Study: Smoking Bad for Pets – Especially Cats

Secondhand smoke is proven to damage pet health, and cats who live with smokers are most at risk.

Secondhand smoke is proven to damage pet health, and cats who live with smokers are most at risk.

We all know that smoking is a nasty habit with secondhand smoke killing thousands of people per year, but the effects aren’t just harmful to humans.

An ongoing study currently taking place at the University of Glasgow has uncovered that smoking is bad for pets, proving that animals living in a smoky household are more susceptible to health problems such as cell damage, weight gain, and animal cancers.

“Pet owners often do not think about the impact that smoking could have on their pets,” said Clare Knottenbelt, professor of small animal medicine and oncology. “Our findings show that exposure to smoke in the home is having a direct impact on pets. It risks ongoing cell damage, increasing weight gain after castration and has previously been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers.”

Although research at the Scottish institution has found that dogs can take in remarkable amounts of smoke, cats are quite the opposite, finding themselves far more affected by fumes.

“This may be due to the extensive self-grooming that cats do, as this would increase the amount of smoke (chemicals) taken in to the body,” said Knottenbelt.

Cats with outdoor access were shown to have nearly identical chemical intake to those indoor-only felines exposed to smoke; however, the levels of smoke inhalation dropped slightly for cats who were not exposed directly to smoke (i.e. when owners smoked away from the cat).

Completed research also indicated that cats in homes where smokers lit up less than 10 times a day showed significantly lower nicotine levels than cats residing in homes with more frequent smokers. Regardless, the levels were still far higher than they were for felines in non-smoking homes.

Although the aforementioned findings seem like a lot to digest, they may simply be the tip of the iceberg, as the research is not yet finished. The study is said to be completed and published in 2016.

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