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Is it abuse to get your cat high?

Getting your cat high by blowing marijuana smoke in its face or feeding it edibles is an act of animal abuse. Cats have a very different physiology than humans, and THC can cause frightening and dangerous reactions in them. While some cat owners think it’s funny to get their pet high, it is irresponsible and can lead to severe health issues or even death.

Why You Should Never Get Your Cat High

There are several important reasons why getting your cat intoxicated with marijuana is considered abuse:

  • Cats have a much lower tolerance for THC than humans. The psychoactive compounds in marijuana are highly toxic to cats and can overwhelm their nervous system.
  • Ingesting marijuana can cause scary reactions in cats like agitation, pacing, tremors, and seizures. It alters their perception and cognition in ways that are very disorienting for them.
  • Marijuana poisoning can lead to dangerously elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature in cats. This makes them prone to stroke, heart attack, and other life-threatening conditions.
  • THC is fat-soluble and stays in a cat’s system for up to 3 weeks. Even after the immediate effects wear off, it continues impacting their brain, organs, and endocrine system.
  • There are no short or long-term benefits to a cat consuming recreational drugs. It serves no health purpose and the risks and consequences can be severe.

Cat owners who deliberately expose their pets to marijuana are putting them in harm’s way for their own amusement. This violates the responsibility to provide safe, appropriate care.

How Marijuana Affects Cats

THC, the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, works by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the body that control key functions like:

  • Brain activity
  • Mood
  • Pain perception
  • Memory
  • Motor control
  • Pleasure and reward

In humans, THC triggers cannabinoid receptors to produce euphoric and relaxing effects. But in cats, the same receptors control important involuntary functions like body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and gastrointestinal activity. So marijuana does not have a mellowing effect – it disrupts vital processes and causes loss of motor control, dizziness, vomiting, lethargy, and more.

The intoxicating effects of weed that humans enjoy are seriously unpleasant and disorienting for cats. And at higher doses, it can lead to scary neurological symptoms like agitation, vocalizing, lack of coordination, tremors, and seizures.

Signs Your Cat May Be High

Look out for these common indicators that suggest your cat is under the influence of marijuana:

  • Clumsiness, wobbliness, lack of coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Low energy, sleepiness
  • Disorientation, confusion
  • Hypersensitivity to motion, sound, touch
  • Vocalizing more than normal
  • Hiding or seeming anxious
  • Trembling, tremors, or seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Drooling or loss of bladder control

If you observe any combination of these signs, especially after your cat has been exposed to smoke, edibles, or oils, they may well be high. Do not assume they will sleep it off – seek veterinary help immediately.

Dangers of Marijuana Poisoning in Cats

While humans may enjoy the effects of cannabis, it can be extremely dangerous for cats. Possible complications include:

  • Respiratory failure: Inhaling smoke irritates airways and impairs oxygen exchange. extreme distress.
  • Cardiac issues: THC raises heart rate and blood pressure. This strains the cardiovascular system and can lead to stroke, heart attack, or sudden death.
  • Seizures: Among the most frightening THC side effects in cats. They indicate the brain is overwhelmed and may cause permanent neurological damage.
  • Coma: In high enough doses, weed can cause cats to lose consciousness. This suppresses vital functions like breathing.
  • Toxic psychosis: THC alters neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate perception and behavior. Cats may act bizarrely or seem disconnected from reality.

Without quick veterinary treatment, marijuana toxicity can lead to dangerous consequences including lasting health problems or fatalities. Never assume your cat will just sleep it off.

Is Marijuana Toxic to Cats?

Yes, marijuana is highly toxic to cats. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center warns:

  • Cats are extremely sensitive to THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis.
  • Even small doses can cause adverse reactions and poisoning.
  • Never give cats recreational drugs or medication not prescribed specifically for them.

For cats, THC is not a harmless substance that causes temporary goofiness. Consuming marijuana can disrupt their endocrine system and brain function for weeks afterward. Intoxication is painful and frightening for cats, not pleasant.

How to Help a Cat Who May Be High

If you think your cat has ingested marijuana or been exposed to secondhand smoke, take these steps:

  1. Note any troubling symptoms like vomiting, dilated pupils, seizures, etc.
  2. Contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA poison hotline: (888) 426-4435.
  3. Bring your cat to the vet clinic immediately.
  4. Be ready to provide details about timing and type of exposure.
  5. Follow vet recommendations for treatment and monitoring.

With rapid veterinary treatment, most marijuana toxicity cases can end well. But do not attempt to handle it alone – seek expert help right away.

Can Cats Have CBD Oil?

CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating compound derived from cannabis or hemp. While growing in popularity for human use, CBD oil should generally be avoided for cats unless specifically prescribed by a veterinarian. Reasons include:

  • Most CBD products also contain traces of THC, which is toxic for cats.
  • There is limited research on CBD’s effects in cats.
  • Ideal dosing is unknown, raising risks of overdose.
  • Topical CBD products may cause stomach upset if licked off fur.

Unless your veterinarian advises giving your cat CBD oil to treat a specific medical condition, it is safer to avoid unregulated products.

Can Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Harm Cats?

Yes, secondhand cannabis smoke can definitely cause marijuana toxicity in cats. Problems include:

  • Cats have much more sensitive respiratory systems than humans.
  • They absorb higher concentrations of THC through secondhand smoke.
  • They lack the liver enzymes to effectively metabolize it.
  • Confining cats in a smoky room is very dangerous.

Even if your cat does not show immediate symptoms, secondhand smoke causes ongoing internal damage. Never expose cats to marijuana smoke, just as you would avoid tobacco smoke.

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in a Cat’s System?

In humans, most THC is metabolized and excreted within days. But in cats, the compound stays active in the body much longer. Residue has been detected up to:

  • 3 weeks in blood
  • 4 weeks in urine
  • 12 weeks in hair and stool samples

This long half-life means even a single exposure to THC continues affecting cats for an extended time. Their bodies struggle to process it fully. Recurring use causes cumulative damage that becomes life-threatening.

Why Do Some Owners Get Their Cats High?

Irresponsible owners who deliberately get their cats intoxicated often claim:

  • “It seems funny when cats get stoned.”
  • “The cat likes it and gets more affectionate.”
  • “I think it helps my cat’s anxiety or pain.”

In reality, cats do not enjoy or benefit from marijuana’s effects. Intoxication causes distress, not relaxation. Owners imagining their pet likes being high are projecting human traits onto them. It indicates an ignorant or abusive disregard for cat health and welfare.

Is It Illegal to Get Your Cat High?

In most areas, deliberately getting a pet intoxicated is considered animal abuse and carries legal penalties. For example, a Colorado man was sentenced to 12 months probation and 60 hours community service for blowing pot smoke in his cat’s face.

Under animal cruelty laws, causing intentional harm or distress through negligence qualifies as abuse. Drugging cats violates responsible pet ownership. If reported, authorities may impose fines or confiscate abused animals.

Better Ways to Bond With Your Cat

Some misguided owners try getting cats high as warped “bonding.” But healthy human-feline relationships rely on activities like:

  • Playing with cat toys together
  • Clicker training and treat rewards
  • Grooming and gentle petting sessions
  • Providing cat trees and scratch posts
  • Working on harness training

Drugs have no place in responsible pet care. Nurture the bond through appropriate enrichment based on feline needs. With patience, you can build a loving connection that enhances both your lives.

The Bottom Line

Deliberately exposing cats to marijuana is irresponsible and dangerous. THC toxicity causes severe health risks that require urgent veterinary treatment. Getting your cat high is never fun for them – it’s frightening and potentially life-threatening. Stick to positive activities that support their wellbeing instead.