Q and A With Dr Chris Brown

Bondi Vet fan Karen G asks Dr Chris a pawsitively difficult cat question.

Karen G asks: My cat loves to chew plastic, especially the harder plastic on chip packets. Can you tell me why?

A: Here's the thing. Cats can be such fussy eaters. You'll buy them all sorts of culinary creations only to see them walk away from dinner and deliver a damning review that would put a MasterChef judge to shame. So it seems strange that your cat has developed such a passion for something that has no flavour whatsoever right? Well maybe not. You see cats can develop a condition called 'pica' that might explain your cats view that plastic is fantastic. With pica, cats will chew on objects (plastic, wood or wool are common) that seemingly have no flavour but the feel of them in their mouth is what they almost become addicted to.

There are lots of theories around why they take up the habit but no definite answer has ever been found. What seems to help however is to first of all remove any traces of plastic that can be chewed on. Aside from the annoyance, there's always a risk your cat could swallow some and develop a gut blockage. Then, increase the amount of fibre in your cat’s diet. Feeding a hairball control formula (dry food) is often a good way to achieve this. Then, give your cat something else to chew on to divert that addiction to something safer and tastier. A raw chicken wing or dental treat is often a good start. If the problem refuses to go away then medication can help but this should only be a last resort! 

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