Mindful Monday – When Cats Eat the Non-edible


Maybe you’ve heard the term pica describing when a cat eats or chews on plastic or other non-edible items. We’ve touched on this here in this blog. Recently, I came across a report explaining in more depth why a cat licks, chews, or eats plastic. The reasons range from nutritional deficiencies and medical conditions to stress and plain ole curiosity. For some, the sound and maybe the sensation of chewing plastic might remind the cat of the sound and feel of catching prey.

Our tabby Lily likes plastic tape. In fact, I think it’s actually the glue that attracts her and I don’t think that’s a good thing. Originally, I thought Lily was just trying to be helpful when UPS left a package on our doorstep. “Here, Mom, let me help you open that.” But I guess it’s more about her addiction to the smell of glue—perhaps, along with the mouth-feel of the tape.

Sophie swallows ribbon. It doesn’t matter if it’s satin, grosgrain or metallic, she’s a serious ribbon ingester and she has found herself in serious trouble twice because of it.

So what do you do if your cat becomes obsessed with eating plastic, sniffing glue, or ingesting other material cats don’t normally eat?

  • Talk to the vet and rule out medical problems.
  • Increase playtime. Your cat could simply be bored.
  • Provide plenty of toys that help her to use her predator instincts.
  • Keep plastic, ribbon, etc., out of her reach.

There are other habits and fixations cats develop. Wool-sucking (or chewing on fabric) is one, and excessive drooling.

What crazy, uncat-like thing does your cat engage in?

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