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Our Complete Guide to Essential Oils for Cats: Benefits, Uses and Cautions

Updated: Mar 1

how do essential oils affect my cat
Willy loves lemongrass essential oil

Essential oils have become increasingly popular in recent years for their purported health benefits. While many people are familiar with the use of essential oils for humans, cats can also benefit from these healing, aromatic compounds. Essential oils can be used safely and effectively for cats when used correctly, and may provide a variety of benefits, including relief from stress and anxiety, improved digestion, and relief from skin issues.

When selecting essential oils for cats, it's important to understand that while certain oils are safe, others may be toxic and should be avoided. Some essential oils can be used in a diffuser, while others should not. Essential oils should never be applied to a cat's fur and should never be ingested. Care should be taken to ensure that cats do not lick or ingest any essential oils. Cats with respiratory or kidney issues should not be exposed to essential oils.

By understanding which essential oils are safe for cats and how to properly use them, pet owners can enjoy the health benefits of these natural remedies in their cats.

Pets React Differently Than Humans to Essential Oils

Essential oils are popular for a variety of uses, however, when it comes to cats, safety should be a top priority. Cats lack the enzyme glucuronyl transferase, which is necessary for metabolizing certain compounds found in essential oils. This means that diffusing essential oils around cats can be harmful, as cats have a much more sensitive sense of smell than humans do. When exposed to essential oils, cats may experience irritation of the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Some essential oils, such as tea tree oil, are toxic to cats and should be avoided.

Cat owners should consult with their veterinarian prior to using any essential oils around their

cats. If essential oils are used around cats, they should be used sparingly and only when the cat is not present. Essential oil blends made specifically for cats are available and may be safer than general essential oil products. By following these guidelines, cat owners can enjoy the benefits of essential oils while minimizing any potential risks to their furry friends.

The Best Essential Oils Safe for Cats

Essential oils can be a great addition to your cat’s health and wellbeing. But with so many different oils available, it can be hard to know which ones are safe for cats. Here’s a look at some of the essential oils that are safe for cats:

Sweet marjoram oil is a great choice for cats, as it is known to have calming and soothing properties.

Chamomile oil is also safe for cats and can be used to reduce stress. Geranium oil is a great choice for cats with skin issues, as it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Sweet orange oil is a safe and effective way to repel fleas and ticks from cats. Rosemary oil has antiseptic properties and can be used to treat minor skin irritations in cats. Finally, peppermint oil is safe for cats and can be used to repel fleas and ticks.

When using essential oils on cats, it’s important to always dilute them with a carrier oil first. Never apply essential oils directly to your cat’s skin, and be sure to consult your veterinarian before using any essential oils on your cat. With the right essential oils, you can provide your cat with a safe and natural way to improve their health and wellbeing.

Essential Oils Toxic to Cats

When using essential oils around cats, it is important to be mindful of which oils are safe for cats and which oils should be avoided. Tea tree essential oil is toxic to cats and should be avoided. Eucalyptus essential oil is toxic to cats and should be avoided. Pine essential oil is toxic to cats and should be avoided. Clove essential oil is toxic to cats and should be avoided. In general, when using essential oils around cats, it is important to use them at a low concentration and with caution.

Essential oils are likely more safe for cats than artificial fragrances and air fresheners. Even still, what your nose perceives as a pleasant smell may be overwhelming for your cat.

Avoid these essential oils around your cat.

  • 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

Essential oils have become popular for their therapeutic uses, but it is important to be aware of the potential risks when using them with cats. Many liquid potpourri products and essential oils can be toxic for cats, including oil of cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), wintergreen, and ylang ylang. Ingestion and skin exposure to these oils can both be dangerous, so it is important to be aware of what oils are safe to use and how to safely use them with cats. If you notice strange or difficult behaviors such as drooling, difficulty breathing, muscle tremors, difficulty walking, or lethargy, it could be a sign that your cat is not reacting well to the essential oils. Additionally, keep an eye out for redness on your cat’s skin, or if they start pawing at their face after being exposed to essential oils. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to stop using the essential oils and seek medical attention for your pet.

Diffusion is Safest

Essential oils can be a great addition to natural cat care, but it's important to use them safely. Diffusion is the safest way to use essential oils with cats. Diffusion does not require direct contact of the oils with the cat, minimizing the risk of adverse reactions. Diffusion also allows the cat to be exposed to the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils without the risk of skin irritation, respiratory irritation or potential toxicity that can occur when essential oils are applied directly to the cat's skin or ingested. Therefore, it is important to only use properly diluted, high-quality essential oils when diffusing.

With proper care, diffusion of essential oils can be a safe and effective way to introduce essential oils into a cat's environment. It is important to remember that cats are more sensitive to essential oils than humans, so it is important to use only the recommended oils and dilutions with cats. Additionally, it is important to keep a close eye on your cat's behavior when first introducing essential oils and discontinue use if any adverse reactions are noticed.

Safe essential oils around your cat:


Lemongrass Oil

Cedarwood oil

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