There has been a lot of press (both good and bad) on the use of essential oils with pets. I’ve been using essential oils with my cats for quite a number of years now and here is my take on the issue.
Oils aren’t all created equal
When it comes to using essential oils, whether it is for yourself or your pets, the quality of the oil is very important. Safe oils are unadulterated, genuine, and pure. Many oils are marketed as “organic” “natural” or even “certified pure” – but you still need to be careful of the oils you choose. Essential oils are not regulated by anyone like some medications are. The brand of oils I recommend using are Doterra brand oils. These are high-quality and are safe to use both on humans and pets. Young Living is another brand of high quality essential oils that are therapeutic grade and certified pure.
For cats in particular, you need to be careful about what oils you use on them or expose them to. Cats do not metabolize things the same way as dogs (or humans). A cat’s liver is different. It lacks the P450 cytochrome metabolic pathway. This means that the liver in cats cannot break down or metabolize certain drugs, medications, and even some essential oils.
If you are interested in using essential oils for your cat, you should do so only as directed by your vet. In general, the oils you should AVOID using with your cat include oils that are high in salicylates or phenols, such as:
- Cinnamon Bark
- Laurus Nobilis
- Melaleuca Quinquenervia
- Mountain Savory
- Tea Tree
A few common essential oils that are SAFE to use for your cat include lavender, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Copaiba, Ginger, Geranium, Helichrysum, and frankincense.
Always remember to dilute the essential oils. Treat cats like they are a newborn baby and always remember that less is more. It is better to reapply when needed than overdose.
The recommended dilution for full sized cats is 1 drop of essential oil to 2 tbsp of carrier oil. For kittens, just 1 drop of essential oil to 4 tbsp carrier oil. Then use 1-2 sprays or 1-2 drops of diluted oil per application
If you decide to diffuse oils in your home, it shouldn’t cause a problem for your cat. The oil used in a diffuser is highly diluted. It is best to use a waterbased diffuser on an intermittent setting. However, you should never leave your cat confined to a space where oils are being diffused. Always make sure that the cat can leave the room to get away from the diffuser.
It is always a good idea to diffuse at half your usual strength. Don’t forget a cat’s sense of smell is much keener than humans and even dogs.
If you have any questions or concerns about using any essential oil for your cat or diffusing in your home around your cat, please consult your veterinarian.
For a bit of further reading on this topic, try this article
or this one
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