Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 6, 2023 by Crystal Uys


Secondhand smoke is not just dangerous for humans, it also affects 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. It is thought that cats groom the tobacco residue off their fur, which then damages tissues in the mouth, leading to cancer.

#CATmageddon has been avoided

A 60-second public health commercial using the hashtag #CATmageddon, which debuted during the Grammy’s on February 15, communicated this message in a highly creative, and also chilling, manner. “Can Smoking Kill Cat Videos?” is the premise of the video: smoking = no cats = no cat videos.

Thanks to 110+ million people who watched the video aimed at teens and young adults that warned pets are twice as likely to get cancer if their owner smokes, #CatMageddon has been avoided. Millions learned of the deadly implications smoking has on pets. In fact, youth who watched the #CATmageddon video on YouTube were twice as likely (100.9% lift) to search “quit smoking” on Google or YouTube. What’s more, these #CATmageddon-exposed youth were 16.44% more likely to respond that they would not smoke, compared with a control group of very similar users who did not watch the video. This number jumped to 34.43% for viewers who watched the spot 3+ times.

Sign the PEETition to get Big Tobacco to admit that smoking kills pets

To celebrate this huge leap forward, truth, the organization behind the campaign, released a new video that shares this victory, while also rallying teens to have their pets help show their support through a PEEtition unlike anything ever seen before (check out the video below to learn more). While this has been a big win towards decreasing the teen smoking rate (currently at 7%,) the fight is still not over until it is at 0%, so truth is empowering this generation to join together to make smoking a thing of the past.

Visit for more information and to sign the PEEtition.

About the author

10 Comments on Successful Campaign Exposes Dangers of Secondhand Smoke for Cats

  1. Cats can forecast bad weather by sleeping on their heads. Cats of smokers frequently sleep on their heads without bad weather coming. My assumption: When cats sleep on their heads, they have a headache. They get this headache either by certain weather conditions or by having to inhale 2nd-hand-smoke.

    We could observe this in our non-smoker multi-cat household and also in a friends’ smoker multi-cat household.

    • Interesting assumption, Lilo. I know certain types of pressure changes cause headaches in humans, so why wouldn’t the same be true for cats, right? And it just breaks my heart that your friends are still smoking even though there are multiple cats in the home.

  2. My heart cat Jenny died at 16 from an oral cancer that I am sure was caused because I smoked in the house when she was young and I didn’t know any better. Not a day goes by that I don’t deeply regret what I did and how it caused her death.

  3. It is a great idea to spread this word. People need to realize how dangerous smoking is to everyone (that includes our pets).

  4. I hate smoking! I am glad the video is a lesson to anyone who smokes or, wants to start, what the harm it does to your pets! Besides the harm to you too.

  5. I’m so glad to hear that this issue is being raised. Smoke does so much damage to humans and pets, and it’s important that everyone is made aware of that.

  6. I’m so glad that there are fewer humans smoking than when my human was younger (and smoked – she quit in the late 1990s). It’s bad for everyone – kitties, humans, everything touched by tobacco smoke!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *