This is a common question, more so with plastic bags than anything, but a common question none the less. So why does your cat fancy a lick of that good ol’ (hopefully BPA free) plastic? There are common answers found online but I would like to touch on some reasons that aren’t touched on as much, or even at all.
Cats with minor or extreme anxiety issues will find comfort in weird things. Just as humans do, they will find something that helps calm them down and will go back to it every time they feel stressed. It can also be an action done out of nervousness. Licking plastic for a cat may be similar to a human chewing on their hair or nails as a nervous tic.
Did you know fake plants, corners of plastic bags, and other different textured plastic items are good for your cat to clean its teeth on? Think of it this way… Have you ever had a piece of corn stuck with no toothpick? Well, you may use your nails to get it out but uh oh! No nails! So what can you use? People have used everything from string to paper to get things out of their teeth. For cats, plastic is easy to chew on while releasing whatever is making their mouth uncomfortable.
Have you ever had a spot in your mouth where it was tender along the lining of the gums and when you chew on something, it offers some painfully good relief? Cats, as well as other animals, get this too! Sometimes a cat will chew on plastic objects, not because of the taste, but how it feels on their teeth and gums.
Certain plastics have chemicals that are flavorful to us as well as cats, while others have no taste at all to us… But may be detectable by your cat. I know this sounds weird but have you ever chewed on your straw? It has a faint taste to it after eating or drinking something that is somehow pleasant. Go figure!
We all get hungry, like really hungry from time to time and overeat. For us, we tend to go lay down because we feel like we are going to pop. For cats, chewing on something after eating relieves tension and bloat in the gut. It works for humans too, we just don’t think to do it. Chewing on or licking something after a meal (that is not going to be swallowed) works up the enzymes that help digest food and when you swallow, they go down into the gut to help digest the food. Next time you are super full, grab a stick of gum, a cinnamon stick, or even a straw and chew on it, then swallow (don’t swallow what you are chewing on though!) and watch how quickly you feel relief. Ever hear “you need to chew your food better.”? Yeah, that is why!