Click here to learn more.
cats have given up most of their wild ways for a cushy life with humans.
One look at their teeth, however, quickly reminds us that felines haven't lost their ability to bite and chew, just like their untamed cousins.
What they do with those teeth can be hazardous to all sorts of household objects — and even to cats themselves if the nosh item of choice happens to be plastic.
The chewing or eating of any nonfood items — dirt, electrical cords, carpeting and plastic — is known as pica. “I occasionally see a cat who likes to chew plastic. Most of them are normal household items, such as milk jug rings, the plastic ends of mini blind cords and straws,” explains Dr. Amy Pike, DVM, of Veterinary Behavior Consultations in St. Louis, Mo.
There are various medical reasons for why a cat would develop pica, including dental disease or gastrointestinal disorders, so Dr. Pike advises cat owners to take their pet to a veterinarian to see if the pica symptoms are related to an underlying medical problem.
"Cats may also chew plastic due to anxiety," says Dr. Pike, noting that it could either be generalized anxiety or a reaction to a lack of environmental enrichment. Other major causes of anxiety that could induce a kitty to chew plastic: Social conflict with other felines in the household or situational stresses, such as storm phobias or separation anxiety.
“If the cat is anxious, there is a benefit to the cat — it is a coping mechanism that may help to diminish anxiety, much like hair twirling or biting your nails,” says Dr. Pike. “If the cause is not anxiety, chewing on plastic may just be something that the cat enjoys doing. However, the dangers include trauma to the gums or other soft tissues in the mouth, as well as obstruction in the GI tract.”
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Huxley the Pit Bull is recovering from
surgery after officers found him curled up
in the middle of a busy highway.
From the feisty Chihuahua to the
lap-loving Shih Tzu, get to know all the
breeds who belong in the Toy group.
Make your next hotel trip with your pup go
smoothly by planning ahead, choosing
the right room and minding your…
Don’t blame yourself for your pet’s cancer
diagnosis — chances are it was caused
by events you couldn’t have…
Dr. Andy Roark loves seeing cats at his
clinic. Unfortunately, some cats at his
clinic do not love it. Here's how…
Don't be surprised to find the tailless Manx accelerating through the house, making sharp turns and quick stops.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.