My Cat Ate Plastic? what should you do

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My Cat Ate Plastic? what should you do

Cats never lose their predatory instincts, even when they live in an apartment. However, they choose strange prey to play with and end up eating bits of plastic, including plastic bags and bottle caps.

If your cat has eaten a piece of plastic, the first thing to do is to call your vet, they will advise you on what to do depending on the severity of the situation. Don’t go for DIY solutions because plastic can cause serious damage to your kitty, even death.

What to do if the cat ingests plastic?

First of all, don’t panic. Of course, plastic isn’t a healthy food for a cat, but there are a few things you can do to help.

CONTROL ITS VOMIT

Check how your cat behaves and, if It has eaten plastic and vomits, do not block It, but instead try to help It. Vomiting is a good sign as it shows that the animal is trying to react.

Also, remember that vomiting is quite common for these animals because their stomachs are very sensitive, so you will need to check the vomit and see if there are any pieces of plastic.

Of course, cats can also vomit due to hairballs in the stomach, which restrict the digestive process, or because they ate too quickly.

If your cat can throw up plastic on Its own, check how many times It does this and how long these episodes last. If the cat vomits three or four times, stops doing it within 12 hours, and wants to eat later, It should be out of harm’s way. If you notice any strange behavior, call your vet and make sure everything is going well.

MONITOR THE SITUATION

Unfortunately, things could go the other way. If you notice your cat feeling nauseous but not vomiting, seeming less lively than usual, refusing food, and not pooping, take them to the vet immediately.

Plastic is an occluding material that tends to accumulate in the smaller parts of the digestive system and can cause a serious obstruction and lead to death.

In most cases, plastic is found where the small intestine turns into the large intestine or in the lower region of the stomach since they are the narrowest parts of the digestive system.

Once the vet has checked the general situation, they will choose whether to proceed with surgery immediately or if it is better to wait for the pieces of plastic to come out on their own. Even if it is an invasive type of surgery, the cat will be able to go home a few hours after the operation.

As is usually the case, the pet will need to rest for a few days, so prepare the house to make It feel comfortable.

My Cat Ate Plastic? what should you do

Why do cats eat plastic?

There are several reasons why they do this, so we suggest you read all the possible reasons

FOOD PROBLEMS

It’s a problem known as pica and is the most serious reason for this behavior. Your cat may continue to eat plastic because it lacks nutrients and tries to find them in alternative foods to cover its needs.

Plastic isn’t the only thing It can try to eat – animals with this disease eat everything they find, from shoes to headbands, furniture, etc.

Cats usually develop this disease when they are still kittens, but it can also occur later. Pica is a disease, so you will need to talk to your vet and establish a proper diet.

Pica can often be confused by cat owners for weaning-related behavior problems, but they are totally different things. In the second case, in fact, cats tend to use suction to calm down and to recreate the sensations experienced during breastfeeding. Usually, they use whatever large objects they find, such as plastic bags or plaids, and suck on them.

This behavior is also dangerous because the cat may accidentally ingest plastic or other materials and may repeat it other times. If you notice your cat has this behavior problem, talk to your vet.

BOREDOM

This happens with pets that are not subject to any stimulation, such as apartment cats. The animal cannot meet and play with other cats and cannot go out to satisfy its instincts, so it reacts in different ways.

First, the kitten could destroy anything it finds, from the smallest object to the largest, such as furniture. Second, bored cats tend to groom their fur a lot, creating small bald patches (under the ears, on the back, etc.). Third, they eat more than they should and things they shouldn’t swallow, like plastic.

STRESS

Cats like routine. For example, they want to find their food and water bowls in the same place every day, they want to sleep in the same places all the time, they want to meet the same people when they are at home, etc.

And the owners know it: even though cats have always been considered independent animals, they are very sensitive.

Changes such as moving to a new home, the arrival of a baby, or a new pet are a source of stress for the cat. Cuddling is also essential: the fact that their human companion is no longer able to pay the same attention is painful for the animal. Then the cat might chew on plastic for comfort.

TEETH CLEANING

Brushing their teeth is not a practice that only humans do, and cats also usually brush their sharp teeth after every meal using grass or catnip. But when plants are missing, they could use alternative methods to do so, such as pointed pieces of plastic.

AID DIGESTION

In most cases, a cat may have accidentally eaten the plastic or needs something to digest its meal. In cats, digestive enzymes are stimulated by chewing.

If the cat has already eaten too much food, it is unlikely that It will ingest cat treats. Instead, It might gnaw on bags and bits of plastic

PLASTIC TASTE 

Cats love the sounds that plastic bags make when they play with them. They may be similar to bird calls to them, which is why plastic bags are a favorite cat toy. And a game is not a bite-free game.

Others, on the other hand, love their taste. For example, eco-friendly shopping bags could be made from corn fiber, an ingredient that dissolves faster. And cats notice this immediately.

Another reason is that the cat is attracted to the plastic bag because it still smells of the food that contained it.

What to do to prevent a cat from eating plastic?

As you have noticed, a cat eating plastic is not a rare occurrence, but there are some actions you can take to prevent it.

    • Store plastic well. If your cat has eaten a plastic bag, it’s time to get rid of these items. The first thing to do is to take a look around the house and collect all the plastic wrappers that you have left somewhere: on the kitchen table, on the desk, in the living room, etc.To keep a cat safe, remember to put your shopping bags in a safe place, perhaps by folding them. Finally, remember to throw away any unused plastic bags that might smell like food.
    • Try to be greener. Cats love plants, and we highly recommend that you purchase some health items for your cat. They use them for many purposes: cleaning their teeth, playing, digesting, and even sharpening their claws.The ideal solution is to buy one or two catnip plants for its teeth and digestion, and some non-toxic plants for playing and sharpening its claws. Additionally, catnip is perfect for treating stress in cats.
    • Spend more time with your cat. If your cat has swallowed plastic because It was bored or stressed, take some time to pet and play with It.Don’t waste money on buying tons of scratching posts – bored cats want to be loved pampered by you, so the best option is interactive toys. If you don’t have much time to play with your pet, you can put a few boxes of different sizes in your apartment, your cat will love it.
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About Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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