Essential Oils for Cats: A Safe and Healthy Guide

As cat owners, we always want the best for our furry friends. However, it’s essential to be aware that our healthy practices may not always align with what’s safe for our pets. Cats lack an enzyme called glucuronyl transferase, which helps break down phenol, an organic compound found in certain drugs and essential oils. While phenol-based oils are unsafe for cats, there are water-based alternatives that won’t harm our feline companions. In this guide, we’ll explore the safe essential oils for cats and their best uses.

Safe Essential Oils for Cats

Most essential oils are not suitable for cats, as their tolerance for phenol is much lower than humans. However, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Here’s a list of essential oils that are safe for cats:

Cedarwood oil:

Cedarwood oil is generally made without phenol, making it safe for cats. Nonetheless, it’s always wise to double-check the label before use to ensure it’s free from any harmful components.

Lemongrass oil:

Lemongrass oil, typically found in the form of a hydrosol, is safe to use around cats when used in low concentrations. Remember not to let your cat ingest it or apply it directly to their skin.


Rosemary can be used as a natural flea repellent. Simply boil a pot of water with a twig of rosemary, then dilute it in a tub of water. Let your cat sit in the mixture for 2-5 minutes.

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Using these essential oils around your cat is generally safe, but it’s crucial to dilute or diffuse them. Moderation is key to maintaining a safe environment for your beloved pet.

Using Essential Oils Around Cats

While essential oils are generally safer than artificial fragrances and air fresheners, it’s important to consider your cat’s sensitivity. What may seem pleasant to your nose could be overwhelming for your furry friend. When using essential oils near your cat, make sure to designate a scent-free room where they can retreat if needed.

Essential Oils to Avoid

Responsible pet care involves understanding your cat’s specific sensitivities. Certain essential oils, commonly used by humans for relaxation, should be avoided if you have feline friends at home. Here’s a list of oils to steer clear of:

  • Clove oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Oregano oil
  • Wintergreen oil
  • Sweet birch oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Citrus oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Pennyroyal oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Tea tree oil

Always consult your veterinarian before introducing new foods, treatments, or substances into your pet care routine. When using essential oils around cats or incorporating them into their environment, be vigilant for any unusual behavior or symptoms of essential oil poisoning. If you notice any signs such as drooling, muscle tremors, difficulty walking, lethargy, redness on the skin, or pawing at the face, contact your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately at 800-213-6680.

Remember, keeping your cat safe and healthy is a top priority. By understanding which essential oils are safe for use and taking necessary precautions, you can create a soothing and enjoyable environment for your beloved feline companion.

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