Many states in the United States have now legalized marijuana. These means that more people than ever are legally keeping marijuana in their homes and some are even growing it in their garden. While some people take marijuana products for medicinal purposes, for others it is purely recreational. Regardless of your reasons for having marijuana in your home, if you have a cat, then you need to consider your pet’s health and safety. So, is it safe for cats to consume marijuana and what can you do to prevent your cat from any of the risks associated with this product?
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that comes from the cannabis plant. People consume cannabis for medicinal, recreational, and spiritual purposes in either a leaf, resin, or oil form. While marijuana is widely used legally in many countries, it remains an illegal drug in others.
Is Marijuana Safe for Cats?
While dogs are more drawn to Marijuana edibles, such as cookies or brownies containing marijuana, cats prefer the plants. According to Catster, marijuana is not safe for cats and exposure to this substance can cause many symptoms. These include:
- A lack of muscle control
- Dilated pupils
- Low body temperature
- Urinary incontinence
- Abnormal heart rate
- In rare cases, seizures and coma
In early 2019, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center received a record number of calls from pet owners regarding their pet ingesting marijuana. Compared to the same period the year before, the figures showed an increase of 765 percent.
How Can You Keep Your Cat Safe from Marijuana in Your Home?
Many people keep a personal supply of marijuana in their home. If you choose to do this, then it is essential that you take steps to prevent your cat from ingesting the products and keep them safe. You should store resins away securely in a drawer so that the cat cannot access the product. Similarly, if you have dried marijuana leaves, then keep these in a sealed plastic bag and store it away in a drawer. Never leave resin or leaves lying around on a table or surface that your cat can easily access.
Smoking marijuana in the same room as your cat is also potentially dangerous as they can become passive smokers of the secondary smoke. This is particularly dangerous for cats that already have asthma or other respiratory diseases as not only will they suffer the effects of marijuana exposure, but it can also trigger their existing health condition by irritating their respiratory tract.
If you have plants growing inside your home, it is a serious temptation for your cats to nibble on them as they prefer marijuana in this form. Consider keeping your marijuana plants under glass domes that are intended for growing plants indoors.
What About Cats Accessing Marijuana in the Garden?
There are also people who grow marijuana plants in their garden for personal use and this poses different challenges for cat owners keeping their pets away from the plants. Cats love to nibble on fresh marijuana leaves, and you cannot always keep an eye on them when they are playing outdoors. However, there are several steps that you can take to prevent cats from going near your marijuana. Not only will the cats going near the plants have a harmful effect on the cats, but it can also potentially ruin your plants.
I Love Growing Marijuana suggests putting chicken wire across the top of the area where you are growing your marijuana plants. Cats do not like the feel of chicken wire, so they will avoid the area. As your plants grow and you need to access them, you can simply cut through the chicken wire with wire cutters.
Another method is to put down a substance around the plants that act as a deterrent for cats. Two of the best options are hot chili powder or coffee granules. People who grow marijuana have had good results with both these substances. Not only do they keep cats away from your plants, but they also act as a deterrent for dogs, slugs, snails, and many other animals you do not want near your plants.
A final option is to create an area of the garden that your cat will prefer, meaning they have less interest in the area in which you are growing your marijuana plants. Try creating an area of sand as a play area for your cats.
What to Do if Your Cat Suffers from Marijuana Poisoning
Pot Guide offers some suggestions for what you should do if your cat accidentally ingests marijuana. If it is an extremely small quantity of marijuana, then your cat will probably suffer no serious ill-effects. However, you should monitor their symptoms for 48 hours, and make sure they are getting plenty of water. If you think your cat’s symptoms are not improving or that they are getting worse, then you should contact your veterinarian immediately so that your cat can receive treatment as soon as possible.
Can You Give Cats Marijuana for Medicinal Purposes?
According to The Spruce Pets, there is some evidence that marijuana has potential benefits for medicinal purposes. However, it has not been legalized for veterinarians to prescribe medications derived from marijuana. An alternative is hemp-based treatments that are high in cannabidiol (CBD). Although more research into the subject is needed, it is possible that such products could benefit cats suffering from conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, pancreatitis, arthritis, and even cancer.
Cats and Marijuana – The Final Verdict
The best advice generally is to keep your cat away from marijuana. Never give it to them directly and take steps to prevent them ingesting it form your personal supply in the house or from plants in the garden. Although there is some evidence to suggest that CBD products are potentially beneficial for medicinal purposes for cats, these have not yet been approved. Therefore, you should not conduct a personal experiment with your cat’s health by trying them on these products.