Are Essential Oils Safe Around Cats?

Are Essential Oils Safe Around Cats_

If you haven’t seen the viral Facebook post about a cat (Ernie) that got sick from an essential oil, you likely will in the next few days. It’s gone viral. Sigh. As an animal and essential oil lover, let me clarify a few things for you. YOU CAN SAFELY USE MANY OILS ON AND AROUND CATS. Do not let this viral Facebook post totally freak you out! Essential oils WILL NOT rid the planet of cats and you do not necessarily need to throw away your essential oils! Trust me, I have researched this like you wouldn’t believe over the last 4 years. Cats do metabolize things very differently than other animals (and humans) and they can indeed develop toxicity to many things, including essential oils. Despite this though, you can actually use oils safely on and around cats (and your cat will benefit from it) if you follow certain rules (see below).

# 1. Quality is huge!!! The Facebook post mentions that the essential oils were purchased from Amazon. Please, please, please DO NOT under any circumstance buy your oils from Amazon, Walmart, Bath & Body Works, the grocery (or health food store), etc without actually knowing details about the product and brand/company from which you are buying. You may save a few bucks, but you could unknowingly be getting a synthetic fragrance and this is far more dangerous to an animal (especially a cat) than the real thing. The FDA allows a perfume to legally be labeled and sold as an essential oil. No joke. Don’t believe me? I’m happy to show you where on the FDA website I found that. Do I trust Young Living the most? Absolutely! But if you feel you must purchase another brand, please do your research and make sure that oil is legit!! You owe it to your pet!

#2. The Facebook post also states that the cat loves to sleep with her and was exposed for at least 4 days from a diffuser running through the night. While we don’t know what type of diffuser was used, if the bedroom door was shut, or if the cat slept under the covers, any of these situations can create a highly concentrated environment that is not appropriate for cats. When diffusing oils around pets, use a water based diffuser, take breaks (your diffuser shouldn’t be going all day or all night), and NEVER lock them in a room with a diffuser. Animals are very intuitive and they will usually move to another room if they do not like or cannot tolerate an oil (which will in turn keep them safe).

#3. While the Facebook post doesn’t mention topical essential oil application, I think it’s important to review safety regarding this. If you apply oils to a cat, you must dilute the oil like you would if you were applying it to a baby. This means that 1 drop of essential oil should be diluted in 1 Tablespoon of carrier oil (olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, etc). THEN, a small PART of that is applied to your cat. Something to be mindful of is if you put oils on yourself, do pet your cat soon after without washing your hands? This can be a way of applying too much essential oil to a cat that many do not think about. If you plan to apply oils directly to your pet, please invest in a reference guide that is specific to animals.

#4. Pay attention and keep an eye on your pet’s behavior. Your pet will exhibit signs of being uncomfortable before it were to get dangerously ill. If you notice your pet acting odd, take a break, and abstain from oil use for a while. And NEVER EVER fix an essential oil problem with another essential oil.

#5. There are a wide range of opinions on which oils are safe for cats and this can also vary greatly by brand/quality. The Facebook post mentions Eucalyptus essential oil as the culprit in this circumstance. Tea Tree is also a common essential oil you will hear of as not being safe for cats. However, every report I’ve read of incidents where cats get very sick or die from essential oil use is because someone used a WAY TO MUCH of a LOW QUALITY essential oil on or around their poor cat.

# 6. Use some caution with essential oils that are high in phenols such as cassia, clove, oregano, thyme, and mountain savory, as well as oils high in monoterpenes like citrus oils, pine, spruce, and fir. While you should exercise some caution, you don’t necessarily need to completely avoid these oils all together. Instead, you may just want to mix it up versus diffusing the same essential oil constantly. This is good for your cat’s system AND your health!

Now, share this blog post versus the Facebook post about Ernie so we can properly educate oil users and cat lovers instead of just freaking people out. :)

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