Cats and Essential Oils

Cats and Essential Oils

So, it seems at the moment there is a “viral post” doing the rounds on social media about an old cat who was poisoned by essential oils. In particular the listed offender being eucalyptus. Many Essential oils were also said to be toxic including lavender, orange, lemon and tea tree. I really felt the need not only to set the record straight but to also put information out there to help people use essential oils safely with their pets. Our family is your standard aussie family, 1 dog & 1 cat in this home. Essential Oils have been a great tool in supporting my bulldog’s skin and anxiety issues. I have said it many times, and will continue to say it – Essential oils NEED to be treated with respect. You cannot guestimate essential oil usage, just because they are natural doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be used with the upmost care in mind. Essential Oils are potent, it takes 45 lemons to make ONE 15ml bottle of essential oil. One single drop is often all it takes to see the therapeutic benefits.

So, can you use your beloved essential oils around your pets? It seems to be the question on so many people’s minds at the moment. My answer… ABSOLUTELY. From what I gather, the person purchased her essential oils off amazon. This ring’s the first alarm bell for me, how did she know she was actually using pure essential oils? Synthetic fragrances and “essential oils” that are cheap are FULL of toxic crap, to both your pets and humans. But most STILL continue to burn candles in their home and spray perfume all over the largest organ of their body. Often many cheap oils are full of synthetic “fillers” to make the pure oil stretch. Only a tiny amount of pure oil needs to be in the bottle for it to be classed as “Pure Essential Oil”. You get what you pay for, and of course the source of where it came from should be an extremely important part of your purchase.

So, let’s talk about Eucalyptus and your furry friends. Eucalyptus seems to have a bad wrap at the moment, from using with infants to of course with cats and dogs. Of course, all 3 are completely different and should be treated differently when using essential oils. Essential Oils are used in many natural flea treatments, shampoos and creams for your furry friends. It is so important to understand that what is good for dogs, may not be the case for your feline friends. Unlike dogs, cats don’t have a whole lot of metabolising enzymes in their liver, so this makes their tolerance to essential oils lower. When using essential oils, you are/should be using them in 100% pure form, since they are pure only a tiny amount will ever be required. Whilst Eucalyptus isn’t on the toxic list for cats, it should be used with care. Especially if your pet is quite young or a senior animal.

There are TWO types of compounds found in essential oils that can be toxic to cats –

Phenol – Phenol is similar in molecular structure to an alcohol, phenols have their hydroxyl group attached to an aromatic hydrocarbon ring. It can also be quite irritating to humans too and should be used heavily diluted. Cinnamon, clove, thyme and oregano fall in this category. They are “Hot” oils and of course should always be used with the upmost of care.

Monoterpene Hydrocarbons – Terpenes are a large class of compounds that naturally occur in plants, basically a monoterpene is the aromatic ring that is attached to the molecule. There are quite a few essential oils that contain monoterpene hydrocarbons and the oils that contain these components are –

  • Terpineol: pine oil, and petitgrain oil
  • Limonene: common in citrus oils lemon, wild orange etc.
  • Pinene: pine oil and other coniferous plants such as fir.

So what steps can you take to look after your beloved cats and continue to use essential oils within your home?

  1. Make sure the oils you use within your home are PURE, If your furry friend has a reaction to an oil that is not known to be toxic to cats/dogs then you can bet your last dollar that the oil you own is not pure.
  2. If you are cleaning your home with essential oils or even chemicals just be mindful of the fact that cats are really that little bit more precious, So only use small amounts and try to avoid the oils that are known to be toxic to cats.
  3. When you are using essential oils whether it be filling up your diffuser or applying topically, make sure you wash your hands before feeding your pet or even patting them. This will ensure they will not come into contact with high traces of essential oils.
  4. If you are diffusing essential oils within your home, Diffuse in an open area. Always give your pet the option to be able to leave the space. Many animals will show no signs of toxicity or even have any sort of effect on them, your animals know their body. Give them the option to leave.
  5. If you do happen to accidentally get essential oils on your pet’s fur, dilute in the same way you would for humans. Simply apply a carrier oil i.e. fractionated coconut oil quite heavily to dilute the oil right down. If you have any doubts about your pet’s health, take them to a vet.

So what oils are known to be toxic to cats?

  • Wild Orange – Lemon
  • Lime – Bergamot
  • Tangerine – Mandarin
  • Tangerine – Neroli
  • Litsea – Invigorating Blend
  • Joyful Blend – Protective Blend
  • Cinnamon – Cassia
  • Clove – Thyme
  • Oregano – Siberian Fir
  • White Fir – Fir
  • Cypress – Tea Tree
  • Birch – Camphor (The Tree not the synthetic version)
  • Petitgrain – Juniper
  • Spruce – Blue Tansy
  • Tansy – Grounding Blend
  • Wintergreen
  • Peppermint

If you are introducing essential oils for the first time around your pets, make sure you are around to watch over your pets. It only takes approximately 20 minutes for essential oils to affect every cell in your body, they work fast. So usually if there are any ill effects it will be within the first half an hour. Always give your pet the option to leave the room. As always please remember to use care when using your beautiful and highly potent essential oils within your home.

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