Complete Guide To Essential Oils Safe For Cats | List Of Essential Oils Safe For Your Cats


Essential oils are becoming widely popular for their aroma as well as their benefits. It is doing wonders in the field of skincare, as well as haircare and healthcare. Essential oils, being natural plant extracts, are usually safe and healthy to use. However, when it comes to our feline companions, a new chapter of caution unfolds. Cats, with their enigmatic charm and delicate constitutions, require us to tread lightly in this fragrant landscape.

Essential oils come from plants and are considered safe for humans. But essential oils are more dangerous when it comes to using these oils on your cat. There is a compound called phenol in essential oils that can be tolerated by humans but not by cats and thus is not safe for use around cats. However, there are certain safe essential oils for cats that are discussed in this article. 

Is Essential Oil Safe For Cats?

Cats possess a unique physiology that can react sensitively to certain substances, including essential oils. Due to differences in liver metabolism compared to humans, some oils can potentially be harmful. Cats lack specific enzymes necessary for processing certain compounds efficiently, making it imperative to exercise caution. The safety of essential oils for cats is a topic that requires careful consideration.

 Cats have a unique sensitivity to certain compounds found in essential oils, which can make them susceptible to adverse effects. While some essential oils are safe for cats when diluted and used with caution, others can be toxic and potentially harmful. It’s crucial to avoid allowing cats to ingest essential oils and to limit their exposure to diffused aromas. Before using any essential oils around cats, it’s recommended to consult with a veterinarian to ensure their well-being and safety. Be careful while choosing essential oils for cat health. 

Cat Safe Essential Oils

The following essential oils are considered safe for use on cats or for use around cats. 

1. Lavender Oil: Nature’s Calming Elixir

Lavender oil, celebrated for its calming properties, benefits not only humans but also cats. When properly diluted and used judiciously, it can aid in alleviating stress and anxiety in your feline companion. Whether you’re tending to a nervous kitty or assisting a cat in acclimating to a new environment, a hint of lavender fragrance can wield remarkable results. This essential oil is commonly used to reduce stress or anxiety. You can also use this essential oil for fleas on cats. 

2. Frankincense Oil: Support for Immunity and Wellness

Frankincense oil holds potential immune-boosting benefits for cats. Its gentle nature renders it suitable for fostering overall wellness. Through a diluted application, you can extend support to your cat’s immune system while creating an atmosphere of tranquility. Research suggests that essential oils contain anti-inflammatory properties. 

3. Chamomile Oil: Gentle Soothing Aromatherapy

Derived from the chamomile flower, chamomile oil delivers gentle, soothing properties. It proves beneficial in calming your cat during high-stress situations, such as thunderstorms or visits to the veterinarian. Always remember to consult with your veterinarian and conduct a patch test before widespread use.

4. Rosemary Oil: Aromatic Enrichment

Rosemary oil can serve as a source of aromatic enrichment for your cat-friendly environment. However, similar to other oils, it should be used in diluted form and with consideration for your cat’s preferences.

5. Copaiba Oil: Mild Comfort

Copaiba oil offers mild comfort for cats, particularly in situations where relaxation is needed. Dilution is key, as it ensures that the oil’s potency doesn’t overwhelm your feline friend. It is rich in anti-inflammatory properties that barely have any scent and thus does not irritate your cats. Also, inflammation is a common issue in most diseases, so it is not wrong to say that this oil is quite helpful for your cats. 

6. Helichrysum Oil: Skin Support

For cats requiring skin support, helichrysum oil can be of assistance. Its diluted application might offer relief in cases of minor skin irritations.

7. Oregano Oil: Caution and Moderation

Oregano oil should be used with caution due to its potency. Even in diluted form, it’s advisable to consult your veterinarian before employing it around your cat. This is one of the common choices of cat owners. It can be used in essential oil diffusers. 

8. Cedarwood Oil: Environmental Enhancement

Cedarwood oil can contribute to enhancing your home’s atmosphere. Just like other oils, it’s important to dilute it adequately and ensure your cat’s comfort. As cedarwood oil has grounding effects, it is believed that it is a great oil that can be used for cats that are timid or fearful. Also, its properties make it appropriate to be used as a flea repellent for cats. 

