Is Vaping Around Cats Bad? Vet-Reviewed Health Dangers & Concerns

If you use vape devices, also known as e-cigarettes, you may wonder if vaping around your cat is safe. Even though vape devices are not actual cigarettes, are they safe to use around your cat? While vape devices are potentially not quite as harmful to bystanders as actual cigarettes, they are unsafe to use around your cat. Vape devices contain nicotine and other toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, which are severe dangers to your precious feline.

If you use vaping devices or know someone who does, read on to learn more about the dangers of vaping if pets are nearby.

What Is Vaping?

Vape devices are battery-operated and work by creating an aerosol that looks similar to water vapor but contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. For people who smoke or are trying to quit cigarettes, vaping can help kick the habit for good, while others feel vaping is not as harmful as cigarettes and would rather vape than smoke an actual cigarette. While the jury is still out on the long term effects of vaping, e-cigarettes certainly contain harmful chemicals that are toxic to you and your cat.

Vaping devices operate by using cartridges filled with liquid nicotine, with nicotine levels equivalent to two to three cigarettes. Yikes! Nicotine is extremely toxic to cats, and needless to say, if your cat ingests some (some cats are attracted to the scent), the event can cause catastrophic health issues for your cat.

vape device in mans hand
Image Credit: DedMityay, Shutterstock

Is Secondhand Vape Smoke Harmful to Cats and Other Pets?

While using vaping devices may seem less harmful than actual cigarettes, they are not without dangers. Nicotine in itself is not a danger to humans; it is the chemicals used in cigarettes and vape devices that cause health issues, and the way they deliver nicotine to the body. However, nicotine is highly toxic for pets, even in small doses.

If your cat inhales secondhand smoke from cigarettes, you expose your kitty to harmful toxins that can make your cat sick. As for vaping devices, smoke inhalation isn’t the only hazard; aerosolized vape juices can land on your cat’s fur when you exhale, which can be ingested when your cat grooms itself, and this is a real danger to cats. One must treat vaping devices with the same cautions as cigarettes if you choose to use them.

What Negative Signs Can Cats Experience When Exposed to Secondhand Smoke?

If your cat is exposed to secondhand smoke, an array of signs could arise, at which time you should seek veterinary treatment immediately. Signs to look for are:

  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
Cat vomiting
Image Credit: Tunatura, Shutterstock

Are THC Vape Devices Harmful to Cats?

Nicotine isn’t the only chemical used in vape devices; people also use them to smoke marijuana, which has a psychoactive compound known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that gives you the “high.”  However, the dangers are the same, and you should use the same caution while smoking vapes with THC.

Further, if your cat ingests a THC cartridge, don’t wait for signs of toxicity before seeing a veterinarian, which can involve:

Tips for Preventing Pet Exposure to Vaping

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, smoking, whether cigarettes or vape devices, is hazardous to your health. However, if you choose to smoke and you have a cat, it’s imperative to take steps to minimize your cat’s exposure. Some extra precautions to exercise are:

  • Store all vaping devices and accessories (cartridges, liquids, batteries, etc.) in a place your cat and other pets cannot gain access.
  • Dispose of used batteries and containers safely.
  • Charge your vape pin in a place unreachable from your cat and other pets.
  • Smoke your vape device outdoors, away from your cat and other animals.
  • Clean vaping accessories thoroughly to keep your cat from investigating due to the smells.
  • Keep your guests’ items, such as purses, coats, etc., out of reach of your cat and other pets if they use vapes.
  • If you have guests over who vape, kindly ask them to smoke outdoors and keep their vape devices put away and out of reach.
woman vaping outdoor
Image Credit: Oleggg, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to take care of your pets, regardless of what pet you have, and part of being a responsible pet owner is to keep harmful items away from your pets, such as vaping devices. Smoke inhalation and droplets of liquids from these devices are a real threat to cats, especially if the droplets land on the fur or if your cat gets a hold of a cartridge. By implementing the safety tips mentioned above, you can keep your cat from being exposed to harmful substances from vape devices.


Featured Image Credit: DedMityay, Shutterstock

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