The recent popularity of essential oils (EOs) in our homes and on our persons has led to questions about their safety when used around our feline friends. It is important to consider the potential for adverse effects when using these products. This does not necessarily mean you can’t use EOs for you or your home, but it should be done with caution and care around your cats.

Cats are unique creatures in many ways, including their metabolism of certain foods, medications and chemicals including EOs. Due to their lack of a few key liver enzymes, cats may demonstrate sensitivities and toxicities to certain compounds which may seem “safe” otherwise. Not all EOs contain the same level of potentially toxic compounds and concentrations can vary from those in potpourri fragrance to “therapeutic” grades meant for topical or diffuser use. Ingestion and skin exposure can lead to toxic effects, but inhalation can also be irritating and hazardous.

Potential adverse effects or signs of toxicity can include: lethargy, wheezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, drooling, pawing at the mouth and vomiting. Contact your veterinarian, local veterinary emergency clinic or the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 ($59.00 per incident) if you see these signs in your cat after exposure to essential oils.

 

Some basics to remember:

  1. Never apply essential oils directly to your cat

  2. Always thoroughly wash your hands after you’ve applied EOs to yourself and before handling your cat.

  3. Avoid allowing your cat to come into contact with skin or other surfaces that have had EOs applied.

  4. Keep all EOs in a safe place out of reach of curious cats.

  5. Do not use EOs to clean objects that your cat may lick or touch.

  6. If a diffuser is turned on, make sure your cat has access to fresh air and the ability to leave the room where the diffuser is being used.

  7. Avoid using diffusers if your cat has a history of asthma, allergic airway disease or an upper respiratory infection.

 

If you have further questions or concerns, call us at 916-988-7111

Resources

Essential Oils

CAT CLINIC OF FOLSOM

6693 Folsom-Auburn Rd. Ste N. 

Folsom, CA 95630

P: 916-988-7111

F: 916-988-2697

© 2019 Cat Clinic of Folsom