9. Thyme Oil: Diluted Benefits

Thyme oil can offer potential benefits for cats, provided it’s properly diluted. Consulting your veterinarian beforehand is recommended. You can use this essential oil in a diffuser to ensure it is safe for your cat. 

10. Valerian Oil: Calming Influence

Valerian oil holds the potential for a calming influence on cats. However, individual reactions can vary, so careful observation is necessary.

Essential Oils Toxic To Cats

1. Tea Tree Oil: A Potential Hazard

Tea tree oil remains infamous for its toxicity to cats. Even minute amounts can lead to adverse reactions, ranging from skin irritation to more severe complications. Vigilance in checking ingredient labels and avoiding products containing tea tree oil is crucial.

2. Eucalyptus Oil: Respiratory Caution

While humans might find the scent of eucalyptus oil invigorating, it can be detrimental to cats, especially when inhaled. Cats are sensitive to potent aromas, and eucalyptus oil can lead to respiratory distress. Keeping this oil far away from your feline companion’s environment is advised.

Benefits Of Using Essential Oils For Cats

Using essential oils for cats, under proper supervision, can offer several potential benefits:

1. Calming Effects

Certain essential oils like lavender and chamomile are known for their calming properties. When these oils are diluted and used correctly, they can help reduce stress and anxiety in cats. It is ideal for cats facing changes in environment, travel, or veterinary visits. 

2. Insect Repellent

Essential oils like cedarwood and rosemary have natural insect-repelling qualities. These oils can help deter fleas, ticks, and other pests from bothering your cat. The diluted application can contribute to a pest-free environment.

3. Aiding Respiratory Health

Essential oils, when used cautiously and properly diluted, might assist with respiratory issues. Also, diffusing small amounts can create an environment that supports clear airways.

4. Supporting Immune Function

Frankincense oil, when used under guidance, is believed to have potential immune-boosting properties for cats. The diluted application might provide gentle support for overall wellness.

5. Joint and Muscle Comfort

Cats with joint discomfort might benefit from diluted application of oils like helichrysum. Always consult a veterinarian before using oils for specific health concerns.

6. Fighting Odors

Essential oils with pleasant scents, such as lavender or citrus oils, can help combat litter box odors. Proper dilution is crucial to avoid overwhelming your cat’s senses.

7. Enhancing Bonding 

Using calming essential oils during grooming sessions might foster a positive bond between you and your cat. Gradually introducing aromas can create a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

8. Creating a Relaxing Atmosphere

Aromatic diffusion of cat-safe essential oils can contribute to a serene environment. Cats, like humans, might benefit from soothing aromas in their living spaces.

Safe Methods of Using Essential Oils for Cats

Introducing essential oils to your cat’s routine requires careful consideration and adherence to safety guidelines. Here are some safe methods for incorporating essential oils into your cat’s environment:

1. Aromatic Diffusion

Using a diffuser designed for pets, diffuse essential oils around your cats. This method creates a gentle aroma that can promote relaxation and well-being. Ensure the diffuser is placed in an area where your cat can choose to be near or move away from the scent. This is one of the best ways when it comes to using essential oils around cats. 

2. Topical Application

For specific concerns, it is safe to use diluted essential oils topically. Consult your veterinarian before attempting this method. Always remember to dilute the oil properly with a suitable carrier oil and perform a patch test before using essential oil directly on cats and dogs, especially cats. Never apply essential oils in an undiluted manner to your dogs and cats. Always use these oils in diluted form even when used for personal use, as essential oils can also be toxic to human beings if applied in an undiluted manner. 

3. Comfortable Spaces

Enhance your cat’s favorite spots by placing a small cloth or bedding infused with a diluted essential oil. This provides a passive and non-invasive way for your cat to experience the aroma while resting.

4. Grooming Time

Incorporate calming essential oils during grooming sessions. Cats often find comfort in their grooming routine, and the soothing scent can enhance their experience.

