Using Essential Oils With Cats – 4 Simple Guidelines.
I have been learning about and working with essential oils for about three years now. I became interested in oils because of our German Shorthaired Pointer, Hank. He had major fears. Fortunately, essential oils are great for dogs but I found out not so awesome for cats.
The quick and dirty explanation as to why cats can’t receive all of the healthy benefits of essential oils is this – a cat’s liver makeup is different from dogs or humans. A cat’s liver lacks an enzyme that allows the liver to process and break down the essential oil through their system. This can cause a toxic build up in the liver making your cat extremely ill with a possibility of death. I know that sounds horrible and your ready to toss all of your oils out the window so that Fluffy isn’t harmed. But wait! You can still use essential oils in your home but you need to make sure you follow some simple guidelines.
1) First off there are oils that your cat should NEVER come into contact with. This means do not use these oils on your cat topically or internally. I would even recommend that you do not diffuse them in your home. Here is a list of the most toxic oils for cats:
- All Citrus Oils
- Melaleuca or Tea Tree
- Cinnamon Bark
This list may not be complete for your cat. Look for any oil that contain phenol or ketones because those elements are highly indicated for toxicity for cats.
If you use any of these oils on yourself make sure that you wash your hands before touching your cat. The oils can transfer from your hands onto your cat’s fur. The oils can then irritate their skin or be ingested when they clean themselves. Best to be safe.
2) Diffusing oils into the air is a great way to give you and your cat the health benefits of essential oils with less potential of harming them. When diffusing oils in your home, always allow your cat the chance to leave the room. Never lock your cat in a room where you are using a diffuser. Your pet needs the ability to leave the room to find a scent free area when they have had enough. Also only use water based diffusers not the ones that pull the oil straight from the bottle.
3) Quality matters. I know that there are a lot of oils available out there but oil purity is so important. The FDA does not regulate the essential oil industry. Just like they don’t regulate health supplements. So a bottle of essential oil can be 100% pure oil derived from and organically grown plant or … 100% synthetic oil that was created in a lab. I personally only use doTerra or Edens Garden essential oils. When I first got into oils, I bought less expensive oils from the health food store, Amazon and other places. Trust me when I say that quality matters. You don’t want to be using synthetic oils on or around your family or pets.
4) Using oils topically on your cat is discouraged. But if you choose to use an oil topically on your cat always use a carrier oil and heavily dilute the oil before applying. It is recommended that you dilute 10 to 1 ( 10 drops of a carrier oil to 1 drop of essential oil). Do not use oils in, on or near your pet’s ears, nose, eyes or genitals. If you do get some oil in their eyes, wipe the eye with a carrier oil. Do not use water. It is also not recommended that you use oils on Fluffy daily. Use only as needed. Less is more when it comes to oils and our feline friends.
If you do notice your cat’s behavior changing when you are using your essential oils discontinue. If you see signs of distress, tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, skin irritation, panting, lethargy, etc., contact your veterinarian immediately.
I love essential oils and have had great success using them on my pups. However, I would never want to do anything to jeopardize the health of my two cats, Stanley and Sophie. By following these four simple guidelines I can continue enjoying my essential oils but keep my fuzzballs safe and healthy.
** I am not a veterinarian or a health care professional. **
** This post and all of its content are for informational purposes only. **