Smoking And Your Cat

Spanish Translation / Traducción Español

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Did you know if you smoke indoors, you may be risking the health of your cats?

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2002 discovered a link between second hand smoke and the development of a malignant cancer in cats.

The Study

Dr Antony Moore and colleagues at Tufts University examined and diagnosed the cats at a large veterinary teaching hospital in Massachusetts between 1993 and 2000. 80 cats had malignant lymphoma and 114 cat used as a "control group" in the study had kidney disease.

The owners of all the cats received a questionnaire to determine the level of smoking in the owners' household two-five years prior to the diagnosis.

The Findings

  • Cats exposed to secondhand smoke in the two years prior to diagnosis were twice as likely to develop Feline Malignant Lymphoma as cats living in a nonsmoking environment.
  • Cats with 5 or more years of exposure to second hand smoke were 3.2 times as likely to develop lymphoma compared with those in nonsmoking households.
  • Cats living with two or more smokers had nearly 4 times the risk of developing lymphoma.


  • Passive cigarette smoke may increase the risk of malignant lymphoma in cats
  • The risk increases with both the duration and quantity of exposure.
  • Cats may inhale the smoke or ingest it when they groom themselves.

Feline lymphoma kills three out of four cats within a year of being diagnosed.

Future Study

A similar study is planned to be conducted on dogs. Researchers believe cats are more at risk from second hand smoke because they groom their coats more than a dog does and have a greater exposure to passive smoke since most cats are strictly indoor while dogs spend a percentage of their day outdoors.

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