Are Essential Oils Safe for Cats?

Are Essential Oils Safe for Cats?

We love using Paradise Springs essential oils around the home. Whether you’re diffusing them, adding them to your favorite DIY beauty recipes, using them with soaps and natural cleaning agents or any other application, there’s no shortage of ways to incorporate these essential oils into your daily routine. However wonderful these natural aromatic compounds may be, you may find yourself with questions if you have cats (or any four-legged companion) in your home. Are they safe? Can I diffuse them without harming my feline friend? The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. Keep reading to find out our guidelines for essential oils and animal safety.

Essential oils are pure, concentrated compounds steam distilled or cold pressed from plants, flowers, fruit and other natural botanicals. While synthetic oils do exist (which can be dangerous to humans as well as animals), we will only be focusing on 100% pure essential oils in this blog, such as those available from Paradise Springs. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), essential oils in their concentrated form can pose a danger to pets. Cats (or dogs) who have walked through oils, ingested them in their concentrated form, or inadvertently gotten some on their coats can develop health concerns. Symptoms may include:

  • Unsteadiness
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Low body temperature
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Dangerous Essential Oils for Cats

Cats lack certain enzymes to metabolize compounds in essential oils, particularly phenols, which occur naturally in some plants. The inability to metabolize phenols can affect liver health in cats, which can adversely affect other biological functions throughout the body. Because certain plants contain more phenols than others, cats are at higher risk for toxicity to the following essential oils:

  • Wintergreen Oil
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Citrus Oils (such as Lemon or Orange Oil)
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Pine Oil
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Cinnamon Oil
  • Ylang Ylang Oil

If you notice drooling, vomiting, tremors, respiratory distress or any other adverse symptoms you believe are the result of essential oil exposure, move your cat to fresh air and consult your veterinarian if symptoms do not subside. 

Can I Still Use My Diffuser?

According to APCC, using an oil diffuser for a short period of time in a secured area (one that your pet cannot directly access) is not likely to be an issue. This is because essential oils are are highly diluted with water when diffused, compared to their concentrated form. Ensure that your diffuser is not in a location where your cat can knock it over, and always secure essential oil bottles with their lids and move them out of common areas. If your cat has a history of respiratory issues, play it safe and discontinue diffusing essential oils in rooms your pet has access to, and be extra mindful not to diffuse oils that may be more toxic (such as the ones listed above).



What About Cleaning and Beauty Recipes?

Like diffusers, cleaning and DIY beauty recipes (typically) contain small amounts of essential oils that are diluted with water and other natural ingredients. Opt for natural recipes that use small amounts of essential oils, avoiding recipes that call for more concentrated amounts of these natural compounds. Always store your DIY recipes in a tightly-sealed container according to recipe instructions, and be sure to store items in a place where your pet cannot knock them over. When using cleaning recipes, be mindful to clean thoroughly, leaving no residue from essential oils on areas to which your cat may access.

The Bottom Line

While we love essential oils and believe in their benefits for humans, we want to be as transparent as possible in addressing pet safety so you can enjoy your Paradise Springs essential oils safely without risk to your cat, dog or other pets (however, please note: if you have pet birds or parrots, we advise not diffusing essential oils as their respiratory tracts are very sensitive). Practice common pet safety and pet-proof your space as much as possible to enjoy the benefits of essential oils without risk to your pet.


Looking for essential oils? Click here to shop Paradise Springs.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views cited do not necessarily represent the views of Nature's Lab or its affiliated brands.