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Adopting a kitten from a heavy-smoking home

  1. #1

    Adopting a kitten from a heavy-smoking home

    Hello all,



    Today, I went to see some kittens up for adoption at a home. The couple seem perfectly nice, but unfortunately they are big smokers. I was only there for five minutes and left reeking of smoke. They brought the kittens out from another bedroom, so it's possible the environment is better there, but I'm concerned about the kitten's health.

    The strange thing is, I'm not sure if this makes me want to adopt one more or less. I'd like to "save" one but at the same time I'd rather not get attached to a cat who may suffer health problems. I'm sure that cigarette smoke is bad for them, but I'm wondering --- does anyone know how bad it is for kittens in their first couple of months of life? Is that long enough for them to develop health issues? Do cats even live long enough to develop serious health problems from smoke?

    I should clarify that I do not smoke and can't stand it -- thus, the kitten would no longer breathe cigarette smoke.

    I've googled this and found information about cats, but not specifically kittens. I realize this are quite specific questions, and would probably be better for a veterinarian, but I thought I would open it up to the pet-holding masses.

    Thanks a lot for your time.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the forum. That is a very good question most people likely don't think about.

    When people inhale second-hand smoke, they don't get cancer in a few days. Depending on the problem, it could take months or years to notice something is wrong and blame it on cigarettes. Because you don't smoke, whatever risk the kitten has now can only decrease over time as long as it (he or she?) receives regular veterinary care, eats a healthy diet (all wet food if possible), and never goes outside. Sometimes cats get sick due to a variety of factors, such as going outside and eating kibbles, and you can't pinpoint a future problem on little brown and white things with a fire at one end. However, a vet would know to take it into consideration - especially in a young kitten who lived with smokers most of her short life. Remember, vets have clients who are smokers or used to smoke, so if a problem occurs, they have seen it before.

    Cigarette smoke is dangerous for kittens. Whether the risk is higher in young cats than old cats probably depends on the cat's environment.
    An inside cat is a safe cat.

  3. #3
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    Hello and welcome. I think what I would do is adopt the one I liked and take it to a vet as soon as possible for a checkup. Have the heart and lungs checked and see what the doctor says. I think if there are any ill effects already from being around the smoke, they are likely to go away with a fresh air environment in a new home. Good luck, I might also voice my concerns to the owners and see what they have to say as far as direct smoke exposure of the litter.

  4. #4
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    BTW this smoking issue is one of the zillion reasons cats need to stay indoors - there is a lot more smoke outside than in your house!
    An inside cat is a safe cat.

  5. #5
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    I wouldn't worry about it, as long as you don't smoke. The lungs clean themselves automatically over time, beginning as soon as smoke exposure stops. After an extended time without smoke, the lungs return to virtually original condition.

  6. #6
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    Incidentally, there's a reason they call it "rescue". Consider how you would feel if you were trapped in a burning building and fire fighters wanted to know first if you had any lasting damage before deciding whether it was worth taking you out of the building.

  7. #7

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dog Force One View Post
    I wouldn't worry about it, as long as you don't smoke. The lungs clean themselves automatically over time, beginning as soon as smoke exposure stops. After an extended time without smoke, the lungs return to virtually original condition.
    That's what I was thinking DogForce, similar to people if they haven't smoked a ridiculous amount for many years, the lung do improve greatly even when abused, like the liver.

  9. #9
    Thanks a lot everyone! I've decided that I'm definitely going to get one of the kittens.

    Regarding my comment that I wasn't sure I wanted to get the cat because of possible health problems -- I didn't phrase that very well. I didn't mean that I wasn't sure I wanted her because she might be worth less or because I might have to pay for care; I meant that it might be difficult to get attached to a cat with possible health problems and watch her struggle or suffer. But yeah, I can see how that comment can be seen as selfish.

    Thanks again!

  10. #10
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    That's great that you will adopt! In the past I've been prone to adopt animals with health problems because I knew they would have a harder time getting adopted. For example while I was at work my hubby stopped at the shelter after donating supplies but came home with Maxie (rip). She was a kitten sitting her food dish, meowing sadly and looking at him with watery eyes. Every other kitten was healthy but my guy took her because she needed us. She turned into a healthy cat and lived almost 17 years.

  11. #11
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  12. #12
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    We understand what it is like to get "too attached" to a cat - but can all agree there is no such thing. It is impossible to love a cat too much because companion cats are made to be loved. There is a song about it's better to have known and lost than never known at all.
    An inside cat is a safe cat.

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