Are Essential Oils Bad for Cats? Separating Fact from Fiction
Aparajita Tiwari·April 22, 2023
Yes, some essential oils are bad for cats and can be quite dangerous. Some preliminary research suggests that undiluted essential oils are toxic for cats whether used internally or externally. It is best to always consult a vet before using them around cats.
Wondering why? Let’s dive deeper into facts.
Quick Recap About Essential Oils
Essential oils are natural oils that are extracted from plants, and they have a lot of different uses. People have been using essential oils for thousands of years for things like aromatherapy, skincare, and even cooking.
A lot of products that we are surrounded with have been made with essential oils.
There are many different types of essential oils, and each one has its own unique properties and benefits. For example, lavender oil is known for its calming effects, while peppermint oil is invigorating and can help with headaches.
While these natural oils are very popular for their large no. of benefits, lately there have been a lot of questions about using essential oils around pets, especially cats and dogs.
Can Essential Oils Help Cats?
In recent years, the popularity of essential oils has increased significantly. People have been identifying them as a great natural treatment option for various ailments but particularly to enhance mood and wellbeing with their explicable aromas.
This has also made people curious to try natural essential oils out on cats and dogs. There has been no significant research, yet which looks into the benefits of essential oils for cats.
While some studies do claim that the natural compounds in pure and organic essential oils hold the power to treat our feline friends, you should take such suggestions with some caution.
Always remember, when it comes to our dear cats.
“Natural doesn’t always mean safe!”
Are Essential Oils Bad for Cats?
Yes, essential oils can be harmful to cats if not used properly. Cats are more sensitive to essential oils than humans or even dogs, as they lack certain enzymes that help metabolize and eliminate the compounds found in essential oils.
Some essential oils, when ingested or applied topically, can cause adverse reactions such as skin irritation, gastrointestinal upset, respiratory issues, and even liver damage in cats.
Cats are also at risk of inhaling essential oils, which can lead to respiratory distress or even respiratory failure in severe cases. Essential oils that are especially dangerous for cats include tea tree oil, peppermint oil, citrus oils, and wintergreen oil, among others.
It's important to consult with a veterinarian before using essential oils around cats, and to always use caution and follow proper dilution and application techniques when using essential oils in a household with cats.
Additionally, it's important to keep essential oils out of reach of cats and to avoid using diffusers or other products that release essential oil particles into the air in areas where cats spend a lot of time.
How To Use Essential Oils Around Cats? General Guidelines to Use Them Safely Around Feline Friends
If you use essential oils regularly and have feline friends, it's important to follow some general guidelines to ensure their safety. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Consult with a veterinarian: Before using essential oils around your cat, it's a good idea to talk to your veterinarian. They can advise you on which oils to avoid and how to safely use essential oils around your cat.
Use in well-ventilated areas: When using essential oils around cats, make sure to do so in well-ventilated areas. This will help to reduce the concentration of the oil in the air and minimize the risk of your cat inhaling it.
Keep essential oils out of reach: Cats are curious creatures and may be attracted to the scent of essential oils. To prevent accidental ingestion, it's important to keep essential oils out of reach of your cat.
Watch for signs of adverse reactions: Keep an eye on your cat for any signs of adverse reactions when using essential oils around them. If you notice any symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or respiratory distress, stop using the essential oils immediately and consult with your veterinarian.
Are Any Essential Oils Safe for Cats?
Yes, there are some essential oils that can be used around our furry friends if proper precaution is taken.
Latest research by ASPCA suggests that essential oils in their concentrated form i.e., 100% pure and undiluted can be toxic if cats come in contact with them.
However, some oils can still be used if diluted and thoroughly checked with vets.
List of Toxic Essential Oils for Cats
Here's a list of essential oils that are toxic to cats and should be avoided:
These essential oils contain compounds that can cause adverse reactions in cats, ranging from skin irritation and gastrointestinal upset to respiratory distress and even liver damage.
Ingestion or inhalation of these oils can be especially dangerous for cats, so it's important to keep them out of reach and avoid using them in households with cats.
If you suspect that your cat has come into contact with a toxic essential oil, seek veterinary care immediately.
What Are the Symptoms of Essential Oil Poisoning in Cats?
Some common signs and symptoms of essential oil poisoning in cats are as follows:
Loss of appetite
Tremors or seizures
Skin irritation or redness
Behavioral changes, such as increased agitation or confusion
If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat after exposure to essential oil, seek veterinary care immediately. Essential oil poisoning in cats can be very serious and even life-threatening, so it's important to act quickly. Be sure to tell your veterinarian which essential oil your cat was exposed to and the method of exposure, as this information can help with treatment.
Also, remember that this is not an extensive list, and the symptoms may vary in different cats. Make sure to check with the vet even if your cat is not showing any of these symptoms but has come in contact with essential oil.
Pet Safe Essential Oils for Diffusers: You Don’t Need to Return That Diffuser
If you have pets and love using the diffuser too, its not all bad news. If you follow the general guidelines, we mentioned earlier then you can use certain essential oils around pets safely.
Following are some essential oils that are comparatively safer to use:
Frankincense Oil: Frankincense has a woody, earthy scent and is often used for its grounding and soothing properties. It's safe for use around cats and can help to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.
Cedarwood Oil: Cedarwood has a warm, woodsy scent and is known for its calming and insect-repelling properties. It's safe for use around cats and can help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
Chamomile Oil: Chamomile has a sweet, floral scent and is often used for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties. It's safe for use around cats and can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Make sure your pets don’t directly come in contact with the oils. Also, dilute the essential oils even when using in the diffuser. This will save you money and your pet’s health, a win-win for you. Great? Isn’t it?
You also need to make sure that you store the bottle in a safe place, away from our feline friends. Leaving the bottles unattended in the house can be bad news for you.
Having said that, I would also like to add that if your cat has a history of breathing issues then it is best to avoid diffusers completely.
What Should I Do If Cat Has Eaten Essential Oil?
If you suspect that your cat has ingested essential oil, it's important to act quickly. Here are some steps you can take:
Call your veterinarian immediately:
Contact your veterinarian or an animal poison control center right away for guidance on what to do next. Provide them with the name of the essential oil your cat has ingested, the amount, and the time of ingestion.
Observe your cat's behavior:
Watch your cat closely for any signs of distress or adverse reactions, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty breathing.
Do not induce vomiting:
Do not try to induce vomiting in your cat unless instructed to do so by a veterinarian.
Provide supportive care:
If instructed to do so by a veterinarian, provide supportive care for your cat as needed. This may include administering activated charcoal or other medications to help absorb the essential oil and prevent further absorption into the body.
Monitor your cat closely:
Keep a close eye on your cat's behavior and symptoms and follow up with your veterinarian as recommended.
Remember, essential oil ingestion can be very serious and even life-threatening for cats. If you suspect that your cat has ingested essential oil, do not wait to seek veterinary care. Acting quickly can help to minimize the risk of serious complications and improve your cat's chances of a full recovery.
Final Thoughts on Are Essential Oils Bad for Cats
Essential Oils are a great way to uplift the environment and have a large no. of benefits but they can be quite toxic for cats and hence should be used with great care and precaution around these lovely feline friends. Follow the guideline for using essential oils around cats.