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Why do cats like plastic bags?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

Seriously, why do our furry feline friends seem to adore plastic shopping bags so much? I know cats who like to play with and get inside them, many like to chew them, and others, like a certain hairball is doing now, sleep on them.


Read something once that said they could like and be reacting to a certain chemical in the plastic itself.

Any others have any plastic chewers/nappers out there? Or have any insight on why they do this?

post #2 of 37

Why do cats like all bags!  biggrin.gif

If it's get-in-able they're right there...


I think they like the sound of plastic bags...

But of course it's not a great thing for them to be playing with as they do seem to be attracted to the taste and plastic bags are not good food and can do terrible things to their gut if ingested.  And of course there's the suffocation issue if they get into one and tangled up.


Which is a bit of a pity since they love them so much sigh.gif

post #3 of 37

I think it's the noise they like. My cats have learnt to associate the crinkle of cellophane with something especially tasty. I swear they can hear a bag of cat treats being opened from a mile away, and heaven help you if you're just opening a packet of herbs or something. The looks they give you!!!

post #4 of 37
As an artist (a frustrated one at times) my cats love the sound of me crumpling a piece of paper. They absolutely are on cloud nine when I toss it. Thrall will rip it to bits and with what she doesn't totally demolish will call to her sister Tia to join in on the fun (which she never accepts lol).

I have bought my fur babies expensive cat toys, cat condos, cat-nip, you name it and holds no interest for them, yet they go wild for a crinkled piece of paper ^o^ go figure
post #5 of 37

I know exactly how you feel. I buy them new toys all the time but they'd much rather play with hawk feathers and bits of twig that they drag in from the garden. ~sigh~.


Their favourite thing at the moment is an old cork from a champagne bottle. I keep finding it hidden in my shoes.

post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 

I think you might be onto something with the noise of it. We have a few of those moppy kickeroo catnip toys from kong. Oreo will ignore his other catnip toy and go straight for the moppy, it makes a crinkly noise like a bag when he plays with it. It's the only toy he will play with alone.


A cork? Must be a cousin of those who like to play with the stoppers from pop and water bottles laughing02.gif


I try not to leave bags out around but one was on my room floor for a few minutes the other night when I got back from wally world. As soon as I left the room Oreo had a new crinkly, plasticy bed.

post #7 of 37
I had a flame point Siamese that was obsessed with plastic shopping bags and anything plastic including cellophane wrappings from items such as CDs. It is my understanding that these types of bags/wrappings have a fish oil residue left on them during the manufacturing process.
post #8 of 37

  I have a couple of my Siamese /  Thai cats who like to  lick plastic bags .   I heard something similar to jmvito that it was  animal tallow or fish oil.   but i dont know if that would be in all bags.   It might be they encounter some bag at some time that either was made from something that has a taste / smell they like , and then they get habit of liking plastic. 

post #9 of 37

Sorry, I don't think it's the sound, my cat is deaf!

post #10 of 37
My old Lucy used to seek out plastic bags to sleep on. She didn't play with them except to pull them out so she could stretch out on them.

Wesley on the other hand was frightened of them. He was completely fearless, but for his terror of plastic bags. He did finally get over it but for many years he would do the low slink out the room if we brought home groceries in plastic bags.
post #11 of 37

Archie is indifferent to plastic bags.  But Lucy loves them.  She gets so excited when I come home from the store with plastic shopping bags.  She runs around the kitchen, frantically exploring each one.  She likes to force her head thru the handles and then prance around wearing one or more of the bags.  It's pretty funny to watch.


And like @Margd's Lucy, she will sprawl out on plastic bags.  It's one of her ways of telling me to pet her.  She lays down on top of one and waits patiently for someone to walk by, bend down and pet her.  I usually leave one out for her (of course I clip the handles just be safe).


post #12 of 37
Lucky absolutely LOVED to lick plastic bags. If there was one piece of one sticking out anywhere, he'd lick it. The sound drove me mad! God I'd love to hear it again. And Sara likes to sleep on them. Oscar likes bags period (all my younger ones like all bags). Well, he got the handle around his head one day, and he has this weird thing about things being around his head or someone just touching his head. He freaked out and went around the room several times without ever touching the floor. Faster than when they were in tornado mode! I'd only seen him do that once - we had a pseudo e-collar on him and he did that until he knocked it off. This time he ended up stopping near a bookshelf. I finally got it off of him but I think we were all in shock watching him!
post #13 of 37
Tiberius adores plastic bags too! He likes to lock them, which freaks me out because I'm worried he's going to eat one and get sick. I think you guys are right about the sound being a big factor, because he seems to do it in an especially noisy manner.
post #14 of 37

I get the distinct impression that both my cats are intensely attracted to choking hazards.

post #15 of 37

Paper or plastic, you ask? 


Many plastics, like commercial shopping bags, contain chemicals often referred to as "slip agents," which are derived from the stearic acid in animal fat. They essentially prevent the polymers from sticking to metals during manufacturing and clinging to each other afterward. 


Apparently, manufacturers of biotechnology are concerned lately about beef fats used in plastic materials that come in contact with bioprocess fluids.  Why?  Because of prions. (Aka “mad cow disease.”)


Here is an interesting link regarding the use of animal byproducts in plastic materials:


Regarding paper bags - guess what? Our cats might be attracted to the glue! Yes, many glues are animal/fish based and out kitties can smell it a mile away!

