Why Does My Cat Like Plastic Bags So Much? 5 Reasons & Safety Tips

Last Updated on: November 15, 2023 by Crystal Uys

Cat owners love to watch their kitties play with the toys they buy them. It’s fun to watch them bat at objects and try to figure out how to catch that stuffed mouse dangling from a string or see them try desperately to catch the red dot on the floor that keeps moving. But sometimes, the toys you buy may not hold a candle to a good ol’ plastic bag. Cats seem drawn to them, so why do cats like plastic bags so much? Well, there are a few reasons for this behavior, but they stem from the smell and sound of plastic bags.

There’s more to unlock as to why cats love the smell and sound, so read on to learn more about this behavior and the potential dangers of cats playing with plastic bags.

The 5 Reasons Why Cats Like Plastic Bags:

1. Cats Love the Sound

Plastic bags make a crinkly sound that cats love. Cats, especially indoor cats, are not exposed to such items on a regular basis, and the sound alone will pique your cat’s interest to investigate. Cats have a keen sense of hearing, and given their curious nature, the sound will draw a cat’s attention every time.

Plastic bags also have a mind of their own in a cat’s eyes, and when a plastic bag moves around from a little breeze, your cat will not be able to resist playing with the unusual object.

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2. They Love the Smell

When you return home from the grocery store and empty the plastic bags, your cat is going to smell the foods that were once inside, causing your cat to investigate. What’s more, your cat will likely smell the chemicals the plastic bags are made of. Many plastic bags are made from cornstarch, stearates (salts of stearate acid), or even animal by-products, such as gelatin, which will spark your cat’s interest.

3. It’s the Thrill of the Chew

Cats also love to chew on plastic bags for a few reasons. For one, the smell mentioned above entices your cat to chew on the bags. When your cat goes in to investigate the plastic bag, the smell of food alone will cause your cat to nibble on it in search of tasting the glorious smell. Secondly, the substances that some bags are coated with will cause your cat the desire to chew.

Lastly, chewing on a plastic bag may be due to a dental issue. The feel of the plastic may soothe sore gums, and if you suspect this, a trip to your vet is warranted to check things out. Your cat may have a dental issue that needs addressing, and it’s not something to overlook.

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4. They Love the Texture

Touch is a powerful tool for cats to use to investigate the world around them, and the feel of the plastic is appealing to them. Cats are tactile creatures, and the slippery and smooth texture gives cats a unique sensory experience compared to everyday objects they are already used to, such as fabric or paper. Simply put, cats love the feel of the smooth and slippery texture because it gives them a satisfactory tactile sensation.

5. They Love to Sit on Plastic Bags

Have you ever seen your cat sit on a plastic bag? If so, there’s a reason for it. Given the smooth texture, cats may find the feeling comforting. Plastic bags seem to offer a sense of security, much like being wrapped in a warm blanket. They also may offer a sense of privacy for your cat.

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The Dangers of Plastic Bags and Cats

Even though it may appear harmless to let your cat play with plastic bags, an important question to ask is: is it safe to let your cat play with them? Unfortunately, a plastic bag is not the safest object to let your cat play with.

Plastic bags pose health threats to cats, especially if your cat likes to chew on them. When your cat chews or nibbles on plastic bags, bits and pieces could break off, which could cause a choking hazard or intestinal blockages. There’s also the possibility of suffocation if your cat gets tangled up in one.

Tabby cat meows with its mouth open
Image Credit: Kaan Yetkin Toprak, Shutterstock

How to Keep Your Cat Safe From Plastic Bags

The best way to keep your cat safe from plastic bags is to simply keep them out of reach. Even though your cat seems to enjoy playing with them, their safety comes first.  If your cat is drawn to plastic bags, you may need to reevaluate your cat’s enrichment.

For example, ensure you provide your cat with plenty of toys for mental stimulation. This could be one reason your cat is drawn to plastic bags. Your cat may simply be bored. Food puzzles or ball mazes are excellent choices for providing your cat with daily enrichment and keeping boredom at bay.

Final Thoughts

While it may seem amusing, it’s best to refrain from letting your cat play with plastic bags. Instead, opt for toys that may stimulate the same sounds and textures that plastic bags offer, such as crinkly balls or tunnel toys to explore. Ensure your cat’s dental health is in check as well, as a dental issue may also be a cause for chewing on plastic. Remember to keep your cat’s daily enrichment in the forefront and keep plastic bags put away and out of reach for your cat’s safety.

Featured Image Credit: Miss Zea, Shutterstock

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