Which Essential Oils Are Safe for Cats

Which Essential Oils Are Safe For Cats

 Recently, there has been a lot of excitement, varying opinions and strong emotions surrounding the use of essential oils around cats. Organic Aromas wishes to remind everyone to be calm and approach this very important, yet sensitive, topic with caution, prudence and always using a practical approach. To avoid subjecting your beloved kitty to something unhealthy we remind everyone to go slow, use your essential oils sparingly and start in a place where your cat is not located.

Furthermore, please note that Organic Aromas strictly discourages the ingestion of any essential oil regardless of human or animal. Likewise, we never promote or condone the use of essential oils (diluted or not) directly applied to the fur or the body of any animal ever.

We defer the decision to use essential oils for cats to the cat owner and his or her veterinarian.

Remember that for Organic Aromas, the primary context and purview of our article on the use of essential oils around cats is strictly limited to diffusion of those oils from our nebulizing diffusers® only. Moreover, as cat owners and lovers ourselves, the following list represents essential oils that we have used around our own pets for many years without trouble or incident.

And, in the words of the modern father of essential oils and the eminent scholar Robert Tisserand “you can diffuse essential oils around cats safely, so long as there’s good ventilation, you only diffuse small amounts for limited periods of time, and your cat has the freedom to leave the room if it wants.”

We note that the following recommendations are essential oils that are NOT found on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® list of plants known to be toxic to cats!

Lastly, the materials contained in this article (and on this website) are provided for general information purposes only and do not constitute medical or professional advice on any subject matter. Always consult your own health care provider first.

In light of this article receiving so much attention we have created an addendum to further examine the details of using essential oils around cats.

Part 2. Uncovering the Truth About Essential Oils With Cats

cute cats

We love our feline companions and we love the scent of essential oils. However, cats and oils don’t always mix together very well. This is why it’s our job as responsible pet owners to stay informed about what is dangerous for our furry friends and which oils are safe for use.

Which Essential Oils Can I Use Around My Cats?

Here are a few of the essential oils that won’t harm and could potentially benefit your beloved feline companion:

Essential Oils and Cats Info-graphic

  1. Cedarwood

Not only is cedarwood safe for cats, but it actually has been proven to be lethal to adult fleas. After you have given your cat a flea bath, try adding a drop or two of cedar wood oil into their collar in order to prevent future flea infestations. Additionally, you can use cedar wood in a spray for fabrics in order to kill the fleas as their hatching. We would recommend a spray with equal parts vinegar or alcohol and water in a glass spray bottle with around 10 drops of cedar wood oil per cup of liquid.

  1. Sweet Basil

Is a fragrant plant used in many culinary dishes around the world and is also great at fighting odors with its natural anti-viral, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It is also great for helping migraines and healing cuts and abrasions. Sweet Basil essential oil is an effective essential oil to use as an air freshener and is safe to use around your cats.

  1. Peppermint

Much like with cedar wood, peppermint essential oil is great for keeping fleas and other pests at bay without harming your feline friend. Try to fill up a glass spray bottle with water and mix in two to three drops of peppermint oil. Don’t spray it directly on your cat, but rather around the furniture, bedding, and carpet. However, you can dip a flea comb into the diluted mixture and then comb it through your cat’s fur.

  1. Rosemary

Rosemary baths can be wonderful for flea control. Most prefer to mix one or two drops into a pitcher of water and pouring the mixture over your cat and letting it dry without rinsing. However, if your cat isn’t fond of water or you just want to be on the safe side, consider using it alongside the cedar wood oil on your cat’s collar and in the spray.

49 thoughts on “Which Essential Oils Are Safe for Cats

  1. Essential Scents says:

    Essential Scents Candles do let friendly candles and specialise in natural, researched ingredients and essential oils. With a certificate in petaromatherapy, find them on Etsy

  2. Cristee says:

    There are many conflicting reports the only people who would know for certain whether an essential oil is safe or not for any pet would be the ones who ran clinical trials other than that it is only opinions. So I suggest look for studies that were conducted. Plain & simple.

  3. Michelle says:

    Rosemary is toxic to cats. Any essential oil that has turpenes or phenols is toxic to their livers as they lack the ability to process them. Very very few oils are safe for cats. Rose, I believe is one. Not Rosemary. I doubt peppermint or cedar is safe. Do your own research. Those who make a buck selling oils seem to be passing on false information on the safety of essential oils.

