As an intimate family member, cats deserve the best care and attention to grow healthy and happy.
Besides giving them high-quality and nutritious food, it is important to keep fleas and ticks away from them. That’s when essential oils come in handy.
However, the quality of such oils can have great impacts, both positive and negative, on their health condition.
This article will update you with information about the essential oils safe for cats so that you can make a more informed choice.
What are essential oils for cats?
Essential oils are organic and volatile substances that are extracted from plants through the process of distillation and cold pressing.
Essential oils often determine the taste and fragrance of the plants that contain them.
Essential oils have a wide range of applications in our daily life, including personal care product, flavorings, insecticides, aromatherapies, herbal remedies as well as liquid potpourri.
In comparison with dogs, cats tend to be more susceptible to certain essential oil toxicities.
Due to the lack of “gluconuridation”, they run into trouble of metabolizing many compounds, which are likely to gather or be broken down into toxic metabolites.
The smaller your cat is, the more possible he is poisoned by small amounts of oil.
As a poison to cats, phenols are often found in some essential oils, which can cause liver failure and other serious health problems.
In addition, regarding cats’ sensitive respiratory tract, they may develop adverse reactions to inhaled substances when exposed to volatile oils.
Therefore, you need to check the components of each essential oil carefully before deciding to buy it.
Don’t risk your cat’s health by purchasing low-quality or cheap essential oils, but go for essential oils safe for cats.
Type of essential oils
Not all essential oils are suitable for pet use. Here is the list of essential oils safe for cats!
Essential oils for fleas on cats
Fleas and ticks are a common bother in most households that adopt pets.
Compared to dangerous chemicals and poisons, essential oils offer a much more natural and affordable treatment to deter insects from harming your pets.
It is pleasant aromas, not chemical odors, which linger on after spraying. Below are some popular oils that are used to repel oils and fleas.
Ranking among the best essential oils for flea prevention, it is also useful in preventing ticks.
This natural essential oil is a good choice for household use because of its powerful insect repellent properties.
However, it is easier to provoke reactions in cats than some other oils, so you should use it moderately on your cat or in a spray bottle for certain areas around your house.
Citronella is widely known for its effectiveness in fighting against mosquitoes.
In addition, such essential oil also proves helpful in keeping fleas and ticks out of your feline friend.
Though not killing ticks and fleas, this oil acts as an effective repellent against them.
Essential oils for the mood on cats
Another wonderful benefit of lavender oil is its capacity for relaxation and stress relief.
Serving as a nervous system restorative, it can help your pet get a sound sleep while dealing with restlessness and irritability.
With a distinct floral aroma, bergamot essential oil is of much help in relieving stress without provoking lethargy and depleting energy.
Its effect has been proved in a study on stress in rats.
Thanks to its calming and grounding properties, this earthy oil has been effectively applied to cats that suffer from a period of trauma.
Like lavender, ylang ylang essential oil can be used to help with sleeplessness with its wonderful sedative nature.
It provides a sweet blend of calming and uplifting effects.
Chamomile essential oil helps promote inner harmony while putting pets at great ease.
Especially in uncomfortable surroundings, it can support the relief of agitation because of its calming scent.
Essential oils for healthy skin
In terms of cat skin irritations and allergies, cedarwood, myrrh, and marjoram offer a great solution.
In particular, marjoram is also helpful in reducing inflammation and relaxing the nervous system.
Pets digested with digestive discomfort can benefit from such essential oil.
Essential oils for joint pain and arthritis in cats
As your pets age, they tend to suffer from arthritis and hip dysplasia, resulting in discomfort in their every movement.
One natural and holistic method of relief you can give them is a blend of ginger essential oil.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, your pets can find it much easier to move around. In addition, ginger can serve as a digestive aid.
How to use
Though essential oils are relatively safe for cats, it doesn’t mean you cat will get used to those oils.
That’s why testing beforehand is of utmost importance.
Before using essential oils on your cat, remember to start slow.
Expose them to the smell of oils to see whether they are comfortable with the scents.
Let’s start by wearing oils around your cat and hold them tightly to check their reaction.
Otherwise, try spraying oils in the playroom of your furry friend.
In any case, don’t forget to leave a door open. Your furry friend can walk out if the smell is overwhelming.
If they don’t feel at ease, don’t insist on applying that oil again in the sense that extreme responses may occur.
To create a solution to ticks and fleas, it is advisable that you take these following suggestions:
- For bathing: dilute shampoo with 2 drops of the essential oil.
- For spraying around the house: pour around 15 – 20 drops of oil into a water bottle and shake it roughly.
- For use on cat collar: create a mixture of 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil and 15 drops of an essential oil before applying it to the collar.
