By Hope Johnson~
Educated, responsible use of essential oils for cats may benefit them in many of the same ways that essential oils benefit us. However, due to their size, metabolism and other factors, cats cannot tolerate all the same natural oils and application methods that humans (or even other pets) can. Safe use of essential oils for cats requires care and vigilance. And just like people, while some cats benefit from one or more natural essential oils, others cannot tolerate any at all. Read more to learn how to safely determine if essential oils can be a beneficial part of your feline-family member’s life.
The Safest and Best Essential Oils for Cats
Cats make amazing companions; they sleep for about 18 hours a day and can be great to snuggle with. Sometimes though, they have health or behavioral complications that are difficult to address. For some cats, pure essential oils, diffused in the home or well-diluted in a carrier oil, can be a great option to calm them, support their health and reduce anxiety or bad behaviors.
Here are a few of our favorite essential oils for cats:
- Cedarwood Essential Oil, known for its insect-repelling properties, is also revered as a calming oil. If your cat has contracted fleas or brought bugs into the house, see if a few drops of cedarwood in your essential oil diffuser banishes the pests. You can also dilute a few drops in a misting spray bottle and spray around the rooms of your home. Diffusing this essential oil may also help calm and soothe your cat.
- Lavender Essential Oil is calming to humans, cats, and dogs. Just a few drops in your aromatherapy diffuser may make for a calmer home, especially if you have a rambunctious kitten or if any of your cats act out dominantly or fight aggressively (behaviors that will look and sound quite different from your cat’s playful chasing and pouncing behaviors).
- Rosemary Essential Oil is another great insect repellant and is also one of the best essential oils to help with irritated skin or rashes.
- Frankincense Essential Oil is a known cancer fighter, and it’s no different for cats. Frankincense is great for fighting off germs, supporting immunity, and even boosting mood for everyone in your home, including your cats.
Remember that every cat is unique, and cats are also very different from dogs. While some essential oils are safe for dogs, cats’ livers function differently and much more slowly. So use essential oils sparingly with cats, as too much of a good thing may quickly become a bad thing for them.
How to Use Essential Oils for Cats
- Use essential oils in a diffuser or in a diluted spray at first. This can ensure your cat doesn’t get too much exposure and help determine the right strength/dilution.
- Hydrosols are a great option for cats. These water-based products have all the aromatic and healing properties of pure essential oils, but are suspended in a water mixture.
- Never apply essential oils near a cat’s eyes, nose or mouth. Nor should you let cats ingest oils.*
- Watch your cat for any signs of toxicity, including lethargy, watering eyes, itching, gagging/vomiting, drooling, or lack of coordination. If you notice these signs, stop using essential oils and get your pet to a vet.
* Remember that cats lick and groom themselves (and often other cats/pets) in the house daily. This is why direct application of diluted essential oils should not be the first treatment option. If you have already tried other methods, such as diffusing the oil, and still feel your cat could benefit from direct application, a very small amount of well-diluted essential oil at the back of your cat’s neck, where they cannot reach with their own mouth or paws, is the best option. Keep in mind that if you have other cats/pets who routinely lick each other, there’s a significant chance they will ingest a small amount of the oil which could be harmful to them.
*Never apply undiluted essential oils directly to your cat’s fur or skin.
Essential Oils That Are Not Safe For Cats
- Clary Sage
- Tea tree
- Ylang Ylang
If you have a concern that a particular essential oil isn’t safe for your feline family member, don’t use it. If you decide to try essential oils for your cat, you should only purchase the highest quality, authentic essential oils you can find. This guarantees purity and reduces the odds of a poor reaction. Miracle Botanicals offers a wide range of essential oils and hydrosols that are therapeutic grade for you and your kitty.