We caution our readers against using the oils we love around cats. Our feline furkids lack an enzyme to properly metabolize the oils. When asked if it is safe to diffuse the oils around a cat I normally say "in moderation, and make very sure the cat is free to leave the room and go to the far end of the house." Sometimes that warning is not enough.
Shawna, the author of this story, is a member of a Facebook group I have joined: Real Essential Oil Education. She shared this story today online, and gave me permission to share it further because she wants others to be aware of the dangers.
(The picture below is not her Pinky, it's my Jezebel, who died of old age several years ago.)
Essential Oils and pets…always be very cautious when using Essential
Oils around your pets especially cats. Cats are VERY sensitive to pure
oils and cannot be exposed to most of them without potentially
Author Kristen Leigh Bell had a very informative
book called Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals and she talks about using
only certain Hydrosols for feline therapy instead of pure oils. I share
this because I didn’t know about the “true” dangers of using oils around
my cat until it was too late.
I never used my oils on my house cat but
did use them diluted for my dogs and in my home. I now know that just
using them in your home can potentially cause reactions in your cat. We
had a house cat that was about 8yrs old…she was a rescue as a kitten and
was tested for feline illnesses and tested clean but apparently
harbored feline aids and we never knew. She was strictly an inside cat
from the age of 4 on and was very healthy.
A couple of years ago when I
started my journey with Essential Oils I did learn not to use them on my
cat so I only used diluted formulas for my dogs and some pest control
in the home never even considering that just because I was not putting
them directly on the cat that she couldn’t still be affected by them. I
know some of you will criticize me for not doing more research but trust
me I have beaten myself up daily for not being more diligent in knowing
what I was doing.
Last Summer I had sprayed my dogs in the kitchen
(something I never did) I always sprayed them outside knowing that the
holistic flea spray was not good for the cat. After spraying 2 of the
dogs I realized how strong the smell was inside and took them all
outside to finish and left them until they dried.
A few days later I
noticed Pinky (the cat) was acting strange so I took her to the vet
because she was urinating a LOT and not eating…yes the drastic “sick”
change was that fast. He thought she may be diabetic…that test was clear
but there were alarming levels in her blood work that pointed to liver
failure. He kept her overnight on fluids and tested for everything he
could think of and all the tests were clear so he tested for feline
aides and it was positive. In just a few days of being exposed to the
stronger oils we were using for flea control (that were not hurting the
dogs because of the dilution) she was that sick.
Apparently the exposure
to the oils caused a buildup of toxins in her body because the liver
can’t break down certain substances in cats…this is why Vets are very
careful with prescribing drugs for cats. Because she became so sick, the
once dormant feline aids took over quickly and with the liver failing
she just couldn’t fight it off. We euthanized her just one day after
taking her at the vet. The conclusion I came to about the EO exposure
can’t be exclusively confirmed but knowing what I do now about the
danger of EO’s and cats it is the only thing that makes sense. Please be
careful….tell your customers or friends who use EO’s to be careful when
using them around the feline family so they will not have to go thru
the heartbreak we did losing our precious cat to something that could
have been avoided.
Shauna, thank you for sharing. Perhaps some others can learn from your sad experience. And there are people who advocate applying neat essential oils to felines. Tragedies waiting to happen!