Thoughts for Thursday – Essential Oils Are NOT For Cats

Lily with battery-operated candle.

I received a notice yesterday warning against using essential oils around cats. I don’t use them, but it would never have occurred to me that these oils would be dangerous for our furry friends. When I saw this message, I knew this would be the theme of my blog this morning. If you are using essentials oils for cosmetic, dietary, or spiritual purposes—to freshen the scents in your home, for massage, to enhance your daily bath, ingest or inhale, be warned that this practice could be dangerous to your cats.

Some essential oils are touted to be used in treating ear mites and fleas in cats. However, we’re now being told that while essential oils may be safe for humans and even horses and dogs and other animals, cats lack the liver enzymes to break down the compounds in the same way the human and other animal bodies do. So this great idea–to use essential oils in treating cats, is now a seriously definite no-no.

As you know, cats are also highly sensitive to chemicals such as insecticides and herbicides, along with a whole list of plants and some foods. Chocolate, garlic, and onions, for example, should not be given to cats. This even makes baby food and seemingly benign chicken broth, for example, off limits to our cats.

Now after reading this, don’t assume that you can go ahead and use essential oils to freshen the air you breathe. If it’s the same air your cat breathes, the essential oils simply wafting through the air in your home can harm her.

FYI, the most dangerous are citrus scents, pine, spruce, thyme, clove, lavender. But before using essential oils do your own study to discover those that may be safer. And keep in mind that our cats’ sense of smell is many times stronger than ours, so even a safe aromatic scent should be used cautiously and in moderation around your feline friends and this might include using hairspray, perfume, and cleaning products.

Here are a few sites where you can get additional information. I’d be interested in knowing if any of you have used essential oils around your cat. Have you lost a cat to this or another seemingly benign product?


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