Essential oil and Cats- A Beginngers guide

So you’ve been bitten buy the essential oil bug and are addicted or maybe you’re just dipping your toes into the wonderful world of essential oils. Since I started sharing essential oils one of the most popular questions I get asked ‘is it safe to use around my pets?’

The broad answer is yes, but there are some caveats.  Today I’m going to cover Essential oil use around Cats and later I’ll talk about Essential oils and Dogs and other animal guides are in the works.


First things first, say hello to Kip!

He’s our household ambassador that showers every willing person with love and orange hair.   He tends to follow me around the house like the loyal kitty he is and  was my first test subject for using Essential oils with cats (AFTER I did some research, which I’m sharing with you. Please don’t use oils on anyone including your pets without knowing  the oil and if it’s safe). Below are some safety guidelines  for using essential oil around or with your cats.

  • Methods of application include diffusing, petting (which is absorbed through their skin and hair follicles, but also ingested when grooming), and adding to their water or litter box. Oral application is generally not given because of cats strong taste aversion, but can be used when needed in extreme cases.


  • Always avoid getting oils in the eyes, ears*, and nose. These are highly sensitive and even highly diluted oils can cause irritation in these areas. * The outside of an animals ear may have diluted oil applied to it, just take care that oil does not fall into the ear canal.


  • When diffusing, always allow the cat freedom to leave the area especially if the cat expresses agitation, anxiety, tremors or drooling- these are signs that the oil concentration is too strong or that the oils is having an adverse reaction.


  • If adding essential oil to their drinking water or litter box (via a drop of oil into a jar of baking soda and then sprinkling the baking soda into the litter) always have a second option of water or litter box that does not contain any oil. Allowing the cat to choose will avoid possible dehydration or accidents outside the litter box.


  • While some oils may be used with  little dilution or even neat ( Like Lavender, Copaiba, Helichrysum, and Frankincense), especially if the cat has tolerated the oil before. In most cases though cats need a 75% to 90% dilution. You should always start with a high dilution and add more essential oil if needed and is tolerated. The saying “a little goes a long way” applies here.


  • Cats  have a “deficient” P450 cytochrome pathway, making it impossible for them to breakdown certain metabolites of some essential oils.  Because they cannot breakdown certain metabolites it can cause toxicity in their bodies. So certain oils should be avoided unless you are under the guidance of a Veterinarian.  Oils that should be avoided or used with caution are Wintergreen, Basil, Clove, Oregano, Melaleuca Quinquenervia, Thyme, Mountain Savory, Tea Tree, Laurus Nobilis, and Cinnamon Bark.  This means your need to avoid using blends with these oils (like thieves) on your cat. You can safely use and diffuse these oils and even use the thieves line of cleaners around your cat. Just don’t use them on your cat and when diffusing  allow the cat to leave the room or even put him in a different room while you are using these oils and products.


  • Watch your cat’s reaction to the oil. Some cat’s will  stay near or even lay next to a diffuser if they like the oil while others my run from it. If your cat is avoiding the oil try diluting it even more or even apply some to yourself and become a human diffuser. Some cats who hate an oil being diffused in  a room will accept it on their caretaker. Whenever possible let your cat decide if it likes it’s oil treatment or even the oil you’ve chosen. If they clearly don’t like an oil even after trying higher dilution and different application methods, then find a different oil to use for your purpose.


  • Contact a vet that is experienced with oils and can give you accurate advice and guidance on oils to use.


  • Use high quality therapeutic grade Essential oils. Essential oils are not regulated by federal agencies so find a company that offers tested therapeutic grade oils. I love Young Living and their Seed to Seal promise (I’ve also been to one of their farms!). Do your research and find an oil company you trust. If you want to know more about  Young Living and why I chose them please click here.

Now that you’ve ready some safety guidelines check out my top 6 oils to use with cats ↓↓↓

Top 6 oils to use with cats

  1. Copaiba – Copaiba oil helps create a relaxing atmosphere when diffused or applied topically.
  2. Lavender – Lavender oil is relaxing and soothing.
  3. Frankincense -Creates a safe and comforting environment when you diffuse or inhale this empowering oil.
  4. Helichrysum –  Helichrysum oil provides many benefits for the skin.
  5. Stress Away – Stress Away  has soothing aroma when diffused or applied topically.
  6. Peace & Calming – Peace & Calming oil creates a relaxing environment that’s especially great for homes with children and pets.

I list basic and compliant information on how to use these oils, though these oils have many other possible uses, talk with your veterinarian to find the oils that will work the best for you and your pets.


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Alycia Louise
Alycia has worked in the food industry for over 10 years. She lives in the PNW with her husband and three dogs. Her likes include coffee, rainy days and horror movies.
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