Cat Tips

Are Essential Oils Safe for Cats? What You Need to Know 

Are Essential Oils Safe for Cats? What You Need to Know 

Essential oils are found in many places today. They are used for personal care and relaxation around the house. Many are found in personal products, even in cleaning products. It can seem as though they are everywhere. However, if you own a cat, you’ll want to know whether there are any essential oils for cats and whether they are safe to use or not. 

What Are Essential Oils? 

Most oils are derived from plants. Pieces of different types of plants are turned into liquids through various processing methods. The goal is to obtain certain compounds for fragrance. The essential oils are the distilled scent of the plant. As you might imagine, it can take a lot of a plant to make a small amount of essential oil in many cases. Sometimes the oils are combined with other ingredients. Other times, they are kept pure. 

People often use essential oils for practice like aromatherapy that can help them to feel better through the use of scents. It has the potential to help with insomnia, pain and other issues. One of the most common types of essential oils is lavender, which can help with stress. Additionally, essential oils can be applied to the skin, often requiring a carrier oil. 

How Do Cats React to Essential Oils 

Although essential oils are great for humans, that’s not the case when it comes to cats. Despite the fact that they can help you with your health problems, they aren’t going to provide the same benefits to your cats.  

Using essential oils can be risky with cats. The safest thing to do is to never use them around your cat. Even being around certain types of essential oils could cause problems for cats. If you are going to use them when you have cats, you need to be very careful. 

If you have the essential oils on your skin and your cat licks you, it could cause some serious health issues. 

Some Essential Oils Are Toxic to Cats 

You may already know that some common household plants are toxic for cats. You will find that essential oils can cause just as much of a risk, even when in small amounts. After all, the essential oils are concentrated elements of the plant. This has the potential to make the oils quite dangerous. 

Some of the essential oils that are toxic to cats include  

  • Bergamot 

  • Cinnamon 

  • Clove 

  • Eucalyptus 

  • European pennyroyal 

  • Geranium 

  • Lavender 

  • Lemon 

  • Lime 

  • Orange 

  • Lemongrass 

  • Rose 

  • Rosemary 

  • Sandalwood 

  • tea tree 

  • Thyme 

  • Wintergreen 

  • Mint 

  • Spearmint 

  • Peppermint 

  • Ylang-ylang 

When you compare this list to the lists of some of the most common and popular essential oils for home use, you will find that there is a substantial amount of crossover. If you are using any of these oils, you will need to be very careful about how and where you use them if you also have cats. 

Be Careful with Your Oils 

If you have these oils that you use with massage oil or that you have in products you use on your body, what happens when your cat licks you? They get sick. In some cases, it could be severe. 

If you use a diffuser, there is a chance they could get into the essential oil and cause serious harm to themselves. You need to be careful of where you place the diffuser and the oils. As you know, cats have a knack for getting into lots of places where they shouldn’t be. 

When using these or any types of oils, you will want to make sure that you keep them away from places your cat can reach. You don’t want them getting into the oils by mistake. Additionally, it is important to double-check all of the kids on the bottles to ensure they are closed tightly.  

Completely clean any surfaces that the oils have been on, as they could transfer to your cat from the surface if you aren’t careful. It is also a good idea to remember to be cautious when using any sort of essential oil. If you are using a diffuser, be in the room while it’s being used. Watch what your cat is doing, and make sure they don’t do anything that would end up causing themselves harm. 

If you have dogs in your home and they need to be treated with tea tree oil, but very careful if you still have cats. If they decide to groom the dog, they could end up poisoning themselves. 

Can You Use Any Essential Oils with Cats? 

There aren’t any that are considered 100 percent safe, as they all could be toxic. When they are in their concentrated form, they are a serious danger, even if they just get on the paws, skin, fur, or eyes of your cat. The best course of action is to not use any essential oils with your cats for their safety. It will eliminate the risk of poisoning by essential oils. 

How Do You Know If Your Cat Has Eaten Essential Oils? 

Cats are sneaky, but there will generally be some telltale signs if they have gotten into essential oils. One of the first things to notice will be their behavior. They might be vomiting or trying to vomit, for example. They could also appear lethargic, as though they are drooling. They could have problems walking. 

The cat might appear to be agitated, have breathing difficulties or have redness around its mouth. You might also notice watery eyes. The scent of the essential oil might be heavy on their fur and face, as well. 

In some cases, the state of the essential oils could tell you all you need to know. If a bottle or container has been spilled or broken, it could be a sign that your cat got into them. In those cases, you will want to err on the side of caution. Check in on your cat and look for any potential signs of health problems. 

Get in Touch with a Vet 

If you believe your cat has eaten essential oil, or if they have other signs that show they could’ve been poisoned, you don’t want to wait before getting in touch with the vet. Go to the closest vet or emergency veterinary hospital. You might also want to contact ASPCA animal poison control by calling 888-426-4435. It is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year and is the best option for poison emergencies involving animals. 

We know that you might love your essential oils and want to continue using them. However, you also love your cat and want it to remain happy and healthy. Therefore, you need to be as careful as possible with the essential oils, or you will want to consider no longer using these oils. It may be better for the health of your cat to find other options. 


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