Your Guide to Essential Oils and Cats

essential oils and cats- safety and tips

Love essential oils and cats? You’re in the right place! We love our customers, our pets, and of course, we are big fans of essential oils. We want to help you understand how to keep your furry friends safe and happy while enjoying your essential oils. 

essential oils a cats infographic

What to know about essential oils and cats

Cats are small creatures and they can be much more easily affected by substances that they inhale or ingest than we are. If you have cats (or other pets – check out our guide to using essential oils safely around dogs here) around, it’s important to keep in mind that an essential oil you’re diffusing or wearing on your skin might smell nice to you, but be irritating or even harmful to your cat. Even cat-safe essential oils should be diffused and used around cats in moderation, and should never be ingested by your cat. In general, essential oils should never be applied topically to cats unless approved by your veterinarian. 

Which essential oils are harmful to cats? 

Some essential oils are harmful for cats even to inhale. That means that you should avoid diffusing or wearing these essential oils where and when your cats are present: 

  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Wintergreen
  • Eucalyptus 
  • Geranium
  • Ylang-ylang
  • Bergamot
  • Pennyroyal
  • Tea Tree 
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Citrus (Orange, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, etc) 
  • Pine 
  • Sweet Birch
  • Thyme 

Which essential oils pose less risk to cats? 

Note: This list contains essential oils that are generally safe to diffuse around cats. We do not recommend applying essential oils topically to cats without the supervision of your veterinarian. And cats should never ingest essential oils. 

Cat-safe essential oils are generally okay to diffuse around your cats. But should still not be ingested by your cats. You also shouldn’t apply cat-safe essential oils topically on your cat without the express approval of your veterinarian. It’s also best to limit the diffusing of cat-safe essential oils to 1-2 hours per day. 

What if my cat does ingest or inhale essential oils that are toxic to them? 

If you suspect that your cat has ingested essential oils – or inhaled oils that are toxic to them, call your veterinarian right away! You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: (888) 426-4435. 

The following are some of the possible symptoms of essential oil poisoning: 

  • Fragrance of the oil on your cat’s fur or breath
  • Redness in and/or around their mouth
  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Irregular heart rhythm 
  • Drooling 
  • Fatigue 
  • Difficulty walking, muscle tremors, or lack of coordination 
  • Agitation, restlessness, or hyperactivity 
  • Pawing at their mouth or face
  • Watery or irritated eyes and nose
  • Dark mucous membrane
  • Vomiting or retching
  • Green or black urine 
  • Shock 

Safety tips for using essential oils with cats 

  • Be cautious of letting your cat lick you where you have applied essential oils to your skin. Even essential oils that are safe for your cat to inhale are not safe for your cat to ingest. 
  • Even when using cat-safe essential oils, limit diffusing for 1-2 hours per day. 
  • You should never leave your cat confined to a space where oils are being diffused. Always make sure that the cat can leave the room to get away from the diffuser.
  • Keep essential oil bottles and products that contain essential oils out of your cat’s reach.
  • Remember that even products that contain trace amounts of essential oils – such as air fresheners or cleaning sprays – can be harmful to cats. Check the ingredients before using them around your pets.  
  • Know the signs of your cat ingesting toxic essential oils. 
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