Essential Oils and Cats are a Dangerous Mix!

Posted by Belinda Bird on

As much as using Essential Oils in our homes is relaxing and fills our house with the beautiful scents of nature, caution must be taken as they can be toxic to cats.


In fact, if a large quantity of Essential Oils are diffused throughout a room, it can be toxic to humans also. Excessive use of Essential Oils can cause neurological symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. In comparison to size, cats require much less exposure to obtain a toxic dose. Essential Oils are rapidly absorbed both orally and across the skin


Once Essential Oils have been absorbed, they must be metabolised through the liver, and here is where the problem for cats start. Cats lack an essential enzyme in their liver, making it difficult for them to metabolise and eliminate certain toxins, such as Essential Oils. 


The most common known Essential Oils that cause toxicity to cats are:

  • Oil of Wintergreen
  • Oil of Sweet Birch
  • Citrus Oil (D-limonene) 
  • Pine Oils
  • Ylang Ylang Oils
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Cinnamon Oil
  • Pennyroyal Oil
  • Clove Oil
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil



Diffusers and liquid Potpourri are most commonly thought of when thinking about Essential Oils, but deodorisers, cleaning products and even pet shampoo and conditioner commonly include Essential Oils.   


Pets are often attracted to Essential Oils due to their sweet scent. If you do decide to use them in your home and you own a cat, it is recommended to ensure they can not be accessed by your cat and are used in small doses in well-ventilated areas. 



Common symptoms of Essential Oil toxicity in cats include:

  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Low heart rate
  • Low body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Fragrance or scent on skin, coat, breath or vomit 


If your cat is displaying these symptoms, it is vital that you seek Veterinary attention immediately. 



Dogs are much less sensitive to Essential Oils, but it is recommended to not use them on:

  • Puppies under 10 weeks of age
  • Pregnant Dogs - Consult your Holistic Veterinarian or Canine Naturopath
  • Epileptic Dogs
  • Avoid contact with all dogs around their eyes, ears, mouth, and nose 



Reading product labels prior to purchasing products for your cat is a good habit to get into. This way you are confident that what you are using is safe and your household is safe for the whole family. 

We do offer a range of Grooming products for cats and you can view them here. 


I would love to hear any feedback or experiences that you have!


 Belinda Bird 

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