Why Does My Cat Love Adhesives on Tape and Glue?

Last Updated on July 8, 2021 by Jenny

Originally published Dec 7, 2016

Why Cats Love Adhesives on Tape and Glue

why-does-my-cat-love-adhesives-on-tape-and-glue-ragdoll-cats-charlie-and-trigg-eat-lick-tapeRecently a reader described a phenomenon a lot of cat owners are familiar with: “Charlie really loves adhesive. You cannot leave any tape around where he can get it if he will bite and lick it. I found him on the dining room table this morning biting and licking an adhesive label I had pulled off a package that I had to send back yesterday. Is this something most cats like? Is it poisonous for him to lick it?”

My cats also love adhesive on tape (and I let them have at my Scotch packing tape to get a few photos for this post – but usually I have it closed up in a drawer that they can’t get to). In fact, cat forums and blogs are full of tales of kitties addicted to adhesive tape. Here’s a short rundown on why your cat might be addicted to tape, why you should be careful, and how to try and break them of this habit.

Why Do Cats Eat Tape?

Why cats like adhesive specifically is a bit of a mystery – one possible explanation is that different cats just have different preferences when it comes to the smells or textures they are attracted to. A possible root cause of a tape addiction is pica, a the condition of cats eating inedible objects. Cats can develop pica if they are weaned to early. They develop the habit of sucking on inedible items like wool or other fabrics, and more extreme cases can involve eating things like plastic (or tape). Here are a few other possible causes for cat pica:

  • Cat health issues – Eating something unusual could be a sign of a deeper health issue, like feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, brain tumors, or diabetes. It could also be a sign of dietary issues, like anemia or something missing from the cat’s diet.
  • Genetics – Pica could also just be a genetic trait. For example, wool sucking is more commonly found in Birman and Siamese cats. It could also be the sign of a compulsive disorder.
  • Boredom – Some cats might start gnawing on unusual household items simply out of boredom or to get their owner’s attention. These cats might be in need of more stimulation in their environment.

why-do-cats-eat-tape-ragdoll-cat-trigg-eating-tapeReasons for why cats eat tape could vary, and it’s always good to check in with your vet, especially if it’s a habit they develop suddenly.

Is Eating Adhesives Dangerous?

In a word, yes. The problem is the possibility of intestinal blockage. Cats often throw up things they can’t digest, but not always, and a case of intestinal blockage because your cat swallowed a piece of tape could be life-threatening and costly.

How Do I Stop My Cat From Eating Adhesives?

why-do-cats-eat-tape-ragdoll-cat-charlie-eats-tapeAgain, your first step should be to talk to a vet to make sure your cat isn’t showing signs of underlying cat health problems, but then you can focus on keeping your cat away from tape. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Keep the adhesives away – Try your best to keep tape or other adhesives out of reach of your cat – for example, don’t let them in the room when you are wrapping gifts! Try using other options, like twisty ties, whenever possible.
  • Taste aversion – You can make the tape less attractive to your cat by training them to associate it with a “bad” taste like bitter apple. Let your kitty smell and even taste the “bad” substance, then leave out a piece or two of tape coated with this taste. Continue to put a little of this substance on tape whenever you use it around the house, and hopefully they will start to associate the bad taste with tape.
  • Increase stimulation – If your cat is chewing tape because they are bored, try to make some more time to play with your kitty or create more stimulation in their environment, such as window views, videos, or games for cats to play.
  • Diversion – Give them something else to chew! If you catch them with tape, try to distract them with something safe, like a toy with a treat inside.


You can also talk to your vet or an animal behaviorist for more insight into how to deal with a cat who loves adhesives.

Does your cat love adhesives on tape and glue? How do you stop your cat from eating adhesives?

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10 thoughts on “Why Does My Cat Love Adhesives on Tape and Glue?

  1. TLam says:

    Gandalf the Grey LOVED chewing on plastic (bubble mailer pouches, plastic around cases of bottled water, straws, certain candy wrappers). Not all plastics attracted him. We still suspected Pica though. Had to watch him like a hawk as he always managed to get open drawers and cabinets to find his fix. I sure miss that sweet boy to pieces!

  2. Gale says:

    My Diva loves to peel off the tape off boxes. She chews tape but does not swallow it. Just like she did with her registration papers, she makes lace out of the edges and walks away so that we can admire her handiwork

  3. Patti Johnson says:

    Such a fabulously pawesome & valuable re-post, Jenny! You should definitely run this one once a year or every two years, I think. TYSVM for great reminder about this super helpful information and guidance to keep our furbabies safe! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

  4. Michelle Blackwell-Baker says:

    Thank you for this information on adhesives and tapes.

    I do have a good story to tell…
    I think I had only had Hugo (and Jasper) for about 3-4 weeks, and I knew very little about cats, as these were my first pets (I had offered them a forever home at 11 months old). They were still settling in so they were fairly timid, and I’d not experienced any of the unusual traits that come with Ragdolls other than growling like a dog.

    I happened to be wrapping up a large present, and the only way I could do this was on the kitchen floor as I needed to sellotape sheets of gift wrap together first. I got up to get the present and I placed it on the gift wrap, but I couldn’t find the sellotape anywhere. I thought I’d gone mad! I asked myself: “Was I just being cautious and had I automatically put it somewhere safe?” I checked the counters, the kitchen draw where the sellotape was kept, went into the lounge/diner where I had originally tried to wrap it up, but there wasn’t enough room. Scratching my head, like you do, when you walk into a room and think: “What did I come in here for?”; I was baffled. I re-traced my steps, then stood there thinking: “How on earth can I lose a roll of sellotape when I was only just using it a minute ago and I’ve not been anywhere else?”. The cats had been following me around, and they had sat on the gift wrap on the floor, but I didn’t really think anything of it, other than they were just curious. Nonetheless, I was still baffled. At this point Hugo casually strolled back into the kitchen with the roll of sellotape in his mouth. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Thankfully he hadn’t chewed it.

    Now when I wrap presents up, I ensure I either wrap them on a table then put everything away straight away, or I go into a separate room. I wasn’t told anything about the breed before re-homing these boys, so I rely on sources of information from the internet and from you/Floppycats – Thankyou again.

    I’ve realised that anything is a toy to a Ragdoll and you need to think of them as toddlers, especially with the danger of leaving any items, including some of their toys out when you’re not around. I think I’m going to have lots of fun at Christmas trying to keep them away from my Christmas tree and presents. I just hope they don’t think it’s a new kind of cat tree!

  5. Patti Johnson says:

    Absolutey fascinating and VERY helpful post, Jenny! Thank you so much for this one!!! 🙂 <3

    Miss PSB is attracted to the tape that is used on cardboard boxes for items we get from Amazon and other online shopping, etc… The first time I saw her do this when she was younger it really bothered me and I knew it couldn't possibly be a good thing. So, from that point on, I made sure to break all our boxes down and put them out of her reach (either in a big garbage bag) or stored in our den closet) until trash pickup day each week.

    If we have to glue anything we try to do it at the kitchen counter where she can't interfere and then clean up really well when done. And, of course, all tapes are kept in a drawer in our kitchen.

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

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