Essential Oils and Cats
I do not want to scare you, but provide you with the best information possible. When we have good information it is easier for us to make better choices for ourselves as well as our pets.
Essential oils for cats need to be therapeutic grade essential oils.Most problems associated with essential oils whether they are for human or animal use stem from the fact that perfume quality oils are used in the same way as therapeutic grade oils. These are totally different and cause more harm than good, especially with cats!
There are several reasons why cats and oils can be potentially quite
dangerous and even life threatening, as cats are uniquely sensitive to phenolics and other compounds containing benzene rings (i.e. Thyme, Cinnamon and Tea Tree).
The reason for this sensitivity can be found in their liver. Cats do not have the necessary enzymes to break down certain substances and effectively excrete them. This leads to a build up of toxins in their bodies, which means that they are easily poisoned.
Also cats don't like strong odours and have rather delicate and thin skin.
The quality of oils used for cats is important. If the oil is adulterated, which means cut with synthetics, your cat may have a reaction. This should be the first factor to consider when deciding to use an essential oil or not.
Essential oils for cats should always be highly diluted with a high grade pure vegetable oil, at least 50:1 (fifty drops of dilution oil to one drop of essential oil).
Cats are particularly sensitive to ketones, phenols and some monoterpenes. It is the thunone content in ketones and carvacal in phenols that seem to create most of the problems. Carvacrol is a by product of d-limonene which is found in all citrus fruits and many tree oils.
The following oils should NEVER be used with cats:
Black Pepper, Cardamom, Carrot Seed, Cassia, Celery Seed, Cinnamon Bark, Citronella, Clove, Galbanum, Ginger, Juniper, Melaleuca species, Palmarosa, Palo Santo, Petitgrain and Western Red Cedar.
Oils that can be used on cats when diluted at least 50:1:
Clary sage, Copaiba, Elemi, Frankincense, Lavender, Melissa, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Valerian, Vetiver and Tranquil
Oils that can be used on cats when diluted at least 90:1:
Melrose, Peace & Calming, SARA, Trauma Life, Valor
Hydrosols, also known als hydrolats or floral water, the water based by product of the essential oil distillation, are perfectly safe to use on cats. But remember: It is not the oil or hydrosol, it is the quality or the source of the essential oil that makes it safe or harmful.