  4. Norman says:

    Echoing the “peppermint oil is bad” comments. This post is incredibly reckless. Quite honestly, essential oils as a whole are potentially harmful to cats, and if you are responsible for an animal, your aromatic habitat should absolutely be secondary to your pet’s health.

    In ‘essence’, your business is not compatible with pet owners and the ethical path is to accept and convey that they are not your intended clientele.

    But hey, five stars and an A rating from the Better Business Bureau, am I right?

  5. Drew says:

    I find it quite worrying that every other site I have looked at on this subject, inc. vets and cat charities, cite peppermint as toxic to cats. Surely this company would be subject to legal action if somebody’s animal falls ill as a result of this misleading information about their products?

  6. Christine says:

    The ASPCA website has a list of essential oils that are toxic for cats. Please take this inaccurate post down or do more research and edit your post.

  7. G Gress says:

    I just purchased a diffuser and some Lemongrass essential oil. I had read a list of oils that don’t make cats sick. Lemongrass was on that list now I just read it will make my cat sick. Can you help me Thanks GGress

    • Amy says:

      My cat runs to my lemongrass bush first thing everyday going on 4 yrs. and started chowing down. My neighbors even comment on how often he is in that bush pot. I’m inclined to say lemongrass is safe for cats.

  8. noneya says:

    Lemongrass and Rosemary are NOT TOXIC for cats you guys.

    I don’t know where you got that information but that is not true. ask your vet.

    On the other hand, peppermint AND tea tree oils are toxic to cats. it will make them sick and some lethargic. With essential oils you need to be more aware with using them around cats than dogs because cats react to it a lot more than dogs because they are more sensitive to it.

    Have you heard that Before people actually realized that oils started to affect animals the way they were, vets used peppermint essential oils to clean their instruments and tables ? Crazy right? So vets do not use that anymore.

  9. Alys says:

    Christopher Vecoli, Here’s an alternative for you—don’t own a pet if you’re too lazy or stupid to do your own research. Yes, we ARE going to slam the author for providing erroneous information which WILL result in the death of someone’s pet. The pet may not die immediately, it’s likely they’ll suffer a slow, painful death due to liver failure. Cedar is also toxic to cats, as is tea tree oil, citrus & most mints. Cats have very thin skin & toxins are easily absorbed. I wouldn’t diffuse anything around my cats.

  10. Teresa A Bacon says:

    everywhere i read peppermint no good, then i read its good. trouble w this is none of the approved smells good in diffuser.

  11. A Douglas says:

    So many conflicting reports of diffusing oils to use around cats.

    The ones so far that I read that are safe:
    is Cedarwood, Lemongrass and Basil.

    Again, everything should be done in moderation. The room should not be enclosed and the cat should feel free to leave. I try not to use if my furry friend is sleeping on her favourite chair.

  12. Suehaven Neubaur says:

    From what I understand… I found an essential oil Vet on Facebook recently…

    You can diffuse any essential oil around cats, as long as it’s an open area… IF the essential oil doesn’t agree with them, they have another room to go to….

    They do have trouble with a lot of the citrus oils… so make sure to diffuse those in an open area where your cats can go to another room if they need to…

    The caution lies in giving them essential oils internally, and topically…
    I hope this makes sense… 🙂

    I was very afraid of using them as well.. between everyone in our house, we have 5 cats…

    Now, I’m not so freaked out… I can diffuse…. but I don’t put the oils ON my cats or give the oils TO them…

    Just don’t diffuse in a close room where your cat cannot get out… Make sense? 🙂

    IF you’d like to check this Vet out… just do a search on FB for:
    Essential Oil Vet – Janet Roark, DVM

    PS I don’t know her personally, I stumbled upon her information about a month ago… I’m very happy not to be so worried about my cats anymore… 🙂

    I hope this helps….

  13. Skylar says:

    Many vets are starting to use essential oils to treat illness in cats, there are entire lines of products for cats based on essential oils. Please do real research before jumping on the fear mongering bandwagon about cats and oils. Find high quality oils, $5 anything is probably bad for your cat, and use them properly and your cat will thank you. I use oils in a diffuser and topically on my hairless cat that is six years old and she is like a kitten still. Perfect blood work and urinalysis results.

