Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: June 26, 2023 by Crystal Uys


We’ve previously covered the dangers of secondhand smoke for cats: cats living with smokers are twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma than those in non-smoking households. Cats with five or more years of exposure to tobacco smoke were at more than three times greater risk of developing lymphoma. Studies also suggest a link between oral cancer in cats and exposure to tobacco smoke. Some smokers are now using electronic, or e-cigarettes, and it turns out that the vapor from these devices is highly toxic to cats as well, and can even be fatal.

E-cigarettes feature a cartridge that holds nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals, a vaporizer. and a battery. The vapor is inhaled and then exhaled, just like a regular cigarette. E-cigarette use is also known as vaping.

E-cigarette risks for pets

Vaping puts cats (and dogs) at a dual risk: from nicotine, and from the chemicals in the cartridges. E-cigarettes contain a number of harmful chemicals, toxic metals and carcinogenic particles. A common ingredient in e-cigarettes, propylene glycol, can lead to red blood cell damage in cats known as “Heinz body.” Another common ingredient, diethylene glycol, may cause acidosis and kidney damage.

E-cigarettes also post additional risks from the liquid flavor cartridges. While this may be more of an issue with dogs than cats, some pets are attracted to the flavors. The cartridges contain high amounts of nicotine – one typical cartridge may contain as much nicotine as three regular cigarettes. Ingestion of nicotine is a medical emergency at any time, but immediate treatment is particularly important if your pet ingested an e-cigarette cartridge, since the nictoine will be absorbed much faster through the mucous membranes.

sick cat
Image Credit: one photo, Shutterstock

Additionally, cats living with someone who vapes are exposed to the second-hand aerosols from the vapor that is exhaled into the air. These particles may also settle into household dust. As cats come in contact with the particles, they will ingest them via grooming themselves.

The long-term effects of such exposures in pets are currently unknown. However, given what we do know, I think it’s safe to say that vaping is an unhealthy practice for both humans and cats.

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29 Comments on E-Cigarettes Are Toxic to Cats

  1. I vape occasionally around my dog, but have a fan blowing the smoke out of the room. This is a dumb question, I’m sure, but do you think that’s just as harmful, as leaving clouds in the air? I do it twice a day. Now, I have a tenant in my tiny apt, and she had to put her cat down today…liver failure. My tenant vapes like a maniac, and it’s like London in there! The cat had been having breathing issues for close to a yr, and there’s a coating of that junk on every surface. I did tell her that I thought it was from her vaping, but she didn’t want to stop, so, now this. Wondering if I should tell her, or wait to see if she gets another animal.

  2. So basically I had a cat and he was 11, about to be 12 right before he passed. I usually went to the other room to vape and I wasn’t anywhere near him, but there was one time where I vaped right next to him then hours later he died. I don’t know if I caused this but I usually never vaped near him at all. I can’t help but think I might’ve killed him and I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s like messing with my mental health at this point.

  3. My cat developed a tumor recently. The vet said it’s behind his nasal passage. It came out of nowhere and I’ve been so sick with guilt the past couple days thinking I may have caused it. I would vape in my room throughout the day and he likes to come in while I’m playing video games or watching something and lay on my bed with me, while my stupid ass was vaping, thinking nothing of it, the clouds hanging in the air. He’s only 8 years old and if he ends up dying from this I don’t know how I’m going to live with myself. The second the thought that it may be my fault crossed my mind I threw the f-ing things in the trash and just hoping whatever the issue is can be resolved and he can be saved.

    • my cat developed cancer last year and quickly passed. we didn’t know it was cancer until we took her to the vet to euthanize her. i vape/vaped all the time and this article confirmed that it’s my fault. how is your cat doing? if you stopped vaping, how did you do it?

