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Why Do Cats Like Bags? My Cat’s Eyes Light Up When He Sees A Bag!

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It is almost a given, you bring in your shopping bags and as you are trying to unpack them, your cat decides to “help”. Okay, so he isn’t helping, he just wants that bag.

Why do cats like bags? Paper bags are fun, but plastic bags are almost impossible for any cat to resist.

Cats are some of the most confusing animals we come into contact with, but let’s take a moment to see if we can understand this fascination with bags.

Why Do Cats Like To Lie On Plastic Bags?

cat lying on a plastic bag
Don’t you love my plastic bag? It suits my coloring!

There are several theories on why cats enjoy plastic bags so much. The bags make for easy, long-term entertainment.

The sound reminds the cat of the skittering of mice or the comfort of leaves, and plastic tends to retain odors, so the bag may smell like that chicken you picked up on the way home. Let’s take a closer look.


Plastic bags are lightweight and much easier for a small cat to carry and move. With just the slightest breeze, the bag moves, making it seem like it may be alive. This triggers the cat’s natural prey instinct. 


In the wild, cats find comfort in resting among piles of leaves. The crinkling sound of the plastic reminds them of the sound of the leaves and triggers a sense of safety.

Also, mice communicate with ultra-sonic sounds that are thought to sound much like the crinkling of plastic. This works with the easy movement of the bags to make the cat feel like it is hunting.


Not only does the bag often smell like whatever is brought home in it, but many plastic bags are manufactured with animal fat. A cat can smell at a rate of fourteen times greater than a human and may be able to smell that animal fat.


Plastic bags easily cling to a cat’s fur. The bag embraces the cat as it molds to its body, creating the feel of being in a cocoon. This makes the cat feel like it is safe.


A cat’s body temperature is higher than that of humans. They are most comfortable at a temperature of 86-97 degrees Fahrenheit. This is at least fourteen degrees higher than the average person keeps their home.

Plastic is an excellent insulator and it helps retain the cat’s body temperature, making him feel warmer in what he may feel is too cold of an environment.

Related: Cat caves (for cats to sleep in and hang out) fulfil that same function of giving cats security. Cats do like small or enclosed spaces. A cat cave is a perfect sleeping place for a kitty and they love them.

why do cats like bags
Are you going away somewhere kitty?

Why Do Cats Like Sitting On Paper Bags?

When we ask the question, why do cats like bags, we need to include paper bags. You are more likely to find a cat crawling inside a paper bag than sitting on it but they do like paper bags.

Paper bags often feel smooth, creating a new sensation for the cat, who is always on the search for novelty. The paper may be warmer than most flooring and yet cooler than carpeting. This keeps the cat comfortable.

When the cat can get inside the paper bag, it resembles a den. Cats have retained many of the instincts of their feral days.

Small places are necessary to help them feel safe enough to enjoy that twenty hours of sleep that most cats require. 

Paper bags provide cats with a feeling of security. The bag encloses them on all sides, providing them with a sense of privacy and hides them from potential predators.

The crinkly sound of the paper can be soothing to cats and help them relax.

Lastly, paper bags often retain the scent of their previous contents, which can be attractive to cats.

So the next time your cat crawls into a paper bag, just remember that they’re not being weird – they’re just being a cat. Did you ever watch Maru the cat videos? Maru is still around and still loves squeezing into small spaces.

I have spent far too much time watching Maru videos.

Here is Maru squeezing into a paper bag.

What About White Garden Bags?

You may be wondering what on earth is a white garden bag? Garden bags containing potting mix, compost etc are not usually white in color.

One exception where we live are the bags that contain chicken pellets (chicken manure for the garden). The bags are white and our cat loved bags that were white, any type of bag.

The empty bags don’t smell great, after all chicken manure is a pretty powerful pong. The cat could be found perched on a white bag in the middle of the yard. White plastic bags were also popular when we still used white plastic bags.

Why Do Some Cats Like Lying On Purses?

We now understand why cats are drawn to plastic and paper bags, but many cats also seem to be drawn to purses, book bags, and even camera bags.

This attraction may surprise you in some ways. First, there is the cat’s natural love of small, dark places, so if she can crawl inside one of these, she is in kitty heaven and feels completely safe. But this doesn’t account for lying on top of them

First, anything new in a cat’s environment is something it needs to check out. Cats are territorial. If the bag is new, they want to check it out and make sure it is not a threat.

Once that feeling is satisfied, the cat will want to claim the bag to make sure everyone knows it is his.

After all, if a cat wants something, it automatically believes it is his.

Most cats know claiming the bag by peeing on it isn’t going to go over very well. They do, however, have glands in their cheeks and paws that secrete pheromones that are unique to them.

They will often rub their faces against the bag and then lay on it, fully covering the item with their scent. That is now a new treasure to add to their domain.

Related: Cat themed handbags and purses. We just can’t get enough of cats!

cats love hopping into bags
Oh, you found me! I was just going!

Handbag/Purse Loving Cat

Cats really do have unique personalities. A new addition cat, to a household I frequent often was mad keen on the handbag/purse of every one that visited.

If the bag was placed on the floor, as we often tend to do when having a coffee, the cat would roll around aggressively on the bag, poking is head into the bag and just basically going gangbusters on making the bag his property.

It became a joke and when visiting, all the purses/handbags were put out of reach.

I have to wonder if that cat was a handbag designer in another life.

Related: Does your cat hide under the bed covers or slip under the doona or blanket? Another instance of cats and small enclosed spaces.

Why Do Cats Like Bags?

Cats do just love bags. They like to explore the inside of a paper bag, like Maru.

Even handbags are not off limits and some cats love rolling around and having a good nose around in a handbag.

Even if the cat is not trying to get into the bag, it is almost certain that the cat will like sitting on top of the bag.

Well, I do love a good accessory dear!

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