Are Essential Oils Poisonous to Cats?

Cats and dogs, and any animal, really, react differently to the things that humans do. There are many things out in the world that pets just can’t handle and aren’t safe for them. Their bodies are different than humans, and they are not built to metabolize, ingest, or digest the way a human can. One of those things is essential oils. Sometimes people make the mistake by thinking that just because something is all-natural, it is not harmful to either themselves, or their pet. But this is just not the case. And some people and pet owners wind up finding out the hard way, that their cat should not have been around certain products or plants, or essential oils.

One cat owner in particular, told her story of how her cat Ernie, nearly had a fatal reaction to an essential oil that she never thought would harm anyone, including a cat. When Ernie’s owner had a head cold, she used Eucalyptus in a diffuser over a few day period. On day three, she began to notice Ernie having symptoms of lethargy and other things. Her husband decided to Google Eucalyptus and cats and discovered that yes, it could in fact be dangerous for cats. Ernie was rushed to the vet for medical care.

According to Tina Wismer, who happens to be the director for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, says that cats are able to absorb essential oils either through their skin, or orally. Some owners may unknowingly put these oils on their cat, for a wound or other reason, and when done in high concentrations, it can cause your cat to become ill, or possibly die if left untreated for the reaction.

Some products for cats, like some flea controls, may have an essential oil in it, but typically very low dose, which can be fine. But high doses of these oils, and especially certain ones, can be very harmful to their respiratory system and other organs.

It is recommended that when you use any product, you should always consult a veterinarian first. You should also avoid using essential oils around your cat, and especially diffusers, that put the oils out into the whole house, unless you isolate your cat in a separate room where he won’t be exposed, and make sure the air is clear before allowing him back in that area. Also, when using a diffuser, you should not use it on a continual basis, day after day. This can help the oils to deposit and settle on all kinds of things in the house that can eventually make it onto your cat’s skin.

The more you know about what is safe and what’s not, for your pet, the better prepared you are to avoid using these around your cat. Talk to your vet to find out what types of products, plants, medications, and essential oils you should avoid around your cat to keep him safe.


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