Caution: Cats and Essential Oils

For years, certain essential oils were considered safe for cats and were often recommended for use in treating everything from stress and ear mite infestations to upper respiratory problems.

But recently, some studies have shown that essential oils can be toxic to cats, whether taken internally, applied to their skin or simply inhaled. The liver is the organ most negatively affected, and unlike ours, cats’ livers lack the ability to properly metabolize the various compounds found in essential oils.

Toxicity in cats can either occur very quickly, following a single internal or external application or over a longer period of time — through repeated or continuous inhalation of the essential oils. Either way, it can cause serious damage to the liver and, and in some instances, even lead to death.

Although using essential oils on cats is now generally discouraged, they may, however, still be used – if diluted — to treat certain ailments under the close supervision of a veterinarian.