  14. April says:

    Here is a recent article on essential oils, cats, and the toxicity of them. The short of it: NEVER allow essential oils to get in the cats fur, skin, or mouth. Passive diffusion is the only safe way to diffuse in a home with cats.


  15. Monday says:

    I use a diffuser in my room with my cat all the time and he loves it. He’ll go sit next to it when it’s going and enjoy rhe smell of mint or orange, and when I use vicks he lays on my chest and burys his nose in it. I’m fairly certain he’s fine, as he has been doing it since he was a kitten. So yeah. I gyess it is safe, he’s never gotten sick or anything resembling close to it.

  16. Barbara says:

    I decided I want to use a diffuser for essential oils for myself.
    And I don’t want to harm my cat. Most of the information I found online as to what is safe for cats and what is not is confusing as to what is safe for cats. I give up!

  17. Erika says:

    Word of CAUTION: peppermint oil IS NIT SAFE FOR CATS AND CAN CAUSE LIVER FAILURE. Please do the research. This article is not accurate

  18. Alison says:

    And they make cat litter with lavender? I love lavender because it helps me sleep, now I may have to be cautious about it. My cat is about 10 or older. I haven’t been an avid user of scents and oils, but I do gave an aroma therapy necklace that I will have to be careful in using. I guess the oils would be safe on your feet at night? I sell soy wax. I will be careful with the scents I choose. I just got a new warmer. I wanted to get fall scents. Would those work?

  19. Marie says:

    Thank you all! I’m too educated on essential oils and cats to risk harming my precious beloved cats. Their body’s are not like ours. Please protect your pets! Put the essential oil on the bottom of your feet and keep your cat in its oun bed or cat tree. You will both be happy and healthy. Ps don’t burn candles or use toxic plug ins !

  20. Emily S Garcia says:

    I had comment before, and no one seems to answer to my questions. I just bought a new diffuser and some new oils. I have a small dog and two cats, I have always used oils and diffusers as well as incense and scent candles. None of my pets has ever had any reactions to any. I had never knew of the dangers of EO and pets in general. I put my diffuser inside a closet in our guest bathroom far away from my pets, but the candles and incense has alway been lit in my living room. Maybe my pets had gotten used to those?

  21. Addie says:

    I’ve used Savory Chai in my diffuser, & Blue Raspberry.
    Can anyone tell me if they are safe for cats, or point me to a website I can trust?

  22. Shirley says:

    Now I am scared. Just bought oil and a diffuser and I am afraid that it will harm my four cats. Is there anything SAFE that I can use??

  23. James Matthews says:

    I can’t believe that catnip essential oil has not even been mentioned!! How much dilution is necessary for catnip oil and what do you dilute it with to be safe for the cat?
    There is nothing but conflicting information on this subject.. so, what is the truth?

  24. Danny says:

    So there are plenty of DO NOT’s on here, but could someone please give a clear answer for the question of what EO’s are ok for CATS (not dogs)to rid fleas?
    Let’s face it, flea medicine is harmful to animals and my cat gets sick for 3 days + after she has flea remedy at the Vet. So, obviously cats are sensitive to a lot more than what I am aware of. I would like to naturally rid her fleas without making her sick. Anybody? Thank you in advance.

  25. Paul says:

    Both rosemary and peppermint especially the latter one is extremely toxic to cats. There were many ones pointed out but nothing changed. This is reflects on how arrogant, irresponsible, ignorant and obstinate to whomever responsible for this absolute fault information.

  26. Marina says:

    Lemongrass and Peppermint are extremely toxic to cats, I honestly just dont want to use anything around my pets because im so scared about hurting them 🙁

  27. Kim says:

    I’m frustrated and confused. I want to use essential oils to benefit myself but I do not want to put my kitty at risk. Are there any essential oils that most people agree are safe?

  28. u987 says:

    I did not know that about their liver. Seems caution is advised, however..

    My in/out cat has bad sinus blockage all it’s life. Vet says he can’t do a thing. Nose always stuffed, sounds horrible to hear it breathing.

    I’ve safely used a small smidgen of vicks on the bridge of nose and rubbed in a underneath it once a week for years. It’s ate some naturally from that. It does seem to offer temporary relief.

