Essential Oils That Are Toxic to Cats


All essential oils can potentially kill cats if they are used full strength or if the cat swallows it. Essential oils can be found in cleaners or potpourri as well as in aromatherapy oils. Cats have a far different metabolism than people. Their livers cannot quickly eliminate toxins from essential oils. This causes a buildup of toxins that could kill the cat.


  • Essential oils contain a potentially toxic particular type of hydrocarbon called terpenene. People’s bodies contain an enzyme in order to quickly move terpenenes out of the body through urine and feces within 48 hours. The enzyme helps chemically bind terpentine to the liver’s glucoronic acid. This entire elimination process is called hepactic glucuronidation. Cats lack these enzymes, and terpenes stay within their bodies or move out very slowly.

Mosquito Repellent Products

  • Some mosquito repellent products for pets may contain concentrated essential oils of tea tree, pennyroyal and orange oil or limonene. These products are far too strong to be used on cats and may cause essential oil poisoning, according to Partners for Animal Welfare or PAW. Symptoms of this poisoning include vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures and liver malfunction. Never use human mosquito repellent on cats because it may contain essential oils.

Flea and Tick Products

  • Many flea and tick repelling essential oil blends are sold through alternative healing stores or websites. These often contain the most toxic essential oils to pets: cinnamon, pennyroyal, hyssop, thyme, eucalyptus, tea tree, wormwood, camphor, sage, rosemary and tansy. The instructions may state to apply full strength to the cat’s coat or to dose like a liquid medication. Both of these practices can kill a cat, according to Colorado State University.


  • Heavy diluted pennyroyal or eucalyptus essential oil can be added to cat shampoo to get rid of fleas, according to “The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats.” Only one or two drops of eucalyptus oil are to be added to the cat’s shampoo. The cat needs to be rinsed off thoroughly so that no shampoo or oil is left on the body that could be swallowed when the cat grooms itself. Never just place pennyroyal essential oil directly onto a cat’s fur.


  • Photo Credit cat back scratch image by Sirena Designs from
Promoted By Zergnet



You May Also Like

  • Camphor Toxicity in Cats

    Despite their keen sense of observation, cats don't always make the best decisions. One minute Fluffy is napping lazily in the sun,...

  • Essential Oils for Cats

    Essential Oils for Cats. There is a great controversy surrounding whether essential oils are safe for pets. It is well known to...

  • How to Use Pennyroyal for Fleas

    Pennyroyal, also known as fleabane, is a medicinal herb. It is an alternative treatment for fleas for those who do not want...

  • Can Eucalyptus Oil Be Used to Kill Fleas?

    Fleas are a nuisance pest on pets and humans, but may also cause serious medical problems. These insects are responsible for tapeworms,...

Related Searches

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!