People from all over the world are using essential oils for many reasons. However, are essential oils safe for cats, too?
Essential oils are concentrated liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants.
The particles in essential oils come from distilling or extracting different parts of plants such as the flowers, leaves, barks, roots, bark, and resin.
For humans, these volatile oils serve as a safe and cost-effective therapy due to their antidepressant, antibacterial, antioxidant, and calming properties.
While it's true that essential oils are popular alternative therapies for a myriad of health purposes, the same effects may not apply to animals.
There are some instances where essentials oils have caused poisoning in cats.
These incidences have been cited on some Facebook posts concerning the possible adverse effects of these aromatic oils in cats.
That is why most cat owners have ditched their essential diffusers for the sake of their beloved furry companion.
However, how accurate is it? Are there proven side effects of essential oils on cats?
If this is so, are there also essential oils safe for cats to use?
Let us try to look at it from a scientific perspective.
It’s a known fact that dogs, horses, goats, and other animals can benefit from aromatic oils the same way we do.
Namely, this is because cats lack an enzyme called ‘glucuronosyl transferase' which is responsible for breaking down carbolic acid.
Carbolic acid, also known as phenol, is an aromatic organic compound that is used to make drugs such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.
This compound is also present in many essential oils, making them unsafe for use around cats.
Unlike humans and other animals, cats don’t have sufficient enzyme to process these oils. As a result, they become very susceptible to all kinds of toxicity caused by oils and drugs containing carbolic acid.
However, there are also essential oils safe for cats. There are water-based oils that you can use as alternatives for phenol-based oils, especially if you have cats at home.
However, even with water-based or phenol-free oils, dilution is still required to ensure the safety of our cats.
Moreover, it's not a good idea to use oils topically or internally on your cat because they cannot process fats the same way we do.
If your household has a cat, it's dangerous to use an essential oil on its own. You can avoid putting your pet at risk by diluting it.
To do this, you’ll need a carrier version and a clean glass jar.
The most common type of carrier lube is the vegetable one. Mainly, this is used to dilute essential oils before they are applied to the skin.
There’s a need to dilute the concentrated oils in a carrier version to facilitate of absorption of essential oils to the skin.
With the help of a carrier type, the essence of volatile oil can be appropriately spread throughout the skin.
More importantly, carrier oils do not contain phenol. By diluting the essential lube in a phenol-free vegetable type, you are cutting down the amount of phenol being used.
To put it differently, diluting essential oil doesn’t only amplify its essence but it also makes it safer for your feline pets.
When diluted, you can now use your favorite aromatic oils without having to worry about your cats.
Also, you can also use the diluted essential version in a diffuser to spread the essence throughout your room.
Despite the numerous claims of the dangerous effects of essential oils on cats, some pet owners just don’t seem to give up just yet.
Is there any possible way to let our cats acquire the benefits of aromatherapy?
It would be nice to use aromatherapy on our anxious cats to calm them down.
There are a lot of essential oils to calm cats.
The calming effects could ease the stress of our cats from a long car drive or an upset stomach.
A diluted essential version is one possible solution to this problem.
However, there are essential oils that are highly toxic to cats even when diluted. That is why you should always take precaution when using essential oils on your cats.
Take time to research and study the essential oils safe for cats and those that are potentially fatal.
Remember, what works for one person might not work for your pet. Make sure that the aromatherapy you're using is safe for your cat before you administer it.
If you're 100% that your essential ointment is feline-safe, then you can proceed to dilute it. So use it as aromatherapy for your cat.
Just like its effects on us, aromatherapy helps stimulate a cat’s brain function. The brain’s response to the smell is the increased production of chemicals called serotonin.
Serotonin is sometimes called ‘happy chemical’ because this is a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.
An increased level of serotonin can make a cat feel calmer and happier. So no matter how agitated they are, aromatherapy can effectively calm them down.
Aside from its calming effects, aromatherapy can also boost the immune system. As a result, your cat is more protected against illnesses.
Additionally, an improved immune system promotes healing that can be of great help in case of injuries.
Another critical point to consider is the cat's extraordinary olfactory ability.
Cat's sense of smell is so much more acute and sophisticated than our own. Namely, this is because they have twice as many receptors in the olfactory epithelium as we do.
Research also shows that cats have a much more sensitive sense of smell than dogs. So if you think the dog is the best smellers in the world, our feline friends would beg to disagree.
Hence, why it's crucial to dilute and diffuse the essential ointment before you administer the aromatherapy to your cat.
While some cats are immediately enticed with the aroma, your pet is likely to show aversion towards it at first.
You need to properly introduce the aroma to your cat and give it some time to get used to it.
Apply a few drops of diffused essential oil to their fur or paws. Namely, this will help them get familiar with the smell.
However, be vigilant. Don't force the aroma if they show extreme dislike to the smell.
They usually get comfortable with the smell after a few hours. However, if they persist in manifesting agitation and restlessness due to the smell, it's time to reconsider.
Your next move would be to wipe the areas where you applied the product. Moreover, change the essential ointment that you're using.
You can put a few drops of the diffused ointment on your palms and give your pet a relaxing massage. The aroma and the gentle massage will surely calm the kitty down.
Be careful not to let any of it fall into the cat’s eyes or ears as it can potentially lead to an infection.
In case you accidentally get the product in their eyes, take them to the veterinarian immediately.
Here's another critical thing to remember. If you're leaving the house, never leave your cat locked in a closed room with a diffuser running.
Give your pets the choice to escape from the source of the smell in case they had enough of it, especially when you're not around.
Cats also need to breathe in different smells from time to time. Getting them stuck with a particular scent for a long time might produce adverse effects on them.
Use aromatherapy on cats only when they need it. Remember to use it only when they are stressed, or they're dealing with anxiety.
For cats with severe stress, you may use aromatherapy for two weeks. However, if symptoms persist, don't extend the duration of the aromatherapy and consult your veterinarian.
Always remember that while there are essential oils safe for cats, there are also those that are dangerous to them.
A deeper understanding of the different types of essential oils can go a long way. Mainly, this is to determine which essential oils safe to use around cats and which to avoid.
Administering aromatherapy to your cat isn’t a simple case of trial and error. Remember, your cat’s life is at stake if you use the wrong one.
We should consider the fact that a cat’s body is very different from ours they may react differently to aromatherapy.
Because their liver cannot detoxify and metabolize substances such as phenol, these may build to toxic levels.
As a result, the high level of toxic substances in the body can damage the liver that may even cause death.
Different testimonials regarding the effects of essential oils on cats can be confusing. Some pet owners are claiming it safe while some others would attest to its adverse side effects.
However, who's telling the truth?
We should take both sides of the story into consideration.
We should also include the fact that cats are not created equal. One cat may react to sure oil differently than others.
The method of administration also plays an important role. Did they use pure essential oil topically? Is the ratio of dilution strictly followed? Are they using a good quality diffuser?
All of these factors can affect the result. However, the most pressing concern is the type of essential oil is used?
Is it safe to be used on cats? Or not?
Nonetheless, you need to make sure that you’re using essential oils safe for cats.
Phenol isn't the only compound that can cause toxicity in cats. Ketones, alpha-pinene, and D-limonene are also some of the compounds that a cat's liver cannot metabolize.
As explained earlier, these substances can build up in the body as toxins. Also, as the toxin level increases, it adversely affects bodily systems.
It can lead to a weakened immune system, making your cat more susceptible to illnesses.
Apart from that, these harmful substances can damage the liver by making the organ work too hard in metabolizing them
Felines may be flexible creatures, but they are fragile inside. So don't ever take it literally when they say that cats have nine lives. That's not exactly true because they only have one.
One big mistake and you may end up losing your precious pet.
If the symptoms stated above are manifested every time you use a particular type of essential oil, stop the aromatherapy immediately.
Moreover, take your pet to the vet immediately for a diagnosis.
If you have cats at home, you might want to avoid using the following aromatic oils. Namely, this is because these essential oils contain chemical substances and compounds that may harm your furry friend.
1. Cats can get phenol poisoning from ingestion or via limited exposure through the skin or fumes. This compound may also predispose cats to thyroid diseases and if left untreated, can also lead to death.
Avoid using brands that are rich in phenols such as:
2. Cats may acquire ketoacidosis, a condition in which acid levels are abnormally increased in the blood due to the presence of ketone bodies. Symptoms of diabetes with ketoacidosis include jaundice, rapid breathing, vomiting, hypothermia, anorexia and increased urination.
