Uncovering The Truth About Using Essential Oils With Cats Featured Image

Uncovering The Truth About Using Essential Oils With Cats

As a cat owner, you’ve probably heard conflicting opinions about the use of essential oils for feline health. One person might rave about the calming effects of lavender oil on their anxious cat, while another warns of the dangers of using any essential oil around cats. This leaves you wondering: Are essential oils safe for cats, or should you steer clear of them entirely?

The truth about using essential oils for cats is, essential oils can have both positive and negative effects on feline health, depending on the type and usage. Understanding the science behind cats and essential oils is crucial for pet owners who want to ensure the well-being of their furry friends.

  • Understand the scientific evidence linking cats and essential oils to ensure safety.
  • Avoid unsafe essential oils, such as tea tree oil, lavender oil or citrus oils.
  • Consult with veterinary professionals for safe use of alternative aromatherapy options around cats.
photo of a 2 cat

The realm of essential oils is extensive and intricate, with a multitude of claims and counterclaims about their effects on cats. Nonetheless, separating fact from fiction is crucial for understanding certain essential oils in relation to feline health. Cats are unique creatures with specific sensitivities, and some essential oils can be toxic to them.

For your cat’s safety and well-being, it’s paramount to comprehend the science linking cats and essential oils, pinpoint harmful oils, and adopt essential oils safely when using these oils around your cat.

Cats lack the necessary liver enzymes to break down and eliminate essential oil compounds, making some oils toxic to them. This is why they are more sensitive to essential oils than humans and dogs. When exposed to concentrated essential oils, cats may experience essential oil toxicity, which can lead to serious health issues such as liver failure, seizures, and respiratory distress.

To safeguard your cat, it’s paramount to be aware of which essential oils are toxic and to only use diluted or diffused oils in their surroundings. Being knowledgeable about essential oils toxic to cats will help you protect them from any harmful effects while retaining the therapeutic properties of the oils.

Some essential oils that are toxic to cats and should be avoided include:

  • Tea tree oil, which can cause skin irritation and is toxic if ingested
  • Lavender oil, which can cause skin irritation and respiratory issues
  • Citrus oils, such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit, which can be toxic to cats and cause skin irritation, liver failure, and other health problems

It is important to keep these oils away from cats to ensure their safety and well-being.

For your cat’s safety, refrain from using essential oils known to be harmful to cats and instead choose alternatives that are suitable for cats. Always consult a veterinarian before using essential oils around your cat, and monitor their reactions closely to ensure their safety.

When using essential oils, adhering to specific guidelines is critical for your cat’s safety. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Use only diluted essential oils and cat-friendly products in your home.
  2. Be cautious when applying essential oils directly on your cat’s skin, as this can lead to toxicity.
  3. Instead, consider using essential oils in a diffuser, which disperses essential oils in smaller, less concentrated amounts and reduces the risk of toxicity.

Second, monitor your cat’s reactions closely when using essential oils around them. If your cat shows any signs of discomfort or distress, such as excessive grooming, hiding, or vocalizing, discontinue the use of essential oils immediately and consult a veterinarian. It’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your cat’s health.

Debunking Myths Essential Oils and Feline Health Infographic by Organic Aromas
Photo of a cat showing signs of discomfort

Essential oil toxicity in cats can present in various forms, such as:

  • vomiting
  • shakes
  • respiratory problems
  • liver failure

Promptly recognizing these signs is key to timely treatment and reducing the risk of lasting health complications. If you suspect that your cat has been exposed to toxic essential oils, it’s essential to act quickly and consult a veterinarian immediately to address potential essential oil poisoning.

Along with seeking professional advice, you can act immediately to remove the source of the essential oil and expose your cat to fresh air. By being attentive and reacting to the signs of essential oil toxicity, you can help promote your cat’s safety and well-being.

If your cat shows signs of essential oil toxicity, the first step is to remove the source of the essential oil from their environment. This may involve turning off an essential oil diffuser or removing any essential oil products from your cat’s reach.

Next, provide your cat with fresh air and ensure that they are comfortable and safe. It’s crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat exhibits signs of essential oil toxicity.

