Does Smoking Affect Cats?

Cats too are often negatively affected by secondhand smoke.
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When you make the decision to smoke, you not only risk jeopardizing your own health, but also that of your cat -- not cool. With dangerous possibilities like feline lymphoma and mouth cancer, you may want to think twice before you light up in front of your furry pal.

Mouth Cancer

According to research conducted by the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine, smoking around your cat increases her chances of developing mouth cancer, also known as squamous cell carcinoma. Since our fluffy pals groom their coats using their tongues, they may accidentally ingest potentially dangerous carcinogens, a result of smoke particles in the air making a home on their coats. This type of cancer can be very harmful, and is also very often fatal.

Feline Lymphoma

The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine states that feline lymphoma is another possible side effect of smoking around your precious pet. This fast-moving lymph node cancer too is often deadly, as cats with it often pass away less than a year after diagnosis. If your pet breathes in tobacco smoke on a regular basis, she may have a higher risk for developing a gastrointestinal form of the disease.

Irritation Symptoms

Secondhand smoking can cause general irritation to cats, as well. You may notice your pet experiencing respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing or excessive coughing. You may also notice her persistently scratching her eyes as though she has an allergy problem. She may also just seem a lot more tired than usual. Take notice of the little signs that things may not be 100 percent all right with your little one.


Household cats can be adversely affected by smoke through many different means. They can accidentally swallow cigarette butts on your coffee table, for instance. Simply breathing in smoke frequently is problematic. Cats also can lap up H20 that is full of nicotine -- think disposed cigarette butts in the toilet -- yuck. All of these possibilities can lead to potentially very dangerous consequences, whether lymphoma, wheezing or anything else. Consider only smoking in a designated, isolated room away from your cat, or go outdoors. Remember, your cat's health and life are certainly worth it.


If your cat's health is being negatively affected by secondhand smoke, she may not possess any obvious outward symptoms. Because of this, it is always important to take your pet to routine veterinary examinations. Also, if you notice any unusual health symptoms in your cat, whether appetite loss, increased thirst or abnormally lethargic behavior, waste no time in getting her emergency medical attention. Any of these symptoms could be directly related to secondhand smoke.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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