Essential Oils are Harmful to Cats: Take Care of Your Furry Friends

Essential oils have been quickly gaining popularity in the past few years. Multi Level Marketing Schemes (also known as MLMs or Pyramid schemes) like Young Living and doTERRA have caused an explosion in the availability and popularity of essential oils. These companies advertise essential oils as “all-natural” and “therapeutic.” This marketing technique is designed to make potential buyers think that the oils are 100% harmless. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many essential oils are highly toxic to animals, especially to cats.

You may hear people argue that “therapeutic grade” essential oils are less harmful because they’re more pure. This not at all the case. More concentrated oils are significantly more harmful to your feline friends! Cats lack certain enzymes in their liver that humans have which helps us to metabolize toxins like essential oils.

According to Kia Benson, DVM via the Pet Poison Helpline:
“Essential oils can pose a toxic risk to household pets, especially to cats. They are rapidly absorbed both orally and across the skin, and are then metabolized in the liver. Cats lack an essential enzyme in their liver and as such have difficulty metabolizing and eliminating certain toxins like essential oils. Cats are also very sensitive to phenols and phenolic compounds, which can be found in some essential oils. The higher the concentration of the essential oil (i.e. 100%), the greater the risk to the cat.”

Okay, so which oils have been found to be dangerous? Eucalyptus and tea tree oil have both been found to be damaging to cats, but any concentrated oil is potentially dangerous. If your cat has been exposed, consider taking them to a vet to have them checked out.

For the sake of your feline friends, be careful what you use in your home. Have a diffuser, make your home smell great, but don’t use oils that are known toxins if you have pets. Keep the diffuser in a room your pet can’t access; they could potentially knock over the diffuser and be exposed to the toxins in a concentrated form. I’ve included many articles from different sources (including the ASPCA’s poison control) warning pet owners about the dangers of these substances. Don’t be stubborn, listen to the experts and take care of your pets.

ASPCA causes of tremors: https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/shelter-health-poison-control/most-common-toxicologic-causes-tremors-cats

ASPCA poisonous to: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/eucalyptus

ASPCA general article harms of EOs: https://www.aspca.org/news/latest-home-trend-harmful-your-pets-what-you-need-know

Pet Poison Helpline: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/blog/essential-oils-cats/

Metro Dangerous to cats: http://metro.co.uk/2018/01/11/essential-oils-aroma-diffusers-dangerous-cats-7222598/

The Spruce EOs and cats: https://www.thespruce.com/dangers-of-essential-oils-555089

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Dog Domestication

Scientists generally agree that dogs genetically diverged from wolves between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago. However, the circumstances from which dogs became domesticated are disputed. Until this past July, geneticists and archaeologists believed that dogs were domesticated on two separate occasions: one domestication evolved into Eastern breeds and the other into Western breeds of dogs. However, recent genetic evidence suggests dogs were domesticated only once, and that the East/West split occurred after domestication.

dog-evolution.jpg

In July of 2017, a study was published which studied several dogs’ genomes (genomes are the map of all of an organism’s genes). This genetic evidence lead the researchers to believe that there was a single domestication event. “We really don’t know where dogs were domesticated and as far as we can tell it happened once,” Pontus Skoglund, geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. “The researchers estimate that dogs and wolves diverged genetically between 36,900 and 41,500 years ago, and that eastern and western dogs split 17,500–23,900 years ago. Because domestication had to have happened between those events, the team puts it somewhere from 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.” (Nature.com)

Atlantic-dog-origins-video-1.jpg

One earlier theory suggested that dogs may have begin to evolve alongside farms, developing the ability to digest grain. This theory indicates that wolves who could digest the grain stored on the farms were later domesticated by the farmers. However, the genetic evidence from the dog genomes studied this year suggests that they evolved the ability to digest grain after domestication. The ability to digest grain is marked by the number of copies of the AMY2B gene. The researchers found that dogs who lived thousands of years after domestication still did not have the genetic markers for the ability to digest grain, strongly suggesting that the previous theory (that wolves became able to digest grain, and were then domesticated by farmers) to be untrue.

wolf-dog.jpg

Archaeologists still believe that dogs were domesticated twice, due to archaeological evidence. In time, I am confident more research will be conducted, and a clearer picture drawn so that scientists can pin down what truly happened thousands of years ago. However, one thing is clear–dog has been man’s best friend for a very long time.

dog and baby.jpg

Did you enjoy this post? What future science topics would you like to read about? Let me know in the comments below! Share this post via Facebook or Twitter, and as always, follow me here on WordPress for more GREAT content like this!

Sources:

Science stuff:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/dog-domestication-happened-just-once-ancient-dna-study-suggests

https://www.nature.com/news/ancient-genomes-heat-up-dog-domestication-debate-1.22320

Photos: http://www.animalbehaviorcollege.com/blog/a-short-history-of-canine-origins/

https://www.timetoast.com/timelines/evolution-of-dogs

http://www.playbuzz.com/plrjiv10/wolf-or-dog

http://dog-milk.com/the-atlantics-the-origin-of-dogs-video/