3. Alpha-pinene is an organic compound of the terpene class which a cat’s liver cannot break down and metabolize. Brands that contain high concentrations of alpha-pinene includes:
4. D-limonene is one of the most common terpenes in nature. Although this is mainly used as an insect repellant, a toxic dose can lead to muscle tremors, excessive salivation, weakness and even death.
Keep in mind that the list of essential oils stated above can cause toxicity if given at high concentration.
Small quantities of these oils are harmless. So if you can dilute these aromatic oils to reduce the toxic substances, that would be great.
Phenol content should be less than 8%; ketone must be less than 20%, alpha-pinene and d-limonene should be less than 15%.
If you can dilute the above-mentioned types to meet these minimum requirements, they should be safe to use on cats.
As long as these types are appropriately diluted, you can use them on diffusers without having to worry about toxicity.
However, these aromatic oils should NOT be administered topically even when adequately diluted.
Take note that even a small quantity of toxic substances can constitute implications when they are ingested.
Since cats are natural lickers, there's a high chance that they may lick or chew the ointment applied on their fur or skin.
Some pet shampoos and topical solutions contain phenol, alpha-pinene, and d-limonene. Therefore, you should avoid using these products on your cats.
If you're planning to use essential oils, consult your veterinarian first for additional advice.
Even so, getting a ‘go’ signal from the vet doesn’t mean you can comfortably leave your pet under exposure to these oils.
You need to be on the lookout for potential symptoms that indicate adverse reactions to the aromatic oil.
However, if you don't want to gamble on these aromatic types, you don't have to. There are safer alternatives that you can use.
We've given you the wrong side of essential oils when it comes to their effects on cats. However, now it's time to provide you with the excellent team.
Don't give up on essential types just yet because all hope is not however lost. Check out this list of essential oils safe for cats and how you can use their full essence on your pet.
Is cedarwood oil safe for cats? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes.'
The great thing about cedarwood oil is that it is typically made without phenol or any other toxic compound that may harm your cat’s liver.
So you can use it on a diffuser to spread the aromatic essence throughout the room. Alternatively, you can use a small amount to massage your cat.
Cedarwood oil is extracted from the wood pieces of a cedar tree. It is well-known due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and insecticidal properties.
People use it to treat common health problems such as skin infections, hair loss, stress and more.
For cats, cedarwood oil is mostly used as a topical remedy that is effective at killing fleas and other pests.
It has been considered as a safer alternative to chemical-based applications in repelling, destroying or preventing flea infestation.
However, unlike most chemical-based insecticides, cedarwood oil does not kill the fleas; it only repels them.
Fleas are extremely attracted by the scent of warm blood. They use their excellent sense of smell to hunt for their hosts.
The scent of cedarwood oil on your pet's fur or skin will turn them off. For them, the sweet woodsy scent of cedarwood is very unpleasant.
Moreover, if they find the most unpleasant, they're highly likely to move out to see another victim.
Instead of using harmful chemicals, many manufacturers are adding cedarwood oil to their products such as pet shampoos and spray compounds.
Over the counter, spot-on treatments containing cedarwood oil can also be applied directly to the kitty.
However, if you prefer to use pure cedarwood essential oil, make sure to dilute it first before application.
One of the essential oils safe for cats is lemongrass oil. This type is known for its powerful analgesic properties and is used to repel insects.
The lemongrass, as a plant, has a catnip-effect on cats when nibbled at a small amount.
However, concentrated as an essential type, lemongrass can be toxic to cats if ingested.
You can lower the concentration by diluting it. Alternatively, you can get a hydrosol form instead of the extract to reduce its potential toxicity.
Lemongrass oil isn't recommended to be used as a topical solution. However, when diffused, you and your beloved feline can benefit from its fantastic health effects.
Some pet owners can attest to its ability to relieve muscle pains and reduce body aches.
Injured cats that are subject to lemongrass oil aromatherapy have exhibited faster recovery than those that didn’t.
In diluted form, rosemary oil is one of the essential oils safe to use around cats.
It is a non-toxic alternative to harmful insecticides. Rosemary oil is one of the most preferred essential oils safe for cats.
Aside from its insecticidal property, it is also used for its antibacterial and antifungal powers. Gently massage the diluted rosemary oil on your cat to fight most infection.
It is also an excellent remedy for allergies because it effectively reduces the production of histamine.
