Essential Oils and Cats



I want to share this story with you – it’s going around Facebook and unlike most things on Facebook this one is true. I’ve had this argument many many times with pet owners who use essential oils. I don’t care how “certified pure” they may be – cats cannot tolerate them. Period. Don’t risk it at all. Larger animals like dogs and horses are fine but for cats – and birds – they are toxic. This fast of a reaction is not unheard of but more than likely your cat will develop liver failure over a longer period of time. Please just don’t expose them to essential oils period.

In the comment section on the original post found here people are still claiming “buy only pure EOs! I’m a distributer! I can help you!” No, no they can’t. Do not believe the marketing nonsense of these MLM culty companies.

That being said I absolutely do use essential oils myself and yes they are the “certified pure” kind. I make sure if I diffuse (rarely) it’s only at night in my closed off bedroom (my cats do not sleep with me). I don’t use them on my body until bedtime after I’ve put the cats to bed in their room. If I happen to have them on my hands during the day (almost never unless I’m making my homemade body powders and muscle rubs) I make sure I wash thoroughly and wait before touching the cats.

If you want to disinfect the air of your home the best thing to do is to open all the windows for 15 or 20 minutes – yes even in winter (unless you are back East during this cold bombing thing going on) – and let the air cleanse your house. I will also use Sage bundles or Palo Santo sticks as incense and the smoke kills bacteria in the air. Pinion pine incense also works. If you are local to Tuolumne County you can find Sage Bundles and Palo Santo sticks at Nature’s Whole Foods Depot in Standard. You can also check out Benjamin Fig downtown. If you have cats please do not use the cone and stick mass marketed incense found pretty much everywhere. It’s filled with chemicals. I also use real Frankincense resin incense but that requires a lot of accessories to burn it properly. Shoot me a message if you want to know more about real frankincense incense.

Here is the text of the post:

“This is my daughter’s cat, Ernie. He has lived with us most of his 16 years. I unknowingly have been poisioning him since Christmas and feel the need to warn everyone who might be unaware of the toxicity of essential oils. I bought a diffuser and a set of essential oils from Amazon. I gave it to my husband as a gift and also one to my daughter and daughter-in-law. We started using ours soon after the holiday and loved how the different oils made the house smell, trying a different one each day. I came down with a head cold. On the package with the oils, it said that eucalyptus oil was good for congestion, so we had the diffuser going several hours for several days in a row and close to where I was sleeping. Ernie loves sleeping with me. The first couple days I didn’t notice any symptoms with Ernie, but on the fourth day, he was lethargic, unstable on his feet and was drooling excessively. My husband instinctively Googled eucalyptus oil. It stated that it can be toxic to cats and they can’t metabolize it and stated all of Ernie’s symptoms. It also said that without medical attention, it could be fatal! So I took him to the Vet right away! The Vet gave him a shot of antibiotics and another shot of vitamins to boost him and instructions to watch him over the weekend. Ernie hasn’t been himself. He is eating and drinking a little, walking a little better, has some diarrhea, but is still not out of the woods. We also learned that out of the 8 oils in our set, only 2 are NOT toxic. Rosemary and Frankincense. Orange, Lemon, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus and Lavender ARE toxic to cats and small animals. There is no warning anywhere on these essential oils, which I feel is shocking! We have also learned that the candles we love to burn are scented with essential oils. Sorry this post is so long, but if this helps to keep any of your animals safe, it was worth the rant!!!”



A discussion happening right now on my personal Facebook page included this screenshot from the YoungLiving EO animal page. NO! Please NO! Consult your Veterinarian on EVERYTHING! It’s one thing to experiment on yourself. Please do NOT subject your fur children to experiments. There are natural herbal alternatives available for certain conditions (not Essential Oils but herbal) that have been developed by Veterinarians but always always ask your Veterinarian about everything. Please.


NEVER give essential oils orally to your pets – no one knows for sure if they are okay for humans to ingest let alone pets!

