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Pet head? American fined for smoking bong containing cat

Acea Shomaker, Shadow the cat and the bong. Photograph: AP

Acea Shomaker, Shadow the cat and the bong. Photograph: AP

A man who stuffed his girlfriend’s cat into a marijuana bong said he had done it on other occasions and it had calmed the cat down.

Acea Schomaker of Lincoln, Nebraska, said he never intended to hurt six-month-old Shadow.

Sheriff’s deputies fined 20-year-old Schomaker for animal cruelty after responding to a domestic disturbance. Officers caught him smoking from a box-like contraption with Shadow inside the 30cm x 15cm base.

Schomaker’s girlfriend, Marissa Vieux, was fined for animal cruelty because she allegedly did not try to stop ­Schomaker, Sergeant Andy Stebbing said.

Vieux, 22, said she took in the cat two months ago from friends who had abused it. Schomaker said the cat would bite and scratch but he did not want to discipline it by swatting or squirting water at it. He said they did not take it to an animal shelter for fear it would be put down.

Schomaker said he decided to use the bong because he had heard about people calming their pets by blowing marijuana smoke in their faces.

“I know for sure this isn’t the first time someone has done this,” he said. “I’m just the first one to get caught.”

He said he put the cat in the bong a total of three times and it calmed the cat.

“Every time we took her out she would pretty much just lay down and proceed to clean herself and act like a stoned person,” Schomaker said.

The bong had a 30cm piece of garden hose coming out of a Plexiglas box, with the top secured with duct tape. Schomaker said the pipe was built in such a way that the cat did not get too immersed in smoke.

Schomaker said police and animal ­specialists lectured him about why what he had done was cruel. He said he had learned from his mistake.

<p>Pot smoker 'calmed' pet down with smoke: 'Lots of people do this, I'm just first to get caught'</p>

Can cats get high from inhaling weed smoke?

It’s not a great idea to expose your pets to second-hand smoke

Asique Alam / Unsplash

Many cannabis users think second-hand smoke isn’t a big deal, but weed smoke can irritate non-smokers. There’s also a big debate around whether or not non-smokers can get high off of second-hand smoke. In fact, research studies have found non-smokers who are exposed to weed smoke can get buzzed. However, this tends to happen in non-ventilated rooms where a lot of cannabis is being smoked.

But what about pets? Can cats get high? The main reason someone might not get high quickly is their size. In North America, the average person weighs 177 pounds. Of course, cats are smaller meaning it’s easier for them to get high.

Secondhand tobacco smoke and pets

It’s debatable if second-hand tobacco smoke has an effect on people. A few research studies have linked second-hand smoke to health problems such as asthma, heart disease and eye issues.

Even if tobacco smoke doesn’t inflict health problems, it can irritate people. When non-smokers spend a lot of time around smokers, they are inhaling the carcinogens from second-hand smoke. Similarly, secondhand tobacco smoke isn’t great for cats, either.

Crystal Z. Shi / Unsplash

According to PetMD, a 2002 found that cats exposed to second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke – smoke that sticks to blankets, sofa pillows and curtains – developed malignant lymphoma approximately 2.5 times more than cats who lived with non-smoking owners.

Cats that lived in a smoke-filled household for more than five years had triple the risk of developing lymphoma. Another study claimed there was a correlation between oral cancer in cats and third-hand smoke. It’s believed cats contact third-hand smoke when placing their paws on pillows and sheets covered with toxins from tobacco.

What about dogs? Two research studies in the 1990s claimed that dogs living with smokers had higher risks of developing cancer in the respiratory tract. The researchers studied the respiratory tract based on the shape of the dog’s head and found that collies with big noses were more susceptible to developing nasal cancer and dogs with smaller noses developed lung cancer at a higher rate compared to dogs who lived in a smoke-free environment.

There is a strong correlation between second-hand tobacco smoke and cancer in pets. So, what about marijuana smoke? Can cats get high on weed?

It’s unknown if smoking too much marijuana is healthy or not. It’s important to note that cannabis does contain cancer-fighting cannabinoids.

Many smokers vape to filter out bad chemicals while isolating the good THC. Vaping around cats is safer than smoking a blunt. However, what happens if you smoke a joint around your dog or cat? Will your pet curl up and go into reflective thought? Will they ponder the meaning of life? Or will they continue with their daily routine of napping and eating?

Second-hand pot smoke and pets

If you’re smoking a lot of weed in a non-ventilated room, your pet will likely not get high. However, that doesn’t mean exposure to a lot of weed smoke is healthy for cats. Pets have sensitive respiratory tracts and smoke can cause irritation, leading to breathing issues such as asthma.

Smoking from a bong while sitting in a room with the window open is different than blowing smoke directly into a cat’s face, which can dry out their eyes and cause discomfort.

Pets that are exposed to cannabis react in different ways. According to BuzzFeed, some pets become tired or develop respiratory issues. Some experience heart palpitations, low blood pressure and can get diarrhea (especially if the cannabis is ingested). Symptoms to watch out for are panting and constant pacing. Sick or old animals with underlying health issues risk dying if they ingest cannabis edibles.

sarandy westfall / Unsplash

Pets that ingest marijuana may require emergency veterinary care and intravenous drugs. All in all, a pet ingesting marijuana can be a traumatic experience for both pet and owner.

However, medicinal cannabis made specifically to assist pets with symptoms is a different topic. These medications are produced to decrease symptoms with minimal side effects. Exposure to second-hand or third-hand smoke is the opposite of treating a pet with medical marijuana.

In conclusion, smoking marijuana around a cat won’t harm them, as long as the smoker is smoking in a well-ventilated room and avoids blowing smoke directly into the pet’s face. If you smoke a lot and/or the bud potent, it’s better to be safe and stay away from the cat. Better yet, don’t smoke around your animal at all and enjoy your buzz without worry.

If smoking in a separate room is not an option, be mindful, observe your cat or dog and note any unusual behaviour.

It's not a great idea to expose your cat to second-hand smoke. Before lighting up, learn the possible effects on your pets and how to avoid harm