Essential Oils That Are NOT SAFE for Cats

In case you don't want to read any further, here is my quick advice regarding aromatherapy and cats:

1. DO NOT spray your cat's favourite areas with essential oils or hydrosols. Many are tempted to get rid of cat poop and spray smells by spraying their favourite aromatherapy or other deodorizers. DON'T. Use odour absorbing baking soda, vinegar, clean with soap and water or change the litter more often.

2. DO NOT let your cat walk on tables, counters, beds etc where essential oils have recently been sprayed. Essential oils can be picked up on paws and absorbed through the skin and ingested through licking.

3. If your cat has signs of kidney or liver trouble, consider not using ANY essential oils of concern in your home. Avoid essential oils containing phenols and/or ketones.

4. Herbs are okay. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts. Unless your cat has poor instincts, they will avoid herbs/plants that are harmful to them. if your cat is gnawing down on a plant, look up its safety for cats.

What Essential Oils Can Be Safe for Cats?

Diluted and with the advice of a knowledgeable aromatherapist or reliable resource.
Chamomile, Roman
Clary Sage
Elemi
Frankincense
Geranium
Helichrysum
Idaho Balsam Fir
Lavender (high grade Bulgarian)
Rosemary
Valerian

CREDIT to Nan Martin of Experience Essential oils for the research and information regarding essential oils passed on in the text above. Experience-Essential-Oils.com

I am now pleased to offer my teacher Jan Benham's book Pet Care With Essential Oils And Their Friends http://www.anarreshealth.ca/content/book-pet-care-essential-oils-and-the... I am not an expert on pet care, but she is! If you want to use essential oils safely and to the benefit of your furry loved ones, please consult this book!

Years ago, a woman consulted with me regarding essential oils for her cat who suffered from kidney and respiratory problems. Only one of her 5 cats was still alive when she consulted me. I deduced that she had inadvertently killed her cats with essential oils recommended to her by a certain multi-level marketing essential oil brand.

A friend of mine's cat was facing amputation in one cancerous paw. My friend had been advised to use Polysporin on it to stave off infection. When I offered to make a salve, I started researching essential oils safety for cats and learned that essential oils may not be the safest choice for treating cats.


Photo thanks to Wikimedia Commons and photographer WeeJeeVee .

Why can essential oils be a problem for cats?

In general, the livers of carnivores do not process and make safe a lot of the natural and synthetic compounds found in fragrances, cleaning products, deodorizers, fabric treatments and essential oils. What our omnivorous (or vegetarian) livers can handle, the livers of carnivores can't.

Cats are sensitive to essential oils for a host of reasons.
1. Cats have very acute senses of smell.
2. Cats have delicate and thin skin, which allows for quicker absorption of these concentrated substances into the bloodstream.
3. Most importantly, cats can't efficiently metabolize some of the compounds in essential oils, which can lead to toxic build-up in their bodies.

Multitudes of cat owners have unknowingly used products with essential oils in their homes or directly on their pets! You are not alone.

Which Essential Oils Can Harm Cats?

Here is a list of some common essential oils that are known to be toxic to cats:
Birch
Cinnamon (cassia)
Citrus oils including Bergamot
Clove
Evergreens including Pine and Spruce
Lavender (cheap perfume and camphorous types)
Oregano
Peppermint
Sage
Tea Tree oil
Thyme
Wintergreen
Any other oils containing phenols

For Humans or other animals, essential oils when applied to the skin should always be diluted 1-5% in a carrier - oil, fat, butter, cream or lotion. Essential oil mixtures should be kept well away from eyes, and hands, paws and places where an animal or tiny human may lick.

Cats are particularly sensitive to certain groups of oxygenated compounds called ketones and phenols, and some monoterpenes. It is the thujone content in ketones and carvacal in phenols that seem to create most of the problems when not used with enzymes. Carvacrol is a byproduct of d-limonene which is found in all citrus fruits and in many tree oils.

Examples of essential oils that should be used on cats with caution - meaning highly diluted - are shown below.

And just as with humans, each animal’s chemistry and blood type is different so the response is different!

Examples of essential oils typically containing more than 8% phenols:
Anise,
Basil,
Birch,
Calamus,
Cinnamon Bark,
Citronella,
Clove,
Eucalyptus citriodora,
Fennel,
Marjoram,
Nutmeg,
Oregano,
Parsley,
Peppermint,
Mountain Savory,
Tarragon,
Tea Tree,
Thyme,
Wintergreen,
Ylang Ylang.

Examples of essential oils typically containing more than 20% ketones:
Cedar, Western Red,
Davana,
Dill,
Hyssop,
Marigold,
Peppermint,
Sage,
Spearmint,
Tansy, Idaho,
Thuja,
Yarrow.

Example of essential oils containing d-limonene:
Angelica,
Bergamot,
Bitter Orange,
Blue Tansy,
Celery Seed,
Citronella
Dill,
Grapefruit,
Lemon,
Lime,
Mandarin,
Neroli,
Nutmeg,
Orange,
Tangerine.

Examples of essential oils typically containing more than 15% of the monoterpene called alpha-pinene:
Angelica,
Cistus,
Cypress,
Dill,
Douglas fir,
Eucalyptus,
Fir, silver,
Juniper,
Myrtle,
Nutmeg,
Pine,
Rosemary verbenone,
Spruce.

Essential Oils that could be used on cats with caution by an aromatherapist: Black Pepper, Cardamon, Carrot Seed, Celery Seed, Cinnamon Bark, Citronella, Clove, Galbanum, Ginger, Juniper, Melaleuca species (use with extreme caution and monitor cat), Palmarosa, Petitgrain and Western Red Cedar.

CREDIT to Nan Martin of Experience Essential oils for the research and information regarding essential oils passed on in the text above. Experience-Essential-Oils.com

I am pleased to offer my teacher Jan Benham's book Pet Care With Essential Oils And Their Friends http://www.anarreshealth.ca/content/book-pet-care-essential-oils-and-the... I am not an expert on pet care, but she is! If you want to use essential oils safely and to the benefit of your furry loved ones, please consult this book!

Connect With Me!