Does your cat eat the Christmas tinsel and ribbon? Does your cat eat plastic? Two of our Pets Best Insurance Facebook friends have these problems and based on the large amounts of claims we at Pets Best Insurance get for odd items cats ingest, we’re betting many of you do too.
Brian asked, “How can I get my cat to stop eating ribbon and tinsel without having to give up two of the best parts of the Christmas tree?”
Dr. Matheys, DVM, discusses this behavior:
Forfeit the ribbon and tinsel for the health and safety of your cat. Cats can’t seem to resist playing with the shiny, flowing strands hanging from the tree. But if they ingest them, it can cause a life-threatening blockage in the intestinal tract, and surgery is usually required to remove the offending material. Certain pet medical insurance plans will cover this, but it’s best to avoid the situation altogether. Opt for rope garland instead. The shorter pieces don’t entice cats as much, and they generally don’t cause serious harm if a small amount is eaten.
A product called Scat Mat™can be used to keep kitty away from the Christmas tree even when you’re not around. These curved mats can be placed around the tree in a circle like a barrier. When the cat steps on the mat, it delivers a harmless static pulse that deters the cat from crossing over the mat. It’s a great way to help cat-proof your holiday decorations.
Peggy asked, “Why does my cat eat plastic?”
Dr. Mathey’s answered:
Some people mistakenly think that a cat will eat strange objects when he is lacking some nutrients in his diet. The vast majority of modern cat foods are nutritionally balanced and complete, so deficiencies in the diet are very rare. Rather, some cats just have odd quirks as to what they consider appetizing. Veterinary behaviorists believe that some cats find a slight odor to the plastic simply irresistible, and also that the coolness and the texture of the plastic feels/tastes good on the cat’s tongue.
Bags fresh from the grocery store may also retain both interesting food odors and traces of volatile chemicals used in making the plastics. Licking plastic bags usually presents no health problems to cats. However, ingesting them could cause serious trouble in the form of intestinal blockage, which could lead to needing surgery to remove just like the ribbon or tinsel, which can cost a lot. If your cat keeps eating the plastic try your best to keep all plastic out of reach of the cat and always make sure you have pet insurance that will cover such incidents.