Your veterinarian can provide guidance on the best course of action and may recommend further treatment or monitoring, depending on the severity of your cat’s symptoms.

As a cat owner, you hold the responsibility for your feline friend’s safety and well-being. This includes being cautious when using essential oils in your home and choosing cat-friendly products. Understanding the potential risks linked to essential oils and adhering to essential oils safe practices allows you to maintain a comfortable environment for your cat while still reaping the benefits of essential oils.

Apart from selecting safe essential oil products, you might contemplate alternative aromatherapy options, like herbal remedies or hydrosols. These can offer comparable benefits without jeopardizing your cat’s health. By exploring these alternatives, you can maintain a pleasant and soothing atmosphere in your home while keeping your cat safe.

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When choosing essential oil products for cats, it’s vital to steer clear of oils known to be harmful to cats, including bergamot, cinnamon, and citrus oils such as lemon, lime, and orange. Instead, opt for products specifically designed for cats, which have been tested and approved for feline use.

Volanta Aroma and Laguna Moon are two reputable brands that produce cat-friendly essential oil products. Selecting products from these brands guarantees your cat’s safety while you continue to gain the benefits of essential oils.

If the potential risks of using essential oils around your cat worry you, contemplating alternative aromatherapy options like herbal remedies or hydrosols could be beneficial. Herbal remedies, such as catnip, chamomile, and ashwagandha, can provide natural relief for various conditions and can be used safely around cats.

Hydrosols, also known as floral waters, are another safer alternative to essential oils for cats. These are the by-products of the steam distillation process used to make essential oils and possess the same therapeutic properties, albeit in a much lower concentration. Hydrosols are safe for use around cats and can be employed in a variety of ways, including in a spray bottle or a diffuser.

Photo of different herbal remedies and carrier oils

Diffusers greatly contribute to essential oil safety for cats by dispersing oils in smaller, less concentrated quantities, mitigating the risk of toxicity. Active diffusers, like ultrasonic or nebulizing ones, are deemed safer for cats than passive diffusers because they use electricity to release a mist of water and essential oil into the air.

Grasping the differences between active and passive diffusers and adhering to best practices for diffusing essential oils allows you to maintain a safe and enjoyable environment for your cat while relishing the advantages of aromatherapy. By learning how to properly diffuse essential oils, you can ensure a pleasant experience for both you and your feline friend, enjoying the benefits of diffused essential oils.

Active diffusers, such as ultrasonic or nebulizing essential oil diffusers, use pumps or ultrasonic technology to disperse essential oil molecules into the atmosphere, while passive diffusers diffuse the fragrance of essential oils naturally, without the aid of any stimulus. Active diffusers necessitate electricity or other external power sources, whereas passive diffusers do not.

Active diffusers are safer for cats because they disperse essential oils in smaller, less concentrated amounts, with concentrations as low as 0.6%. This reduces the risk of essential oil toxicity and allows you to enjoy the benefits of essential oils without compromising your cat’s health.

When diffusing essential oils around cats, it’s important to ensure proper ventilation and limit exposure time. Open windows and vents after diffusing to air out the room and avoid any potential accumulation of scent or particles. Additionally, place the diffuser in a room with adequate ventilation to prevent the buildup of essential oils.

Monitor your cat’s reactions closely when using essential oils around them. If they show any signs of discomfort or distress, discontinue the use of essential oils immediately and consult a veterinarian. By following these best practices, you can create a safe and pleasant environment for your cat while enjoying the benefits of essential oils.

Herbal remedies, when used properly and combined with carrier oils, can be a safer option for cats than essential oils. While essential oils can be toxic to cats due to their concentrated nature, herbal remedies generally pose fewer risks of toxicity and can provide natural relief for a variety of conditions.

Utilizing herbal remedies like dried herbs or hydrosols, and including carrier oils to dilute undiluted essential oils, allows you to cultivate a safe and calming ambiance at home without endangering your cat’s health.

