Essential oils are beneficial for humans and pets too. These are natural plant-based liquids used in aromatherapy as an alternate medicine and for inducing tranquility and calmness. While some oils benefit cats, most are highly toxic and can cause life-threatening reactions. Even safe ones can be potentially dangerous if overused or ingested. To ensure your furry friends’ safety, ensure you feed them a high quality salmon cat food, and vet-approved Friskies Indoor Delights and hairball treats, as well as be cautious of these four toxic essential oils that can be potentially harmful to cats:
1. Tea tree essential oil
This oil is extracted from the Australian tea tree, Melaleuca alternifolia, and is a potent healing oil rich in antifungal and antibacterial elements. It has anti-inflammatory effects and is available in high concentrations that can lead to severe poisoning. Even a few drops of this oil can result in adverse reactions in your cat, including tremors, liver enzymes, and can cause death.
2. Wintergreen essential oil
It’s a highly toxic essential oil for cats since the high dosage of methyl salicylate causes rapid toxin build-up. Once ingested, your cat will experience asthma, severe gastrointestinal issues, liver failure, and other dangerous ailments. The wintergreen plant undergoes fermentation followed by distillation for extraction.
3. Sweet birch essential oil
Birch leaves have a sharp and sweet scent, and the oil extracted is highly concentrated. This oil is produced by steam distilling the sweet birch bark and is known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. While this oil purifies and healthy skin in humans, it causes gastrointestinal ulcers, kidney failure, seizures, and other life-threatening ailments in cats. This oil is highly effective in treating muscle soreness and joint issues in humans.
4. Pennyroyal essential oil
The pennyroyal plant is the source for this potent essential oil that can treat pneumonia and other common health issues. While it’s an excellent flea and tick repellent, it can cause severe health complications in cats. If your cat ingests this oil, it experiences vomiting and diarrhea with blood. It can also lead to permanent liver damage in cats, further leading to other serious health complications and even death.
Besides the ones mentioned here, there are many other toxic essential oils for cats. Most of these essential oils contain high doses of phenols that lead to toxin build-up in cats. Some of these oils are:
- Cinnamon oil
- Clove oil
- Citrus oil
- Pine oil
- Ylang-ylang oil
- Menthol oils (wintergreen, peppermint, sweet birch, and eucalyptus oil)
- Lavender oil
- Nutmeg oil
- Oregano oil
Ingestion of any of these essential oils can cause severe gastrointestinal disorders, breakdown of the central nervous system, liver damage, kidney disorders, and other health ailments that can be life-threatening. While you can use some oils in extremely low dosages, they’re still potentially dangerous, especially without consulting your veterinarian.