Here is another intersting link that will keep you up at night!


And, yet another, that gives the breakdown on paper coatings and bipolymers used in the manufacturing of paper. This is a pretty lengthy article, so you might want to use the listings on the left side of the page and go down to "Biopolymers and Biocomposites for Paper Coatings" and red through it. 


The things they just don't tell us!

post #16 of 37

My Chessy is a Siamese mix and he is obsessed with plastic bags.  He will sniff them out even if they are out of sight, and immediately try to eat them.  If I ever bring home plastic bags from the grocery store he makes a beeline to them and starts chewing on them before I can even get my shoes off!  A few times when he was younger he almost scared me to death by eating a little plastic, and I had to watch the litter boxes to make sure it came out.  I have to repeatedly tell anyone who comes over or who petsits for me that NO plastic bags are allowed in the house!  :lol3:

post #17 of 37
My baby Bubbles is obsessed with plastic bags just recently. She is almost 3 and just loves them. She doesn't play, lick, or chew them. She just sleeps on them.
post #18 of 37

Of all the plastic bags that we bring in, Jacky only loves the dark grey Walmart bags. She goes absolutely crazy!

post #19 of 37

I have never understood why my Wurp loves to sleep on them.  I bring in a big plastic bag, he immediately lays down on it and will lay on it anytime he is in the room with it.  He's almost deaf, and he doesn't really crinkle it around at all, he just lays down on it.  He loves them.  Honestly we try to keep him one big one at least around the house to pacify him if he gets in a bad mood.  We bring it out, spread it out, and he is happy for the rest of the day!

post #20 of 37

How is it possible, not to love these little rascals? Cat people are Great people!

post #21 of 37

This is my cat Snuggles, she will take anything and makes it her toy. I've noticed everytime I open a gallon of water she goes crazy for the plastic seal. It's to the point that she will sleep on it after playing with it.
post #22 of 37
Originally Posted by Platinum33 View Post

This is my cat Snuggles, she will take anything and makes it her toy. I've noticed everytime I open a gallon of water she goes crazy for the plastic seal. It's to the point that she will sleep on it after playing with it.


Snuggles is adorable.  Such a sweet face. :heart3:  She can't swallow that plastic seal can she?  (I always worry about that kind of thing.)   Anyway, she is really darling. :nod:

post #23 of 37

i have a nearly 2 year old cat myself had her since she was 9 wees old she will be 2 years the 7th of next month. and i read some thing and that now and i always wonder WY she loved playing with plastic bags. and well she dont chew on them lick them nothing if anything i think she LOVES the sound of them most. i remember when she was like a teenager and i came home from shopping and left a bag on the floor and she just went to TOWN on it. batting at it making that funny nose and everything and when i picked it up it was fully of little claw holes xD from her playing wit it and i knew it wasnt going to be usable again. lol. but to this day she still love playing with them and i think for my cat its the nose it makes and maybe the sent of the bag. but she dont chew on them eat them nothing. tho i was always told that tuxedon cats and super smart maybe TOO smart for there own good at times hahahah. so i think she knows its not food or anything of the like and its just a toy to her.  ^^but heres my bbg cat Phoenix Noel 





the best brat cat i could ever ask for she is my worls and my starts since i lost my 1 year 6 month old. and i could be happier with out my bbg phoenix ^^

post #24 of 37
My furbaby, Shelly has recently taken a liking to plastic bags. She used to run at the sight or sound lol. I just noticed her licking one today though, so I'm keeping them out of reach now. I will probably get her one of those crinkley cat tunnels instead.
I am very concerned about choking hazards after my friend's furbaby swallowed a twisty tie and the vets were unable to save her.
Also watch out for sewing needles with string attached, aluminum foil balls, corks because they can break down and cause choking if swallow, cellophane and rubber bands.
post #25 of 37

My cats just ran away with the plastic cover from my daughters Valentine's floral delivery.  Tosh looked me in the eye, grabbed the plastic with his teeth and ran.  He didn't get very far.  The plastic hooked the table while he was still running.  Later I found Mac just laying on it proudly.  It got stuck to the floor! 


My husband likes to make the plastic shopping bags into little balls the cats kick around.  Tosh likes to hold things in his mouth and they are far too big to be a choking hazard.  They can play with them like that for hours.


Agreed about the sound of the plastic.  Mac especially seems really intrigued by it but also a little scared.  Sometimes I crinkle them and they run but they immediately return to play.  When I come home from the market it's like a temporary playground for them.

post #26 of 37

Artie can find a plastic bag a mile away.. especially when he does not want his food.. when he is fussy, he will seek out plastic anywhere in the house. I have to hide my bread in the microwave.. and the plastic bag from the tomatoes has be immediately be thrown out...

he is that bad..

post #27 of 37

Wurp loves to lay around on plastic bags.  He never chews them or steals them, but if he spies one lying about, he's on top of it.  Never understood it.


My other two pay no attention to them.  One is afraid of any crinkling noise (he's a big scaredy puss over everything) and the other is just indifferent!

post #28 of 37

I have no idea!  They're obviously great fun :clap:

post #29 of 37

The kitchen was clear when I left it, by the way.  He did that all by himself.

post #30 of 37

Plastic bags are banned from our house. Live and learn!

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