When diluted, you can use it as a topical flea repellant on your pet. Alternatively, you can also let your kitty sniff it through the diffuser to make your precious pet enjoy its fantastic health benefits.
Lavender oil is probably the most commonly used among all essential oils. Also, it's not difficult to see why.
However, is lavender oil safe for cats?
This fragrant type offers a myriad of health benefits as it effectively relieves stress, induces sleep, relieves pains, boosts immunity and improved blood circulation.
For cats, lavender oil is used as an effective insect repellant. So it is probably one of the best essential oils to calm cats.
However, you need to be extra cautious when applying diluted lavender oil onto your pet.
Lavender oil may not contain phenol, but it includes the chemical linalool which can be toxic to cats when ingested at high concentration.
If you want to use lavender oil to get rid of fleas, it is more advisable to use commercially produced products.
Your cat can also experience the calming effects of lavender oil when diffused. Use the product to calm down your anxious kitty especially before or during travel.
Lavender oils aren't only the best essential oils to calm cats but are also considered as essential oils safe for cats.
While lavender oil helps relax your pet by easing its pain and anxiety, frankincense oil is an excellent treatment for its digestive problems.
Just like cedarwood, frankincense oil doesn’t contain any phenol or any toxic substances. However, just like most essential oils safe for cats, it should be diluted before it can be topically applied onto the cat.
When diffused, its natural fruity scent can also relieve stress, reduce inflammation, and helps fight off colds and flu.
Extracted from Boswellia tree sap, this type is also known for its antiseptic and disinfectant properties.
People have been using Helichrysum oil to fade scars and to retain moisture of the skin.
Aside from its regenerative and protective benefits in the skin, it also provides quick relief from coughs and spasms.
As for our feline friends, Helichrysum oil inhibits microbial and fungal infections. Moreover, it also serves as an excellent remedy for allergies.
Most essential oils can pose the risk of damaging the liver. Helichrysum oil, on the other hand, acts as a detoxifier that stimulates the liver.
Thus, it helps remove toxic substances from the body.
These properties are what made Helichrysum oil one of the most effective essential oils safe for cats.
Diffused geranium oil can help balance your pets’ hormones and improve its mood.
It can also enhance blood circulation and reduces stress.
When diluted, you can use it onto your pet to get of fleas and ticks. It may be one of the essential oils safe for cats, but be careful about applying this oil topically to your kitty.
Also, make sure that your pet doesn't lick on the parts where you applied it.
Soothing oil with an inviting aroma, cardamom is mostly used as a massage product to calm the upset body and troubled mind.
For cats, make sure that the cardamom oil is correctly diluted in vegetable oil to reduce its concentration.
You can use diluted cardamom oil to ease a cat's nausea, especially on long rides.
As one of the essential oils safe for cats, this type is a popular remedy for reducing stress, improving mood, and inducing sleep.
Its effects are closely similar to that of lavender oil.
Although it doesn’t contain toxic substances such as phenol, jasmine oil contains benzyl alcohol that can be dangerous to cats.
Benzyl alcohol is a fragrance material that has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Unfortunately, cats are vulnerable to benzyl alcohol toxicity.
Therefore, you must use this with extreme caution even when diluted or utilized on a diffuser.
Non-toxic or not, all essential oils can pose health implications to your kitty when administered in very high concentration.
Let us remind you again that cats cannot metabolize oils as much as we can. Hence, ingesting a high amount of any type can be dangerous to them.
Make it a rule of the thumb always to dilute any essential oil in a carrier oil before you apply it onto your pet.
Always follow the correct ratio; one drop of essential oil is to 25 ml of carrier oil (preferably vegetable oil).
Usually, you add 3 – 5 drops of essential oil in a 100 ml diffuser. That ratio is acceptable if you don't have any cats at home.
The main idea here is to lower the concentration of the aromatic oils to the amount that is safe for cats.
You can do this by reducing the amount of essential oil. For 100 ml diffuser, 1 – 2 drops of aromatic oil should be enough.
So remember to use aromatherapy in moderation.
One last thing, make sure to memorize the precautions when using essential oils on cats.
It may be difficult for most of us to distinguish a high-quality essential oil from the inferior ones. As long as they smell the same, it's okay. That's probably what most of us think.
However, the same can't be said to cats because they are endowed with a more powerful sense of smell than us.
It would take them just a single sniff to identify whether the ointment is of the highest quality or not.
