What Essential Oils are Safe for Cats?

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If you look up “Essential Oils for Cats,” you may find yourself in a quandary of what’s true and what’s fiction. When it comes to this topic, there is a lot of debate and a heck of a lot of misinformation about essential oils & cats. Let’s clear up the big question, “Are essential oils safe for cats?”,  tackle all the other questions surrounding cats and essential oils, including the safety of lavender, eucalyptus and more. 

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils (EOs) are purified and concentrated plant extracts, the most concentrated and potent version of plant medicine. They come in tiny bottles for this reason. EOs have millions of uses and can pack a punch when needed.

They are used in many applications, from cosmetics to cleaning products, as a more natural and safe alternative to synthetic fragrances. They can be used as a fragrance in the air via diffusion or atomization, applied topically, or ingested internally. They are therapeutic in nature, meaning they can act like medicine and help alleviate all sorts of ailments and concerns.

Since EOs are concentrated, care must be taken when using them, especially around smaller species, including our cats and all of our pets.

Are Essential Oils Safe for Cats?

  Are essential oils safe for cats? What essential oils are safe for cats? Can I give my cat essential oils? CBD oil for cats Since cats do not process chemicals the same way we and our dogs do, caution must be taken with many medications and chemicals, including essential oils.

Almost all the research on the toxicity of essential oils in cats has shown toxicity only when used at large doses, usually 5-10 times the amount anyone would typically use them in, or in relation to cats, not direct focus. Some common myths surrounding cats and essential oils are that lavender, citrus, and pine oils are toxic to cats. These myths mainly originated from the use of synthetic oils and compounds developed in labs rather than natural therapeutic and medical-grade essential oils. 

Cats lack the enzyme glucuronosyltransferase that helps break down phenols. However, the way cats metabolize drugs and EOs doesn’t make it so that they “can’t” break down these compounds; instead, cats seem to metabolize them differently. Cats can be more efficient than other species at metabolizing specific compounds, and research continues to demonstrate that it depends on the cat and their unique biology.

For example, a specific synbiotic called Azodyl introduces bacteria that help break down things like BUN, which cats with kidney disease have trouble with. This introduces the idea that there are ways to work around this notion of absolute conclusions regarding how cats metabolize substances like essential oils. There has been quite a bit of research done on this topic.

Are There Toxic Essential Oils for Cats?

Oddly, we are still debating whether EOs are toxic to cats when in the November 1984 edition of Veterinary Clinics of North America:  Small Animal Practice – Vol. 14, No. 6;  titled Symposium on Advances in Feline Medicine II, Jeff R. Wilcke DVM, MS. said, “Even drugs known for toxicity in cats can be used safely if we are aware of and compensate for certain peculiarities.”

In summary, it depends on the oil, dilution, and amount used. Essential oils need to be properly diluted, whether they are being diffused or applied topically. Pets have millions more olfactory receptors than humans do, which does make them sensitive to strong smells, so proper dilution is important. Also, remember that for our dogs, cats, and small pets, the smaller they are, the more you want to dilute it. 

Some essential oils to use extra caution with or keep away from your cats include eucalyptus oil, which can be toxic to cats when ingested, and spearmint and peppermint oil, which can cause some respiratory issues in some cats. Additionally, use extra caution with “hot oils, ” including cinnamon, clove, and oregano oils. Also, avoid tea tree oil, aka melaleuca, wintergreen, and birch oils, as with dogs.

This is why we err on the side of caution regarding our REMEDY CBD salve for dogs, which we do not recommend using on cats since they may ingest the eucalyptus oil. For cats, we instead recommend our Soothe Topical CBD for cats and Nourish Topical CBD for cats

How to Safely Use Essential Oils with Cats

CBD oil for cats with essential oils for cats safe for cats Just as you would not want to use a poor-quality topical flea and tick repellent or grooming product, you will want to apply that methodology to your choice of essential oils. Use only those EOs that have been safely studied and been used successfully with cats: the higher the quality of the oil, the less chance of any risk being taken with their use. Using pure essential oils that are therapeutic grade, tested, and have a history of being used safely on cats is critical. 