  4. I’d like to see sources for this information. From peer-reviewed scholarly articles published in scientific journals. If that information does not exist, then this article cannot be taken for fact. As mentioned there are no long term studies on the matter. My cat is my universe, but I vape in my house. My cat has not shown any adverse reactions to it, and in the past year her health has actually improved, as proven by bloodwork. If there has been legitimate scientific studies completed on this subject and they can be presented, I am more than open to changing my catitude, but not until I see a legitimate scientific source.

    • Well just wait! It doesn’t happen overnight unless your cat ingests vape juice! Scientists know the chemicals in vape aerosol are toxic. Plus, if you pet your cat after vaping you are surely leaving residue for cat to ingest as thy preen.
      Moreover, vape aerosols contain the same chemicals as anti freeze, which cause kidney failure in cats.
      I was a smoker…denial runs deep. Please consider this for the sake of your sweet cat!

    • If you vape in your house, and you have a cat, then YOU are your universe. I have been up all night with an extremely sick cat who got into my granddaughter’s vaping supplies. This, after spending over $350 at the vet’s yesterday. No “scientific article” needs to tell me that the stuff is poison. I see the results clearly.

  5. I had visitors staying with me for a few days, reformed cigarette smokers who now vape. They assured me, “It’s just steam that’s exhaled, so it’s no problem to vape indoors”. My cat demonstrated otherwise, and was sneezing and wheezing non-stop. I too felt my throat was irritated. As soon as my guests left, I vacuumed thoroughly and my cat and I are now back to normal.

      • I agree!! I smoke an E cigarette and my cat will not stop itching!!! I have had blood work done and she is fine I brought her to a dermatologist and they said she is fine… but she is over grooming!!! I don’t know if it is my e cigarette or it’s stress???

  6. I have been a smoker for the last 20 years and smoke in my home. I decided to quit smoking and start vaping in my home instead thinking it would be better not only for my health but for my little buddy (cat) Rocky’s health also.

    Needless to say a few days after I started vaping, Rocky threw up 13 times in one hour! It was a foamy white, liquid type of vomit. I freaked out and thought the worst bc of what I had went through with my previous cat who I found outside and only had for 9 months before he passed away from lung cancer (not from smoking or bc of me). I brought Rocky to the vet where he was given fluids and he was back to being himself shortly thereafter.

    I started smoking cigarettes again and eventually decided to quit and go back to vaping. Not an hour later Rocky began to make awful, scary noises almost like he was choking but he ended up throwing up white foam again…

    I believe 100% that the “clouds” left over from vaping are extremely toxic to pets. I am in no way against vaping whatsoever as I believe its more beneficial than smoking cigarettes but if you truly care about your pets health then PLEASE vape outside or out of a window so our furry kids can live full happy and healthy lives with us! There is nothing more heartbreaking than losing a pet. When you don’t have any kids, our pets become our kids. Take it from me, nobody wants to end up broke (from vet care and surgery) or heartbroken (when nothing can be done and its time to go to sleep) bc of something we could have controlled.

    Rocky has an appointment to see the vet on 11/7 and I’m petrified they may find something wrong with him bc of my 3.5 years of smoking around him in my home. I cannot afford, nor do I ever want to go through what I went through w my previous cat.

    One last note, I found a lot of articles online about PG being toxic to pets so I asked that my juices only contained VG. Bottom line, both PG and VG are toxic and dangerous to cats.

  7. Thank you so much for posting this! On Friday morning my elderly, FIV+ cat with chronic pancreatitis was blinking repeatedly. At first I thought he was sending me kisses, but I soon realized that his eyes were a little red and irritated, so I gave him some Gentamycin drops. Usually they will show a dramatic improvement right away, but they didn’t – so I scooped him up and dropped him off at the vet before I went to work. The vet who is not his usual examined him and found nothing wrong, and I authorized them to draw blood. But when I arrived to pick him up his usual vet was there, and the technician who watches him when I go on vacation – both said he just didn’t look himself – the tech said “his eyes, his ears, his face – it’s just not normal!” So the bloodwork showed that his pancreatitis number had gone up by just over a point; otherwise everything was normal. THEN I read this article yesterday – well, recently I’ve stated vaping in my bedroom at night – the bedroom where he stays with his companion kitty, because seeing all of the other animals in the rest of the house irritates him greatly. I think that may be the problem – and I talked it over with my vet’s office manager when she called with the results – and she said yes, with all of his issues it wouldn’t take much to affect him.

