Essential Oil Safety for Cats

When using essential oils with cats, the first thing you must do is get top quality oils. Do your research! Make sure your oils are steam-distilled or cold-pressed.

Make sure your oils are pure and don’t have any added chemicals or toxins. Many oils do! If your oils aren’t pure, there’s always a risk of chemical reaction, even if you’re only diffusing.

My top choice of essential oils to use with cats is doTERRA. DoTERRA makes it easy to evaluate oil quality. All you have to do is enter the SKU# on the bottom of the vial at the Source to You Website to see each batch’s quality reports.

DoTERRA also has a vet panel, and for some time now has been studying the reactions of essential oils with animals in their clinics.

The information here is extrapolated from Dr. Janet Roark, DVM’s website and the following books:

Both books have specific recipes with dilution ratios and everything you need to know to ease your cat’s specific ailments with essential oils.

Dr. Roark and Dr. Frezzo are both on doTERRA’s Veterinary Panel. Dr. Shelton is not on doTERRA’s panel but has her own line of pre-diluted oils called AnimalEO.

In 2018, I had the honor of attending the annual AHVMA (American Holistic Veterinary Association) conference. I also had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Shelton personally, and got an autographed copy of her Animal Desk Reference II. She’s amazing as a person and a veterinarian!

In addition, had the privilege of attending her class on Essential Oils for Pets, where she explained her studies with cats and her philosophy on essential oils use with cats.

Dr. Sheldon researched scientific studies on essential oils and shared the following important points:

  • “Yes, cats can metabolize essential oils. And no, they will not build up after time.”
  • “The simple evidence is that in the absence of gross misuse and overdose of essential oils, they really are quite safe.”

Read “The Science Behind Essential Cats and Essential Oils” by Melissa Shelton, DVM

Basically, all doTERRA essential oils are safe in the diffuser if you leave the door open and your cat can leave the room.

I like to play it safe and only use oils for cats topically or internally via specific recipes or recommendations from Spoil Your Pet or Animal Desk Reference II.

The info below is general information on how to use oils to help your cat.

Essential Oils Safety For Cats

Below are general guidelines for using essential oils with cats.

  • Dilute when using topically
  • Know your cat’s health conditions
  • Keep oils AWAY FROM your cat’s
    • Eyes
    • Ears
    • Nose
    • Genitals
  • Aromatically, use a cold water diffuser. Make sure to leave the door open so your cat can leave the room.
  • Use oils with caution around pets who are:
    • On certain medications
    • Very Young
    • Nursing
    • Pregnant
  • Avoid topical use if your cat is taking a topical pharmaceutical (flea/tick meds included) or dermal patch.
  • Some essential oils products like toothpaste, beadlets, and softgels contain xylitol. Read your labels! Keep all xylitol-containing products away from your pets.
  • Use only CTPG Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils.
  • When trying a new oil, keep an eye on your cat’s behavior. Just like humans, some cats have unusual sensitivities to certain plant families.
  • If an adverse reaction occurs, dilute with a carrier oil. The most common adverse reaction is skin irritation. Most reactions resolve on their own within 24–48 hours.
  • Stop using any particular oil if your pet shows signs of:
    • Abnormal behavior
    • Drooling
    • Dizziness
    • Face rubbing
    • Whining or excessive meowing
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea

Oils to Avoid Using With Cats Topically and Internally

As a general rule, do not use the following oils topically or internally on your cat, unless specifically instructed in a recipe from your veterinarian or one of the above books.

All doTERRA essential oils are fine in the diffuser, as long as your cat can leave the room. And, they are much better than toxic artificial scents!!

Just make sure you don’t over-do it. I wouldn’t use more than 6 drops total in an average-sized room.

The following list of oils to avoid topically and internally is from Dr. Janet Roark, DVM’s website,

  • Basil
  • Bergamot
  • Birch
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Melaleuca (Tea Tree)
  • Orange
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Spearmint
  • Tangerine
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen

Essential Oils Dilution Ratio for Cats

So, we know cats metabolize essential oils differently than people or dogs.

Because of this, we must dilute differently when using essential oils topically on cats.

Of course, there’s always a range when working with how supplements affect people and pets.

The recommended topical use dilution ratio range for cats is:

According to Dr. Frezzo, doTERRA’s Lavender and Frankincense are safe to use NEAT on cats. NEAT means you apply with no dilution.

To do so, place one drop of undiluted essential oil in the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together until much of the oil has absorbed into your palms, then pet your cat.

Start out with high dilution first. It’s safer and it will save you money!

Essential oils are highly concentrated. Always apply small amounts more often rather than large amounts all at once.

See if the high dilution gives you results and work from there. You can always increase the essential oil concentration if you don’t get the desired effect. But, it’s really hard to remove an essential oil once it’s already been absorbed!

Some good carrier oils are:

You can always increase the concentration if the desired effect is not reached, but it is difficult to remove an essential oil once it has already been absorbed.

Also, please remember that each cat is an individual. Your cat may sensitive to certain oils other cats are not. Keep an eye on how your cat reacts.

If your cat has an illness, essential oils can be a great tool in your arsenal. However, if your cat’s health situation is serious you should always work with your veterinarian!

I know it’s sometimes difficult to find a vet that works with essential oils.

If you’re in the Nashville TN or Franklin TN area, Dr. Marc Smith of Natchez Trace Veterinary Services is integrating essential oils into his practice. If you’re outside of Nashville, he offers phone consultations and will co-care with your current vet. I’m Dr. Smith’s Herbalist and Veterinary Essential Oils Coach.

Dr. Smith’s practice philosophy is Practical Veterinary Medicine with Integrative Options. He combines Traditional Veterinary Medicine & Surgery with Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Alternative Medicine, and Herbalism for Powerful Pet Care.

If you have any questions or if I can help you in any way, just let me know!

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