Cats are picky with their food and usually won’t gobble up everything like dogs. As a matter of fact, most cases of marijuana intoxication in pets happen to dogs. However, cat owners still find that their pets end up in their weed stash. As a matter of fact, some cats are attracted to the smell of weed. Whether it is edibles, cannabutter, or buds, you want to ensure that your cat doesn’t eat weed because it can make them sick. But here’s what to do if your cat eats weed accidentally.
What Happens if Cats Eat Weed?
We already know that weed smoke can cause marijuana toxicity in cats. That’s why it’s best not to smoke around your tabby and keep the rooms you smoke in well-ventilated. But what happens if your cat eats weed?
If your cat eats weed, it can get sick and experience a range of symptoms due to marijuana toxicity. Hills Pet says to look out for:
- Uncoordinated movement
- Extreme lethargy
- Slower heartbeat
- Inability to hold their pee
- Excessive vocalization
- Dilated pupils
- Slow breathing
Part of the reason why cats are so affected by weed is that they have cannabinoid receptors, just like dogs and humans. As a matter of fact, according to PetMD, cats and dogs have more CB1 receptors than humans. As PetMD puts it, “CB1 receptors are responsible for affecting the mind, alerting the mood, and the overall “high” feeling of marijuana. THC has a higher affinity for CB1 receptors, so marijuana often affects dogs and cats more than humans.”
If your cat ate edibles like weed brownies, the toxicity of marijuana is just part of the problem. First of all, edibles tend to be more concentrated in THC which heightens the risk of poisoning.
In addition to that, your cat may have to be treated for toxicity from the chocolate in the edible too. The main issue with chocolate for cats is the presence of caffeine and theobromine. They can cause serious digestive issues. Hills Pet also says the sugar and fat found in edibles aren’t great for cats either.
Besides edibles, you should keep your cat away from cannabutter because it can cause problems. Pet MD says that consumption of cannabutter can add to the risk of pancreatitis for cats because of the high fat content.
Can My Cat Eat Marijuana Leaves?
Many pot growers report that their cats absolutely love their weed plant. Some even go ahead and feed the weed leaves to the cats. However, we don’t recommend doing that. Marijuana in all forms is toxic to cats.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says marijuana plants are toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. Therefore if your cat eats marijuana it can experience many of the symptoms we listed above. In addition to that, we recommend bringing your cat to the vet if you noticed that have been eating marijuana leaves.
What Do I Do if My Cat Eats Weed?
If you suspect that your cat has eaten weed, take them to the vet immediately. There is no antidote for marijuana toxicity. However, there are a number of things your vet can do to improve the situation.
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, if you bring in your pet shortly after they ingested cannabis, they may induce vomiting. Inducing vomiting helps to prevent the body from absorbing more of the toxin.
In addition to that, VCA Animal Hospitals says your vet may administer activated charcoal every six to eight hours to neutralize the toxin. Enemas may also be used.
After this stage, your vet will provide supportive care until the effects of weed wear off. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, that could mean giving your cat an IV. The IV helps with:
- preventing dehydration
- supporting blood pressure
- maintaining organ function
In addition to giving your cat an IV, according to VCA Animal Hospitals, the vet may:
- Provide anti-anxiety medication to help with agitation
- Treat gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting or nausea
- Prevent self-trauma by putting them in a safe place until the high wears off
Spot also said that your vet may give provide medication for your cat to treat seizures or tremors which are more serious side effects of eating weed.
Interestingly, there is a newer treatment that may reduce the time that your cat feels symptoms. It’s called intralipid therapy. PetMD says that this treatment may pull the THC out of the fatty tissues faster.
The truth is, cats will more than likely recover from marijuana toxication without long-lasting effects. However, according to Hills Pets, not all cats are that lucky. They said, “cats who contract aspiration pneumonia, experience seizures or have existing heart problems may develop long-term complications from consuming marijuana.”
The number one thing to do if your cat eats weed is to take them to the vet. Even though there are no specific antidotes for weed consumption in cats, there are many things a vet can do. The vet may try detoxification with activated charcoal. In addition, they will treat the cat’s symptoms and wait until the symptoms pass. In the future, lock up your weed and keep it away from your cat.