gone. She liked bubber rands too.

My current two kitties are just as weird. They like the plastic bags, and one prefers to rub himself all over it, and slide around the tile floor on a plastic bag. They both like photos and bubber rands too. Oh, and all three of these pets will eat all of the tinsel off the tree at Christmas time, if they could. Silver, opalescent, doesn’t matter. If it’s ‘tinsel’ they’ll eat it. Guess what I don’t put on my tree anymore. :rolleyes:

Now, as for weird foods they’ll eat, that’s a whole 'nother thread topic. :stuck_out_tongue: