Although essential oils are marvelous to use when in discomfort, pain, or for serenity, it’s important to make sure your animals are safe when using the oils.
There are essential oils formulated specifically for animals, some essential oil blends can be applied topically or diffused to promote a balanced environment for your pets during times of tension. I have made blends for dogs with anxiety; however, I do not specialize in animal aromatherapy. I believe you can find an Aromatherapist through the Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists, that can be of specific help for your best friend.
Cats are deficient in an enzyme called glucuronyl transferase, which is responsible for breaking down phenol. Phenol is an organic compound that is present in drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen (Tylenol). This compound, also known as carbolic acid, is also featured in many essential oils and could make them unsafe for use around cats. I personally have a cat who is 84 years old, and she has been exposed through inhalation to essential oils all her life. She is okay, well, the odd fierce attitude issue, but other than that she is healthy!
Essential oils are likely safer for cats than artificial fragrances and air fresheners. Even still, what your nose perceives as a pleasant smell may be overwhelming for your cat. When using essential oils around cats, be sure to keep a scent-free room in your living environment for them to go to if they decide they instinctively need it.
Specific Oils to Stay Away From
Though the following essential oils are commonly used for relaxation or other purposes by humans, you should steer clear of the following if you have feline friends:
Sweet birch oil
A pet owner should always consult their veterinarian before introducing a new food, treatment, or substance into their pet care routine. When using essential oils for cats, or adding them to your pet’s environment, be on the lookout for muscle tremors, difficulty walking. If you notice any unusual symptoms of essential oil poisoning in cats, contact a vet or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately.