Are Essential Oils Dangerous to Cats – Essential oils, potpourri, and aromatherapy are commonly used in homes to create a pleasant scent, but they can be hazardous for your cat.
Taking precautions when using these products is important to prevent your cat from having a toxic reaction. If your cat has any liver damage, it is advised to remove these products from its environment.
Are Essential Oils Dangerous to Cats
Toxicity of Essential Oils to Cats
Certain essential oils were believed to be safe for cats in the past.
Cats lack enzymes that help them appropriately metabolize the various compounds in essential oils, particularly phenols. These phenolic compounds are found naturally in some plants and are highly concentrated in essential oils. Essential oils mainly affect the liver.
Essential Oils that are Potentially Toxic to Cats
The following oils are known to contain phenols, and may be toxic to cats:
- Wintergreen oil
- Peppermint oil
- Citrus oil (including lemon oil)
- Tea tree oil (melaleuca oil)
- Pine oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Pennyroyal oil
- Sweet birch oil
- Clove oil
- Ylang ylang oil
The higher the concentration of essential oil, the greater the risk to your cat. If your cat accidentally ingests oils, take it to the veterinarian immediately.
Signs of Essential Oil Poisoning
Cats absorb oils directly in contact with their skin. Inhalation of oils diffused in the air can cause respiratory issues. Oils can also be found on the fur, which results in ingestion when cats lick and clean themselves. Toxicity can occur rapidly or over a more extended period of exposure.
Signs of Essential Oil Poisoning in Cats
If you observe any of these symptoms, move your cat immediately to an area of fresh air and contact your local veterinary emergency center immediately. The veterinary center may have you call a poison hotline for additional guidance on treatment. The veterinarian may note a low heart rate, low blood pressure, and signs of liver failure.
Ways Your Cat May Be Exposed to Essential Oils
Your cat may be exposed to essential oils that you use for your own purposes. Keep any essential oils in a cat-proof cabinet to prevent access by your inquisitive pet. Passive reed diffusers or potpourri pots can be knocked over, exposing your cat to the oil-containing liquid, which can be ingested or absorbed through the skin or fur. Do not allow your pet to lick your skin if you have applied products that contain essential oils.
Essential oil and aromatherapy diffusers, candles, liquid potpourri products, and room sprays are sources of airborne essential oils that cats can inhale, leading to respiratory irritation. If you can smell the fragrance of the oil, there is oil in the air that can affect your cat.
Kittens, elderly cats, or cats with liver or respiratory issues should stay away from any room where essential oil diffusers are used. Do not wear aromatherapy jewelry when you are near your cat.
The Danger of Hydrosols
Hydrosols are often considered to be a more natural and safer alternative to essential oils. They are also known as “flower waters” since they consist of water that remains after steam-distilling flowers or herbs in water and are less concentrated than essential oils.
While hydrosols are safer for use on human skin since they do not require dilution, they are still dangerous for cats and other pets. Residual plant matter may be present in the water and can be poisonous if ingested or even inhaled.
Some pets tolerate hydrosols, but others may be more sensitive. Limit your pet’s access to these products and their scents to reduce the likelihood of health issues.
If you suspect that your pet is ill, call your veterinarian immediately. For health-related inquiries, it is recommended that you always consult your veterinarian as they have examined your pet, know its health history, and can provide the best recommendations for your pet.
Can essential oils be dangerous to cats if ingested?
Yes, essential oils can be dangerous to cats if ingested. Certain compounds found in essential oils can be toxic to cats and cause various health problems.
What are the signs of essential oil poisoning in cats?
The signs of essential oil poisoning in cats may include vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, tremors, weakness, and lethargy. In severe cases, it can lead to liver or kidney failure.
Which essential oils are the most dangerous for cats?
The essential oils that are considered the most dangerous for cats include tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, and citrus oils such as lemon and orange.
Can cats have any essential oils?
Some essential oils are safe for cats in small amounts, such as lavender and chamomile. However, it is important to use caution and always consult with your veterinarian before using any essential oils around your cat.
What should I do if my cat ingests essential oils?
If your cat ingests essential oils, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not attempt to induce vomiting or treat the cat at home, as this can worsen the situation.
How can I keep my cat safe from essential oils?
To keep your cat safe from essential oils, keep them out of reach, avoid using them in your home, and consult with your veterinarian before using any essential oils around your cat. Additionally, be aware of the ingredients in any cleaning or personal care products that you use around your cat.
Can essential oils be used safely around cats if they are diluted?
Diluting essential oils may reduce the risk of toxicity, but it is still important to use caution and consult with your veterinarian before using any essential oils around your cat. Some cats may be more sensitive to essential oils than others, and even a small amount can cause problems.
Are there any alternative ways to freshen my home without using essential oils?
Yes, there are several alternative ways to freshen your home without using essential oils, such as using natural air fresheners like baking soda, vinegar, or activated charcoal, opening windows for ventilation, and keeping your home clean and clutter-free.