Very little research has been done on cats and essential oils. There’s also a great deal of debate over whether using aromatics on felines is a good idea, in the first place. The vast majority of animal care experts warn against it.
However, one holistic vet, who has written on the topic, does believe certain oils can be used on cats, under certain circumstances. But this is definitely a minority opinion, at least right now. However, I really hope this vet’s theory will be further studied.
For another viewpoint, which seems to be somewhere in the middle, you can check out this comprehensive aromatherapy guide for animals, authored by Kristen Leigh Bell.
Certain essential oils can be used on dogs, according to a number of holistic animal health experts. I’ve used some on my own dog with what seems to be good success. I use them for ear maintenance and flea control.
I’ve also heard of people letting their dog sniff a tiny bit of lavender oil, before a trip to the vet, to relieve the anxiety.
But cats and essential oils are a different story. At this point, there seem to be more questions than answers. Before using any type essential oil on an animal, I urge you to speak with your own vet.
Can You Use Essential Oils on Cats?
Much more information is available on canine aromatherapy. Essential oil for dog recipes abound on the Internet. But the common line of thinking is that aromatic oils shouldn’t be used on cats.
Cats do not have a certain enzyme, present in humans, that allow them to break down oils. This is why most animal health experts say cats and aromatherapy do not mix.
Aromatic oils are highly concentrated. So they can be many times stronger than the original plant. For instance, I read somewhere that one drop of peppermint oil is the equivalent of 40 to 70 cups of peppermint tea. The standard dilution for an adult human is one drop of essential oil to one teaspoon of carrier oil, which is a non aromatic oil, such as olive or grape seed. This must be done before applying an oil to the skin.
Currently, there’s an enormous amount of interest in essential oils, including potential ways to use them on animals. If you’d like to learn more, here is an excellent resource. The author of this book has dedicated a section to the essential oil cat controversy. One chapter is titled, Hydrosols – The Safe Way to Enjoy Aromatherapy With Your Cat.
Natural Remedies to Calm Cats?
Currently, there’s no consensus on the best use of essential oils on cats, or whether they should be used at all.
So, in the meantime, is there anything natural you can do to calm a nervous cat?
There are also some tried-and-true natural remedies for pets, which are considered safe for both cats and dogs. (Of course, always check with your vet before using any type of remedy on your pet.)
Some pet owners use Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, a gentle homeopathic formula developed by British homeopath Dr. Edward Bach. This is a blend of five flower essences, which can potentially be used before stressful experiences or during thunderstorms.
Rescue Remedy is a product I’ve owned for 10 years. I still have the original bottle I purchased, and it still works. All that’s needed is a drop. The formula shown here is made for pets, and contains no alcohol, as do the other Bach flower remedies made for people. Instead, it’s preserved with vegetable glycerin.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. I am not an animal healthcare expert, so this article is my personal opinion only and is not intended as medical advice. It is written for discussion purposes only. Please check with your vet if you have any medical concerns.
For Additional Reading