Proper dilution of essential oils is also critical; using too much EO or a pure concentration of EOs is not suitable for anyone- you or your cat. Pay close attention to dilution instructions, since each oil has its own ratios. 

Other than dilution, using EOs should always be done in an environment that allows your cat to leave the room if they want. Trapping any animal in a room with EOs diffused is not advised, as this can overwhelm them and inhibit their ability to leave the area if the smell/concentration is too much for them.

Regarding ingesting EOs, the rules can differ depending on the need and the pet. Some EOs can be given straight into food or water (however, this is still a dilution method).

When used topically, EOs should still be diluted, and it is best practice to apply the diluted oil to your hands and then lightly pet your cat away from their head. 

Our cats have a strong sense of smell, so a little goes a long way! Think of the topical application of EOs like you would headphones you can’t take off. You want the volume LOW so as not to overwhelm. Using undiluted EOs on pets is like putting headphones on at full volume- it’s very overwhelming to their delicate senses. So be careful, and go slow and low.

No matter what choice you make, testing any essential oil for cats is always a good idea. This means diluting a tiny amount and seeing how your cat reacts. Many pet parents will show their pet the bottle, and if the pet walks away or does not want to get close to the bottle, this is an excellent immediate cue that the oil is probably not suited to your pet. 

Sourcing Safe Essential Oils for Cats

Choosing the right formula or brand of essential oil for your cat can be tricky. Since terms like “therapeutic grade” can be meaningless (no one certifies these oils), knowing who you are purchasing your oils is most important.

There are veterinarians who specialize in this field, such as Dr. Janet Roark or Dr. Melissa Shelton, both of whom have done extensive research, testing, and analysis of essential oils and their use with animals, and can discern quality EOs from dangerous garbage. 

Veterinarians like Dr. Roark and Dr. Shelton have high standards and understand how animals can metabolize oils differently. Most vets have no understanding of essential oils for animals whatsoever. If they do, it’s usually negative opinions based on anecdotal evidence or gross misuse cases.

Very few vets understand the complex nature of EOs and how they can be made differently. So try to choose a veterinarian-recommended oil since this usually means a vet has verified they are safe. If you are unsure, don’t buy it!

Also, if the oil smells “perfumy” in any way, it’s unlikely pure. If you get a headache smelling it – don’t buy it!

Pure lavender oil is frankly not the most pleasant smelling, so even if something smells one way, it does not guarantee its quality. Virtually all EOs recorded as harming a pet have been poor quality, perfume-grade oils that should never have been sold as “pure.” So be sure the essential oil you’re buying is from a source you can trust, not Amazon or an outlet store. Purity is crucial to safety when it comes to essential oils & cats, or any animal. 

Related: Pet Safe Essential Oils with Dr. Janet Roark

When Not to Use Essential Oils for Your Cat

Since some EOs can be stimulating, use caution when dealing with epileptic cats, pregnant cats, and cats with metabolic diseases like kidney disease or IBD.

Consulting a veterinarian who is skilled in essential oils is a good idea if your cat has a medical condition you’re unsure about.

My Cat Got into Unsafe Essential Oils; What Do I Do?

If your cat becomes exposed to EOs on a gross scale (bottle got dumped on them or something similar), do not use water to rinse it off! This goes for any scenario. This is because the water will spread the oil further since oil is hydrophobic.

If the oil is on your cat’s coat/skin, using another oil, like coconut oil, to dilute it is best. Shampoos can help break up the oil to rinse off the oil better. Get your cat into a fresh air environment to further dilute the potency in the air.

If your cat has ingested a large amount of essential oils, a trip to the vet is warranted to flush the essential oil out of their system. 

