Blog Member FAQ: Essential Oils and Cats-What do I need to know?
When I get a good question, I like it post it here to give you guys information.
My latest question is about EO’s and cats.
As a mom of 3 fur babies, it’s important to me to consider their health in everything I do from picking the right food for them, to medicinal applications, to choosing the right vet, vaccines and holistic remedies.
A lot of information is out there about using essential oils on cats and it can be extremely daunting and confusing trying to find out what is best and what is harmful.
Let’s start with a cat’s basic body system…just like any other mammal, they metabolize things differently. While we, as humans, may be able to drink milk, for instance, maybe not the best comparison but stay with me; a cat can’t metabolize that as well as we can, contrary to popular belief. Cow’s milk causes digestion problems such as diarrhea in cats and even though that is one of the first things we think of when feeding a stray cat, it can cause more problems than are worth it.
Now while milk isn’t necessarily toxic, some essential oils can be due to how the cat metabolizes and uses that “chemical” in their system.
The reason I say “chemical” is because of the compounds found in certain essential oils. These compounds are not metabolized by the liver safely and can not only cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, but also serious symptoms like dysfunction of the liver.
I will describe two compounds in essential oils that are considered the toxic compound to look out for: Phenols and Hydrocarbons.
Now this can get very scientific so I will try to explain it easily and the way that I understood it.
Phenols are going to be the oxygenated compounds and their properties are the bactericidal, antiseptic, stimulating group.
Phenols include the “minty” type oils such as peppermint, cinnamon, tea tree, camphor, citronella, and the like.
Hydrocarbons (monoterpenes) are going to be the anti-inflammatory, analgesic group.
These are made up of mostly terpenes and they are going to be the “spices and pine” and “citrus” such as garlic, oregano, sage, dill, lemon, lime, pine, fir, birch, and similar.
If you look at the graphic down below, you’ll notice that all the oils listed as toxic to cats have similar properties in these groups, we either have “spicy” oils or “minty” oils.
The reason I put them in quotations is because it’s an easier way to remember what is safe and what is not when choosing oils.
Now, this is not to say that every single oil with these properties are toxic, but I choose to avoid them completely because why take the risk, right?
The easiest way to remember is to print a list and keep it with you or handy on your phone when buying essential oils.
Now when I am concerned and want to be as safe as possible, here is what I do and these are the most important rules to remember—
1. Dilute! Dilute! Dilute!-You should dilute more than you would for yourself so follow this chart and dilute by 2.
2. Hydrosols. Hydrosols are excellent choices for animals because the “scent” in the hydrosol is taken from the flower of the plant. Hydrosols are the remains of the aroma after it’s been distilled and steamed. You may have heard of these being called flower waters. These are safe in the sense you can spray their bedding and you can use it directly from the bottle. They do need to be kept cold to help them last longer and I have mine in my fridge and I spritz it on my face for a quick, refreshing and healthy face mist.
3. Diffuse in a wide-open room that allows for a pet to leave the room to get away from the scent. What one pet might like, another may hate. Don’t diffuse when a pet is in a closed room or cage and choose a diffuser with various settings so you can control how much mist is released and for how long.
4. “If in doubt, do without.” This saying is something my mom said to me all the time. It was her way of teaching me to follow my gut and I use it for just about anything I am unsure of from essential oils to buying household products! The reason is because your gut is there to tell you something, it’s your safety radar and if your gut says,”Hmm, I’m not sure about this”, then just don’t do it. This goes for treating our animals too. Pets can’t talk to us in our language (I sure wish they could) and it’s hard to know what they are feeling physically and emotionally. If a pet cannot say that they don’t like the oil or it’s causing them problems, we won’t know and so it’s best to not take the chance.
I know this is a lot of information and I didn’t want to get too confusing. If you are unsure, do your research and ALWAYS reach out to your local vet about what is safe on animals. There are also vets online who work exclusively with EO’s so you can get a better idea of what not to use and what is safe. Also, if your pet already has illnesses or conditions, EO may not be safe for various reasons so again, discuss with your vet first!Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. All opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the company or product I am reviewing.
Disclaimer: Sweet Honeybee Health and it’s owners are not medical professionals. Content on this website is intended for informational purposes only. I research and write on numerous health topics and companies. Do not use the information you find on this site as medical advice. You are encouraged to seek the advice of a medical professional prior to trying any health remedy, no matter how safe or risk-free it may claim to be.
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