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Why Do Cats Like To Sit On Plastic Bags? 5 Interesting Reasons

It happens almost every time you go to the grocery store. You arrive home with plastic bags in hand, greeted happily by your feline friend. You unpack everything, and while putting your groceries away, you hear …that unmistakable sound of plastic being squished and flattened.

Yes, your cat has settled down into the center of a plastic bag. But… why? What is it about plastic bags that cats find so attractive that they can’t seem to stop themselves from curling up in one? If you’re perplexed about why cats like to sit on plastic bags, push on and keep reading! We have five interesting reasons below that will illuminate this bizarre plastic bag behavior.

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The 5 Interesting Reasons Cats Like to Sit on Plastic Bags

1. Cats Love the Feeling of Being Wrapped in Something

If you’ve been around cats long enough, you know that they love squeezing into small cracks, crevices, and wherever they can (even if they don’t fit). This is one of the main reasons cats like to sit on plastic bags; the plastic envelops them and gives them a sense of security, privacy, and, probably, contentment. Being wrapped up in plastic bags makes a cat feel like being wrapped in a warm blanket.

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2. Cats Smell the Beef Tallow in the Bags

When plastic is made, one ingredient that may surprise you is beef tallow (aka rendered beef fat). What’s even more surprising is that, even after being heavily manufactured during production, the smell of the beef tallow lingers enough that cats can detect it with their incredible sense of smell and taste. Some cats have even been known to lick and chew on bags, most likely for the same beefy reason. Don’t let them do that, however. Plastic is very unhealthy for cats.

cat lying inside a plastic bag
Image Credit: Nadinelle, Shutterstock
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3. Plastic Bags Are Highly Tactile

Cats love to play with highly tactile items and will happily spend hours batting around their favorite toy, especially if it makes funny noises. Plastic bags are the ultimate tactile funny noise maker, and it’s crinkly and odd like almost nothing else cats encounter. You also need to consider that cats have a keen sense of hearing and can hear at ultrasonic levels. Knowing this, it’s not surprising that the odd sound of a plastic bag being smooshed and the feeling it makes when it does is very appealing to the average cat.

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4. Sitting on Plastic Bags Gets a Cat Some Much-Loved Attention

It’s no secret that cats like to be left alone occasionally, but they also like attention. If they aren’t getting alone time, a cat can hide or squeeze into its favorite spot high off the floor. If a cat’s not getting enough attention, sitting on plastic bags while they crinkle like crazy is a great way to get it. Not only do they get the joy of the sound and feel of the bags being squished, but they also get the attention of their human and can have some fun.

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5. Cats Seek Insulation and Warmth

One of the things a cat needs to be healthy and happy is a nice, warm spot to curl up and relax or sleep. A plastic bag is attractive because of this innate need. The plastic envelops them and provides a certain level of warmth. Several plastic bags are even better and will be a treat for your cat to snuggle into and get cozy.

Silver tabby Scottish Straight cat playing clear plastic bag
Image Credit: Miss Zea, Shutterstock

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Plastic Bag Safety Tips for Cats

Although plastic bags don’t present a considerable health risk to your cat, they can be dangerous under the wrong circumstances. Below are some tips to help you keep your cat safe when they sit on or play in plastic bags.

Tips On Keeping Your Cat Safe While Playing With Plastic Bags:
  • Stay close by. If something happens, like your cat getting stuck in a bag or accidentally eating plastic, you’ll be there to help.
  • Don’t let your cat chew on plastic bags. If they do, take the bags away immediately.
  • Don’t let kittens sit in plastic bags. They could get stuck inside the back and suffocate.
  • Don’t keep plastic bags where cats can access them alone. Place them in a cabinet or other safe area.

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Final Thoughts

Cats like sitting in plastic bags for several reasons, as we’ve seen today. Most of those reasons concern the fun, unique way plastic bags look, feel, and sound. Because they’re so different from almost everything else in a cat’s world, plastic bags pique their curiosity like virtually no other object.

They also trigger a cat’s instinct to seek a safe space, get warm and comfy, and more. While the health risks from sitting and playing on plastic bags are low, you should keep a close eye on your cat when they do and prevent them from eating, chewing, or even licking on plastic. However, don’t be surprised if your next trip to the grocery store makes them very happy.

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Featured Image Credit: Ivan Krivenko, Shutterstock