Categories: bowlsCat Products

Some cats are allergic to plastic

Some cats are allergic to plastic.  There are a lot of things in the household and around the home to which a cat can be allergic.  I believe allergic reactions in cats is a bigger problem than we like to believe.  Plastic feeding bowls can create an allergic reaction.

Pets can be allergic to plastic food bowls

It isn’t just the fact that some cats are allergic to plastic, plastic food bowls can leach chemicals into the food.  Despite the fact that there is a lot of information on the Internet about the potential toxicity of chemicals in plastic products, it is hard to find specific information about the chemicals in pet food and water bowls.

I don’t know what is more hazardous to the domestic cat; an allergy to plastic or the toxins in plastic.  However, I do know that pet owners should not use plastic bowls for their companion animals. I’d simply throw them out, immediately. Serious consideration should also be given to not using plastic storage containers for cat products. Yes, I realise that dry cat food comes in plastic bags (is there a potential problem there?).

Nowadays, it is probably common knowledge that plastic bowl should not be used.  However, it is also probable that a lot of plastic bowls are still in use, which I find surprising because the alternatives, metal and ceramic, despite being more expensive are not that expensive. Incidentally cats can also be allergic to metal so ceramic is the only safe bet.

On the internet, you will find articles about cats developing “feline acne” on their chin due to eating out of a plastic bowl.  The evidence is often anecdotal.

…well my cat started breaking out in scabby sores under his jaw.. its round raised bumps that turned scabby and the hair fell out on em.. its weird cuz they form a perfect line from the corner of his mouth, under his chin and to the other corner of his mouth… (Yahoo Answers)

I’m not sure why it’s called feline acne because if it is an allergic reaction to plastic then is not acne as we know it.

Allergies to plastic products are quite well documented with respect to humans.  There was a study some time ago about people being allergic to toilet seats, for example.  This was ‘allergic contact dermatitis’ to some of the chemicals within toilet seats.

Polycarbonate-based plastics leach bisphenol A. This chemical has been linked to toxicity in humans affecting the endocrine system (the hormonal system). In fact, its toxicity goes much wider. Bisphenol A has been linked to a very large number of human health problems. Apparently, Tupperware products are made from polycarbonate-based plastics. Is anybody storing dry cat food in Tupperware products? There are lots of polycarbonate bowls for human use on the Internet on websites such as Some could double up as pet food bowls.

Plastics are an allergen to some cats. Allergens cause the immune system to produce a protein: IgE, which fixes itself to “tissue mast cells” in the skin. The protein causes the release of irritating chemicals which causes the skin to itch, which causes the cat to scratch.

It isn’t adequate to say that your cat is not allergic to plastic bowls because nothing is happening. Sometimes cats need to be exposed to an allergen for a long time before the cat becomes allergic.

Also, in cats, allergies start to develop between the ages of 1 and 3 or even later. So, if a kitten is being raised by a person he may not show signs of an allergic reaction to plastic bowls during his development to adulthood but when he becomes an adult, all of a sudden he may become allergic. Thereafter, it is possible that he may develop allergies to other allergens over time.

It is a false economy to buy cheap plastic bowls.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • I got a plastic auto feeder when I went away for a few days, and wanted to make sure my cat was fed, even though a friend was going to do it.

    Mitzy refused to eat from this container, however when I took some of the food and put it in a glass bowl, she ate it. I didn't make the connection at the time.

    Now, I only give her food and water in glass bowls. I avoid storing my own food in plastic since becoming more informed about the dangers to my health.

    • Sandy, you are an amazingly well organised cat guardian.

      I have this feeling that there are many hidden hazards in the home awaiting the domestic cat and many caretakers aren't aware of them.

      Often the generated health problem is idiopathic and an allergy of some sort.

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