My Cat Ate Plastic – What Now? (Solved & Explained!)

As much as we love our cats, our feline friends are known for being curious, even when it’s to their detriment. All cat parents have been relaxing, only to hear the distinct sound of their cat chewing on plastic out of their eyesight. While chewing is harmless, though not recommended, what do you do if your cat ate plastic?

If your cat ate plastic, try not to panic. If they haven’t been able to swallow it, you may be able to remove it from their mouths before it’s too late. Depending on how much plastic they were able to eat, they may just eliminate it on their own. If they ate a lot, or are showing worrying signs, take them to the vet right away. 

When it comes to cats eating foreign objects, the route of overcautious safety is always the preferred one, as objects can obstruct their internal organs which can have devastating health effects. 

black cat with a white neck and paws and yellow eyes looks into the chamber chewing on a plastic rubber band. sitting in a dark room on the orange floor in the spring sun shines on the cat's face from the window. Animal portrait

What To Do If Your Cat Ate Plastic 

It doesn’t matter how meticulously clean you keep your home; cats have a way of finding the weirdest things on the ground to try and play with or eat, including plastic. As soon as you hear your cat starting to chew on plastic, try to get it away from them as soon as possible. 

You might have to pull it out of their mouth, and may even have to chase them to do so, but it’s worth it so they don’t eat it. Cats aren’t really able to chew plastic into tiny pieces, so you’ll probably be able to pull the full piece out of their mouth or throat before it’s too late. 

There are some things to take note of, as best as you can, if your cat eats plastic:

  • How big was the piece of plastic? This might determine whether or not you think they’ll throw it up or poop it out. 
  • Has their behavior changed since eating the plastic? If so, take them to the vet. 
  • Didn’t get a chance to see the size or type of plastic they ate? Monitor them closely and/or take them to the vet just to be safe

Fat cat on gravel after eating

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How Do I Know If My Cat Ate Plastic?

Some telltale signs that your cat has eaten plastic and ingested it include:

  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Loss of energy or lethargy
  • Abdominal discomfort (your cat may be bloated, licking their stomach, etc.)
  • Behavioral changes
  • Drooling
  • No desire to eat or drink 

If you have any concern, call your vet, describe their behavior, and take the vet’s advice. 

Why Do Cats Eat Plastic?

Plastic doesn’t have a nice flavor, so it’s hard to imagine why cats like to eat it so much. It seems like they like the sound plastic makes when it’s being played with or chewed on. Cats seem to find entertainment in objects that aren’t toys, despite how much money you spend getting them the coolest toys. 

If your cat seems to chew on or try to eat a lot of plastic or non-food items, it’s possible they have pica. This is a propensity to chew on or eat things that aren’t food, and it’s often a sign that your cat is stressed out or anxious. Try to pinpoint the reason they could be anxious and eliminate that trigger as best as possible. 

Less common reasons cats chew or eat plastic may be because their diet is insufficient nutritionally, or don’t feel like they are getting completely satisfied by what they’re eating. This might be because the formula of their kibble isn’t sufficient, or they aren’t getting enough food or water. 

There’s also the small chance your cat is trying to chew and eat plastic because they are suffering from a health condition. This might be some type of dental issue that is causing them oral discomfort, and chewing helps to relieve that pressure. They may also have a thyroid issue or diabetes. Only be concerned about these issues when all other potential reasons are ruled out. 

How To Stop Your Cat From Eating Plastic

If you know your cat gravitates towards plastic, eliminate as much potential exposure to plastic as possible; especially loose plastic or smaller pieces. Have ample toys for them to chew on, especially when they are younger and teething. This can help them relieve stress, clean their teeth, and reduce boredom. 

Training can also help you keep your cat away from inedible objects. Teach them what the word no means. Cats don’t like it when their pet parents aren’t happy with them so they’ll likely drop it. Training needs to be done when they are young and needs to be consistent in order for them to retain it. 

What If My Cat Likes To Play With Plastic?

If your cat seems to like to play with plastic, crinkle toys can be a good distraction. They can help satisfy your cat’s craving for the sound and feel of plastic without being potentially hazardous to their health. It isn’t fun taking things away from your cat, but it’s for their own good. 

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You shouldn’t encourage your cat to play with plastic, even with your supervision. A cat’s desire to play with plastic could quickly turn into a desire to chew on it or try to eat it. 

Final Thoughts

What is the right way to react if your cat ate plastic? Going to the vet is never a bad idea. While it might be costly, it’s part of being a cat parent. Hopefully, they only manage to get a small piece of plastic that they throw up or poop out right away, and you don’t have to constantly worry. 

Plastic can’t be digested, so it becomes dangerous if your cat can’t eliminate it. In the worst cases, your cat might have to get surgery to get the plastic out. Cats have a mind of their own, so there’s only so much you can do to prevent them from eating plastic, other than trying to clean up any and all plastic you bring into your home.