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Plastic Bag Licking

August 12th, 2007, 09:37 AM
My male cat Angus licks plastic bags if we happen to leave one on the floor. I've always just though this was just a silly thing that he did, I'd pick up the bag and put it away. Well, this week we've been lax on our apartment cleaning and several plastic bags had accumulated in various places in the apartment. I woke up this morning to find Angus licking away on a bag, I picked it up, he ran to another bag and started to lick, I picked it up, again to another bag crumpled behind the chair, licking. So I gathered up all of the bags lying around (there were a surprising amount,lol) So Angus starts wandering around looking, he spots the bag of recycling by the door and rushes over and licks. Very strange. Anyway, I'm wondering if he has a deficiency of something in his diet. He's never been this persistent with the bag licking. Does anyone have any experience with any animal that has licked plastic bags? The cats are due for a check up and shots soon, I'll mention it to the vet.

August 12th, 2007, 10:00 AM
I have a few little weirdos who like to lick plastic bags. My Asker still likes to do it, the little pieces that stick out of the cans, ones with groceries still in it... to this day a favorite toy around here is a rolled and knotted plastic bag. I have no idea why, maybe they like how smooth they are or that they krinkle. I don't think its any big health concern as they have never eaten or ingested any. ( ) Strange little furballs aren't they!:laughing:

August 12th, 2007, 12:10 PM
Licking plastic bags is actually not that uncommon in cats. There is a term for this behaviour called "Pica" (includes ingesting other non-edible items like wool or rubber bands). Here is an excerpt from this website:

An attraction to plastic is a common scenario encountered by feline practitioners. Exactly why cats like plastic remains unknown, although several theories abound. Some people have speculated that cats like the coolness of the plastic, or the texture on their tongue, or perhaps the sound it makes when they lick. The most logical reason I’ve heard, however, is that cats like licking or eating plastic bags because rendered animal fat (also called “tallow”) is utilized during the manufacture of some plastic bags, and that some cats can detect the smell and enjoy the taste. Other versions of this explanation have implicated petroleum products and gelatin as the enticing ingredients. Gelatin, in fact, is used in the manufacture of many items including the emulsion used in photographs, which may explain why my own carnivorous cat, Emma, enthusiastically licked clean all of my unattended family photos one afternoon. I’ve never been able to confirm the tallow-petroleum-gelatin theory, so CatFancy readers should not take this as the gospel truth. But it sure makes sense to me.

I might be a good idea to make sure all plastic bags are out of Angus's reach as the licking could accidentally turn into eating. I know my sisters cat will bite and lick a bag for hours if given the chance, like some kind of OCD.

August 12th, 2007, 03:45 PM
One of my previous cats little Maxie, loved to lick plastic....particularily fond of the plastic that wraps cases of water and pop. A couple of my present cats also like it. They don't eat the plastic, they just like to lick it.


August 12th, 2007, 03:52 PM
My cats love to lick and make a mess of photos if I have some out to look at,strange kitties:confused: and they all jump up on the table inspecting grocery-bags when I bring them in the house.
No more plastic though,I now use bags I bought in the store..boy,I'm environmentally friendly:laughing:

August 12th, 2007, 03:57 PM
I've thankfully never had a cat or dog interested in eating plastic.
Please read this thread:

August 12th, 2007, 05:01 PM
Interesting about the animal fats used to make the bags, that could be a definite reason. I will definitely be more vigilant about picking up the plastic bags and other plastic objects after reading the post that Growler linked to. We have always tried to keep our apartment kitty proof, Angus doesn't eat strange things, but that doesn't mean that he never will. Cats are weird:laughing:

August 29th, 2007, 09:41 AM
My kitty Clarice has loved licking plastic from day one. Never understood it, but assumed there was something about the texture she liked. Glad to know she's not weird! She also loves lying on great big plastic bags. Might feel cool next to her long hair I guess.:shrug:

August 29th, 2007, 09:57 AM
Hmmm, never heard of that, too funny!

August 29th, 2007, 02:14 PM
I'd be concerned about them getting into the bag and suffocating. That happened to a neighbour's little dog with a discarded potato chip bag. You'd think even a dog's claws could get it out of a bag but those chip bags are heavy duty stuff.

Another concern: some plastic bags meant for disposing of garbage are treated with pesticides.

September 4th, 2007, 10:33 AM
My kitty Ophelia loves to chew on them. I have never figured out what the attraction is- I think partly it is the sound they make but I don't know what else. But they get really gross and slobbery when she has been doing it and she always seems to decide to do it at about 5 a.m. when I am trying to sleep. If I pick up all the stray bags she will chew on the ones that are in the wastebaskets. Once I get them all out of reach though its usually okay. The only thing I worry about is that she will ingest some of the plastic.