Benefits of Essential Oils for Cats

As long as you are sourcing, diluting and administering responsibly, as mentioned above, cat safe essential oils can benefit your cat’s health greatly. 

From helping to alleviate stress to managing thyroid issues or arthritis, EOs can be a great tool in your holistic toolbox.

Safely using essential oils for cats can:

  • Help alleviate stress and anxiety and support a more proper stress response
  • Help with car/travel sickness and stress
  • Alleviate arthritis 
  • Aid digestion
  • Support kidney health
  • Calm allergy and skin issues
  • Reduce inflammation and pain
  • Repel fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and mites
  • Reduce, prevent, and fight infection

What Essential Oils Are Safe for Cats?

As any cat owner can attest, cats are an extraordinary species with specific needs and sensitivities. This also holds true for EOs, which cats are more sensitive to. However, despite the prevalent misinformation about the toxicity of essential oils in cats, it’s important to note that many essential oils can be safe for cats.

Some essential oils for cats that are considered safe when used properly include:

  • Lavender
  • Turmeric
  • Copaiba
  • Cedarwood
  • Petitgrain
  • Frankincense
  • Rosemary
  • Chamomile

These are just a few of the many safe EOs for cats, but using them properly is key! 

Is Lavender Safe for Cats?

Cat Calm CBD oil for cats with lavender for cats review cat anxiety stress fear Lavender is one of the most well-known essential oils and has been shown over many years to be perfectly safe for cats. Lavender has been used for centuries for its beautiful aroma as well as it’s calming and relaxing properties. Lavender has benefits as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, antitumoral, and a sedative. It’s been studied extensively in animals and it is safe to use on all species. Lavender can be applied topically, given internally, or diffused.

Lavender’s mood-lifting, anxiety-relieving, and sleep-inducing properties help calm terrified pets. It’s our choice in our CALM CBD oil for cats for this reason, along with its many benefits, and its long-term safety with animals. The lavender essential oil in cat CALM is diluted to a safe amount, where it is both therapeutic and free from causing any irritation or harm to your cat. 

In the case of our CALM formula, the concentration is low and safe for ingestion. The lavender essential oil in cat CALM is effective and synergistic with our Full Spectrum Hemp Extract, making the FSHE work better at calming your nervous kitty.

Related: Is Lavender Safe for Pets?

Is Frankincense Safe for Cats?

Frankincense has been widely used with animals and has a very wide margin of safety, even in newborns and birthing animals. Frankincense promotes the well-being of the nervous system, immune system, and digestive tract. It possesses calming properties that can alleviate skin irritation, itchiness, or damage.

Moreover, it aids in relaxing and soothing sore muscles and joints, particularly beneficial for older animals. It is useful in countless conditions including arthritis, seizures, cancer, tumors, cysts, depression, behavioral issues, immune stimulation, autoimmune disease, and more. Frankincense can be applied topically, diffused, and or given internally.

Related: Is Frankincense Safe for Dogs & Pets?

Is Turmeric Safe for Cats?

Turmeric is celebrated for its anti-inflammatory properties, making it a popular choice for cats and other pets struggling with conditions linked to inflammation. This includes arthritis, where turmeric may offer relief from joint discomfort and stiffness. Moreover, it can aid in maintaining normal digestive function and soothing upset stomachs, potentially alleviating symptoms like diarrhea or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Turmeric also supports gut health by assisting digestive enzymes. Incorporating turmeric into your pet’s routine, such as through our Ease CBD oil for cats, can provide daily support for digestive wellness.

Related: Is Turmeric Safe for Dogs & Pets?

Frankincense and Turmeric for Cats

Cat EASE cbd oil for cats with frankincense for cats and turmeric for cats arthritis pain allergies inflammation Research has found that when turmeric and frankincense are paired together, the benefits of both were enhanced. The two work synergistically to produce an optimal effect against inflammation.

