Are Essential Oils Safe For Cats?

The craze for essential oils might have you wondering if your feline fur baby can benefit from these oils as much as you do. The short answer is no. Most essential oils, especially concentrated forms, are toxic to cats and make this beautiful animal sick. 

In particular, tea tree oil, a popular oil used in essential oil diffusers, has a severe toxic risk for cats. They contain a toxin normally metabolized by the liver, but cats don’t possess the enzyme to metabolize it. Other types of oils harmful to cats are:

  • Lavender Oil
  • Rosemary Oil
  • Cinnamon Oil
  • Ylang Ylang Oil
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Clove Oil
  • Thyme Oil
  • Lemon Oil
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Coconut Oil

Why Are Natural Oils Harmful To Cats?

Essential oils are rapidly absorbed orally and through the skin. Most contain toxins but pose no real threat to humans because the liver metabolizes these poisons. However, cats lack the liver enzyme to eliminate them.

Cats are susceptible to phenols, and phenolic compounds primarily concentrated on essential oils. Phenols can cause liver damage and failure, respiratory irritation, low body temperature, low heart rate, vomiting, ataxia, tremors, and drooling.

Pet parents should watch out for these signs of poisoning in cats and be extra careful in handling essential oil products if they don’t want their feline friends to suffer from essential oil poisoning. You may like the smell of these oils as well as their potential benefits. Is a compromise possible? 

How To Safely Use Essential Oils With Cats

While oils are toxic to cats, there are ways to still enjoy their aromatic compounds without putting your pets at risk. Animals have a more sensitive sense of smell than humans, and you should consider this when planning where to use air fresheners, reed diffusers, and other oil diffusers.

Something that’s light for us may be overpowering for them. As a responsible pet owner, if you plan to use these oil products, you should consider the following:

  1. Keep essential oils away from cats, or do not leave them in areas where they may come in direct contact with them. Although some oils are insect repellents and smell fantastic, they can cause severe or fatal reactions to your cat.
  2. It is best to avoid all use of essential oils if your cat suffers from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory issues.
  3. Avoid letting cats, especially those suffering from medical conditions, into rooms with high essential oil concentrations. This is critical if you don’t want your cat to suffer from more severe conditions like liver failure.
  4. If you have other pets, never apply essential oils directly on them. These are not approved herbal remedies and pose a risk to cats since they can ingest them if they groom themselves or their canine companions. This may also cause skin irritation.
  5. If you must use active or passive diffusers, use them only for short periods of time. 

If your cat accidentally comes into contact with any essential oil and is showing symptoms of possible poisoining, contact your vet immediately or take them to an emergency clinic for immediate medical treatment. Check with your veterinarian if you are uncertain about the safety of an oil you intend to use on your cat. 

Cat parents should consider their cat’s safety at all times. If you like aromatherapy but know that your cat won’t appreciate it, then either do it somewhere else away from your feline pal or skip it altogether for their safety. 

Check out more blogs about pet safety from Be Safe to learn more tips on keeping your pets at home safe.