Herbal remedies, such as dried herbs or hydrosols, can provide a safer option for feline aromatherapy. These remedies possess the same therapeutic properties as essential oils but in a much lower concentration, reducing the risk of toxicity for cats. Some popular herbal remedies for cats include:

  • Valerian root
  • Echinacea
  • Milk thistle
  • Dandelion
  • Licorice root
  • Calendula
  • Marshmallow root

To incorporate herbal remedies into your cat’s environment, opt for cat-safe herbs and follow proper usage guidelines, such as using powders or breakable capsules that can be mixed with food or treats. Always consult a veterinarian before using any herbal remedies for your cat to ensure proper dosage and suitability for their particular needs.

Carrier oils, such as coconut or olive oil, can help dilute essential oils and reduce the risk of toxicity for cats. These oils can be mixed with essential oils to create a safer concentration for use around your cat. Some suitable carrier oils for cats include:

  • Coconut oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Almond oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Olive oil

When using carrier oils with essential oils, it’s important to follow the recommended ratio of 9:1 (carrier oil to essential oil) to maintain the proper dilution and safety for your cat. By incorporating carrier oils into your essential oil routine, you can create a safer environment for your feline friend while still enjoying the benefits of aromatherapy.

veterinarian taking care of a cat

Consultation with veterinary professionals is vital for the safe use of essential oils and the creation of a secure environment for your cat. Veterinarians can provide guidance on the proper use of essential oils, as well as recommend safe alternatives and best practices for diffusing oils around cats.

Cooperating closely with your veterinarian and heeding their advice allows you to establish a comfortable and secure environment for your cat, devoid of potential risks tied to essential oils, such as peppermint oil.

Before using essential oils on or near your cat, seek expert counsel and adhere to their advice strictly. Veterinarians specializing in feline health can provide guidance on the safe use of essential oils and help you make informed decisions about the best products and practices for your cat.

If you regularly use essential oils around your cat, it’s important to consult your veterinarian frequently to monitor your cat’s health and address any concerns that may arise. By being proactive and seeking professional advice, you can ensure the safety and well-being of your feline friend.

Collaborate with your veterinarian to develop a secure and comfortable setting for your cat, devoid of potential dangers linked to essential oils. This may involve:

  • Selecting cat-friendly essential oil products
  • Using proper dilution techniques
  • Incorporating alternative aromatherapy options, such as herbal remedies or hydrosols.

By collaborating with your veterinarian and following their guidance, you can create a secure atmosphere in your home that allows both you and your cat to enjoy the benefits of essential oils without compromising feline health.

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Understanding the effects of essential oils on feline health is crucial for cat owners who want to ensure the safety and well-being of their furry friends. By debunking myths, recognizing the signs of essential oil toxicity, and navigating the safe use of essential oils, you can create a comfortable environment for your cat while still enjoying the benefits of aromatherapy.

Remember, always consult a veterinarian before using essential oils around your cat, and be vigilant in monitoring their reactions to ensure their safety. With proper care and guidance, you can provide a nurturing and secure home for your feline companion.

It is not safe to use essential oils on cats, as they can be toxic and cause organ damage, seizures or even death. Avoid diffusing and applying essential oils around cats, as inhalation, dermal absorption and ingestion can all be harmful to them.

If a cat inhales lavender essential oil, they may experience respiratory symptoms such as coughing and wheezing, as well as stomach issues like vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms can be indicative of potential toxicity and other health issues, so it is important to take your cat to a veterinarian if you notice any changes in their behavior.

Peppermint oil, also known as menthol, is toxic to cats when ingested or inhaled. Both ingestion and skin exposure can be hazardous, and some formulations may even contain aspirin derivatives which make them even more dangerous.

Signs of essential oil toxicity in cats include vomiting, tremors, difficulty breathing, and liver failure; if observed, consult a veterinarian immediately.

Active diffusers use pumps or ultrasonic technology to disperse essential oil molecules into the atmosphere, while passive diffusers naturally diffuse the fragrance without external stimulation. Active diffusers are deemed safer for cats as they spread essential oils in smaller, more diluted amounts.

