Many people love the scents and medicinal properties of essential oils. However, the majority of essential oils are terrible for your cat. Knowing how to use oils safely around cats and how to help them in the event they're exposed is important for any pet owner.
Why Cats Shouldn't Have Essential Oils
Cat's have a different liver structure than humans. Essential oils can be absorbed rapidly into your kitty through their skin, mouth, and nose. Once oils have been absorbed into your kitty, the cat may begin to show signs of illness. The real trouble here is that a cat's liver has no way to metabolize the oil – it just keeps building up in their liver. If they're continually exposed to these oils, it could lead to liver failure and death.
There is massive debate as to what oils are safe for cats. The majority of the oils on the market today are not safe for them. In most cases, it's best to contact a veterinarian, like those at Northwest Animal Hospital, to determine if the oil is safe.
Using Oils Safely
You can still use essential oils safely even with cats in your home. Generally, you want to use them in a space that your cats don't have access. If you decide to use a few drops of oil in your tubs, wash the surface thoroughly with soap and water afterwards. Avoid petting your cat if you decide to use oils directly on your skin. Cats love to groom, and if you pet them after using an oil, they'll ingest it when they groom.
Many household products such as candles, homemade cleaners, and potpourris contain essential oils. The oils can be difficult to avoid. However, there are alternatives. The safest alternative to scented candles and potpourri is to simmer aromatics in a pot of water on your stove. You can also omit the oil in many homemade cleaners and look for a safe substitute.
What To Do If Your Cat Has Been Exposed
Cats that have been exposed to essential oils may show signs of lethargy, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and difficulty walking. Some exposed cats may even have seizures.
If you know the product that caused the reaction, you should place it in a sealed bag. Then, you should rush your cat to the vet. Once there, your vet may perform blood work and prescribe medication to support your cat's liver. If your cat's esophagus has been burned from the oil, a feeding tube may be necessary. There is no antidote for essential oil poisoning because your cat's liver has no way to metabolize the oil. Only patience and supportive care can help heal your cat after exposure.
If you want to use essential oils around your cat, you should always consult your veterinarian first. Your veterinarian has a wealth of information to offer as to what substances are safe for your cat.