Using and diffusing essential oils has become increasingly popular in recent years. There are a great number of uses for essential oils. They can help you sleep, relieve anxiety and are perfect for making natural cleaning products. Essential oils are widely available to purchase now, you can even buy them at convenience stores! While we humans love using essential oils, our four-legged friends may not have the same reactions.
Animals, and cats, in particular, can be very sensitive to some essential oils. There are some oils that can actually produce fatal results when used around cats. In order to keep your furry friends as safe as possible, follow these essential oil health tips to keep your cats safe.
Why Are Oils Toxic to Cats?
First, let’s talk about why some essential oils are toxic to cats. The reason some essential oils are so harmful to cats is that cats simply have different, and much smaller, bodies than we do. Their livers cannot process certain chemicals as effectively as human livers can. Cat livers do not produce a certain enzyme that allows their bodies to break down some of the chemicals that make up essential oils. When exposed to certain essential oils repeatedly, build up of toxins can occur in their livers which can make them very sick, very quick.
Which Oils Are Toxic?
Oils that contain phenol and monoterpene hydrocarbons have been found to be particularly toxic to cats. You should avoid using oils such as cinnamon, clove, thyme, oregano, citrus oils, pine oils, lavender, bergamot, tea tree, eucalyptus, and others. These are just a few of the well-known essential oils that are toxic to cats. If you have questions about a specific oil, you can search it through the ASPCA website.
Check with ASPCA
It is better to check before you begin to diffuse an oil as cats can become ill very quickly when exposed to toxic essential oils. Look out for signs that your cat may be experiencing essential oil poisoning. Call your vet right away if your cat is experiencing any of these symptoms after exposure to essential oils.
Use in Moderation
It is best not to diffuse any potentially toxic oils in your home if you can avoid it. If you must use toxic oils while you have cats in your home, do it sparingly. Make sure your home is ventilated and your cat has a safe area where they are not exposed. Remember, cats have very little bodies and it does not take much for them to become sick.
Use Higher Dilutions and Pure Oils
If you are going to use oils that are known to be toxic to cats, use a higher dilution. This means that you should mix your essential oils with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil. There are different guides you can follow for proper dilution techniques, but if using oils that are harmful to cats you should use the highest dilution possible. Using pure oils is also important, as cheaper oils tend to be mixed with other additives that bring down the cost but are no less toxic to your pets.
We’ve listed just a few of the oils that are known to be toxic to cats, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t more that haven’t been mentioned. To be sure you are not unknowingly harming your cat, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling oils. Never pet your cat after coming into contact with essential oils and never put oils directly on your cat without consulting with a vet.
Have a Dedicated EO Room
If there is room in your home, dedicate a small space for essential oil use that is off limits to your cat. You can store your oils here, mix them with carrier oils, or diffuse them all in this room. You’ll get to enjoy the benefits of essential oils without the potential risk for your sweet kitty. Be very diligent about keeping your cat out of this room though, as cats are sneaky creatures!
Ask Your Vet
If you have any doubts as to whether or not an essential oil you are using is harmful to your cat, please consult with your vet or local animal hospital before using it.
We all want the best for our feline friends. It is important to take a moment to research whether or not an oil you want to use is toxic to your cat. Cats don’t have the ability to tell us when something is wrong, so keep an eye on your cat and look out for signs of essential oil poisoning.
Lindsay Engle is the pet expert at MedicareFAQ, a healthcare learning resource center for seniors. Lindsay loves working in the senior healthcare industry and writing about the many benefits pets offer our elders. Aside from her job, she has a great passion for animals and loves boating. In her spare time, she enjoys snuggling on the couch with her pets as well as fishing with her boyfriend.