Essential Oils and Cats – BE AWARE!

Stripe in the Pot Garden

Cats are VERY sensitive to poisoning from essential oils. Personally, I wouldn’t use them around cats and I have 11 rescue cats. These oils are safe for dogs, horses, goats and larger animals – but not safe for cats.

Of course, I use essential oils myself, but I don’t spray, diffuse or use any around my guys and gals.

My advice? Do not spray or use essential oils near your felines and never, never use them directly on your pet! Essential oils contain compounds that can cause feline liver damage.

Why? Because cats lack the liver enzyme (glucuronyl tranferase) that would allow them to break down these compounds. So it takes much longer for them to be eliminated from the cat’s system.

These substances can build up in the liver and become toxic. If the exposure is high then buildup can be dangerous and fast. This can cause toxicity and liver damage.

Because of this, many essential oils including citrus oils can be toxic to cats.

Lemon, orange, tangerine, mandarin, grapefruit, lime, bergamot, pine, spruce and fir, citronella, lavender, pennyroyal, rue and  teatree oils are high in oils that should be avoided by cats.

Linalool found in lavender and coriander is also toxic for the same reason, as is limonene and citronella. Linalool is extracted from citrus peel for flea control of premises. It should never be applied to a cat.

Phenols are also suspect and have been shown to be toxic to cats. Oregano, tarragon, savory cinnamon, clove and thyme oils all contain phenols.

Note that just because a product is natural, it is not necessarily safe. There are plenty of plants toxic to cats and humans. So beware of any supplier that claims a product is safe because it is natural.

Some Essential Oils are somewhat SAFER for cats.

These include Cedarwood, Peppermint, Rosemary, Catnip and should only be used when extremely diluted.

The bottom line on using essential oils on cats?