Can I use essential oils with my cats?

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Sassy black farm cat

One of the most hotly debated subjects in animal aromatherapy…cats. There are many out there that suggest it is perfectly safe. Then there are those that vehemently say, not safe at all.

Using essential oils can be a huge benefit for people. They can also be beneficial for animals, but no one is created equal. Every person and animal is going to react differently. But why are cats such a hot topic?

The reason those of us that follow safety guidelines say no is based on science. Cats lack the enzyme glucuronosyltransferase. Most mammals have this enzyme, which is responsible for processing and removing most drugs, toxins, and dietary substances. Since cats lack this enzyme they are more likely to suffer from toxic reactions to substances. Essential oils are a substance that needs to be processed and eliminated by the body.

Some signs of an adverse reaction would be; salivation, a change in breathing (panting or coughing), diarrhea, abnormal behavior, depression, weakness or vomiting.  These are only a few of the possible signs, knowing your pets’ behavior is key.

Holistic options for cats would include; dietary supplements with herbs, diluted hydrosols and flower essences. There are also trained practitioners in aromatherapy, acupuncture and massage that can provide safe services.

Don’t worry you can still use all your oils and keep your cats safe. Using a diffuser is probably out of the question if you have in indoor cat, but here are some great options:

Personal inhaler
Aromatherapy jewelry
Lotion or Body Butter (if the cat won’t lick)
Aromastone (small space where cat isn’t)

I feel that every person needs to make an informed decision. There are plenty of articles stating it is safe. Many of the articles are even written by veterinarians. Although there is no definitive proof now about the safety I tend to be cautious. I would prefer to keep my cats’ exposure to essential oils to a minimum. As more research is done we may discover cats have a different enzyme to help process toxins, but for now let’s keep our fur babies safe and healthy without essential oils.

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