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51 Comments

  1. I believe I read quite clearly the article is a guideline of oils that could be potentially harmful. It goes on to say “You must do your research”! In my situation I have 7 feral cats that I share my home with. We are all very sick. There have been no answers from either doctors of people or doctors of animals. We’ve been at this for nearly a year. I watch constantly to see how each handles the illness individually. We are once again coming into flea and tick season and I am terrified! At this point we may all be suffering from mold poisoning. We all grow spores from our hair. My house is so badly inundated and it’s in places you can’t see. I started doing my research many months ago and discovered the powers of essential oils. Tea tree and oil of cloves are natural antibacterials which sure beats raw apple cider vinegar! Oil of cloves are actually used by remediation folks. Now we all know how cats handle water to begin with now throw in feral and trust me it can be a nightmare. I add a few drops to a spray bottle of shampoo peroxide and either tea tree Castile soap or cloves. I spray this on a brush which they love because of the relief from itching. I have their wag cloths with fresh warm water at the ready upon completion. So far all has been good. There are no I’ll affects. Because of my method I have to repeat every week. But their hair starts to grow back and they have some relief even if temporary. Because there is no direct medical research being done in a scale necessary for anyone vet or not to say definitively yes this works at this many drops or this will absolutely make them sick it’s up to us to know our animals and start slowly. So for those they expect to read a website that will absolutely say yes you can or no you can’t , I say it doesn’t exist and if you find one that says it does I’d be very afraid! Start slow, just a few drops and never let them ingest directly. They lick their coats and make me freak as it is! I will continue this process until the house can b sorted and I’m taking one to a dermatology vet in April. We’ll see how it goes, but for now between revolution and oil of cloves and tea tree, I’m keeping it calmed as much as possible.

  2. I agree with what some other people wrote, that this article is very annoying. I came away with no clear answers at all. And it didn’t seem to do a good job of talking about using a diffuser; I got the impression it was mainly talking about using it topically.

  3. This is an addition to my comment I left a little bit ago. It mentioned using coffee grounds to naturally freshen the home. I’m not even sure about that now because I Googled it and it says that coffee grounds can be toxic to dogs and cats if ingested. It mostly talked about the caffeine in it, so I thought about what about using decaffeinated coffee grounds..? I just don’t know 😕

  4. I read this article as my research to find out if it’s safe to use my diffuser around my cats…and I’ve also read all the comments. One of them said that this article claimed it was safe to ingest tea tree oil.. so I wonderd, did I miss something? So I went back and read the article again and it says to “use care” when using tea tree oil and that it is toxic to cats. What I get out of this article is that if your going to use essential oils around cats, it can only be of natural, therapeutic types and diluted well and used in moderation and in well ventilated areas. Other articles have even said for pet owners to avoid using the “toxic to pets” oil scents on themselves even, as that can also put your fur baby at risk from inhaling or licking it or rubbing off as we cuddle them. I’m searching to find what in the world I CAN use to help my home smell nice. Aerosol sprays aren’t safe..plug-is aren’t safe..Scented candles are not even safe! I recently purchased some soy candles after seeing online that those are safe. After reading the ingredients, they still contain the toxin Paraffin! Just do your homework and read labels before using anything. Let’s face it..it seems NOTHING is safe anymore. One video suggested an alternative to a fresh home is to put coffee grounds in a bowl and put around the home,so I plan to try it out. There are also certain indoor plants that clean the air…just make sure they are pet friendly!

  5. Thankyou ,thankyou,thankyou!!! I have owned 8 cats over the years and currently two beautiful felines, and I have been an avid user(and studied and experimented extensively ), the use and amazing benefits of Pure essential oils. This wonderful article is as close as you can get to the True facts. Kind of like the big pharma’s ,- I guess they will tell you that medicine (which contains toxic chemicals) is okay for your pets, but ohhh stay away from the natural products! My cats don’t mind hanging around when I use lavender in soy wax, diffusers, I dilute it and use it as air freshener and washing floors- its diluted, and if it bothers the, or any other oils I use- they move to another part of the house. Please note- I always have at least one door or window open. Household cleaning products and sprays are much more harmful, and most pet food, thankyou once more!!!

  6. I feel like I don’t know anymore then I already knew just by common sense. i needed more of a this is toxic to cats don’t use and this is safe for them in moderation. I mean it was a good read and everything, but I still don’t know which ones I should definitely avoid 🙁

  7. There are therapeutic grade essential oils for kids that have lighter doses than regular oils. I like these, especially since we have a toddler. I use them in the diffuser for short amounts of time (10-15 minutes max per day) with very few drops mixed in with the water. Our cats have been fine but then again the difusers are only in one part of the house that they usually don’t frequent and if they are there I simply don’t turn them on.

