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What you need to know about essential oils for cats: safety information, oils to avoid, tips for usage, research and more!

Essential Oils for Cats: Oils to Safely Use & Others to Avoid

What you need to know about essential oils for cats: safety information, oils to avoid, tips for usage, research and more! Over the past few years, I have received numerous requests for information on safe essential oils for cats and which oils to avoid. Since I know very little on this topic I haven’t written a post as it’s very important to me that you find quality information here on the blog!

I was so very happy when Monica from Essential Oil Experts reached out about writing a post about essential oils for cats for all of you! This post is full of great info and I think you will find it to be very helpful!

As Monica suggests in the post, it’s important to do your own research, take things slowly and consult with a veterinarian if you have any questions!

Ok, without further ado, let’s turn it over to Monica!

Essential Oils for Cats

As an essential oil advocate, I use essential oils for almost every part of my daily routine.

Thanks to more and more positive research, science is beginning to understand that essential oils can play a pretty big role in improving our moods, mental states and support various physical symptoms.

As natural products, there has been an increasing amount of interest in using the healing properties of essential oils for cats.

While cats are pretty independent creatures, they can still become nervous or upset from time to time. This can be especially true for big events such as moving, holidays, or having lots of guests over.

To help cat-owners, I’ve created some general tips and things to look out for when considering using an essential oil on cats. While there a few essential oils good for cats, there are many more that can pose a serious risk.

Essential Oils for Cats: Beneficial but Controversial

Sadly, we all know too well that essential oils are seriously under-researched, but that their beneficial properties can be useful for both human and pets alike.

Today, only select veterinarians approve the use of essential oils, while others still consider them controversial products. And with a lack of research, it can be hard to create general safety guidelines for cat owners.

Generally speaking, helichrysum, rosemary, clary sage, and frankincense essential oil seem to pose LESS of a risk to cats than other popular essential oils. In aromatherapy, these four essential oils have calming, pain relieving, anti-anxiety, and wound healing properties that make them popular natural alternatives for a number of conditions.


How to Use Essential Oils for Cats

As a cat owner, we all want the best for our little critters, especially if they’re feeling under the weather. While I love using essential oils for a number of everyday ailments, it’s important to remember that cats may not react in the same way.

Let the Cat Choose

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few options (noted above), let your cat help you choose the best essential oil.

Open an essential oil bottle a few feet away from your cat and let the aroma fill the room. See if they become naturally curious and attracted to the scent. If they approach the oil, sniff it, and return to sniff it again, this is a good sign.

If your cat leaves the room, seems off put by the smell, or displays any other obvious disinterest, do not use this essential oil. Animals have a well-tuned nose and can tell if something may be not good for them.


Inhalation Before Application

Studies have shown that inhaling essential oils can have a powerful effect on the human body. Well, the same goes for cats. If you’ve ever seen a cat smell catnip, then you can understand how powerful scents can be.

After you’ve introduced the aroma, simply open the bottle and get slightly closer to the cat. Make sure to keep a door and window open for proper ventilation, and so the cat can leave at any time.

A few whiffs can be enough to have significant effects and should be done sparingly and intermittently.


If you’re considering applying diluted essential oils on your cats, really do your research on each of the compounds found in the oil you plan to use. Many high-quality essential oil companies offer free reports that identify these compounds.

Advocates recommend diluting 1 drop of essential oil with 5-6 drops of cold-pressed vegetable oil. Only use very small doses of mixed solutions on cats and monitor their condition afterwards. I would highly recommend checking with your local veterinarian before applying any diluted essential oils on cats.


Essential Oils to Avoid with Cats

Cats’ livers work very differently than humans. Reports have shown that chemicals can stay in a cat’s system for up to 48 hours, which can increase the risk of toxicity.

Each essential oil has a unique mix of chemical compounds that give it its scent. Certain compounds such as phenols, pose a serious threat to your cat’s safety and should be avoided.

Below, is a list of some of the most common essential oils that are not safe for cats. Keep in mind this is NOT an extensive list, as there are around 400 different types of essential oils on the market today.

Essential Oils with High Amounts of Phenol:

  • Clove
  • Cinnamon Bark
  • Basil

Citrusy Essential Oils:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Mandarin
  • Bergamot
  • Grapefruit
  • Tangerine
  • Neroli

Woodsy Essential Oils:

  • Pine
  • Spruce
  • Cypress

Minty or ‘Medicinal Smelling’ Essential Oils:

  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Tea Tree
  • Camphor
  • Wintergreen


  • Thyme
  • Oregano

This information is to be used as a guide when considering to use essential oils for cats. It is extremely important that you are cautious when using essential oils for cats and speak to a veterinarian for information and suggestions based on your cat.

Author Bio:

Monica is extremely knowledgeable in all things essential oils. An avid researcher with professional laboratory experience, she frequently conducts and publishes research on the essential oil industry, including product trends and popularity. More of Monica’s articles can be found on

For more info about essential oils & pets read: Essential Oils for Dogs

1 thought on “Essential Oils for Cats: Oils to Safely Use & Others to Avoid”

  1. This is very interesting! I may not have cats, but I love cats! Someday, I may have cats, though.

    I found that very interesting where cats can almost determine what’s good for them. I guess it also takes knowing your cats behavior. And I find that interesting how if they walk away, it’s almost like saying no.

    Thank you for this guest post!


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