6 Reasons Why Your Cats is Licking Plastic

licking kitten

Cats lick all sorts of things for any number of reasons. These animals seem to love plastic in particular.

This is not something that you should take lightly though.

It can be dangerous, so the more you know the better off you and your pet will be.

Common Reasons Cats Lick Plastic

There are several common reasons for cats licking plastic that can provide you with some insight into your pet’s behavior.

1. They Like the Smell

Your cat licking a plastic bag often comes down to them enjoying the scent it is giving off, especially if there is or was food inside. Cats have an incredibly powerful sense of smell, so they can detect the aroma lingering aromas on things. Even a very minor aroma can lead your cat to lick a plastic bag like crazy.

2. The Crinkliness is too Tempting

Cats seem to love plastic bags in general, and it is probably because they are so crinkly and fun to play with. The sound that these bags make is very appealing to cats. They might start licking a bag while they are playing with it.

These animals really enjoy the feel of a plastic bag, which is why they sometimes play with them more than their regular toys. It just too easy for them to get caught up in the moment and begin licking.

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cat lick plstic bag

3. The Bag Contains an Enticing Ingredient

Some plastic bags are made with cornstarch, which a cat can find to be very appealing to say the least. These bags are also sometimes made using animal fats, which is another possible explanation for this feline obsession.

Your cat could even be attracted to the scent of certain chemicals that the bag was treated with during the manufacturing process. There is just no telling which scents a cat will enjoy.

Chemicals that are used on bags can be very similar to the pheromones that cats go crazy over. It is probably why they are also known for peeing on them. This is simply their way of marking their territory, which is normal behavior.

A lot of cats go nuts with plastic bags that are made with fish oil. In fact, they might start eating the bag (which is not a good thing). Their response can really vary depending on the bag and how it was made.

4. Health Problems

Your cat’s licking of plastic bags could also be indicative of a health problem. Dental disease can cause one of these animals to lick all sorts of things. This gives them comfort when their mouth hurts for some reason.

If your cat is feeling particularly anxious, they might lick anything that is close by. This too is a self-soothing behavior. This anxiety might be brought on by another pet in the house, especially if it a big dog.

Cats can develop anxiety for a number of reasons, including genetics. It can be mildly bothersome for some and crippling for others. It might also be due to a sudden change in their routine. If your cat is adjusting to living in a new place, this could be the reason.

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Pica is a condition that cats can suffer from that causes them to eat things that are not edible. This could require some sort of medication if it becomes an issue for your kitty. It might start with licking and then quickly progress to eating. This sort of compulsive behavior should definitely not be ignored.

cat lick plastic

5. They are Bored

Cats can get bored just like people, and it can lead them to do all kinds of goofy things. If your cat is feeling very bored, it might lick a nearby plastic bag just so it has something to do. This is far from the strangest thing these animals do when they are lacking mental and/or physical stimulation.

Your pet needs to do something with all of the energy that it has pent up, and this could be one way of getting it out. Cats are naturally energetic animals, so they don’t do well with just lying around all of the time (well, some of them do).

6. Curiosity

While curiosity might not kill your cat, it can get the best of them at times. Sometimes they will sniff something that they are curious about. The crinkliness and pleasant texture of plastic bags for these animals can definitely induce some serious curiosity. They might give it a few licks after smelling it.

Should I Let My Cat Lick Plastic Bags?

The chemicals that plastic bags are treated with are usually not harmful to cats if they are just licking it. You will, however, want to keep a close eye on your pet to make sure that it doesn’t start eating the bag. Ingesting even a small piece of a plastic bag can cause serious problems for your pet.

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If your cat eats enough of a plastic bag, it could develop an intestinal blockage, which is very serious. This is why you should never let them actually eat these bags. Licking is okay, provided that it isn’t an indication of some problem.


  • Many cats enjoy licking plastic bags because there is a lingering smell of food.
  • Your cat could be doing this because they are bored and in need of more mental and/or physical stimulation.
  • Sometimes sheer curiosity will prompt a cat to lick something, included a plastic bag that happens to be nearby.
  • Some sort of health problem could also cause your cat to lick these bags. This includes anxiety, pica, and dental disease.
  • While licking plastic bags is not inherently dangerous most of the time, you should never allow your pet to eat even a little bit of them.
  • If you notice that your cat has eaten part of a plastic bag, you should get it to the veterinarian right away.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of illness with your cat, including lethargy, lack of appetite, and bad breath.