Did You Know ~ Essential Oils and Cats

CatLast week I shared a list of safe essential oils that can be safely used on your dog (found HERE) and I didn’t want to forget our feline friends. Use of essential oils is a controversial topic for use on cats but there are some essential oils that are safe, with caveats.

Never having owned a cat, I had to consult Dr. Google. One thing I learned  about cats is they are deficient in glucuronyl transferase, a liver enzyme that changes bilirubin into a form that can be removed through the bile. This compound also changes some hormones, medicines, and toxins into non-harmful by-products. Since uprights have a much higher tolerance for phenols, extra care when using essential oils on cats is critical. Harkening back to high school chemistry for a moment, you may recall that phenols are chemically active compounds which are found throughout nature, especially in plants (i.e. peppers contain capsaicin which is a phenol). Phenols exhibit a wide range of properties; some for their health benefits, while others are deadly poisonous. Only high quality, therapeutic grade oils (without phenols) should be considered for cats.

Cats possess an enhanced sense of smell, so diffusing essential oils has the potential to become overwhelming. That said, essential oils are likely more safe for cats than artificial fragrances and air fresheners. Even still, what your nose perceives as pleasant may not be perceived quite the same by your cat. When diffusing essential oils, a scent-free room for retreat is a good idea.

It should also be noted that a cat’s system is incredibly sensitive and some oils can be quite toxic. Essential oils with phenols should never be used and any safe oil used should be diluted in a quality carrier oil (a high-grade, pure vegetable oil is the catalyst that can make certain essential oils tolerable for cats. Some vets suggest the differential be dramatic: 50 drops of vegetable (the carrier oil) to 1 drop of essential oil though you should verify this ratio with your own vet as some recommend increasing that ratio up to 80- to 90-percent. Once properly mixed, you can place a drop of this mixture into your hands and pet your cat. Dilution and testing are two critical components when introducing your cat to essential oils, but before you start applying, it’s important to introduce these agents to your cat slowly.

The following oils are safe for use on cats and may be used in moderation (make sure your essential oil is phenol-free).

Cedarwood Repels pests and promotes healthy skin and coat.
Chamomile Promotes relaxation and sleep and also supports healthy digestion.
Lavender Relieves anxiety from separation or during long trips.
Myrrh Can help fight allergies and promote healthy skin and coat.
Clary Sage Calms nervousness and excitability.
Geranium Great for repelling pests and as a treatment for ear infections.
Ginger Relieves pain from arthritis and hip dysplasia and supports healthy digestion.
Marjoram Repels pests and helps treat skin infections and irritations.

Never apply essential oils at full strength on cats (and only use in a diffuser for short periods  of time). not meant to be used near the eyes and ears of humans or cats. It only takes 6/100th of a drop of lavender oil to calm pets down. And just because paws have leathery pads, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to apply essential oils to them.

Avoid these oils:

Clove oil Cinnamon oil
Thyme oil Oregano oil
Wintergreen oil Sweet birch oil
Lavender oil Citrus oil
Peppermint oil Pennyroyal oil
Eucalyptus oil Tea tree oil

Remember always consult your vet before introducing new food, treatment, or any substances into your pet’s routine care. If using essential oils on your cat, be on the lookout for strange behavior (drooling, muscle tremors, difficulty walking, or lethargy). Contact your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately, and especially if you notice redness on your cat’s skin, or if they begin pawing at their face following exposure to essential oils.

Have you ever used essential oils on your kitty?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

43 thoughts on “Did You Know ~ Essential Oils and Cats

  1. I don’t generally put essential oils on the cats but do use a diffuser, I appreciate the listss for cats. One thing I have trouble with is the do not and do list. Lavender oil is in both. Explain please Monika?


    1. I think lavender in a diffuser for a short period of time or heavily diluted is probably safe. In the info I found I saw that same discrepancy. When in doubt though, probably best to do without.

    1. What a nice surprise to see you drop by and comment. Thank you! Love ya, sis❣️

            1. Bwahaha. Good point though I know your state also has it’s fair share of ‘those in the know.’

  2. I remember reading that cats could have issues with essential oils that might be safe for dogs, so I was always very careful about using any near our kitty.

    1. It was a real eye opener to learn about cats and their delicate constitutions.

    1. Thanks. It was sure fascinating info I learned about cats and their sensitivities.

    2. Essential oils and cats are tricky but hopefully this gives you some safe ones to contemplate for use.

  3. Thanks for this excellent information on essential oils for all us cat parents! Have not tried anything yet because cats for sure are very sensitive to smells. One of my boys is super sensitive and he makes his “pickle face” at the slightest whiff of most fruits and vegetables.

  4. Thank you for such thorough research. One cat in our house belongs to my grandson and I am passing this along to him.

  5. We need to do whatever it takes to make sure we’re not harming our four legged family members. Okay Kismet our two legged ones too.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

    1. You’re quite safe; we wouldn’t dream of gumming up the flight plans.

  6. As a rule I don’t use any essential oils around my cats. They are so sensitive and as meticulous groomers, they lick up everything. It has made ant deterrents troublesome too. And cleaning supplies. I try to stay as natural as I can. Interesting about your comment on oregano oil. My vet’s office had to close two years ago because everyone came down with a severe respiratory illness. The staff got meds from docs but the vet who is very homeopathic, took oregano. She recovered faster. I know, hard to tell if she had a lighter case or not but still. Food for thought (for humans)

    1. I had no idea about cats’ sensitive systems. If I did, I’d probably only rely on diffusing. Oregano oil is EXTREMELY effective. If you’ve ever tasted it, you’d know why. Nothing could survive in that environment. You need lots of probiotics when you take it-it kills everything!

  7. Such an interesting and well-researched post! We don’t have any kitties as I don’t tolerate anyone near my Mom or in my space, unfortunately, but Mom says she knows kitties are way more sensitive than dogs. You also gave such great advice. It is always better to talk with your animal doctors. Thanks for a great post! 😀 😘💕

    1. Thanks Rambo. I’ve never owned kitties either and know nothing about them but the essential oil brand I use shares really pawsome info about the safe use of essential oils for peeps and pets.

    1. It’s hard to know what works for the feline sect, I’ve never had a cat and don’t know the first thing about them other than I’m terribly allergic to them. 😇Big time.

  8. we were surprised as we learnt that tea tree oil is not good… the mama said she guessed it, she accidentally put the half of such a little bottle in her mouth instead a drop because that bottle missed the pastic thingy…wow that was like buying a ticket to hell LOL

    1. If you think tea tree oil is bad, don’t EVER try more than a drop oregano oil diluted. It’s as if your entire mouth and throat are being boiled by hot coals. On the plus side, my cold and sore throat went away post haste. 😝I don’t think there was a germ in my body for a long while.

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