All across the globe, there has been a significant rise in the usage of essential oils as people have been slowly discovering their benefits. While we are blessed to have these botanical wonders in our lives, it is important to understand their impact on our pets. Today, I am writing to explore the compatibility of peppermint oil (that is very dear to my heart) with cats!
Starting with the most important question. Is Peppermint Essential Oil Safe For Cats? Short answer, no! According to PDSA, cats do not have the enzymes in their body to process and harness the benefits of peppermint essential oil. On the contrary, the natural phenolic components of peppermint oil can cause toxicity to these feline creatures.
Let's explore their relationship further.
An overview of Peppermint Essential Oil & Cats
Peppermint essential oil is one of the coolest oils out there, literally!
Boasting of a rich menthol concentration, peppermint oil has a cooling effect which can provide relief in multiple ways. Topical application over the abdomen is known to alleviate digestive ailments.
When mixed with a carrier oil, it can be applied over the skin in general to bring relief from the summer heat.
The soothing effect peppermint essential oil has can benefit you in other ways as well:
It can alleviate headaches, respiratory ailments and is a very viable choice as a nasal decongestant.The way lifestyles are progressing in general, commonly faced health problems arising from overworking oneself, often lead to issues feeling burnt out. Common symptoms of burning out are often stress and anxiety, which are the root causes of headaches, improper digestion and excessive fatigue.
Peppermint essential oil is single handedly capable of alleviating all of the above issues. With it’s cooling and relief inducing properties, it can be called the solution of almost all modern working man’s health issues.
Now you’d think if it’s this good for you (albeit in moderation), it could do a host of wonders for your feline companion(s) too, right?
Cats don’t take too well to peppermint essential oil, or any essential oil in general for that matter.
Do cats like peppermint oil?
No. A heightened sensitivity and a basic lack of compatibility makes peppermint essential oil consumption a risky affair for cats.
Cats possess a larger olfactory epithelium, the tissue responsible for odour detection. This bigger tissue results in a heightened sense of smell as compared to humans. Essential Oils, including Peppermint Essential Oil, with its strong scent can be overwhelming and even irritating to cats due to this.
Smell, however, isn’t the only sense that’s more attuned in cats. They have a skin that’s thinner and hence more sensitive than ours. This means the concentrated nature of essential oils is more likely to evoke a reaction. This can be in the form of red patches visible on their skin, itchiness or even swelling.
Does this mean peppermint essential oil isn’t safe for cats?
Yes. A lack of liver enzymes necessary to process essential oil compounds are missing in cats on account of differences in anatomy. The essential oil compounds, if consumed orally or nasally would eventually result in a toxic buildup. The same can cause issues in the liver, lungs and skin.
Symptoms of Peppermint Oil Poisoning & How to Help Your Cat
If you see or feel your cat is reacting, the best course of action is to quickly take them to an open, ventilated space. Breathing in clean air should relieve them quickly. However, if you see their signs of reaction aggravate it is recommended to quickly take them to the veterinarian and make sure first aid is administered to them on time. Taking them to an open space however, generally does the trick.
It is vital to be vigil for your cats around essential oils as they can adversely affect them in many ways, right down to their nervous system as well. Make sure you check for signs of discomfort such as coughing, lethargy or excessive purring.
Essential oils safe for cats: Do they exist?
Yes, there are certain essential oils that can be suitable for cats. Valerian essential oil being one of the prominent choices out there
Valerian root oil has a pungent scent to it that cats are attracted to. It has proven to be particularly stimulating for them too, known to cause an uptick in their mood, making them more playful. Definitely something you could use if you’ve been noticing a pattern of lethargy or just a low mood overall in your cats.
It must be noted, however, that valerian root essential oil may not have the same effect on all cats. Some may be unfazed by the oil and have little to no reaction to it as well.
While valerian root oil, like a few other oils out there may be deemed relatively safe for cats to be exposed to, proper caution still has to be exercised when diluting the oil prior to usage with the consultation of a veterinarian.
Is Peppermint Essential Oil safe for cats?Summing Up
No. Peppermint Essential Oil , like a majority of essential oils, is toxic for cats.
Is any Essential Oil safe for cats?
Yes, valerian root oil is one of the few essential oils that are compatible with cats. However, even those have to be used sparingly and with great caution to ensure no side effects are observed.
What risks do essential oils pose for cats?
Respiratory issues such as coughing/sneezing, digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhoea, skin problems such as rashes and swelling, to even behavioural or neurological issues such as lethargy, restlessness and even depression are some of the many risks essential oils pose for cats.
Is diluted peppermint oil safe for cats?
No, even diluted peppermint oil should not be used around cats as it can cause more harm than any good. Diluted version can also cause similar symptoms of poisoning and toxicity.
Bottomline is, cats reject essential oils and absolute oils (even when diluted with carrier oils) since it’s not meant for their bodies. Use the oils deemed safe, but be vigil for any issues that may arise. Our feline friends are unable to voice their discomfort, so the onus lies on us pet owners to keep tabs on their health and well-being in such precarious scenarios.