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Why Your Cat Is Eating Tape? – 6 Possible Reasons

Jordyn Alger

By Jordyn Alger

Hands with roll of transparent packaging adhesive tape

Cats seem to get into the strangest things. Whenever you wrap presents, do arts and crafts, or otherwise use tape, you’ve undoubtedly had to ward off your cat from time to time. So, what’s the deal with tape? Why do cats like it so much?

There are a few possible answers, ranging from harmless to worrisome. If you want to learn more about the effects that eating tape may have on your cat and how to stop his odd appetite, keep reading below.

The 6 Possible Reasons Why Your Cat Is Eating Tape

1. The Taste Is Intriguing

tabby cat licking its mouth
Image Credit: manfredrichter, Pixabay

The reason your cat can’t get enough tape could be as simple as the taste. Although it may sound disgusting to us, the sticky adhesive on the bottom of strips of tape may taste good, or at least interesting, to your cat.

The smell may also entice your cat, as smell and taste are closely linked in cats. Both rubber-based adhesives and acrylic-based adhesives may smell good to your cat.


2. Tape Makes Fun Crinkling Sounds

Taste and smell aren’t the only tempting qualities of tape. Your cat could also be drawn in by the sounds it makes while he munches on it.

Tape may not make a ton of noise while it is still on the roll, but if your cat is more interested in chewing on torn strips of tape, these strips may make quiet, crinkly noises while he licks them. Your cat may not intend to eat the tape but may do so by accident while licking it or biting it.


3. Pure Curiosity

bengal cat looking curious in the shower
Image Credit: kalyanby, Shutterstock

The tape’s smell, taste, and sound may entice your cat, but curiosity will keep him coming back for more. If your cat is investigating the tape, he may lick it or gnaw on it to get a better idea of what it is.

Cats are famously curious, after all. If there is tape lying around and it is unfamiliar to your cat, chances are he will want to check it out. Afterward, he may develop a tape-licking habit if he finds that it tastes or smells good.


4. Boredom

Just like you and I, cats can get bored. If your cat is bored, he may find ways to entertain himself. That may include licking or chewing on tape. If you think your cat may be bored, look for some of these signs: overgrooming, overeating, inactivity, apathy, and chasing or fighting behaviors.

The best way to combat your cat’s boredom is to entertain him. Interactive toys, scratching posts, and cat trees are great ways to insert some spice into your cat’s life. Rotating toys can prevent him from becoming disenchanted with them, ensuring that they feel new and exciting for a long time.


5. Stress

angry cat hissing
Image Credit: Fang_Y_M, Pixabay

Another reason your cat may be snacking on tape is stress. Stress may cause your cat to behave strangely. For instance, if you and your cat are separated for a prolonged period, have just moved to a new home, or have welcomed a new pet into the house, your cat may be under a lot of stress.

Signs that your cat is dealing with stress include gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea or vomiting, urinating outside of the litter box, excessive grooming or scratching, a change in regular routines, and more aggressive behaviors.

To help your cat with his stress, you can identify the root of his anxieties. Once you have deduced that, you can remove the stressor from his environment or help him cope if removing it is impossible.


6. Pica

Pica is a condition that often appears in cats that were weaned too early. If your cat has pica, you may also notice that he tends to suckle on things such as blankets, shirts, or even on you.

Pica can also be associated with nutritional deficiencies, genetic predispositions, or medical complications. If you suspect your cat has pica, you can speak to your vet to rule out an underlying medical cause, such as feline leukemia. If something else is determined to be the cause, such as environmental factors, compulsive behavior, or diet issues, your vet can help you form a plan of action.

Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Is Eating Tape Bad for Your Cat?

Eating tape is not just bad for your cat; it is dangerous. Your cat will likely vomit the tape up or pass it in the litter box, but there is still a chance that it can get stuck in his gastrointestinal system and cause a blockage. Intestinal blockages can be life-threatening, so it is imperative that your cat does not ingest anything that could lead to such an obstruction.

If your cat has an intestinal blockage, you must get him to your vet immediately. Signs of intestinal obstructions include diarrhea or vomiting, the inability to defecate, lethargy, pain, weight loss, and changes in behavior.

Different types of obstructions will determine how your vet chooses to treat the issue. Likewise, whatever has caused the blockage (in this scenario, tape) will also influence your vet’s decision-making. Some treatment options include induced vomiting, endoscopy, or surgery. There is a chance that your cat will be hospitalized for a few nights for recovery and supervision.

Funny Cat portrait, with a tape on his head
Image Credit: Debbie Kruizinga, Shutterstock

How to Get Your Cat to Stop Eating Tape?

Since eating tape is so dangerous, you will want to eliminate this habit before it can evolve into something much more challenging to manage. The best way to prevent your cat from eating tape is to store it in a secure location that your cat cannot access.

You should investigate the root issue if your cat begins to eat other non-food items once the tape is out of his reach. Why is he eating non-food items? Is it due to one of the reasons on this list? Once you determine the cause of his behavior, you can begin taking steps to curb it. For instance, if he is eating non-food items due to boredom, you should provide him with more entertainment options.

Consult your vet to ensure that there is no underlying medical reason for your cat’s behavior, such as pica.

Conclusion

Cats are curious critters, but their strange behavior is not always something that should be indulged. If your cat has made a recent habit of eating tape, you should put a stop to it right away to prevent any serious health complications. There are many reasons why your cat may have taken a sudden liking to tape, including the reasons listed above. Using this list, you may be able to narrow down the purpose of your cat’s behavior and effectively combat it.


Featured Image Credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock

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