    I’ve had a kitten who I rescued in winter,there was a cat run over on our road who I presumed was it’s mother,it was in a ditch nearby. Only 4 weeks old,shivering 24/7 and almost dead of pneumonia. It’s lungs sounded BAD. Wouldn’t eat,drink, pained/exhausted to move. I forced hydrated it using syringes (no needle) full of store bought nutrients for the purpose and the same tea I drink by the boatload for lung issues myself if they occur in cold weather.

    Kept it in a small bathroom, with a device that steams the oil enriched water (diffuser). I didn’t use much, but it was a tight confined space of eucalyptus and a very small amount of lavender. Your talking, 10 drops and 2 drops. I don’t know how many ml, but not much in the air. It took her weeks of my piss poor shoulder shrug icu, but she recovered and grew into a healthy cat. She’s likely the friendliest cat I’ve ever had, does not leave my side. Wants to be around me like a dog.

    So I don’t know how deadly/dangerous it all is, little to no dosage/method/control info and the information is hard to find.

  29. David E. Roy, Ph.D. says:

    I, too, have seen lists of essential oils that are dangerous for cats and those listed here as safe are considered unsafe, as many have pointed out. While I appreciate the openness and transparency of this site for retaining these highly critical reviews, it is amazing that this article remains unchanged.

    ALSO, Cid, you seem well-informed; can you share your source(s) for your information? If you are blocked from using a URL, then going around this by spelling out some of it seems to work at least for emails.

  30. Christopher Vecoli says:

    What is missing in these responses, sadly, is direction to a responsible resource that answers the question posed: Which oils ARE safe for our cats. Everyone acts like they are experts, slamming the author. And some arguments are consistent with what I’ve heard elsewhere. But no one offers an alternative solution.

  31. KATHY says:


  32. Terri says:

    I’ve had indoor cats my entire adult life. I’ve never thought about essential oils harming them. I’ve used essential oils with my laundry, through a diffuser and used to (but no longer) burn candles. All my cats, with the exception of one (died at 12 due to asthma), have lived between the ages of 17 and 22. Maybe they were lucky and I am not questioning that essential oils can be harmful. Just use caution and do what you feel is safe for your pets.

  33. Star says:

    My friend’s cat died suddenly of kidney failure and no one knew why. She diffuses and sales the do Terra oils all the time.
    Please don’t difuse oils anywhere near your cats. It can and most likely will eventually kill them .
    And like some others have said, by time you notice anything might be wrong your beloved feline will be already sick and or dying.

  34. Holly says:

    I was dusting with peppermint oil and my cat showed a big interest in it, it’s the second time now this has happened so I did research and I’m reading keep kitty away from peppermint oil.. I’m wondering why my cat is going for it

  35. Cid says:

    TO: Marilyn Kowalis, In regards to “I have a humidifier that I usually run at night. Vicks makes a lavender tab to put in it, as well as the Vicks tab itself. Are these toxic to my 6 cats? They all sleep with me, but not all night.” – Absolutely YES!!!!! Vicks contains camphor which is incredibly dangerous for both dogs and cats!!! Just do a little research.

  36. Sandra Watts says:

    Does anyone know if ‘ANY" essential oils are safe for cats? I have a diffuser but don’t want to use it until I know for sure

  37. AA says:

    This information is false and can be very harmful to pets!!! Please take this article down. They obviously didn’t do their research. Many of the oils listed here are very toxic to cats!!! Do not trust the information in this article!!!

  38. Sara says:

    Is the writer of this post a cat-hater? Most of the oils listed as safe on this post are the ones that are MOST HARMFUL. How has this post not been taken down? Disgusting.

  39. Sammy Tai says:

    I have 9 cats and I use my diffuser all the time to make my house smell wonderful.

    My kitties are around a lot of different essential oils and often for a long period of time and none are bothered at all.

    I think the point is to not let them eat it or put it directly on their fur!

  40. Nanaof8 says:

    I agree this person has not done their research on the correct kind of proper oils NOT to diffuse. I did not do my research and lost one cat with kidney failure and now my second kitty is sickly. I stopped diffusing and he’s gaining weight. When I do diffuse it is for only 1/2 hour at a time.

  41. Kimberly Reid says:

    This is absolutely incorrect and very harmful information! This needs to be taken down IMMEDIATELY! These oils are VERY DANGEROUS to cats! Take this down!

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