5. Consulting a Professional

Before using essential oils on or around your cat, consult a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about holistic approaches. They can provide tailored advice based on your cat’s health and individual needs.

6. Monitoring Response

Closely observe your cat’s behavior and reactions when introducing essential oils. If you notice any signs of discomfort, such as excessive scratching or avoidance of the scented area, discontinue use immediately.

7. Avoid Direct Ingestion

Never administer essential oils internally to cats. Cats lack certain enzymes to process essential oils, which can lead to adverse effects on their digestive system.

8. Respect Preferences

Cats have individual preferences, so their response to essential oils may vary. If your cat appears disinterested or uncomfortable, respect their boundaries and discontinue use.

By approaching the usage of essential oils with mindfulness and respect for your cat’s well-being, you can create an environment that supports their health and comfort. Remember, each cat is unique, so always prioritize their safety and consult with a professional before making any changes to their routine.

Symptoms Of Essential Oil Poisoning In Cats

Essential oil poisoning in cats can manifest through a range of symptoms, varying in severity depending on the type of oil, its concentration, and the cat’s individual sensitivity. If you suspect your cat has come into contact with or ingested essential oils, it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary attention. Here are some common symptoms of essential oil poisoning in cats:

  1. Respiratory Distress: Many essential oils release strong vapors that can irritate a cat’s sensitive respiratory system. Symptoms may include coughing, wheezing, sneezing, rapid breathing, or difficulty breathing.
  2. Drooling and Excessive Salivation: Ingestion or skin contact with certain essential oils can cause excessive drooling and salivation in cats.
  3. Vomiting and Diarrhea: Ingesting even a small amount of certain essential oils can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms can quickly lead to dehydration.
  4. Lethargy and Weakness: Cats exposed to toxic essential oils may become unusually lethargic, weak, and unresponsive. They may lack their usual energy and enthusiasm.
  5. Tremors and Seizures: Severe cases of essential oil poisoning can result in tremors, muscle twitching, and even seizures.
  6. Uncoordinated Movements: Cats suffering from essential oil poisoning might exhibit unsteady movements, stumbling, and difficulty maintaining balance.
  7. Skin Irritation: Contact with certain undiluted essential oils can lead to skin irritation, redness, swelling, and discomfort.
  8. Changes in Behavior: Essential oil poisoning can cause behavioral changes such as restlessness, anxiety, and excessive agitation.
  9. Depression: Cats affected by toxic essential oils may display signs of depression, lack of interest in their surroundings, and withdrawal from interaction.
  10. Hypersalivation: Some essential oils can lead to excessive drooling and hypersalivation in cats, which may be accompanied by signs of discomfort.
  11. Excessive Grooming: Cats might engage in excessive grooming behaviors as a response to irritation caused by essential oils on their skin or fur.
  12. Eye and Nose Irritation: Ocular and nasal irritation can occur if cats come into direct contact with essential oils, leading to watery eyes and sneezing.

If you witness any such symptoms in your cat, then essential oil is potentially causing harm to your cat, and you need to take immediate action. 

Immediate Action

If you suspect your cat has been exposed to essential oils and is displaying any of these symptoms, it’s imperative to take swift action:

  1. Remove the Source: Remove the essential oil and any items contaminated with it from your cat’s environment.
  2. Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation in the area to help dissipate any lingering vapors.
  3. Contact Your Vet: Contact your veterinarian immediately. Provide them with information about the essential oil involved, the symptoms your cat is exhibiting, and any details about the exposure.
  4. Do Not Induce Vomiting: Do not induce vomiting unless directed to do so by your veterinarian.
  5. Do Not Self-Treat: Avoid attempting home remedies or administering any medications without consulting a veterinarian.


Cats are sensitive to essential oils, and improper use can lead to adverse reactions. In this article, some of the essential oils that are considered safe for cats as well as bad for cats have been discussed. Always purchase pure essential oils to ensure their quality and safety. Remember, essential oils in your home should be used with care to prevent any potential harm. By prioritizing the safe use of essential oils, you can enhance your home’s ambiance while keeping your beloved cats’ well-being intact.

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