  8. I found this article super irritating, & the comments below it even more so!!!
    It seems full of grey areas, conflicting statements & no straight answers!
    Feel like I got led around the garden path only to end up exactly where I started…except more uncertain & worried!
    Nice one, ppl! Grrrr… 😡

  9. I wanted to use the oil for a different reason altogether. To prevent my cat from gnawing at her new splint. I need something my cat hates intentionally.

  10. Many essential oils are very dangerous to cats, and in fact the sonic diffusing method is the most dangerous of all because the airborne particulate is made so small from the sonic waves insider the diffuser that cause it to become a mist, it makes it much easier to enter the cat’s blood stream via the lungs and quickly accumulate in the Liver.
    Cat’s livers can not metabolize the chemicals so it poisons them and many times kills them. My sister who was a big essential oil enthusiast, as was I, accidentally killed her beloved cat from constantly diffusing Lavender oil, not knowing it was causing her kitty to become sicker and sicker and eventually she died.
    I also was making the same mistake with my cat but I was fortunate in that I learned that the essential oil was the culprit, immediately stopped using it, and was able to bring her back from the brink, altho’ she did suffer some lingering neurological damage from it.
    I now use Beeswax in a wax melter to improve my indoor air quality.
    Beeswax has a pleasant sweet smell and actually releases the good ions into the air and is much safer and healthier to use around my pets. I still sometimes use essential oils on my own skin, or even sometimes essential oils can be ingested BY HUMANS for medicinal purposes, but I will never ever diffuse those oils in my house again. They’re deadly for my precious pets.

  11. All I can tell you is that I have a sick cat who has been poisoned by AIRBORNE essential oils. I had no idea there was such a thing as essential oil toxicity in cats or that they can have seizures or even die from the smallest exposure. I know that different cats just like different people! Can react in different ways. But after seeing my poor cat suffer when his only ‘contact’ was the pleasing light scent of quality lavender essential oil in the air. Please, don’t ask if it could have been bad oils, sloppy handling, excessive use, or an accident. None of that happened, nor is it relevant. If you love your feline friends, you will forgo the essential oils, period. My heart is still breaking for my cat. It’s not worth the risk.

  12. OMG, thank you, thank you.
    JUST UNPLUGGED 🔌 TWO DOUBLE BOTTLED PINE SCENTED ROOM DIFFUSERS that can last for three months. I didn’t know. I think it may have affected one younger cat as he started drinking water often. Ok, I see our vet is in order ASAP. Thank you again for your information. WOW, we need this info as a lot of households use this very brand and scent of room deodorizer. They advertise as non toxic, safe, natural. I missed the small unreadable print about possible side effects to animals. Your blog just saved my baby 🐈!

  13. My cat can’t wait to get in my room at night as that is where the diffuser is! I know if he wants in during daytime it’s because he wants to relax and sleep! I am very stringent in my drops of oil . I know my oil is pure and because of your site I have INFO! I have done additional research and cross checked other questions I had. Gathering knowledge from different sorts has been helpful, yours is the best though, thank you. You get right to the point! TY
    Kindly,
    Rebecca

  14. I never gave a thought to essential oils having ANY effect on my cat, until it did. I had bought a humidifier that had a panel where an essential oil pad could be placed. I applied oil of lavender to the pad, inserted it and still never gave it a thought. After a spell, my very calm and aloof cat began to jump onto things that she never did before. She was drooling and making vocalizations that I now equate to cat cursing. She would run throughout my apartment like her tail was on fire. I don’t remember how I made the connection but when I did I asked a friend who is a Veterinarian and she didn’t have any experience with any essential oil’s effects on animals.

  15. I’ve had my cat for 3 years, and she has sneezes a lot. I recently started diffusing a breathing blend of essential oil. Now she rarely sneezes. When she does, it’s because the diffuser stopped.

