403.246.1115

Essential Oils

We keep getting questions from clients about essential oils in cats, and we have done a few Facebook posts about them, but it’s time to put ‘pen’ to paper!
Essential oils come in various formats and types, from the ones you diffuse in your home, to the ones you may use on yourself. The difference with cats is that they lack a liver enzyme that dogs and we have and that makes it hard for them to process exposure to essential oil metabolites and clear the toxic properties from their system.

Ones that have been known to cause poisoning in cats are tea tree oil, pine, clove, cinnamon, citrus, eucalyptus, wintergreen, and peppermint. The purer an oil source is, the more potent the toxicity to cats. Symptoms can range from short-term (drooling, vomiting, respiratory distress) to long-term (liver failure). It has become so common, we now ask about essential oil exposure in cats that we see with changes in their liver enzymes on blood work.

How can you keep your cat safe and still enjoy essential oils? Be aware of what you are using. If you are diffusing an essential oil in a room make sure your cat is able to leave the room to a place that has ‘fresh’ air. Do NOT put any essential oil on your cat. While lavender is touted for its relaxing benefits, there have been case reports of cats having an adverse reaction to it, so keep that in mind when thinking about buying lavender stress collars. Do NOT use an active essential oil diffuser which actually sprays micro-particles of essential oils into the air. Listen to your cat – if he/she heads for the hills every time you use a certain scent, it’s likely bothering them. Their sense of smell is twice as strong as ours, so understand they may not like essential oils as much as you do. If your pet is having any concerning symptoms, let your vet know if there has been any essential oil exposure.

For further information check out: The Pet Poison Helpline

Written by Dr. Tasha Kean, DVM

I've been taking my cats to the Killarney Cat Hospital for over 12 years now, mostly on an annual basis.…

Libby Alger

This clinic is amazing and so caring. I recommend seeing them for sure! They always treated my cat with the…

Amber Grant

The staff were quick and helpful - and the vet was wonderful, took the time listen to my concerns and…

Clare Sheerin

I have a friend going through a very hard time, and her poor boy Batman got sick. She was in…

Ruff Tusk

Great service and responsible prices, my cat who hates new things was so calm and cool while there thanks…

Olivia Dutka

Blog

How to Make a First-Aid Kit for Your Cat

Cats have a very strong immune system, but sometimes they need a little help recovering from an injury.

Read More
See All Articles