Toxic Essential Oils for Cats

We have discussed a lot of essential oils in the past. We talked about the question, “is peppermint oil safe for cats” and other essential oils. Today, we will talk about these toxic essential oils for cats. Personally, some of us love to use essential oils at home. Some use them as their aromatherapy, while others use it as a natural therapy for pain management. Essential oils may be helpful to us but they can be toxic essential oils for cats.

Today, let’s discover the toxic essential oils for cats and let’s know how we can protect our beloved kitty away from it.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are extracted from plants. It contains a large amount of volatile oil, which makes them easily evaporate. The process of extracting them is by distillation or cold pressing. Essential oils are used on its own and some add them as flavoring agents.

Essential oils are added to some products like cosmetics, perfume, insecticides, paint, thinner and flavoring agents.

Why Essential Oils Toxic to Cats?

Essential oils can be easily absorbed both orally, nasal, and across our skin. When it enters our system, it will be filtered by our kidneys and metabolized by the liver. In our cat’s case, they lack the essential enzyme in their liver that helps to metabolized and eliminate certain compounds that essential oils have. Some of the common compounds found in essential oils are phenol and phenolic compounds, which cats are very sensitive of. Be reminded that the higher the concentration of essential oils the riskier it is for our beloved cats.

Which essential oils are toxic to cats?

For the record, most of the essential oils are toxic for cats. However, the rate of risk will depend on the concentration of the essential oil. It will depend on the producer of the oil, what other compounds are added in the essential oil, and high-fat levels in the carrier oil. With that said, here are some of the commonly known toxic essential oils for cats:

  • Clove oil
  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree
  • Ylang Ylang oil
  • Citrus oils
  • Lavender
  • Pine
  • Sweet birch
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cinnamon
  • Wintergreen

Can passive diffusers that use essential oils harm out little kitties?

Passive diffusers are materials that are used to evaporate oil to spread a pleasant smell. Some samples of passive diffusers are:

  • Reed diffusers
  • Plug-in diffusers
  • Candle burners
  • Tabletop warmers
  • Non-motorized diffusers that only use air to spread the scent.

Can these cause toxic to our cats? The answer is YES. It may cause respiratory irritation to your lovely cat. Inhalation of the strong scent and fragrance of essential oil may result in mild to riskier health damage to your kitty.

Can active diffusers that use essential oils harm our little kitties?

The new model of diffusers has been a hit to the market and this is what we call active diffusers. Active diffusers release actual microdroplets or particles of oil d into the air together with the sweet scent. The danger of this is when the droplets get into the coat of your cat’s fur and are orally intake when your cat starts to groom. It will be risky for your cat to ingest such a product since your cat won’t have the enzyme responsible to break down the compounds from the essential oil.

What will happen to my cat if it had exposure to these toxic essential oils?

Inhaling, ingesting or having touch contact with the essential oil is dangerous and toxic. In case you suspect that your cat accidentally or somehow interacted with essential oils, observe the following symptoms:

  • Dribbling
  • Tremors
  • Shaking
  • Act as if they’re drunk
  • Lethargic
  • Dull
  • Having difficulty in breathing
  • Collapse
  • Seizure
  • If your cat has contacted essential oil with their skin:
  • Excessive hair loss
  • Sore or red skin
  • Patches that appear like a chemical burn.

What to do if my cat has exposure and symptoms?

Immediately pay a visit to your veterinarian. Bring the container of your essential oil for the veterinarian to identify the concentration of the essential oil. Knowing what type of essential oil and concentration, it enables your veterinarian to know what medical procedures to do. In addition, it will educate your veterinarian about the severity of your cat’s case.

How can I keep my cat safe from my essential oil?

As much as we love to keep our cat safe from the essential oil that may damage their health, there are some owners that can’t avoid using essential oil. Some of them are using it for their medical therapy and some use it to address other matters at home.

If it feels like you need to choose between your love of cats and essential oils, no worries! There are ways you can do to keep your cat away from the harm of essential oils. Here are some ways you can do at home:

  • Store your essential oils in cabinets that have locks or in a higher place where your cat can’t enter or reach it.
  • If you use essential oils into your skin, make sure not to touch your cat while it wasn’t washed away. Keep your cat away from any type of diffuser.
  • Don’t use essential oils in cleaning.
  • Make use of heavily diluted essential oils.
  • Make sure that the room is well ventilated before letting your cat enter it, so it will not be too concentrated for your cat.


Essential oils may be helpful for humans but it may not be good for our cats. Our cats don’t have the necessary enzyme that can metabolize the compounds coming from essential oils. With that said, when our cat accidentally ingested, touched or inhaled essential oils it may lead to mild to riskier health issues. Once our cat experience any symptoms of essential oil toxicity, the best decision is to bring the cat to the veterinarian together with the container of the essential oil.

Do you use essential oil at home? Are you using it while your cat is around? Can you share your experience with us?

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