The internet is run by cats. Fact. But the masters of the Internet did allow some Twitter time to be taken for Kanye, Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift the night of the Grammys. Then, the cats had enough. In 30-seconds, cats had reclaimed the internet and righted wrongs by horses and camels who said it was cool to smoke with this ad that claims cancer kills cats which will, in turn, lead to a world with no cat videos. *shudder*
The video makes claims like, "Cats are twice as likely to get cancer if their owner smokes." Is Catmageddon upon us? Will cats and cat videos go the way of the dodo bird? Perhaps not, but it is a pretty clever way to get a conversation going.
"It's nothing like any anti-smoking ad that's been out," Sherry Emery, the director of the University of Illinois, Chicago's Health Media Collaboratory, told NPR. "This is the first time I think [anti-smoking campaigns] have gone after the health effects for animals. And people care so much about their animals."
"Sometimes people don't care enough about themselves. They do care about their pets," she added. "And cat videos, of course. They capitalize on this cultural phenomenon where people just love cat videos."
According to a study by researchers at Tuft's University, cats in a smoking household are almost four times more likely to develop cancer than those living in a smoke-free environment. "Results from our case-control study suggest that pet cats exposed to household ETS have a significantly increased risk of malignant lymphoma. Risk was positively associated with both duration and quantity of ETS exposure."
"Cats living with smokers are also twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma, a cancer that occurs in the lymph nodes and that is fatal to three out of four cats within 12 months of developing it," according to LiveScience.
Another study found that a cat exposed to as little as one cigarette up to 19 cigarettes a day has a doubled risk of developing the most aggressive form of oral cancer in cats, squamous cell carcinoma.
Even if your cat isn't in the house when you actively smoke, objects in your home and items like your pet's food - particularly wet food - absorbs toxins that your pet will later eat. Carcinogens also get trapped in your pet's fur. When a cat grooms himself, he is licking the cancer-causing chemicals and increasing his risk of mouth cancers. Snout length between cats and dogs tends to change the location of the primary cancer, but for cats and dogs, the risk is the same.
"There have been a number of scientific papers recently that have reported the significant health threat secondhand smoke poses to pets," veterinarian Carolynn MacAllister of Oklahoma State University told LiveScience. "Secondhand smoke has been associated with oral cancer and lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, as well as lung cancer in birds."
If you think you're ready to quit or are looking to get teen smoking down from 7 percent to zero, check out The Truth, funded by The Truth Initiative, according to the nonprofit's website. The Truth Initiative "is national public health organization created in 1999 as a result of the The Master Settlement Agreement."
So, if you aren't ready to quit yet and are part of the one-fifth of pet owners who smoke, consider doing it for them...
...and the proliferation of adorable cat videos for generations to come.