  16. Because cats lick everything that comes into contact with their fur/skin is why this list is so important. You may not have considered orally dosing your cat, but you must realize applying to their skin means they will absolutely ingest it. SO glad I checked this website first! Pure, organic, oregano oil is my go-to for fighting bacteria, viruses, fungus, skin afflictions, etc., but I learned, it is toxic to cats! Thank you SO much for this article.

    Knowledge is key in treating our loved ones responsibly.

  17. I had a aresol can that said vanilla orchid anyways i got a oil diffuser and i wanted to check what oils were ok to safely use around my furbaby well i knoticed she had not been right for a week or so so when i chrcked for my oils tgat are kitty safe i remembered yalang yalang was on the toxic list i went to turn the aerosol spray on i thought i might just check what scent it is as i forgot and boom yalang yalang was in tiny writing under the main scent so now i know why my baby was a little off i called her vet the vet said im very lucky it wasnt a actual essential oil or she would be very sick so i took my aresol sprayer off the wall it landed 20 meters up my driveway theres no way in hell ill ever use any oils again or sprays my kitty is worth so much more than a pretty smell im also very supprised that a vet is advocating for essential oils as my vet said absolutely no oil ever

  18. This is from animal poison control website.
    Menu
    ESSENTIAL OILS AND CATS

    Kia Benson, DVM
    Associate Veterinarian, Clinical Toxicology

    Download our Essential Oils and Cats handout!

    Essential oils are volatile, organic constituents of plants that contribute to fragrance and taste. They are extracted from plants via distillation or cold pressing. Essential oils are utilized in a variety of ways: as insecticides, in aromatherapies, personal care products (e.g., antibacterials), flavorings, herbal remedies and liquid potpourri.

    Essential oils can pose a toxic risk to household pets, especially to cats. They are rapidly absorbed both orally and across the skin, and are then metabolized in the liver. Cats lack an essential enzyme in their liver and as such have difficulty metabolizing and eliminating certain toxins like essential oils. Cats are also very sensitive to phenols and phenolic compounds, which can be found in some essential oils. The higher the concentration of the essential oil (i.e. 100%), the greater the risk to the cat.

    Essential oils that are known to cause poisoning in cats include oil of wintergreen, oil of sweet birch, citrus oil (d-limonene), pine oils, Ylang Ylang oil, peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, pennyroyal oil, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil. Symptoms that develop depend on the type of oil involved in the exposure and can include drooling, vomiting, tremors, ataxia (wobbliness), respiratory distress, low heart rate, low body temperature, and liver failure

  19. This was extremely lacking accurate information. And who wrote it? A vet? A pet nutritionist? A holistic vet? You don’t even say. Catnip is toxic to cats in large amounts but it doesn’t affect them in tiny doses. Also, you want to express the concern for oils…when you are telling people that Tea Tree oil is okay to ingest. Tea Tree oil is super toxic to humans, dogs, and cats to ever ingest. It is not a matter of, how much… this oil is to not be ingested at all. I will never trust your website for information on anything because you also do not link your “facts” to any research done by credible people.

  20. This article was really helpful but it didn’t answer all of my questions. I have several cats and I’ve been looking into using a necklace diffuser for my anxiety and depression.
    Since it’s such a small amount of oil do i need to dilute it less?
    Any pointers that anyone has for using a diffuser necklace around cats would be greatly appreciated.

  21. I have to admit that although I have heard of using various essential oils for specific purposes on cats, I had never even thought of dosing the animal with them orally. The very fact that they are concentrated would make that a very bad idea.

  22. This post is very helpful! I wish I would’ve known this when I had my cats, but I’m glad to know it now in case I get cats again. I will be sharing this.

  23. Had no idea that catnip was toxic for cats. Used to give my cats this, but not often or in great quantities. Never used essential oil on my pets.

  24. i’m almost positive i’ve read before to not diffuse tea tree oil for cats (and possibly dogs but i can’t remember). anyone know for sure what’s true?

  25. I never knew that catnip was toxic to cats. I give catnip to my cats, in moderation, of course, but have never seen any bad reaction from it from my cats.

  26. Good to know, thanks for the information, I always make sure to turn the diffuser off when my cat comes close to it, but so far no problems.

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