Pets that breathe secondhand smoke from cigars and cigarettes can also have health problems. But not only; cats ingest harmful substances by licking the smoker’s clothes, hands and hair.
Anyone who comes into contact with or indirectly inhales tobacco smoke is called a passive smoker and can suffer all the harm related to this exposure. Cats are not exempt from this definition: our beloved four-legged friends are at risk from the smoke they inhale and also because they ingest (or can ingest) toxic and dangerous substances by licking the hands, hair and clothes of the owner and of the smoker present in home.
Secondhand smoke is bad for cats
The lit cigarette or cigar releases, among others, nicotine, carbon and nitrogen monoxide and tar, toxic, irritating and carcinogenic substances.
But what are the consequences of cats exposed to secondhand smoke? Definitely diseases and health complications such as lung cancer, asthma and bronchitis, chronic sinusitis, heart failure, skin irritations, conjunctivitis and itchy eyes.
Cats spend a good part of their day washing and licking themselves, therefore they are more exposed to the consequences of secondhand smoke as they swallow harmful substances deposited on their fur. Research have made it possible to correlate the appearance of feline oral neoplasms with exposure to smoke, discovering that the cat living with smokers has twice the chance of contracting malignant lymphoma compared to cats living in smoke-free environments. In addition, a study found the presence of nicotine and other toxins in the urine of cats living with smokers.
How to protect cats from secondhand smoke
To protect four-legged friends it is appropriate:
- smoke outside and prevent smoke from entering the house and therefore in direct contact with the cat;
- do not smoke in the presence of cat;
- always empty all ashtrays;
- always wash your hands after smoking a cigarette or cigar;
- often ventilate the rooms (the substances are deposited on sofas, carpets, furniture, blankets, kennels);
- remove traces of ash and smoke from sofas, tables, coffee tables, floors;
- beware of butts, animals are curious and may put them in their mouths.