To answer the question: No, Sage essential oil is not safe to use with cats. Like with a lot of pure essential oils, sage isn’t a safe choice for feline use. It boils down to a difference in anatomy.
Cats, dogs and other such smaller animals generally have a stronger sense of smell as compared to us. This makes them more receptive and sensitive to the scents in their environment. Essential oils, which can feel inviting to us by smell can often be overpowering for them.
Why Sage Essential Oil Is Not Safe For Cats?
Some of the compounds commonly found in essential oils aren’t compatible with their bodies.
Major compounds in sage oil include, but aren’t limited to:
Camphor: Commonly found in Sage Oil, camphor is known to be toxic to cats. It can cause damage to the central nervous system, causing depressing, seizures and liver damage.
1,8-Cineole: Commonly known as Eucalyptol, it is a member of the phenol family, and is not compatible with cats. It can get stuck in the airways. This leads to respiratory complications such as coughing, wheezing and difficulty in breathing.
Other compounds belonging to the terpenes and phenol family can be commonly found in essential oils. The health problems they can cause effect the digestive, nervous and respiratory systems.
Why Humans can process sage essential oil but cats can’t?
Our body possesses two enzymes, namely Glucuronyl Transferase and Cytochrome P450, that cats lack in sufficient quantity.
While Cytochrome helps detoxify and metabolise foreign compounds, Glucuronyl helps make them water soluble. Water solubility is crucial to facilitate their elimination from the body via water or bile.
Side-effects Of Sage Essential Oil On Cats
A deficiency in both of these enzymes makes it difficult for cats to process essential oils. They end up taking in the oils but their liver can’t process or remove them. This causes a toxic build-up leading to many health complications.
Some of the health issues essential oils can cause include:
Toxicity caused by accumulation of oils in the liver.
Breathing issues caused by oils blocking and irritating the airways.
Skin ailments such as rashes, irritation, redness and irritation. Getting essential oil on cat fur can be risky as they might accidentally lick the coat leading to ingestion. This can further cause internal problems.
Gastrointestinal problems upset stomachs, diarrhea and vomiting can also be caused upon ingestion.
Neurological complications such as tremors, seizures and behavioral anomalies can also be caused by prolonged exposure. Essential oils can also cause damage to the central nervous system.
Liver and Kidney complications can be caused by essential oils due to reasons mentioned above. This can lead to an overall loss of health and immunity too.
Are there any essential oils you can use with cats?
Ofcourse! Although limited, options still exist. Topical application is still relatively taboo, but can be done with extreme precaution. Aromatherapy, however, is the generally preferred method of induction for felines.
Most essentials deemed usable for cats are relatively mild and hence are safer to use. Do remember, despite their “mild” status, at 100% concentration they’re still very potent and can be hazardous for cats.
Alternate essential oils safe for cats:
Lavender: Lavender essential oil can soothe the whole world honestly, and why would your cat be an exception? Fun Fact: Cats can also develop mental ailments similar to their owners. While it isn’t a very fun fact to be honest, if you feel like Lavender diffusions could help you, they would help your cat too. Sit back and relax with your cat and let the lavender diffusions get to work!
Chamomile: Doesn’t matter if it’s German or Roman, Chamomile is Chamomile. It can play a big role in helping your cat deal with anxiety and stress.
Frankincense: Known for its inflammatory properties, frankincense is a great pick if your cat suffers from joint and muscle pain.
Cedarwood: Possessing a strong, earthy scent, cedarwood should be used sparingly around cats. Its insect-repellant properties ensure your cat won’t be bothered by flies and bugs. Cedarwood just doesn't have great spiritual benefits, it is therapeutic too.
Rosemary: Popular for its antimicrobial properties, rosemary oil can go a long way in boosting your cat’s immune system.
Valerian: Not only can valerian oil reduce stress and anxiety levels, it also uplifts their mood and boost energy levels. You can expect a more playful kitten and spend some quality time with them free from mental distress.
While these oils have been deemed safe for use, proper care has to be taken when diluting them. Make sure you consult your vet before usage to check for potential allergies and risks.
Essential Oil Blends For Cats
Using a singular oil too boring for you? Never fret, blends are for everyone, even your feline companion! We have some interesting blends that could interest your cat.
Respiratory Aid blend:
Oils: Rosemary and Frankincense. Mix 1 drop of each and use it with carrier oils for reed diffusers. Ensure you diffuse the air in a well ventilated area. The mix is beneficial if your cat has been experiencing breathing problems.
Oils: Chamomile and Lavender. The pairing of chamomile and lavender should be synonymous with calming effects now. Mix the two, drop for drop and put it in a diffuser. The atmosphere should soon become soothing and relieve your cat from stress and anxiety.
Sleeping aid blend:
Oils: Lavender and Valerian. Mix one drop of each and let it diffuse. The mix aims to help cats who have trouble sleeping. The diffusions should help lull them into a peaceful sleep.
How to use essential oil for cats?
As mentioned in the blends above, essential oils are generally diffused for safe usage with cats. It isn’t however, the only method.
The calming blend for instance, can also be used to ease irritated skin.
Instead of putting the oil in a diffuser, mix it in a tablespoon of carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil. The mix can then be applied sparingly over the affected skin.
You can mix the oils with water (120ml for 2-3 drops of oil) and store them in a spray can as well. Lightly spray the mix onto your cat’s immediate surroundings to let the fragrance settle into the area.
Additionally, mixing the oils into a carrier oil and lightly rubbing them onto your cat’s bedding can work too. For blends such as the sleeping aid and calming blend, this could be a great alternative method of application too.
Conclusion For Is Sage Essential Oil Safe For Cats
Sage essential oil is not the oil you want your cat to be exposed to, period. That doesn’t mean your cat can’t enjoy the benefits that come with essential oils.
You have a smaller set of oils to choose from, granted, but they are great options to choose from. It requires greater dilution and care in general, but its possible.
Isn’t that what matters, really?
I’m saying this again because it’s that important, but consult a vet before introducing your cats to essential oils.
Lastly, do not forget to take proper precautions before using essential oils with your cat, or even yourself.