12 thoughts on “Essential Oils and Cats

  1. Hey, I see you mentioned palo santo in your post, and I was wondering if a hydrosol made from palo santo is ok to use around cats? The Internet seems to be ok with using hydrosols around cats instead of oils, and I’ve been slowly collecting info on hydrosols I can use around the house with my cats around, but I can’t find any info on palo santo specifically… If you know if it’s ok, or if you can find anything that says yes/no on using it, that would be epic ^.^

    • Hi Sadie,
      That’s a great question! I would defer to the expertise of your own veterinarian on this one but in my case I feel comfortable using hydrosols around my cats. I’ve read enough about them to feel comfortable. For instance I’d never use catnip essential oil for their toys but always keep an organic catnip hydrosol on hand and use that liberally. I think if you are spraying the palo santo hydrosol away from their food, water, litter boxes, and sleeping areas you’d be fine but again I would check with your veterinarian. Here’s an article from Green Valley Aromatherapy that talks about hydrosols, EOs, and cats. Most I have found say the same: no to EOs and caution but usually okay on hydrosols. Hope this helps. All best wishes, Jan =^..^=

  2. Thank you for this! I just adopted a cat after years without one (we thought my significant other was allergic but it turns out he outgrew his allergy and was avoiding mentioning it until he was ready to have a pet). In the years without a pet, I had discovered essential oils and love them, but had recently seen a couple of warnings and thought to look into it. Planning to pack all my essential oils into a box and take them to the office, or something. Also, I didn’t know hydrosols were even a thing, so I’m glad to know to look into that! But meanwhile I’m shifting my herbal interests back to teas. And diffusing plain old water into the air with a humidifier. One thought for those who are also thinking all of this through–if you’re doing space clearing for protection, salt water might be another idea–being careful to remember that salt is something you have to think about the health effects of too if there’s a possibility of ingestion (somewhere I saw a discussion of cats and salt lamps). But for me, soaking in a bath with salt, or spritzing salt water into corners of a room, seems like it would be pretty unlikely to affect my cat–and it’s soooooo much less expensive than essential oils. And if one is using the water as part of one’s sacred arts practice–one can always bless it. And/or store it in a jar surrounded by crystals, or infuse it with moonlight.

    I am wondering–because I do love my essential oils–if it is safe to keep adding essential oils to salt body scrubs that I make, and to my homemade apple cider vinegar spray in conditioner that I put in my hair. The scent in my hair seems minimal to me, but I don’t have the nose of a cat. The salt scrub I have to admit tends to fill the bathroom with its scent, so maybe that one’s going to be a no. But maybe some vanilla extract in the salt scrub? I’m going to do my own research on this, not depending on you to answer this comment, but if you do have time to reply, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    • Hi Bonnie! I’m glad this could help. I think the most important thing isn’t so much the actual scent as it is the drops of oil that get into the air when diffusing or if someone is using oils directly on their cats. Keep using your oils without worry! Even if you put them directly on your skin but for sure you are safe adding them to body scrubs, lotions, etc. They absorb into the skin quickly and even if the cat licks you (I have my Tigger who will lick me hours after putting on body lotion or an EO – he’s a weirdo lol – but I make sure it’s never right after applying) the chances of them ingesting any is virtually none.

      Salt water cleanses are a good idea. My salt lamp is up high so my cats can’t lick it if that’s what you read about (I’ve never heard of an issue with salt lamps and cats). But yes, too much salt is not good for cats. I use sage and palo santo sticks and real Frankincense resin I get from Eastern Orthodox monasteries online. I never use the stuff you get in drug stores – sticks and cones – as that’s very artificial fragrances and gives me a migraine myself lol. I keep windows open when smoke cleansing – yes even in winter – but since we live in the Sierras and are on fire every summer I figured my smoke cleansing won’t do much harm to anyone’s lungs. And I have asthma and it doesn’t bother me.

      Hope this helps! Many bright blessings for a safe and warm winter!

      • This is a HUGE help and is really putting my mind at ease. I was starting to worry that we could have accidentally poisoned her in just the two days she’s been in our home. I agree with you about drugstore incense… And it’s nice to support the monasteries who make incense, too. Thanks again!!

  3. I read all of it but I’m still not quite sure. Can I use palo santo sticks, I mean burn a little them with room where my cat is?

    • I use Palo Santo all the time as well as other smoke based incense. I just avoid diffusing essential oils with the water diffusers that toss them into the air. I have used non-toxic (Rose geranium for instance) EOs in a oil burner occasionally because that doesn’t spew droplets into the air. Hope this helps!

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