Thursday, June 10, 2021

Fatal Attraction to Plastic Bags

 


It all started when Rabbit was about a year old. I saw him chewing on an icy bottle of Ozarka. Since he's a pedigreed Turkish Van I was surprised he didn't ask for Evian or Fuji. I figured he was teething and the cold bottle soothed his gums. The licking and chewing went on over the next two years. I didn't think much about it. 

Turkish Vans are a rare,  natural-born breed of cats who thrived in the southeast region of Turkey before being recognized by the UK-based Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in 1969. Rabbit runs hot, like Herman who is part Van, part Angora. Despite their lack of an undercoat, resulting in their coat feeling like cashmere or rabbit fur, they seem world weary in summer heat, but thrive during the winter months. Watching Rabbit hug the cold bottles when it was 85 degrees outside didn't spark my Cat Mom Intuition until one day I saw this on the floor:


No indeed, it sure wasn't a hairball. Not when I unraveled it and saw it was the handle to one of those super cheapo grocery bags.

I immediately confiscated every bag in the house, leaving me without my cache to dispose of used cat litter. Instead I bought extra large school lunch bags, and they have worked better in that they don't come with stealth holes in the bottom folds that leak stinky litter from the box, through the house, to the garbage can. With so many cats, I also have many litter boxes, so each box gets their own stash of lunch bags. They open pretty wide, so the scoop doesn't miss very often.

But I still have a problem with Rabbit craving plastic. Even though I tell the bagger to use paper instead of plastic when I buy groceries, not all stores have paper available, so the plastic bags still find a way into my home. And if I don't immediately trash them... guess who who finds them? I've attempted to do away with plastic bottles as well, but that has to be a conscious choice, and so far Ray hasn't embraced the refillable Brita bottles.


I am honestly afraid Rabbit will one day ingest a plastic bag, and that will be the end of him. For those who live with a Turkish Van, you already know it's like having a three-year-old child underfoot, always observing with a keen sense of what is wrong, and totally embracing it. Knowing I do not want him to have plastic naturally makes him want it all the more. I am totally serious. After taking a plastic straw, a plastic toy, a plastic baggie away from him, Rabbit watches me bury it in the bottom of the kitchen trash bin, only to wait until I leave the room before he tips the bin over and digs for it.

It's not like he doesn't have any toys. Oh My Cod, there are toys everywhere... including the notorious plastic hanger hooks that Rabbit is passionate about fetching. Hmmm. I now wonder if those hooks were the gateway drug to his grocery bag addiction?

I've researched why cats enjoy the taste of plastic. Is it the attractive chemical taste? The odor of food, like chicken? Is it Pica? OCD? Stress? Just plain ol cussedness? There doesn't seem to be any one answer, just a lot of theories.

Whatever the true attraction to plastic is, it's more dangerous to Rabbit than Glen Close was to Michael Douglas in Fatal Attraction. I pray my beloved AssRabbit outgrows his addiction, but I'm not sure that will happen. So Ray and I are hyper alert to anything lying around the house that would be attractive to Rabs. With so many cats underfoot we already pick up "smalls" like paper clips, rubber bands, and bottle caps and rings. The rings used to be a great fetch toy with our beloved Buddy the tabby, but when one of the Gang started chewing them apart in later years, we banned them.

I recently told Rabbit that if he kept licking plastic, his face would one day morph to show the catastrophic results of his substance abuse:

wonderpurr.com

The Wonderpurr Gang has never had a member with addiction problems, so this is a new one on me. Other than disposing of the bags as soon as they come into the house, I'm at a loss as to what else to do. So, suggestions are welcome.

All that being said, I'm truly THANKFUL that I caught Rabbit's addiction early, and am now hyper-aware of anything that might end up in his mouth.



12 comments:

  1. I wish I had some suggestions, but sadly I don't. I sure understand your concern though. We're all hoping that he does outgrow it, and soon too. Thanks for joining our Thankful Thursday Blog Hop!

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  2. Have to be on alert for dangers all the time. I too hope he grows out of it.

    Have a fabulous Thankful Thursday. ♥

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  3. That is scary. I am glad he was OK.

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  4. That is scary! Maybe introduce him to some catnip mice, or reward him with his fave treats for playing with something else?

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  5. it is a form of PICA; tuna has it with anything electric....no joke; there's NOTHING in my house that's not plugged in unless the cord is behind a desk etc that can't be moved. He went so far as to jump up on the stove, chew on the knobs and I came home one day to see one near enough to the "on" position that I unplugged the stove and shut it off at the circuit breaker....

    I use the lunch bags for litter removal and take my own reusable bags in to stores that have plastic only.

    other than keeping the "goods" out of his reach; or the "sprays" that are on the market; maybe one of the petstages toys would satisfy his plastic needs; they have a few that are tough "plastic" and even though they are for the teething stage; they may help ???

    rabbit....dood.....ewe seer eee iz lee knead ta quit that buddy...whoa ~~~~

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  6. something along this line

    https://www.chewy.com/petstages-dental-kitty-chew-wheel-cat/dp/181413?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=Petstages&ut

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  7. sorry...some of the dog chews might work too, they are a bit larger

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  8. Timmy had Pica also and I worried about him once this problem showed its ugly head. Luckily for us it was only a few types of plastic, one of which was the shrink wrap on cat food cases, so I was able to keep it out of the house. When he turned around 10 this slipped my mind and we had a case of cat food with the offending wrap and he was not interested any longer. Not sure if they changed the type of plastic or he grew out of the desire but we know there is nothing as worrying as finding that pile of barfed plastic. Rabbit please stop buddy! You may be a pain but we love you fella

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  9. I have no suggestions apart from keeping all plastic under lock and key. I hope he grows out of that habit.

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  10. We had a cat that liked plastic. It was tough as he even chewed the ziplock bags and extension cords! (This was 20 years ago) Reading about Rabbit, I looked around and there is way more plastic packaging now than then! I will say that it was a stage that Licorice went through. And it got worse when he was stressed. When we settled in the house here, after about a year his compulsion to shred and chew plastic seemed to disappear.

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  11. Suki was a wool eater, Toki was a wool sucker, and Pipo was into the plastic stuff...he fished Zip Lok bags out of the waste basket in hubby's office enough times that I told him to take them to the covered trash bin instead,. He noshed on bags, shrink wrap, and even cellophane treat bags. Minko was into the electric cords, the slim slinky ones such as ear buds and USB type computer cords.

    Pica is such a strange problem, making us pet pawrents anxious and vigilant...

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  12. Rabbit, you are a naughty boy. Tell your mom she needs to get reusable bags for her groceries and any other shopping. Those are fun to sit it, but not for eating, as she has found good alternatives for the litter. We do have some plastic-addicted cats here, but luckily they don’t eat them. If Cooper finds one, he will scratch at it until it is in shreds. If Astrid finds one, it must be peed on. Our Louise did this as well. We do still use the plastic bags for litter, but they are stowed where cats cannot get to them. I am going to read the other comments to see if anyone had any good suggestions. Aren’t all cats like three year olds? XOCK, angel Lily Olivia, angel Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, angel Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth, Calista Jo, Cooper Murphy, Sawyer & Kizmet
    Mom says to have a good weekend.

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