Tag Archives: crinkle

Plastic Bags: The Deadly Danger Lurking in Your Home

You might remember from our discussion of why cats enjoy crinkle noises that many cats enjoy playing with plastic bags. A number of cats even enjoy chewing on plastic bags and other bags (chips and other snack bags, cat food bags, etc.) . There are 3 deadly dangers associated with these seemingly innocent bags: suffocation, choking, and bowel obstruction.

I have been guilty of putting away the plastic bags to save in case I need to clean up some kitty puke, a stray turd kicked out of the litter box, and other little messes. But that all ended when Stiles was less than a year old, and opened the cabinet where we keep the kitty treats, catnip, and other things. He loves plastic. What if he saw where I kept the bags? He really is too smart for his own good.

It’s like hiding the Tide Pods, that you know your toddler tries to eat every chance s/he gets, in a cabinet they can get to with very little effort. You’re taking a huge risk for no reason. Stop keeping the pods in your house. Buy the bottle of detergent.

So the same is true for any bag that is airtight, like shopping bags, snack bags, etc. Get reusable canvas bags for shopping or choose paper and remove the handles, and get some plastic storage containers that you pour chips and other things that come in bags in when you get home from the store. Cut up and throw away the bags. Get trash cans with lids. They come in all sizes. This way, your cat can’t get into the bag.

One of Stiles’s sisters had to have emergency surgery because she also loves to chew plastic, and had a bowel obstruction. They didn’t think she’d make it. But she did. She was amazingly lucky.

Unfortunately, deaths from suffocation in cats and dogs are all too common. Learn pet CPR (watch video below), keep dangerous objects away from pets just like you would with a toddler. NEVER assume this can’t happen to your pet. Because it can.

More info:




Q&A: Why Doesn’t My Cat Want to Play?

Q: My cat is almost 6 years old, she used to love playing with toys like laser pointer and wand toys, but the past few weeks, she shows no interest. She doesn’t look sick. What could be the cause?

A: The drive to hunt doesn’t end in a healthy cat, and thus the drive to play should not end in a healthy cat. Sure, mature cats don’t play as much as kittens, but that’s because kittens have a very short span in which they must learn to hunt and fend for themselves. Seniors and elderly cats slow down a little more, but that is a way off for your fur baby. Adult cats should play for at least 15 minutes twice a day. If your cat isn’t playing, even though you are providing it the opportunity, it should see the vet first.

They can get bored with the same toys and games, which is why it’s important to keep providing new enrichment. You should also rotate toys. And keep in mind that not all cats like the same toys. One of our cats, Kikiyo, has never shown much interest in the wand-type toys. She’s far more interested in mystery. If I put a toy inside her crinkle sack and let it peek out, then retreat back into the bag (I use a string), she’s interested. Sometimes I have to move it around a bit inside the sack so it makes a little more noise, but she’s very fond of that game.

She also likes it when she’s on the other side of a door, and I peek toys out, then have them retreat, then slooowly poke them out again.

You might also consider harness training your cat. Being able to explore all the sights and smells outside may reinvigorate her interest in hunting behavior, which is what playing is.

You can also try keeping some toys in a plastic bag with some catnip (if she likes catnip). Just make sure not to expose her to catnip too often. Once every 4–7 days max. Cats can lose their sensitivity to catnip if they are around it too much.

Of Cats and Crinkle Noises

Cats love soft rustling sounds, and the sound of paper and plastic bags crinkling. They have ultrasonic hearing (there is actually pretty good evidence that even deaf cats can hear in the ultrasonic range). This helps them hunt, especially small rodents like mice or rats who make noises in that range. It’s a sort of soft rustling, crinkly sound that they like.

So they like noises in that range when playing, but they also like it when they’re looking for a nice place to nap. The sound can mimic that of a bed of dry grass and brush, which make a nice place for a cat to sleep. 3 of my 4 cats love the sound.

However, you should be cautious, especially with older cats. The higher pitched sound of tinfoil (AKA aluminum foil) crinkling, along with other high-pitched sounds, can cause seizures in cats. Colloquially referred to as Tom and Jerry Syndrome, its official name is Feline Audiogenic Reflex Seizures (FARS).

Other sounds that can cause seizures are clanging spoons, clanging pots, metals on ceramics, and clinking coins, among a long list of noises in that range.

The lead author of the study that uncovered this problem, Dr Mark Lowrie of Davies Veterinary Specialists, said in an interview:

“The sounds responsible are high-pitched sounds, often relatively quiet sounds, with increasing loudness and persistence of a sound only serving to enhance the severity of the epileptic seizures.

“Avoiding these sounds eliminated the seizures in 72 out of 96 cats.

“The reason for cats being so sensitive to these seemingly benign high-pitched sounds may have its origin in the ultrasonic hearing range of the species.

“Mice and rats communicate in the ultrasonic frequency range and it is believe that cats developed a secondary ultrasonic sensitive hearing range presumably as an evolutionary advantage in catching rats and mice, their natural prey.”

This explains why even deaf cats can have these seizures.

Further reading:

Feline Audiogenic Reflex Seizures in Cats

‘Tom and Jerry syndrome’ causes seizures in old cats

Audiogenic reflex seizures in cats