Essential Oils Are TOXIC To Cats

Beware of Essential Oils and Cats

This year has been the year of the spider in our apartment, and I was looking to get rid of the little buggers naturally. Kali-Ma had been bitten once a couple of years ago on the ear and it was awful. A friend recommended essential oils as a natural deterrent. As always, I was reading all the appropriate literature to make the purrrfect choice when I came across the fact that essential oils are TOXIC to cats.

Understanding Essential Oils and Cats

Cats do not have certain enzymes that provide them the ability to metabolize various compounds in essential oils. A cat’s liver is the organ that is most damaged by the oil. The higher concentration of the oil, the greater the risk to the cat. If your cat ingests any essential oil, I would IMMEDIATELY contact your veterinarian.

If you don’t have a veterinarian yet, here is a link to my blog on tips for finding a vet: 6 Tips For Finding A Cat Veterinarian.

How Cats Can Absorb Oil

Cats absorb oils that are in contact with their skin through various methods such as:

  • Air Diffusers with droplets in the air, that get in their lungs and can cause respiratory issues.
  • Oils their owner puts on their own skin and then cat licks the owner, the counter where it spilled, etc.
  • Essential oils they ingest from sprays, candles, potpourri, reed diffusers, etc. that are on their skin when they clean themselves from these oils that got into the air.
  • Cats are also very curious creatures, if there is a bottle around and they get close enough to it they can ingest it from contact.

The rule of thumb is: if you can smell it, then your cat can ingest it – it is in the air! That is enough warning to get it out of your home.

 Symptoms of Essential Oil Cat Poisoning

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty Walking, Wobbliness
  • Wheezing, panting, coughing

If your cat has any of these symptoms – go to the vet now!

What Can You Use?

In my home, my cat comes first and she is the most important part of me. When it comes to the spiders, Kali-Ma sits by the wall and she stares at the spiders until I go get the vacuum. We have an excellent Kenmore Intuition. I have tried many vacuums over the years with her, and this one we love! I pull out the hose and Mr. Spider is gone inside the bag forever. I like a bagged vacuum. I know where the bugs are – in the bag!

If your issue is cooking smells, I open a window. Kali-Ma loves an open window at any time of the year. If it is self-fragrance, I don’t wear essentials oils as from reading this article it is just too risky to put any oil on that is going to put my cat in harm’s way.

Final Thoughts…..

When I read about essential oils, I thought about other smells in my home that must be at the very least “overwhelming” to Kali-Ma. I changed to unscented laundry detergent and made some other minor changes. She is only 10lbs and low to the ground taking in every smell and sound around her. I am not always as cognizant of her world as I could be.

Some would say I go too far and that she is just a cat.  That is where they have it wrong. She is not just a cat. She never has been and never will be. She is my family and all I have.

My mother recently passed away. Kali-Ma has always been my best friend however now she is my everything. It is just her and I left. I told her the day she found me, “I got you”. So, this isn’t going too far. Sometimes, I don’t go far enough. Of course….after all of this, she did get a new toy or two! LOL!

About Author

Gloria Tripp

Owner of Tails of Kali-Ma LLC where I blog about the tales of Kali-Ma the therapy cat. These tales include cat care tips, cat stories, and cat life lessons based on my life with Kali-Ma as part of a cat therapy team. I am a registered therapy animal owner, freelance copywriter, aspiring author, and lover of everything cats!


  1. Molly

    Thanks for spreading the word about essential oils and cats! I only learned about this a couple years ago and I wish more people and vets talked about this.
    Cats are so strong and so delicate at the same time.
    Always great to see your beautiful kitty! You both take care of each other and know your followers are thinking about you!😻😻

    1. Thank you 🙏 Molly. Always a pleasure to hear from you. I felt this one was too important not to share. I appreciate your compassion and kind words. Hugs 🤗 from me and Kali-Ma. 🐈😊

  2. Hi Gloria,

    So glad to see you have both come through the pandemic so far! That was a GREAT blog! You really opened up my eyes about essential oils and cats. I’m going to do some research on my own and then also post a blog on my kitten’s site, Nina the Kit, to continue passing the word around. Something all cat owners should be made aware of. Thanks for the awareness!

    Kali-Ma looks real good in the pictures. She must be getting in some good exercise now that you can go out.

    Looking forward to your next blog!

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