What Do I Do If My Cat Eats Marijuana?
With an increasing number of states legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana, the chances of our pets getting into a stash is also steadily rising. With rising numbers of people using marijuana, there is also an increase in new varieties of marijuana, from tinctures to oils to foods. Our cats love their catnip, which acts similar to marijuana for a cat's brain. However, if your cat ingests marijuana, it can do serious harm if not appropriately addressed.
Can Marijuana Kill My Cat?
The most dangerous types of edibles to cats are medical-grade THC or edibles that contain other toxins, such as chocolate.
According to the Veterinary Centers of America, marijuana-related fatalities in pets were rare before medical-grade marijuana products, however, the numbers have risen with increased medical marijuana usage. (1) Edible consumption is rarely fatal to cats, but your cat should be closely watched if you suspect they consumed any amount of marijuana.
So can marijuana intake kill your cat? Unfortunately, yes it can. However, it’s more likely that your cat would die from falling asleep in a marijuana-induced haze and then die from choking on their vomit rather than as a direct result of marijuana consumption, especially if they consumed non-medical grade marijuana.
The bottom line is that your cat should be closely monitored if they consume marijuana or inhale secondhand smoke.
Calling a poison control helpline or your veterinarian is always a good idea when it comes to your pet’s health and wellbeing. SPOT pet insurance does cover poison consultation fees, so please don’t hesitate to call a poison control helpline if you believe your cat has consumed marijuana or something poisonous.
Common Symptoms a Cat Consumed Marijuana
The effects of marijuana consumption in cats will likely take around 30 minutes to an hour to show up. Unfortunately, it’s much harder to diagnose marijuana consumption in cats than humans. Humans can be reliably tested for marijuana through urine drug-screening tests, but pet urine drug-screening tests are not yet dependable. A veterinarian will need to work with the information you provide and look for clinical signs of marijuana consumption in cats to determine if your cat did consume marijuana.
Common clinical symptoms of marijuana consumption in cats:
- Wobbliness or lack of coordination
- Sudden hyperactivity
- Dilated pupils
- Sudden vocalness (excessive meowing or howling)
- Lowered heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Slowed breathing
- Incontinence (lack of bladder control)
These symptoms can be very uncomfortable for your cat. If you notice any of these signs and suspect marijuana consumption, contact your veterinarian or poison control helpline for your next steps. (2)
What Should I Do If My Cat Eats A THC Infused Edible?
If you are certain your cat consumed marijuana, immediately take your pet to their veterinarian or an after-hours veterinary clinic. Your veterinarian may induce vomiting or use activated charcoal to help remove marijuana from their system. Stomach pumping may be used for severe, life-threatening situations. In less severe cases, your veterinarian may check out your cat and have you take them home. Anti-anxiety medications may be provided to help with agitation while the effects of marijuana wear off.
Another critical step in your cat’s treatment is addressing possible dehydration. Your cat will likely be lethargic and lack a desire to eat or drink, which can result in dehydration. Your veterinarian may place them on an IV to help with this and instruct you in ways to encourage your cat to stay hydrated. (3)
While at home, you should keep your cat in a calming, safe place with little to no noise or sensory stimulation. Disorientation is a common side effect of marijuana consumption in cats, and minimizing sensory stimulation will help them feel more at ease while recovering.
How Much Will The Vet Visit Cost?
This number can vary widely based on your location, the type of clinic you’re going to, and what your veterinarian needs to do to treat your cat.
At a minimum, you can expect the cost of bloodwork and IVs to be a factor in your vet bill.
However, the cost of the vet visit should be the last thing on your mind right now. Unfortunately, your cat got into your stash, and a trip to the emergency animal clinic or vet could be critical to their wellbeing.
Prepare for Accidents
If you keep marijuana in your home, take preventive measures to keep your cat out of it. Cats are curious by nature and can often access high counters and cabinets with ease. Make sure that you lock up your marijuana and keep your cat in another, well-ventilated area when you’re smoking.
Is your cat otherwise protected? No matter how careful we are, our cats are clever and can get into things, and accidents can happen. If you don’t already, we encourage you to sign your cat up for a pet insurance plan that can reimburse you for accident-related veterinarian bills.
SPOT Pet Insurance coverage gives you peace of mind knowing that when the worst happens, we've got you covered.