How To Safely Use Essential Oils Around Cats

How To Safely Use Essential Oils Around Cats

by Emma Carter

Have you ever wondered how your cat feels when you’re using essential oils in your home?

Some aromatherapy oils are dangerous to the wellbeing of your cat due to their chemical compositions. Cats and humans are different! Cats can very easily perceive the smell of oils because they have a highly sensitive olfactory system. Therefore, it is pertinent to consider the potential risk factors involved while applying essential oils around your homes.

Safe Essential Oils and their Effects on Cats

Are there safe essential oils for the cat? You may be worried and wondering if there are essential oils suitable for your feline pet. I will list some essential oils that you can apply around, or even on your cat.

Over the years, essential oils have been used in handling various ailments in cats without side effects (1).  Such oils include:

  • Sweet basil essential oil is ideal to be used as an air freshener.
  • Roman chamomile oil or German chamomile can be used on inflammations.
  • Cedarwood oil, rosemary oil, and peppermint oil can be used for repelling fleas on cats and around the home if appropriately diluted.
  • Frankincense oil has been proved capable of alleviating digestive problems and is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and a disinfectant.
  • Sweetpea oil or yarrow oil can make your cat more courageous.
  • Jasmine oil is used for relieving stress and depression since it boosts the mood and emotions of cats.
  • Helichrysum essential oil serves as an antifungal and an antibiotic substance, and contains detoxifying properties.

Toxic Essential Oils for Cats

According to various studies, most essential oils are poisonous and have life-threatening effects on the survival of your feline companion.

Here are some toxic essential oils for cats that pet owners should avoid using at home or even on the cats, especially when the animal is around. These aromatherapies include spruce essential oil, oregano essential oil, thyme essential oil, wintergreen essential oil, lemon essential oil, sage essential oil, bay essential oil, orange essential oil, lime essential oil, bergamot essential oil, grapefruit essential oil, bay essential oil, and clove essential oil. Other deadly oils include tea tree essential oil, citronella essential oil, geranium essential oil, birch essential oil, copaiba essential oil, pennyroyal essential oil, fir essential oil, cinnamon essential oil, and eucalyptus essential oil (2).

Moreover, you need to exercise precautionary measures whenever you are applying your oil if you do not want to lose your feline friend because there may be other essential oils not mentioned above. If in doubt, always check with your veterinarian or Certified Aromatherapist first!

The Ways a Cat Can be Poisoned through Essential Oils

One of the ways these oils can get to your cat is by simply using then in the diffuser in your room. If the pet inhales the fragrance, it can cause health hazards such as respiratory impairment, nausea, drooling, burning sensation in the nasal orifices and throat, including watery eyes and nose in the animal (3).  Another way is if the cat cuddles and licks your body after you have applied the oil on yourself; it can be poisoned in that process.

Now, you should learn how to dilute essential oils in a way it will not have adverse effects on your cats.

How to Dilute and Apply Essential Oils on or Around Your Cat

  1. The safest and easiest way to release essential oil easily around your house is through diffusion. Caution must be observed to ensure there is enough ventilation in the rooms as the diffuser is running, to avoid concentrated vapors that could be harmful to the animal.
  2. Experts have recommended topical application for cats for treating sick a pet. But, you must dilute your essential oils before using them on the cat. Dr. Mary Hess, DVM suggests one of the best substances to use for diluting essential oils is a high-grade pure vegetable oil. The dilution ratio is 50:1. This rate indicates that you should allow fifty drops of pure vegetable oil to accumulate in a bowl and then, add only a drop of your essential oil to the compound before applying on your cat. If you want to apply oil topically on your cat, apply it from the ear to the tail – ALWAYS avoid the face. Use your hands to rub the mixture of vegetable oil and essential oils onto your cat.
  3. Alternately, use a spray bottle. Fill the spray bottle with water and add three to five drops of essential oil for a 250mL bottle size. Adjust accordingly to the 50:1 ratio if you use different sized water bottles. The guideline is that there are 20 drops of essential oil in 1ml (4). After this, shake the bottle vigorously and spray around the cat or even on it if you like.

In Summary

By using essential oils in your home, your cats may experience irritations in their respiratory tracts due to some compounds in these essential oils that are toxic to cats. If you notice any symptom of essential oil poisoning, bring your pet to a well-ventilated area and contact your veterinarian immediately.


Author’s Bio:

Emma Carter is Aromatherapist in training and blogs about her learnings on She provides many valuable resources, how-to’s, and product reviews to help you get started with essential oils in YOUR life.

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26 thoughts on “How To Safely Use Essential Oils Around Cats

      • Lisa says:

        This article is a couple years old, but since I ran across it still, could you please edit the second to last paragraph that says ‘the guideline is that there is 20 drops essential oil in 1ml. That is way too much essential oil for a cat. I just don’t want any cats being harmed. The ratios seem appropriate in prior sentences so I believe there is a typo in this last part.

        • Marc-André says:

          Hi Lisa. I’ve just checked this with the author of the post. She is referring to the fact that 1ml of essential oil equates to approximately 20 drops of oil. Which she stated in order to give people an alternative way to measure the dilution percentage in the same paragraph.

  1. Pingback: How To Safely Use Essential Oils Around Cats — Katzenworld – Herb Thyme

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  3. Pingback: NOTE TO SELF | “How To Safely Use Essential Oils Around Cats – Katzenworld” – kikitas notes

    • Marc-André says:

      Ha very true! We didn’t know about essential oil diffusers until people asked us to research them either. 😮

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