That is why you should never settle for synthetic, perfume grade oils.
If you want your pet to fall in love with aromatherapy, you need to start with high-quality therapeutic grade oil.
Pure natural essential oils are pure distillations of aromatic parts of a tree or plant.
These high-grade oils are often expensive as they are appraised for their strong fragrances and medicinal benefits.
On the other hand, oils in synthetic forms are human-made scents that imitate the fragrance of natural essential oils.
Since they are produced in laboratories, synthetic oils don’t possess the direct link with Mother Nature.
The subtle energy of natural materials such as trees and plants can be felt through natural essential oils only.
However, due to the less high price and higher availability, some people choose to go for synthetic essential oils.
Well, this is because they can't tell the difference when it comes to the scent. However, cats can.
Our feline companions can connect better with natural forms than the synthetic ones. Also, the holistic approach of aromatherapy lies in the fact that it makes us unite with Mother Nature.
Synthetic oils can never do that.
The popularity of essential oils has been evident on social media and pet blogs. The idea of having our beloved pets acquire the fantastic benefits of aromatherapy is practically good news.
Hence, this is why most pet owners are going into a frenzy. Suddenly, everyone wants to try essential oils on his or her pets.
Beware though, the increased demand on essential oils can pave the way for sneaky sellers to sell their fake products.
Some sellers would say that their products are made from 100% natural essential oils where it's not.
Buy only from trusted companies and well-known manufacturers of high-quality essential oils such as:
The above-listed essential oils safe for cats are guaranteed 100% organic and natural.
If you stumble upon cheap essential oils on online stores or at the local store, there’s a high chance these products are synthetic.
It would be unwise to put your home and your pets to risk by settling for less.
Besides, our kitties deserve nothing but the best.
The choice of essential types will not depend on your personal preference, but it will rely on your cat's liking.
Sure, you like the scent of peppermint oil the most. However, you also have to consider – is peppermint oil safe for cats?
You need to commit to memory all the essentials oils to avoid if you want to keep your pet safe. Moreover, if you did, you must have known that peppermint oil is high in phenol that is toxic to cats.
So it’s always wise to stick with the essential oils safe for cats.
After you’ve picked a particular scent, give your pet the chance to try it out. Observe your kitty’s reaction to the fragrance.
Do not force your cat to smell it. If the kitty finds the smell pleasurable, it will savor the scent of its own free will.
You can easily discern if your pet is interested in the fragrance or not. If it displays adverse reactions such as grimacing or walking away from the source of the smell, consider trying out different versions.
You can also use some clever tricks to get your kitty comfortable with certain aromatic types.
If you want to persuade your pet into lavender scent, you can introduce the fragrance by using lavender cologne on yourself. Alternatively, you can use lavender-based soap to get the scent on you.
Start cuddling your pet to get it comfortable with the smell.
Then proceed to the next step. Dilute the pure essential type in a carrier oil and hold it 6 inches from your pet's nose.
If your pet shows sign of interest such as sniffing the bottle and licking its lips, then you should start administering the aromatherapy.
There have been a lot of conflicting stories regarding the safety of using essential oils on cats.
Our pets deserve to enjoy the health benefits of aromatherapy, too. However, is it worth the gamble?
While it’s true that there have been reported cases of toxicity, most of these incidences are due to improper administration and accidental ingestion.
Hence, this is why veterinarians are always reminding the owners to take extreme precautions when administering aromatherapy to cats.
One of the biggest mistakes by pet owners is applying pure, undiluted essential oil to their pets.
If carried out correctly, using essentials oils should be generally safe for cats. It's all about how you administered it.
Aside from proper administration, it's essential to keep your eyes on your pet to make sure that they don't lick the areas where you applied the product.
Also, also to keep them away from the diffuser. Some kitties would get near the diffuser and accidentally ingest the ointment.
Furthermore, you should determine the essential oils safe for cats and which are toxic.
The list we gave you previously should be able to guide you in choosing the safest aromatherapy for your kitty.
Another thing to consider is the quality of aromatic oil to use.
Although there hasn’t been a scientific study to confirm the toxic effects of aromatic oils on cats, it won’t hurt to play it safe just in case.
It all boils down to the administration, the safeness and the quality of the aromatic oil.
If you consider these things, you can guarantee that your pet can reap the benefits of aromatherapy without ill effects.