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

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Cats like bags because of their love of confined spaces. Bags provide a sense of security and enclosure, mimicking the snugness of a hidden den in the wild.

Crinkly textures and rustling sounds of bags make the bag an intriguing source of entertainment. The sheltered environment inside a bag allows cats to observe their surroundings without being fully exposed.

And… don’t we all love watching the cat playing with a paper bag. Do you remember Maru the cat? Maru is in my opinion the master of paper bag and paper carton shenanigans. Scroll down to look at the video. I guarantee you will laugh and it will make your day.

We even bought the book. We bought the book at a local bookshop however I was surprised to see that it is on Amazon. I have put the link below if you are interested.

Key Take Aways – Why Cats like Bags

Bags are confined spaces, and in the wild cats look for confined spaces to offer protection and a good hiding spot from predators. Cats often retain their natural instincts, so a bag feels like a safe and secure place to them.

Cats are naturally curious creatures and bags present a new and interesting environment to explore. The rustling sounds and different textures can also be intriguing and fun for them to play with.

Bags, especially those made of paper or fabric, can provide a cozy and warm environment. Cats are drawn to warmth and may find the insulating properties of bags comfortable for naps.

Cats have scent glands on their cheeks and paws. By lying in and on bags, they can deposit their scent, which makes the bag part of their territory and provides a sense of familiarity and comfort.

Cats may quickly learn that lying on or in bags gets them attention from their humans. Whether it’s laughter, photos, or simply being picked up and cuddled, this can be a rewarding experience for them.

Some cats may enjoy the texture of certain bags, especially paper or plastic ones that make noise when touched. These sensory experiences can be stimulating and enjoyable for cats.


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 rustling sounds may remind the cat of the skittering of mice or leaves.

Update: Where I live, plastic bags like the one in the image, are just about non existent. The large ones at the grocery store are definitely gone. I did miss them in the beginning but it is amazing how quickly we adapt and move on.

As plastic tends to retain odors, the bag may smell like that takeaway chicken you picked up on the way home. Let’s take a closer look.

Plastic Bags As Entertainment

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 and the cat is off and running after the bag. 

Plastic Bags Make Sounds

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

Smell Of The Bag

Not only does a plastic 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.

Safety Of Bags

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 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 Reading: 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 Or In Paper Bags?

When we ask the question, why do cats like bags, we must 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 bag 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.

Cats are often found curled up inside paper bags and are have you noticed, that they are not particularly happy when you find their hideaway?

Small places are necessary to help cats 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 are just being a cat.

Did you ever watch Maru the cat videos? Maru is still around and still loves squeezing into small spaces. Maru has his own Wikipedia page and the videos have been watched over 500 million times.

I have spent far too much time watching Maru videos.

Here is Maru squeezing into a paper bag.

White Garden Bags Are Also Popular At Our Place!

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.

In fact we could pretty much guarantee that any white bag that came home would be claimed by the cat.

Why Do Some Cats Like Lying On Purses/Handbags?

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

We know that cats love of small, dark places, so if he can crawl inside one of these, he is in kitty heaven and feels completely safe.

But this doesn’t account for lying on top of bags.

Anything that is new in a cat’s environment, is something that needs to be checked out by the cat.

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, the cat automatically believes it is his.

Cats 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 Reading: 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!

A Handbag/Purse Loving Cat That Made Us Laugh

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 had to be put in a safe place, out of reach.

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

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

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!
why do cats like bags - pinterest image

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