The theory behind this is that boswellic acid (frankincense) increases the bioavailability of curcumin. In a study published by BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, a clinical trial compared the efficacy of turmeric extract versus the turmeric/frankincense combination. The main symptoms studied involved joint pain, stiffness, and limitations to physical function. As little as 4 weeks following administration, the results were apparent. The combination of the two produced enhanced effects.

That’s why we chose this combination of essential oils in our EASE CBD oil for cats. As with all of our products, the amount of turmeric and frankincense in our Cat EASE is properly diluted, to be both safe and effective for easing inflammation, arthritis, allergies, and pain in cats. 

Related: Benefits of Frankincense & Turmeric for Pets

Is Vanilla Safe for Cats?

cat nourish topical cbd for cats with essential oils for cats vanilla for cats coconut oil arnica Vanilla oil is a centuries-old ingredient used for many ailments and issues. Vanilla oil is packed full of antioxidants. Because of its antioxidants, vanilla has anti-cancer properties! Your pet’s skin will benefit from all those antioxidants absorbing into it and protecting its body’s largest organ from cellular damage and cancer while also smelling delicious.

Vanilla is also a powerful anti-inflammatory as well as a stress reliever. By reducing inflammation and easing the body’s stress response, vanilla packs a powerful punch. It can be applied topically, given internally (or licked off topical remedies), or diffused and inhaled. As with all EOs, common sense practices like proper sourcing, usage and dilution are important.

We chose vanilla oil for our Nourish Topical CBD for cats, both for it’s amazing health benefits and it’s great taste and smell. Nourish is packed with restorative ingredients like Full Spectrum Hemp Extract, Arnica, Hemp seed oil, coconut oil, and of course, vanilla oil!

It’s great for moisturizing and calming dry, cracked skin like elbows, paws, and noses. It has a rich, calming vanilla scent that relaxes and nourishes the senses.

Related: Can Dogs Have Vanilla?

Is Ginger Safe for Cats?

cat soothe topical CBD for cats with essential oils for cats ginger oil for cats coconut oil for cats moisturize paws nose ears Yes, Ginger oil for cats is an excellent topical remedy for many skin conditions. It improves skin health by reducing inflammation and soothing irritation. Ginger has anti-inflammatoryantiemetic (anti-nausea), antioxidantanti-microbialimmune boostingcancer-fighting, and decongestant properties, to name a few. As all EOs for cats, proper sourcing, dilution and administration is critical.

Our Soothe Topical CBD for cats is formulated with ginger oil, and is always a customer favorite, due to its abundant therapeutic properties. Our cat SOOTHE can be used just about anywhere, even on suture sites and wounds.

It not only contains ginger oil for cats, but also other rejuvenating ingredients like honeyarnica oilhemp seed oilcoconut oil, and our favorite- full spectrum hemp extract.

Related: Ginger oil for Dogs

Final Thoughts on Essential Oils & Cats

Cats are unique creatures that have special needs. Keeping those needs and unique traits in mind, essential oils can be safely used with cats, as long as they are a quality product and used correctly with proper dilutions. The bottom line is essential oils are a form of medicine. As with any form of medicine, being careful is the name of the game. 

Just as we properly dose drugs and ensure the dosage is tailored to each species, the same should be done with essential oils. They are meant to be used carefully and correctly, not haphazardly.

Regarding safe use of our CBD oil for cats, and topical CBD for cats, which are formulated with FSHE and safe essential oils for cats, our products are all formulated to be both safe and effective for cats, and all our pets.

For our topical products for cats, our NOURISH and SOOTHE salves are suited toward cat skin issues of all kinds and are appropriately diluted to ensure safety, even if ingested from self-grooming. We formulate all of our salves to accommodate use liberally, so they are diluted to a very safe ratio and can be used as directed with no concern. Your cat can safely groom themselves, ingest the product, and show no signs of harm or irritation.