Cat-Unfriendly Essential Oils

Essential oils can be very helpful for people, whether they’re using them to improve sleep, treat skin conditions, or simply freshen the air in their homes. Unfortunately, did you know that our feline friends don’t always respond to what is best for us?

Today’s popular products include cosmetics, personal care items, and even medical care, all of which contain essential oils. What about your cat, though? Do cats have essential oils? Can cats safely use essential oils? Here is what cat parents need to know.

The Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association (CVMA) said that essential oils, including Ylang-ylang, bergamot, rose, rosemary, sandalwood, eucalyptus, tea tree, cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, lemon, lime, orange, lavender, citrus, peppermint, mint, spearmint, thyme, pine, and wintergreen, are categorically poisonous to cats. These are dangerous whether they are used in diffusers, applied to the skin, or licked up after spills.

These essential oils are recognized as being poisonous to cats because they can cause symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, trembling, ataxia (wobbliness), respiratory distress, low heart rate, low body temperature, and liver failure, depending on the oil involved in the exposure. Move your cat to some fresh air right away and call your vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.

Diffusers can be dangerous despite producing a pleasant aroma and dispersing minute oil droplets into the air using water vapor. It is well known that breathing in diffused oils can cause respiratory issues in both people and animals if they are used in a small space or for a long time.

Keep in mind that animals, such as cats, are much more sensitive to smells than people are. A scent that seems harmless to you may be overpowering and dangerous to an animal.

When a cat’s liver lacks a crucial enzyme, it may have trouble metabolizing and getting rid of some toxins, making essential oils a toxic risk.  Cats are sensitive to the phenols and other phenolic compounds found in essential oils.  Cats are more at risk when there is a higher concentration of essentials.

Above all else, having essential oils at home is something we, as humans, cannot avoid because we are aware of the benefits of doing so, particularly following a long day at work. However, the PDSA, The Vet Charity For Pets In Need, claims that we can keep using essential oils if we reduce the risk to the cats.

There are many ways to reduce risk at home, such as keeping the essential oils up higher or in a place where they won’t be accessed by cats. Before you touch your cat, make sure your hands are completely dry after handling essential oils. Unless the room is already completely ventilated, you may also need to keep your cat out of the area where you use a nebulizer, reed diffuser, or plugin diffuser.

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