To prepare shampoo for a cat bath, you can mix essential oils safe for cats like peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils together with two drops of each type in about 12 ounces of water. Add one tablespoon of castile soap to the mixture. Put all the ingredients into a well-lidded jar and shake it up.
It’s time for your cat to enjoy bathing. Wet him down and rinse carefully. You can use pure aloe vera rather than water for a more soothing shampoo.
For dry and itchy skin, let’s blend 10 drops of lavender oil with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. After that, massage the mixture into cat fur.
By this way, the itch can be relieved while bacteria will be killed. Your feline friend can enjoy the nerve calming effect of lavender essential oil as well.
To help cure the ear infection, you can dilute peppermint oil before applying it along ears’ outside parts and on the fur region down the ear tube.
Be careful not to let the oil stream inside the ears for fear that it may burn the ears. If possible, consult your vet first to see whether this method is safe to do at home yourself.
There is another home remedy you can apply to the ear infection.
Combine lavender, geranium, and melaleuca essential oils (5 drops of each) in organic coconut oil (one tablespoon).
After finishing cleaning, use a cotton swab to rub around the inside ear crevices. Repeat this twice a day until no signs of ear infection are detected.
When it comes to applying essential oils to cats, one of the most common questions is “can I diffuse essential oils around my cat?” It depends.
Generally speaking, pet owners are not recommended to directly pour oil on the fur or skin of cats, except in case of healing wounds, eliminating fleas or relieving joint pain.
However, it is advisable that you consult the vet for permission. After investigating your pet’s medical history, he or she can give useful advice on the best and safest way to take care of him with essential oils.
Since essential oils taken from the bottle are too potent for direct use, you’d better resort to diffusers like a nebulizer instead to minimize risks of irritation in cats.
Some cats may see being sprayed with oils as a kind of punishment so they can develop extremist reactions to oil application later on.
In the worst scenarios, cats try to lick off the substance, which is extremely dangerous. Oil ingestion is a much easier way for cats to consume toxins into their bodies.
Watch out for petting your furry friend after applying essential oils to your own skin.
Cuddling is normally a good way to communicate between pet owners and their pets, but a little negligence can lead to serious issues.
Remember to rinse your hands first to wash left oils. Keep your pet away from any area where you just use oils.
As natural substances, essential oils are clearly strong, so they require no special storage.
You can store oils like medicines in a medicine cabinet. In case no room is available in the cupboard, a storage box with a tight lid may do a great alternative.
Afterward, place that box on a high shelf or the kitchen counter beyond the reach of curious animals.
Both diluted and pure essential oils can be harmful to digest. It depends on the type of oil is used. Thus, it is necessary to safely tuck oils away after use and wipe away any spills that are left after spraying with a diffuser or mixing with carrier oils.
When it comes to storing essential oil diffusers, you ought to put them away out of your pet’s sight.
Avoid places that he often hangs around, sleeps or eats. In the sense that a minimal amount of essential oils can pervade a small room even if sprayed from a corner, don’t let him sleep under a diffuser for the sake of his health.
DIY essential oil
Essential oil based flea collar
To eliminate fleas in cats, most pet owners go for flea collars.
However, cats are likely to groom and lick the area surrounding the collar, which increases the absorption of nasty chemicals into their bodies.
If your cat is too sensitive to chemicals available in commercial flea collars, you can consider making a flea-repellant essential oil yourself to replace.
Steps are rather simple and you can follow them easily. In addition, ingredients are readily available and cheap while proving effective in protecting cats from fleas.
Firstly, buy a collar made from soft material. Then, mix up half of an alcohol teaspoon, one drop of citronella, one drop of thyme, and one drop of cedarwood.
After that, blend with 2 garlic capsules that are emptied out. Soak the collar into the mixture and wait until it is fully absorbed. Leave it dry and put it around your pet’s neck.
Handmade essential oils for coat improvement
If you don’t want to use collars, you can refer to another recipe for making essential oils safe for cats’ flea deterrence as follows.
Prepare one glass spray bottle, 1-quart fresh water, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and about 3 drops of lavender or cedarwood.
If you can’t find apple cider vinegar, white distilled vinegar can do a great alternative.
First, mix water with vinegar and add in oil drops. Blend all the ingredients together.
Next, pour the mixture into the spray bottle. Now mist your cat body thoroughly. Be careful not to spray into his face, especially eyes, ears, and nose.
If you want to apply oils to his neck or ear back, spraying the mixture onto a soft cloth and wipe it around the desired areas. If necessary, wipe it on your cat’s bedding.
Are essential oils safe for cats?
Cat metabolism is rather different from that of other animals.
They cannot break down and remove metabolites and chemicals from their bodies.
