Are Essential Oils Safe for Cats?

Are Essential Oils Safe for Cats

Are Essential Oils Safe for Cats? Opinions on this differ. The use of essential oil has grown in popularity in recent years. Essential oils are using worldwide and in many areas, even in the field of cat care.

As a cat owner, it is good to know which essential oils can be dangerous and which essential oils are safe for cats. When it comes to using essential oils, be it for yourself or your cat, the oil quality is essential. Safe essential oils are unadulterated, real, and pure. Note: this article is specifically about cats and cannot be use for other animals.

Essential oils are good for different things, from personal products, cleaning to medical treatment, and more. But what about your cat, are there essential oils for cats? Are essential oils safe for cats? You can read more about what you need to know about essential oils for cats in this post.

What Kind of Essential Oils Are Safe for Cats?

If you want to buy an essential oil, it is good to buy it from a trusted company. Whether it’s an essential oil for yourself or your cat, make sure you buy the best and avoid unwanted side effects. Even if an essential oil company said it is natural, safe, pure, and 100% organic, be careful.

In summary, and in short, there aren’t any safe essential oils for cats. It is not easy to find 100% good en perfect information you can trust. I don’t dare to say with 100% certainty which essential oils are safe for a cat. Some people say some essential oils can be safe for cats and other people say that essential oils are not safe for cats. Most people say there aren’t any safe essential oils for cats. It all has the potential to be toxic to your cat.

The oils below have been found “safe” for cats by experts when used in a diffuser. Do you want to use an essential oil on your cat’s skin? Then talk to your vet first. You can check the list below for essential oil that are ”safely” for cats:

  • lavender
  • copaiba
  • helichrysum
  • frankincense

On the website of the ASPCA is said, “In their concentrated form (100%), essential oils can be a danger for pets. Including when the oil is placing on their fur, paws, or skin.

Are Essential Oils Toxic For Cats?

The use of essential oil has grown in popularity in recent years. We use the oils for a wonderful scent at home and many different purposes such as stress, headaches, depression, or the flu.

Essential oils are making from the seeds, fruits, bark, stems, and petals of plants. Just because essential oil is a natural product, that doesn’t mean it is safe to use. Essential oils have side effects and should use in moderation.

Some houseplants are toxic for cats, but essential oils can also be toxic for cats, especially when it is concentrated and in small amounts. Essential oils can give a toxic risk to cats. The oils are quickly absorbing both orally and through the skin and then metabolizing in the liver.

Cats lack an important enzyme in their liver. Because of this, they have trouble metabolizing and separating certain toxins, such as essential oils. The higher the concentration of the essential oil, the greater the cat’s risk.

Making a list of toxic or safe oils is difficult because it depends on the amount, rate, frequency of exposure, and reaction to many substances. Essential oils are still researching but below is a list of essential oils cats should avoid.

It is difficult to make a good list of essential oils that are toxic to cats. There’s a huge lack of scientific studies on this topic, so all of the information about cats and essential oils is based on people’s opinions rather than facts. I have checked the information from various websites and made a list accordingly. Also, I have found information on the CVMA site. The list doesn’t come in any particular order of toxicity.

Toxic Essential Oils for Cats

  • Bergamot
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • European pennyroyal
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Lemon, lime and orange
  • Lemongrass
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea tree
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen, peppermint, spearmint and mint
  • Ylang-ylang

You can buy essential oils separately, but don’t forget that essential oil is often found in other household products such as insect repellent or paint thinner (turpentine is an essential oil). This has a high risk of fatal reactions for your cat.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils, volatile or aromatic oils are a mixture of volatile aromatic molecules extracted from plant material. The oil is characteristic of the plant’s scent from which they are extracting. While such mixtures refer to “oil,” essential oils do not contain fat. They are liquid at room temperature but evaporate when heated and quickly ignited.

Oils are extracting from different parts of a plant, for example, the blossom, the seed, the fruit, the leaves, the skin, the bark, or the wood (of the branches, roots, or trunk). Regularly, a plant contains no more than 1% essential oil, but in nutmeg and cloves, it is more than 10% essential oil. It can also be that different parts of a plant contain different volatile oils.

