Unhealthy OCD Habits - Plastic Chewing

Shelley LimegroverShelley Limegrover LaramieMember Posts: 26
edited 15 January, 2009 in Behavior & Training
When I first brought Winter home as a wee kitten, he showed an interest in plastic bags, but it was short lived and we passed it off as a kitten thing. After a while, he started up with his plastic obsession again. For the next 2 years he went through brief phases of chewing on plastic items (esp thick plastics like department store bags or plastic that encases packs of bottled water). The past year has been the worst. Not a single item of thick plastic-bag type material has been spared. try to keep all sources of it away from him when I can, but he always finds something. He recently chewed up one of those padded fedex mailing envelopes, the type with the plastic exterior. The entire thing was severely mangled with tooth marks. Yesterday, I found a bag from my school book store not only chewed up, but with blood on it too. He usually does his "work" at night. I have often woken up to the sound of krinkling plastic and stop him whenever I do. A few times, recently, he even jumped rather visiously on a piece of plastic right in front of me. That was the first time he's done so right in front of me like that. Anyone have any similar experience or advice? Is this something we can correct or will I have to forever keep plastics out of his reach?


  • Ellie CarterEllie Carter SeattleMember Posts: 2,252
    edited 11 January, 2009
    YIKES!!!!! I would say definitely keep all plastic bags away from Winter. I wonder if Winter may be doing it out of boredom? Or, maybe he likes the sound that it makes? Have you tried one of those tunnels/beds that crinkle? One thought I am thinking is that whenever you hear/see him going for a plastic bag, give him a stern NO! and remove him from the room for a few minutes. Doing this EVERY time will hopefully help him learn to stay away from plastic bags. There may be others on here with better ideas. Good luck!
  • ellen sklarellen sklar ExtonMember Posts: 256
    edited 13 January, 2009
    I love to eat plastic--especially plastic shopping bags! Mom has to hide those from me whenever possible. She does use them for trash can liners, but those she sprays with Bitter Apple spray and that seems to keep me from chewing on them. I keep trying to explain to my Mom that plastic bags are yummy, but she says I can't eat them because they could cause a blockage in me and I'd have to go to the vet.
  • Shelley LimegroverShelley Limegrover LaramieMember Posts: 26
    edited 13 January, 2009
    My husband suggested we try some of that spray-type stuff. I might go ahead and try it. I suspect, though, that he's smart enough to go looking for plastic that smells good before he goes chewing on it. I can't possibly spray everything he could get into. He gets into the closet, in drawers, on high shelves and chews on anything that has a plastic-enough like texture. He doesn't actually eat any of it. He gnaws on it and leaves little teeth perferations all over, but it doesn't look like he eats much, if any of it.
  • Jan AllenJan Allen DallasMember Posts: 2,596
    edited 13 January, 2009
    I liked plastic too. Just put my teeth marks on stuff. Never ate it. Mom never knew why.
  • Amy CroweAmy Crowe Member Posts: 278
    edited 14 January, 2009
    I love to eat the plastic handles off shopping bags and then vomit it up. I love it so much, I immediately start knawing on bags the minute my moms bring the bags into the house. My moms say it is a very expensive habit because they've had to take me to the vet several times. My moms' solution has been to ban all plastic shopping bags from the house. There is a garbage bag in the kitchen trash can, that is it. All other shopping bags are stored in the garage. My moms said that if you find a better solution, please let them know. But please don't, because I really want to continue eating plastic.
  • Kristyn LuksKristyn Luks Member Posts: 32,266
    edited 14 January, 2009
    Wow, I thought Jay was the only cat that likes plastic! When we come home from shopping, he surrounds the plastic bags and chews on them. I don\'t know why he does it.
  • Shelley LimegroverShelley Limegrover LaramieMember Posts: 26
    edited 14 January, 2009
    So I've noticed a trend with shopping bags. I didn't know they were so popular! Winter prefers more "gourmet" plastics. He never touches grocery store bags (those cheap plastic ones that most grocery stores use). And, again, he doesn't actually eat it. He chews on the thicker plastic bags like you'd get from Macy's. He also likes the thick bundled up plastic that is found at the corners of shrink rapped items (like cases of bottled water). I haven't worried about it until now. It's always been more of a nuisance to me than a problem for him, simply because I haven't noticed him actually ingesting any of it. I am concerned now just because he seems to be chewing so much that his gums are bleeding from it. His gums appear healthy and he gets regular dental cleanings. He is due for another one, so maybe some minor gingivitis is setting in making the gums easily irritated from his habit.
  • Amy CroweAmy Crowe Member Posts: 278
    edited 14 January, 2009
    I like to knaw on more expensive bags, like bags from Ann Taylor Loft, too. But the plastic is too tough for me to ingest. You are awfully young for gingivitis but I think your mom is on the right track by talking to the vet at your next dental visit. |/h/|
  • ZACKandZOEYZACKandZOEY Cave Creek, AZMember Posts: 12,043 ✭✭
    edited 14 January, 2009
    I've read that alot of cats are attracted to plastic bags and I admit that I am one of them. ::o My experience... When I was very young I got ahold of a plastic bag and the whole thing went in one end and came out the other end!! :r I was lucky no damage was done in between. Plastic bags can be very dangerous. I am not allowed near them. There just seems to be something in the plastic material that really attracts cats. I HEAR a plastic bag and go running towards it!! Mommy makes sure (esp since the above incident) to keep them away from me. But she cannot put a plastic shopping bag or garbage bag down for one second or I am there. I will try to go after those envelopes and packing materials too. I've received mail from other catsters with bites on the envelope. :))
  • Thea PowellThea Powell Member Posts: 852
    edited 15 January, 2009
    Have you tried buying reusable bags? It is good for the environment and Winter won't want to chew them. For the rest of the plastic that he gets in to try "child proofing" your home. This way winter will not beable to get into the drwars and closets and the like. Then what ever else you could possible have that is plastic you could just spay that with bitter apple. just a thought :)
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