Saturday, January 15, 2011

Are our humans creating a toxic environment for cats?

Dear George,

Guess… we need help with the definition of a “toxic environment”. May be we don’t have a proper understanding of the term since our place is squeaky clean and all products used in the house are “natural”, “eco”, “bio”, “ pet friendly”

Just pronouncing these words you feel the energy flowing! Got the rhythm?

We can dance with the mop! Our litter is “natural” Swheat scoop” (it smells really nice when you pee), clumps and it’s not “clogging” the upper respiratory track (whatever this is). Our food, of course, is natural and organic and as fresh as it can be!

BUT, last night we heard our humans talking about the danger of second hand smoking.

Do you think…they meant......a poorly “ham smoking” system? Also, they were reading an article about the danger of anti-freezer and pets! Pets don’t freeze (unless neglected), so WHY an anti-freeze? George, we know some apes (!) worry about 2012, but do you think we should worry about a “toxic environment” (we heard the term last night)? Do you think there are “unknown” dangers out there…ready to get the cats? We worry for our feline world.

Breathless (too worried to inhale)

Fluffy & Cayenne

Dear Fluffy and Cayenne,

I can see from the gorgeous sight of you both relaxing that at least your environment isn't toxic. But for many cats this just isn't true. The ridiculous human habit of lighting a stick, putting it into their mouth and puffing the smoke may give cats a higher chance of developing malignant lymphoma. There's disagreement among human scientists about it and I will give the references below my signature for those that are interested. We cats know, however, that tobacco smoke is directly disgusting. We don't like it one bit - and that's a very good reason for humans not to do it in the first place.

The other danger from human interference with the environment is asbestos. This is a highly dangerous substance that these dumb creatures used to use in their buildings. Nowadays they don't. But the danger is still there in older buildings - in pipe lagging, concrete roofing, bath panels etc. Usually this building stuff is covered up with wall plastering and so forth.

But pin your ears back, Fluffy and Cayenne. Humans just won't let their territories be. We cats like our territories to stay the same (perhaps a few extra mice would be good) and we check them daily to make sure we know where everything is. Humans are always doing stuff to theirs - pulling down walls, slapping on horrible-smelling paint, adding lofts, conservatories and fancy kitchens. This in itself is deeply distressing to any sensible cat. Some of us protest by spraying.

Worse still asbestos causes malignant mesothelioma in cats. You can read more about it at (though this site is doggist when it describes mesothelioma in pets) and more about cancer in cats at . Mesothelioma in cats is rare but it does exist. You can find a free scientific journal article on feline mesothelioma at

So, if your dumb humans are about to redecorate or generally ruin your territory by doing building work on an older house, spray like mad at the first opportunity. With any luck they will put you in a cattery, a safe haven from asbestos, during the building work.

Love George.

1. Bertone, E. R., Snyder, L. A. & Moore, A. S., (2002), 'Environmental tobacco smoke and the risk of malignant lymphoma in pet cats,' American Journal of Epidemiology, 156, 268-273

2. Dension, K. W. E., (2002), 'Environmental tobacco smoke and the risk of malignant lymphoma in pet cats,' American Journal of Epidemiology, 158, 1227.


  1. We refer to smokers as "fire on one end, fool on the other."

  2. Good advice as ever George. Cigarette smoke can also lead to cats developing oral cancers, presumably because the smoke settles on our fur and we lick it off.

    Handy top for poor cats living with DIY obsessed apes:- At first sign of home disturbance, yes, pee everywhere, especially up the legs of any workmen. Yack up hairballs into their lunch bags and tool boxes. The workmen will soon refuse to work for your apes and your home will remain as it should, untouched. Your apes can then spend the money they would have wasted on decorating/building on some freshly roasted chicken for the cats.

    Whicky Wuudler
    Hater of workmen.

  3. Hi George,

    Great blog post! The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance really appreciates your help concerning this important issue. The more cats and their owners are aware of Mesothelioma the better! Remember to stay out of attics and basements, as that is where Mesothelioma is most prevalent. Keep up the good work George.


  4. Ya! I hate the smell (when people smoke)

  5. Very interesting subject! I'm lucky my mom doesn't smoke but she has friends who do.
    I'll make sure she'll read this.

  6. George, thanks for this great info.
    Very educational.

  7. My lot won't have perfumed room spraysf or any so called room scenting products in our house.
    My fluffy head fresh out of my hay bag is perfect.


Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online