Essential oils can be sold alone as oil or used in other products. You won’t find essential oils in diffusers, cosmetics, or cleaning products. However, you can also find them in insecticides, paint thinners, and flavorings.

Some essential oils are quite expensive, sometimes requiring many plants to produce a small oil amount. For example, cheap oil is orange oil because the peel of oranges is a waste product of the juice industry. For example, Rose oil is expensive because many roses specially grown for the oil are required to produce essential oil. The perfume oil is cheap, but it is also less strong. Perfume oils are chemically formulated and are intending to recreate a fragrance artificially.

Are Essential Oil Diffusers Safe for Cats?

If you are spreading oils in your home, this shouldn’t be a problem for your cat. The oil you use for a diffuser is highly diluted (versus food supplements or direct topical application). Many kinds of diffusers work by evaporating the oil, which produces a nice smell in the air.

Having a diffuser in your house is, of course, very nice and gives you a nice sensation. But be careful when taking your cat with you in this nice aromatic experience. It is technically harmless to your cat compared to skin application or dietary use. However, over-exposure to the inhaler can be dangerous.

When you use oil in an aroma diffuser, don’t use too much oil. Your cat’s smell is much stronger than a human’s. A strong odor can have a negative effect on the nervous system or even complaints such as vomiting.

However, it would be best if you never left your cat confined to space where oils are diffusing. Always make sure that your cat can leave the room to get away from the diffuser and get some fresh air. Otherwise, your cat can develop some serious health issues.

When you are using a diffuser in an open space keeping your cat away from it and its cords. Diffusing oil droplets can land on your cat’s fur, which they will ingest when grooming. Cats are great at getting onto high surfaces and into small spaces, so you can never be too careful when storing essential oils.

If you have any questions or concerns about using essential oil for your cat or diffusing in your home around your cat, please contact your veterinarian.

Tea Tree Oil Cat

Tea tree oil is very hazardous for cats and never safe to use on cats. That’s because the liver metabolizes the toxin found in tea tree oil.

One of the most commonly used oils is tea tree oil. In animals, this oil is using, among other things, for its flea-resistant and antibacterial effect. Be extremely careful with tea tree oil in cats.

Training institute Silverlinde indicates that they are familiar with the bad breakdown of essential oils by cats, making it toxic to them at some point. The moment at which differs per oil and per cat. Because (too) little is known, naturalists recommend that cats prefer another therapy instead of aromatherapy.

In collaboration with ASPCA (Animal Poison Control Center), veterinarians identified 443 tea tree oil poisoning cases between 2002 and 2012. This research has focused on the USA and Canada. 50% of the cases involved dermal administration, 30% of the cases involved a combination of oral administration and dermal administration and 15% of the cases were oral administration. This concerns pure tea tree oil. The conclusion is that pure tea tree oil can be harmful to dogs and cats. The risk of serious complaints is most significant in young and small cats.

Symptoms of Essential Oil Poisoning in Cats

When you apply essential oils for cat fleas or any other reason, you should expect that this might have severe consequences for your cat’s health. Symptoms of essential oil poisoning in cats are:

  • Mental ( dullness or lethargy)
  • Physical (your cat might paw at their face, red spots on the skin, low body temperature, slow heart rate, liver failure)
  • Digestive (vomiting and drooling)
  • Neurologic (weakness, trouble moving or walking, tremors, seizures)
  • Low heart rate
  • Difficulty/trouble breathing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your cat has ingested an essential oil. Discontinue the use of any essential oil that causes irritation or discomfort for your cat.


Hopefully, you have learned something about are essential oils safe for cats? There aren’t any 100% safe essential oils for cats. There are essential oils that have been found “safe” for cats by experts when used in a diffuser. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your cat has ingested an essential oil.

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If you like this post, then you may want to look at some posts in the Cat Life part of this website since this post is also part of it.

By Marleen

Marleen is a truly madly deeply cat lover and founder of That Is for My Cat. She wants to share her knowledge about cats with other people who like to know more about cats.