Therefore, the presence of chemicals and medications in the environment will pose cats’ health at risk.
Given that they are fond of grooming, bear in mind to keep them away from direct contact with essential oils, both diluted and undiluted, or condensate that may linger on their coat.
If not, they may lick and ingest toxic chemicals. Your skin is no exception.
Do essential oils hurt cats?
Generally speaking, cats run high risks of being poisoned with tea tree oil and nutmeg oil. However, if the application of essential oils for cats is kept under control with a just adequate amount, your cat will suffer from hardly any harm.
Does lavender scent affect cats badly?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. In fact, cats can cope with very few essential oils, excluding lavender.
Lavender is definitely not a safe substance for ingestion. Thus, try to place the diffuser filled with lavender oil in a secure place that your little friend cannot approach.
Is it safe for cats to stay near essential oil diffusers?
With the mass appearance of essential oil diffusers on the market nowadays, owners should take care when using and storing them besides essential oils.
A diffuser can be a source of toxic risk, too. More importantly, you must never apply concentrated essential oils directly to your cat.
Which essential oils are suitable for calming cats?
When it comes to calming scents, lavender emerges as the most common and effective calming essence for your feline companion.
Likewise, Roman chamomile has a similar soothing effect in addition to prevent cat skin from coming out in a rash.
If necessary, you can take aromatherapy into account, which often mixes some oils up for huge effects. Hydrosols can be a great alternative.
Are citrus essential oils safe for cats?
The answer is no. On contrary to most people’s thinking, citrus oils contain polyphenolic compounds that do harm to cats’ liver detoxify.
In the long run, toxins will build up in their body, resulting in serious health problems. Therefore, try to refrain from using lemon, orange, and grapefruit essential oils for your feline friend.
In addition, other oils like birch, clove, cinnamon, thyme, tea tree, oregano, and wintergreen should be included on the blacklist, too.
Which essential oils are not cat-friendly?
The essential oils that possibly do harm to your cat include peppermint oil, wintergreen oil, tea tree oil, citrus oil (including lemon oil), eucalyptus oil, pennyroyal oil, cinnamon oil, pine oil, and so on. Make sure not to go for these options when choosing a suitable essential oil for your furry friend.
Do cats like the scent of cinnamon essential oil?
Cats are extremely sensitive to smells so a pleasant scent to human beings may turn out overwhelming for a cat. In terms of cinnamon essential oil, try to use it for your cat as little as possible. Most cats tend to hate the scent of cinnamon when it becomes a kind of flea repellent.
Are there any essential oils safe to diffuse around pets?
Although essential oils can be diffused around pets, you need to be extremely careful during the diffusion.
To limit the negative reactions of your furry friend to essential oil exposure, make sure to use diffusers in an open space with a free circulation of air.
If this is the very first time you try diffusing around your pet, keep a close watch on him to see his reactions upon sensing the scent.
If he is uncomfortable, immediately stop diffusion and open nearby windows to let fresh air in.
One more advice is to only carry out diffusion in your presence. Under no circumstances should you leave a pet and a running diffuser together.
After use, store both diluted and undiluted essential oils in a secure place beyond the reach of your children and animals.
Can peppermint oil calm cats?
Peppermint oil is available in a wide range of household items, including candles, potpourri, and essential oil kits.
Some people may be misled that cats will enjoy the scent of peppermint because catmint or catnip is their favorite. However, in fact, peppermint oil and cats should by no means go together. Peppermint may put your cat in discomfort and even pose a grave health risk. Therefore, it isn’t recommended by vets for household use.
Is tea tree effective in killing fleas on cats?
When diluted and used at a guaranteed level, tea tree oil can act as an effective deterrent to fleas.
However, it is classified into the group of “especially risky” herbal treatments by the Merck Veterinary Manual. Your pet can become seriously sick in case he licks the oil off during grooming his fur.
What are the signs of cat essential oil poisoning?
Not all essential oils are suitable for cat use, so essential oil poisoning is rather popular among cats.
Pay attention to these symptoms, including vomiting; difficulty in breathing or walking; drooling; fragrance in breath or vomit or on coat, skin; weakness or lethargy; constant pawing at the face or mouth; muscle tremors; redness on the gums, lips, tongue, or skin; etc.
If you detect any of such symptoms in your cat, take him to the vet clinic for professional treatment as soon as possible. Or else, he may suffer from more serious health problems if left unattended or untreated for a long time.
In summary, if properly used, essential oils can bring about numerous benefits for cats.
Therefore, it is important that you know about essential oils safe for cats to maximize their benefits.
If possible, let’s consult your vet for more detail instructions on applying essential oils to your cat on the basis of his health condition.
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