Here's Why Your Cats Keep Eating Tape, Straight From Veterinarians

Unsplash / Zeke Tucker

It’s easy to understand why some cats crave tuna, mice, and salmon. But tape? Why would a cat eat that? Surprisingly, it’s a phenomenon that a lot of cat owners are familiar with. The simple fact is: some kitties love tape. In fact, there are several cat blogs that are full of tales about their sassy furballs developing this strange feline behavior. It’s like catnip to them, chewing, batting, and rolling the material around. Some cats have become so addicted to it that their owners must hide anything tape-related in their homes. But why do cats eat tape? And how can pet owners prevent their furry felines from tape eating? To help answer your questions, POPSUGAR spoke with three vets about what you should know.

Why Does My Cat Eat Tape?

There are various reasons why your kitty may be eating tape, Michelle Burch, DVM, veterinary writer and adviser for Catological, told POPSUGAR. Depending on the cat, she explained, the smell of the adhesive, the taste of the glue, and the tape’s texture and crinkle could prompt your kitty to eat the item.

Cats may also eat tape and other inedible items because they have pica, a condition in which cats have the behavioral urge to eat inedible objects, said Carol Osborne, DVM, from Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic. Some of the causes of pica include genetics, boredom, nutritional deficiencies, underlying disease states, and being weaned too early.

Is It Dangerous For My Cat to Eat Tape?

Eating tape can be very dangerous for your kitty because tape can get stuck in your kitty’s digestive tract, Dr. Osborne said. This type of foreign-body obstruction typically requires costly surgery to remove the blocked object. In some cases, the condition can be life-threatening should the obstructing item(s) remain inside the cat, she explained. Some signs of foreign-body ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal tenderness or pain, and decreased appetite or anorexia.

Another major health concern is the tape potentially containing toxic ingredients that could cause health issues once absorbed into the body, Jessica Kirk, DVM, veterinary writer for Vet Explains Pets, told POPSUGAR.

How Can I Stop My Cat From Eating Tape?

To stop your cat from eating tape, Dr. Burch recommends removing any offending tape from your cat’s reach. You should also keep all shipping boxes with loose tape away from your feline, as cats can pull off the tape and then ingest it. That said, if you need to use tape, make sure your cat is secure and does not have a way to access or consume the tape while you are working with it, she added.

If you believe your sassy furball is eating tape because he is bored, give him something else to chew and snack on or a new enriching activity to try out, Dr. Kirk said. You can keep your kitty stimulated by having plenty of safe toys and other enrichment opportunities to satisfy him as well as scheduling regular playtime sessions with him.

Lastly, Dr. Kirk recommends taking your cat to the vet to make sure that there is nothing wrong going on internally.

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