Are Any Essential Oils Safe for Cats? What you need to know!

Essential oils are in many of the products we use, from air fresheners to personal hygiene products. We also find essential oils in many of our pet care products. Unfortunately, most essential oils are harmful to our cats and dogs, and you should avoid them at all costs to keep your pet healthy.

There are only a few essential oils that are safe to use around cats, so keep reading as we cover four essential oils that are safe to use around your pets.

cat-divider4 Essential Oils Safe for Cats

1. cedar wood

Cedar wood with oil

Cedarwood is the first essential oil on our list that is safe for cats. Not only is it non-toxic, it is also highly effective at killing fleas which makes it one of the better essential oils to use around your cat. If you have an outdoor cat that wears a collar, some work applied to it is all it takes to prevent your cat from getting fleas, and can also reduce the number of fleas.

Unfortunately, cedarwood essential oil is not without its problems. While it may be safe to use around your cat, you may find that they hate the smell. Many homeowners use cedar chips to keep stray cats out of their yard, so your pet may not be too happy to apply them to their collars to repel fleas.

2. Basil

Sweet basil is another essential oil that is safe to use around your cat, and unlike cedarwood, most cats don’t mind the smell, and some even like it. While basil won’t do much for your cat, you can use it for its antiviral, antifungal, and anti-bacterial properties. It makes a great additive to your cleaning products and does a fantastic job of fighting odors. Some people even report that it helps with their migraine headaches.

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3. Candy


Peppermint essential oil is generally safe to use around your cat, and like cedarwood, it is effective at killing fleas, so keeping it on hand can be beneficial for your pet. However, peppermint is one of the more controversial entries on this list. It contains the toxic ingredient salicylate. Salicylate is an ingredient we also find in aspirin, and it can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, stomach bleeding, tremors, seizures, kidney damage, and more. This list of problems will have pet owners running for hills, but there are very few salicylates in peppermint essential oil, especially when compared to aspirin, and shouldn’t be a problem for your cat if you use it in moderation with plenty of ventilation.

4. Rosemary

Rosemary is another essential oil that is effective at killing lice. It’s completely non-toxic, and you don’t have to worry about salicylates or other harmful ingredients. Unfortunately, like cedar, most cats don’t like the smell and will avoid it whenever possible, so they won’t like it if you try to rub it on their collar or place it in an area they frequent.

cat-dividerTips for Using Essential Oils

Never apply essential oils directly to your pet’s fur or skin.

If using essential oils to kill lice, dilute them in a spray bottle mixed with water. Spray the affected areas in your home when the cat is not around to give the oil time to dissipate.

Never use essential oils in a closed litter box or other enclosed space.

Do not let your pet ingest essential oils. This may sound silly, but many cats love the taste of basil and even peppermint, and eating them can give your pet an upset stomach or even salicylate poisoning.

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When using any of the essential oils on this list, we recommend spraying a little bit first to see how your cat reacts. If you notice any strange behavior or vomiting, discontinue use immediately.

If you need to control lice, consider using a medication like Frontline, which kills fleas, ticks, and many other parasites. This kills parasites internally and externally before they have a chance to incubate eggs in your home. Even a crowded house will go away quickly once your cat starts taking this medicine.

woman giving CBd oil to cat

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While we usually recommend avoiding essential oils to keep your car healthy, some of the oils listed here should be safe. Safe doesn’t mean you have to spread it all over your cat. We recommend using a spray bottle filled with cedarwood, peppermint, or rosemary essential oils to spray around your property to repel fleas and ticks without harming your pet. This can be a very effective first line of defense, especially if your cat lives on a patio or indoors. Sweet basil is an excellent cleaning additive that will help kill mold and bacteria without harming your pet. We find it great for cleaning counters and other harsh services and even use it to help clean the floor once in a while.

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Featured Image Credit: Pavlovska Yevvheniia, Shutterstock

Are Any Essential Oils Safe for Cats? What you need to know!
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