    So thank you, thank you, thank you for this article! You may have made a big difference in Winston’s life!

  8. What a poorly researched and scaremongering article.
    Firstly, about pg and second hand aerosols:
    Secondly, ecigs do not contain diethylene glycol.
    Thirdly, I don’t know what you mean by ‘cartridges’ – I suspect you don’t either. Assuming you mean sealed bottles of eliquid, your point becomes irrelevant unless you’re leaving them open, dripping it directly into your cats food, rubbing it in their eyes etc.
    Use some responsibility and common sense and your pets will be fine

    • I appreciate your feedback, Roy, but I respectfully disagree with your point of view, especially considering that your information comes from a website that promotes vaping.

      • Here’s the thing Ingrid… whether it’s from a forum that promotes vaping or not… it raises some valid points.. such as… PG is in a lot of things, Febreeze (which nearly KILLED my cats), Perfumes, some pet foods (if you don’t believe me, look at the labels some time.) among other things. The levels that would be harmful to an animal are very minute when vaping. The animal would have to ingest quite a bit of the e-juice before it had the effects that your article are claiming.

        Speaking of your article, where are your sources? So, most people these days believe what they read because its on the internet, so it must be true right? I want to read actual reports and case studies that have been done to support your article.

        • I agree that PG is in “a lot of things,” Brad, and I recommend keeping all of these things away from cats.

        • It’s a
          Reach out for answers
          Electronic vape pens for nicotine come
          With a
          Refillable tip for nicotine or thc
          I only rarely use my vape pen and
          What I noticed was every single time I did my cat would meow every time I pushed the button on the electric vape pen.
          What I think is that they Electronic pens gives off a signal or electric wave that
          The cat either feels or
          Hears. Hopefully it doesn’t hurt him
          It doesn’t seem like he’s meowing in
          Pain just more like it annoys him.
          Regardless I think it’s the pen.
          Another thing I noticed was that the disposable nicotine vape pens do not cause the cat to react could be a signal Transmission is occurring most likely with the cartridge vape definitely concerned when I se him react every
          Single time I push that button he meows

    • You do realize that cats lick their coats to clean themselves constantly, right? My ex chain vaped for 4 years in my home and I just had to cross my girl today due to osteosarcoma of the jaw and SCC. 1,000% from the e vape! You do not need to drip it into their food or the cats get into it. The vapor is literally in clouds everywhere and settles on their fur and the floor/every surface. They then clean themselves and there you go. I wish I knew what I know now, then. I would have saved 4 years of narcissistic issues and my cat would still be here tonight.

  9. First of all…. why would anyone smoke? Second… if you love your cat/dog, why would you slowly kill them?

    Be it e-cigs, or any cigs, why…….?

  10. I lost my last cat to lung cancer. I watched my mom fight a long, hard battle with COPD, so there was no possibility of me sokong, ever. I’m wondering if he was exposed to second hand smoke in the 1-2 years before I rescued him. Only had Archie for 12 years. Best. Cat. Ever.

  11. I never thought these were safer than cigarettes. But I had no idea how much more dangerous they are. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I’ve never felt that these were a “safe” alternative to humans let alone animals. Thanks for the great information.

  13. Wow, that’s something I would have thought was fairly safe-at least compared to cigarettes. I never thought of the grooming risks or particles being enough to cause serious harm. I had heard how dangerous the liquid was, especially for dogs. I’m glad there is already information on a fairly new habit. Shared everywhere -thank you!

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