One of my cats (3 y.o. female Bengal, spayed) absolutely loooves the taste of the sticky side of tape - especially packing tape (or at least, that's what's usually available) but I've also caught her licking the double sided tape I put around electrical cords to deter her and her brother from chewing on them. She has no interest in the non-sticky side, and she usually doesn't chew on it that much as far as I've seen. I'm not bothered by this behavior - licking is at least a nondestructive alternative to chewing on the cords - unless it's bad for her or a sign of poor health.

Any idea about what's causing this strange behavior? It's been going on for months if not years, and she's got a clean bill of health from her last vet visit. She and her brother get the same food, although she is way more motivated by dry food than he is and preferentially consumes it during the rare times it's an option for her. But that doesn't seem enough for her to be experiencing some form of malnutrition, is it?

If this is a problem, is it something I can train her not to do? Or should I just keep her away from exposed tape from now on?


1 Answer 1


I'd say that the cat is attracted by the smell of the adhesive substance, the "glue" of the tape, whose ingredients depend on the manufacturer - but, generally, contain volatile compounds with a distinctive aroma, which - as it seems - turns out to be attractive and appetizing to your cat. If you sniff the tape, you'll probably be able to detect that aromatic, chemical smell yourself. I believe this adhesive is safe if the tape is used as intended, but it definitely isn't made to be safe for consumption and letting your cat lick this is potentially dangerous.

Please take into account that a lot of harmful chemical compounds have attractive and pleasant smells, especially in low concentrations - and a cat could definitely be fooled by its sense of smell to consume a potentially harmful substance. As I've mentioned, I don't think any of these substances in the adhesive are immediately dangerous to health and life, but a prolonged and chronic exposure by licking definitely isn't preferred. I'd suggest applying measures to prevent your cat from licking the tape anymore.

What is more, your cat could also be potentially affected by pica, which is an appetite for inedible things. It could, indeed, be a result of nutritional deficiencies - but it could be as well be caused by a mental disorder or simply by boredom, it's hard to tell over the Internet.

  • 2
    Some tapes use toxic adhesives and some don't. So one option might be to make sure to only use nontoxic tape where the cat might lick it.
    – Kat
    Sep 18, 2020 at 0:05
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    I wondered if it helped to clean their teeth? Feb 4, 2021 at 19:56
  • @CHRISBGKY I think it is definitely possible that they are doing it for this reason, but it should be prevented and some appropriate teeth-cleaning food for dental care should be provided instead, because tape isn't made for cleaning teeth and could be toxic.
    – lila
    Feb 4, 2021 at 20:33

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