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Eating Wool, Plastic and Other Things That Aren't Food

The eating of non-food items could indicate a medical problem so it is important to consult with your veterinarian as a first step in addressing the problem.

Behaviorists don’t understand why some animals will eat non-food items and others do not. Wool, wood items and plastic products are often favorite targets for cats. These behaviors seem to be more common in Siamese cats and related breeds.

Some items that your pet ingests can create life-threatening intestinal blockages, so your pet’s life may depend on stopping this behavior. The technical term for this behavior is pica – eating things that aren’t food.

Pet-proof your house if possible, so that your cat can’t get hold of the things he likes to chew and eat. If you can’t keep him away from the items, use products to make them taste bad, or harmless ‘booby-traps” to keep pets away. We recommend the SSSCat to keep your cat away from certain places or things . Find other things to keep your cat occupied so she isn’t looking for things to chew on. For some great ideas on how to provide enriching toys and environments for your cat, see our program Helping Kitty Be Good, available in a DVD or audio CD format.

If these suggestions don’t work, and especially if the pica is causing life-threatening blockages, consider consulting with your veterinarian and/or an experienced and knowledgeable behavior consultant because of the seriousness of the situation. Through a combination of environmental management, medications prescribed by your veterinarian and the appropriate use of aversive consequences, it may be possible to stop the behavior.


The Ssscat Automated Cat Repellant delivers a harmless but effective puff of air whenever your cat gets near it. Place it near things that your cat likes to chew.

To learn how to provide an enriching environment for your cat and prevent pica problems, get our DVD Helping Kitty Be Good. Here you’ll learn what cats want and need to be healthy and happy in your home.

Animal Behavior Associates - Helping Kitty
4994 S. Independence Way
Littleton, CO 80123

Phone: 303-932-9095
Fax: 303-932-2298