Second-Hand Smoke and Cats

Cats are negatively affected by smoke.

Most people understand that smoking cigarettes, pipes, and cigars is unhealthy for them. As research and experience have grown in this area, we've also become more aware of second-hand smoke's serious effects on people who spend time around smokers.

The cats in our homes can suffer from negative health effects when they are exposed to second-hand smoke, too. There are hundreds or even thousands of toxic substances in cigarettes, including many that are known carcinogens.

How Are Cats Exposed to Smoke?

We know that cats don't smoke themselves, so it can be hard to believe that they can sometimes have the same levels of nicotine and its metabolites in their systems as smokers. There are three main ways that cats are exposed to smoke:

What Illnesses Can Cats Get from Second-Hand Smoke?

Cats can suffer from the same types of illnesses related to smoke that humans do, including respiratory illnesses, cancer, and heart disease. Lymphoma, lung cancer, and oral cancer (from licking smoke residue) rates have both been shown to be higher in cats exposed to smoke routinely.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Cat from Smoke?

The best thing you can do for the health of your pets, kids, family, and yourself is to quit smoking or help a family member who lives with you to quit. That is an incredibly difficult thing to do, so it's important to get as much support as you can. Your doctor can provide some great resources for you, and you can find others in your community or online. This site,, is specifically geared toward people with pets who are quitting smoking.

In the meantime, here are some things you can do to minimize the smoke to which your cat is exposed:

You May Also Like These Articles:

Mouse Poison Ingestion in Cats

Is Tea Tree Oil a Safe and Effective Flea Treatment for Cats?

Oleander Poisoning in Cats

Tylenol Toxicity in Cats

Human Medications That Are Dangerous to Cats

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with