Dakota has sat by our deck door for days, wishing I'd let him outside.  I know how awful the smokey whether has been on my lungs and my contact lenses.  He might be a large cat, but he's got a smaller respiratory system than me!

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

For the most part, Kota's an indoor cat.  When he came home with me six years ago, I'd let him catch some sun and watch the dogs in the courtyard at the apartment complex I was living in at the time.  I lived on the second floor and he never tried to jump over the balcony railing.  When I moved into a first floor apartment a few years later, he wasn't allowed outside because my porch didn't have a fence around it.  We moved back into a second floor apartment last year and he loves having his outside time back.

But the last few days? I haven't let him outside because of the smoke because I didn't know how much it would bother him.  Then I saw a story on KTVB about how pets and poor air quality mix together.

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

According to the associate veterinarian they talked to, cats and dogs' lungs are similar to humans, so the air quality affects them in a similar way.  Your pet may experience the same coughing, sneezing and other respiratory symptoms that you are during the Orange Air Quality Warning.

If your pet's breathing seems really labored, they suggest taking them for a visit to the vet.  It could be a sign of undiagnosed asthma or heat exhaustion.

So, looks like as long as Dakota doesn't start sneezing and coughing when I let him outside, he's good to enjoy a little sun even in these hazy conditions!