Most cat owners will do anything to keep their pet happy and healthy, and many of us will spend hours choosing the best cat food, picking out feline toys and fussing over our four-legged friends.

However, ongoing research has revealed that some owners may be unwittingly putting their moggies' health at risk by exposing their pets to second-hand smoke around the home.

Conducted in conjunction with the University of Glasgow's vet school, a PDSA study has shown that cats and dogs living in a smoking household have higher levels of nicotine in their fur and are more likely to develop certain cancers than those not exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke.

"The effects of second-hand smoke on humans are well-documented, and sadly many of us may know of friends and family that have been affected in this way," said PDSA senior vet Elaine Pendlebury.

"However, the effects of passive smoking on our pets have only recently begun to be fully researched and understood."

The research found that cats who are regularly exposed to tobacco smoke are twice as likely to develop feline malignant lymphoma, a type of cancer that can kill pets within a year, while accidentally consuming ashtray remnants can also potentially be fatal for pets.

Therefore, to mark No Smoking Day this March 14th, the PDSA is urging cat owners to kick the habit, not only for the sake of their own health but for their pets' benefit also.

"Second-hand smoke can affect pets much quicker than in humans, which may give smokers who own pets an added incentive to give up," Elaine added.

"We all want our pets to be as happy and healthy as possible, so by looking into quitting smoking you could help improve your pet's quality of life, and possibly even extend their life expectancy."

If quitting tobacco is still a work in progress, however, there are a few measures smokers can take to keep their feline friends healthy. Smoking outdoors significantly lowers the risk to your pets, while keeping rooms well-ventilated will also reduce the levels of second-hand smoke exposure for your cat.

Written by: Hannah