Like you, I want the best for my animals. I prefer to use herbs, infused oils, and essential oils for my pets when I can. However, when it comes to my cats I am extremely careful with my use of essential oils-because cats and essential oils do not mix.
There seems to be such a casual attitude about the use of essential oils in our homes, on ourselves, and with our pets that all common sense seems to have left us. We love our oils so much, we want to use them all day, every day, non stop.
I recently had a booth at 2 different Spring events. At one of these events, a woman told me her story of how her use of Lavender almost killed her cat. She was lucky and her vet figured it out in time.
At another event the following weekend, I met a veterinarian who practices acupuncture. She had seen 2 cases of toxicity in cats with essential oil use. Apparently, one of her clients had put an aromatherapy charm on her cat. Aromatherapy charms are these small charms that you put essential oil in and the animal wears it around his or her neck. At the same event, a woman ran up to me, "Oh you are the person I have been looking for! We use essential oils A LOT in my house. My husband and I use the diffuser every night too but my cats are going crazy-do you know why?"
Yea, I knew why-she was basically poisoning her cats.
So what is the deal with Les Chats? First of all, I can't explain the "why" except for -that's just how God made them! Cats are unique in the way they metabolize certain substances. Simply put, cats lack a certain enzyme that allows them to eliminate certain substances effectively. These substances then build up in the liver and can cause toxicity. The liver is central in converting and clearing chemicals from the body.
Here's the scary thing-toxicity is not always immediate and obvious. Depending on what the cat has been exposed to, how long, and the overall health of the cat-toxicity may show up within hours, months, days, or years. When your cat shows symptoms of clumsiness, partial paralysis, vomiting, drooling or is dazed and despondent and you make it to the vet, blood work will most likely be run. Almost always the cat will have elevated liver enzymes which is permanant and results in impaired liver function. Your vet may never figure out it came from your use of essential oils. And if you never figure it out- you could kill your cat.
What Is an Essential Oil Lover To Do?
1. I do not recommend using your diffuser anywhere near your cats. If you must, run your diffuser for short periods of time-say 30 minutes-in well ventilated rooms. Make sure your cats are not exposed and locked in anywhere like a bathroom or bedroom when you diffuse. If I use my diffuser, it is in a separate room with the doors closed. My diffuser is not for large spaces.
2. NEVER diffuse TEA TREE around your cat-may cause liver, kidney, and organ failure. NOT worth the risk there are safer oils!
3. Aromatherapy charms are not safe-I do not recommend them. Think about this: Your pet could choke on them trying to get away from the scent. They can't get away from the scent. Constant inhalation raises the risk of sensitivity.
4. Use hydrosols- safe for cats. You do not need to use a hydrosol every day and I would advise that you don't.
5. If you use essential oils blends on your body, don't let your cat lick it off.
6. Cats are particularly sensitive to pines and citruses. If you use essential oils to clean your house or household cleaners that contain citrus or pine, you will be exposing your cat to essential oils-or chemicals.
7. Never use pine scented litter or put essential oils in your cat's litter box.
8. Read labels carefully! Many companies are using essential oils in their products without mention of chem-otype, dosage, or even for what species the product is safe for! Dog or cat?
9. If you want to please your kitty, keep a fresh, organic catnip plant in your home or try my organic Catnip hydrosol for a treat.
10. I understand that you can't eradicate ALL exposure to essential oils-but you can be cautious with your kitties by following my tips.
As always if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me through www.animalaromatics.net