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 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