Why Does My Cat Eat Tape?

Does your furball love to eat tape? You are not alone. Look through the internet and you will come across many pet parents claiming their cats exhibit the same behavior. Whether it is an adhesive tape, masking tape, duct tape, flooring tape, or electrical tape, your kitty cannot seem to keep her hands off of it. As soon as you place it on the table, she will be all over it—playing with it, rolling on it, and finally eating it. That cannot be right. Why do cats eat tape? We have a few suggestions on this guide.

Reasons Cats Love Eating Tape

1. Glue Tastes Good

The first probable reason your cat cannot resist the temptation to eat tape is that she loves the taste of glue. Perhaps the polyvinyl acetate used to make the glue stimulates her taste buds. It could also be any other ingredient in the tape that your kitty finds very tasty. Thankfully, most tapes use non-toxic glue that is safe for humans and pets alike. Unless the cat licks off a huge amount of the glue, she will be just fine.

2. They Love The Smell Of The Adhesive

Apart from the taste of glue, your sassy furball may also love how the tape smells. The adhesives used to make tape can be really smelly. The most common ones are rubber-based or acrylic, both of which have a strong scent to them. The rubber adhesive has a sweet mild odor while the acrylic gives off a strong vinegar smell. Your kitty may find one or the other to be sweet-smelling.

3. They Enjoy The Crinkle

Adhesive tape can be manipulated to have lines and contours that make it a great tool to play with. It is easy to form into wrinkles and creases. Your cat only needs to pull a small section with her teeth or paws to crinkle it. Once it does, he can do all sorts of things with it.

4. The Texture Is Appealing

Cats are creatures of rough textures. This explains why almost all cat trees have scratching posts to them. Or why cats love scratching trees, upholstery, rough walls, and anything that has a hard texture to it. If you have a roll of tape that is rather rough like masking tape, your baby might just love it because of the texture.

5. They Have Pica

Last but not least, some kitties eat tape because they have pica. This is a condition that causes the cat to eat non-food items non-stop. These include plastic bags, sponges, paper, cardboard, and all varieties of tape. Pica is caused by several reasons including genetics, boredom, dietary deficiencies, early weaning, stress, and compulsive disorder.  A cat that suffers from pica has a very hard time saying no to tape or other non-food items. The condition doesn’t have treatment per se but can be managed to a greater degree by a knowledgeable pet parent.

Is Tape Toxic To Cats?

The tape itself is not harmful to your cat as it utilizes harmless materials. However, if your kitty ingests it, he may experience an intestinal blockage. It is a foreign body that a feline digestive system cannot digest. Intestinal obstruction is quite serious and requires surgical intervention to get rid of it. Some of the symptoms of intestinal blockage include diarrhea, vomiting, pain, tenderness, anorexia, and decreased appetite.

How to Discourage the Behavior

Nothing good comes from eating tape. Not only does it result in wastage but it can also compromise the health of your cat. At best, he will have an upset stomach. At worst, he will experience intestinal blockage which requires surgery to treat. Here is what you can do to stop your cat from eating the tape:

  • Get Rid of The Tape: Remove the tape from your kitty’s reach. Hide anything that looks like tape in a cabinet and lock it. This includes getting rid of all loose tape from shipping boxes. If you have to use it, ensure your cat is away from the vicinity.
  • Offer Additional Toys To Keep The Cat Busy: Boredom is a major cause of pica in many cats. To counter it, you need to look for ways to keep your cat busy. Offer mental stimulation toys to engage the cat. Those that take hours to figure out are the best. They will keep your baby pre-occupied enough to kick any thought of eating tape out of his mind.
  • Take The Cat For Professional Checks: You might also want to have the cat checked by the vet to ascertain whether he has an internal blockage or pica. This will help you know how to treat the condition going forward.

Cats eat tape for any of the reasons listed here. If your kitty is one of the many cats that love ingesting tape, you need to intervene and help him to stop the habit once and for all.