Cats & Essential Oils

Author: Amy Holloway

What’s better than a home that smells of sweet essential oils and helps you to relax through their aromatherapy properties? Your cat might not feel the same way though.

Many essential oils are toxic to cats and can cause serious respiratory problems if inhaled, as well as other health concerns.

Essential oils that are known to cause poisoning in cats include (but are not limited to):

  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus (d-limonene)
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Sweet birch
  • Tea tree (melaleuca)
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang ylang

Find out which essential oils are toxic to dogs

Symptoms that develop will depend on the type of essential oil your cat has been exposed to, whether they have inhaled it, ingested it or have it on their skin, and can include:

  • Ataxia (wobbliness)
  • Drooling
  • Liver failure
  • Low heart rate
  • Low body temperature
  • Respiratory distress
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

Talk to our team if you have concerns about essential oil poisoning

Types of essential oil devices

Aromatherapy essential oils can exist in things like candles, liquid potpourri products, aerosol sprays, passive diffusers, or they could be applied to skin like a perfume.

passive diffuser works by evaporating the oil to produce a pleasant aroma – these include:

  1. Reed diffusers – the reeds soak up the oil and disperse its fragrance into the air
  2. Heat diffusers – inc. plug-in/electric oil diffusers, candle burners or table top warmers – use heat to evaporate the oil
  3. Personal evaporative diffusers – jewellery such as necklace pendants and bracelets  – use room air currents to diffuse the aroma
  4. Motorised diffusers – use a fan to blow air through a filter/pad that has been permeated with the essential oil

Active diffusers work by emitting actual micro droplets or particles of the oil into the air, in addition to the oil’s aroma. These include nebulising diffusers (pressurised high-speed air stream with atomising nozzle) and ultrasonic diffusers (electric current causes an instrument to emit a vibration).

The droplets dispersed may be small, but they still pose a risk to cats. Depending on the cat’s proximity to the dispenser, the essential oil micro droplets may collect on the cat’s fur, and the oil can be absorbed directly through the skin or ingested during grooming.

If you think your cat has been exposed to a toxic essential oil, get in touch with our team day or night on 01527 889810.