Lavender—the shrubby perennial plant with lovely purple flowers—has made its way into our lives in the form of herbal remedies, oils, skincare products, and wellness treatments.The calming scent may be beneficial for humans in relieving stress and anxiety, but lavender, especially in the form of oil, can be dangerous to cats.According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), lavender plants are toxic to cats and can cause nausea and vomiting.“Lavender contains linalool and linalyl acetate, and cats lack the enzymes necessary to process these compounds,” says Dr. Rachel Barrack of Animal Acupuncture in New York City.According to the ASPCA, cats are especially sensitive to essential oils and they can experience gastrointestinal upset, central nervous system depression, and even liver damage when significant quantities are ingested.Dr.
Jamie Richardson, medical chief of staff of Small Door Veterinary in New York City, says that the lavender plant itself is not dangerous to cats, unless it is ingested.“Besides the dermal absorption that can occur rapidly, cats will often groom off foreign substances that have been applied to their coat, therefore, ingesting the oil.”.Richardson says that while there are limited studies on the long term effects of essential oils for both humans or animals, there is no clear evidence on a safe level of exposure.“We do know that cats can be extremely sensitive to even passive, diffused aerosolized products, leading to respiratory irritation in their lungs, causing asthma,” she says.“Essential oils in active diffusers (where microdroplets are released into the environment) or sprays can fall onto a pet’s fur coat, where they can be absorbed through the skin or ingested during grooming,” warns Richardson.She then recommends calling the ASPCA’s poison control hotline (888-426-4435), anytime of the day for further information specific to the case.“But if any more, or you suspect aspiration, ingestion, or your cat is showing signs of lavender poisoning, contact your primary care veterinarian immediately.”.For cats that are diagnosed with lavender toxicity, Richardson explains that a physical examination and possible admittance to the hospital for blood samples and IV fluids may be necessary. .
Is Lavender Safe for Cats?
Unfortunately for cats, lavender is toxic.We humans love lavender so much that chances are you have more than one form in your home—and certain forms of the plant are more dangerous to your cat than others.According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the problem for felines is that their livers don’t have the enzyme necessary to metabolize the essential oil (humans do).If you’re holding your kitty and her breathing or heart rate feels erratic, she could be having lung trouble.Cats can also get sick from licking lavender essential oil diffuser sticks or licking your hand if you’ve just rubbed lavender essential oil on something.The safe thing to do is avoid using lavender essential oil in these diffusers if you have one.Be sure to stick to essential oils made from plants that aren’t toxic to felines.How to treat lavender poisoning.Treating a cat suffering from lavender poisoning totally depends on how much said cat ingested (or absorbed) and which symptoms are presenting themselves.If she lapped up a giant pool of lavender essential oil or chomped down on a bunch of lavender sprigs, it’s best to reach out to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center or your vet ASAP. .
Smell of Success: Scent Enrichment for Cats
Using scent to enrich their environment offers inexpensive, effective, and fun ways to keep your cats happy, stress free, and healthy.An outdoor cat can chase butterflies, climb and claw trees, munch grass and mark territory, stalk critters, and relax in the sun.Dr. Tony Buffington, an expert on cat enrichment, and a principal in the Indoor Pet Initiative, says stressed cats react with sickness behaviors that include hiding, vomiting, refusing to eat, and missing the litter box.To ensure they can’t escape, raise the window only a couple of inches to allow the breeze inside.My cat Karma loves to stand on his hind legs and press his nose to the opening, especially when it rains.Seasoned fireplace logs attract many cats and might serve as a scratch post alternative.Or fill a box or paper bag with dry leaves for your cat to sniff and play inside.Avoid plastic, and cut handles on paper sacks to prevent them getting caught.Sunflowers, zinnias, snapdragons, and gerbera daisies are safe, as well as oat grass or dandelion.Many herbs we use in cooking are safe and fun for cats to sniff, and some are known to be feline favorites.Catnip, part of the mint family, affects many cats with a scent-induced kitty “high.” Silver vine has a similar effect.Other safe herbs cats may enjoy sniffing include dill, oregano, parsley, and rosemary.Amy Shojai (www.SHOJAI.com) is an IAABC-certified behavior consultant (cats/dogs), and Fear Free certified pet care expert. .
Aromatherapy For Your Cat
You can spritz your kitty’s favorite hangout spot with a bit of hydrosol or even use it as a room freshener to help calm her down.Kristen Leigh Bell, who wrote Holistic Aromatherapy For Animals , suggests a mixture of lavender, rose, and neroli for a fresh, calming scent.While there are other hydrofoils and essential oils in the citrus family that can have soothing properties on humans, that is not the case for kitties.Some other oils to avoid include oregano, tarragon, tea tree, birch, pennyroyal, tansy and thuja. .
How to Calm Your Cat with Aromatherapy (with Pictures)
Although tea tree oil is safe to use on humans when applied topically and is often used in cleaning products, it is very dangerous for your cat.In fact, tea tree oil contains terpenes, a substance that is toxic to both humans and pets when ingested orally.Whereas humans can use tea tree oil topically, cats are very sensitive to the topical application of tea tree oil. .
How to Calm Down a Cat: 5 Herbs for Cat Stress Relief
Some cats are naturally stressed and anxious as part of their demeanor, while others save their freak-outs for car trips and vet visits.The key to using catnip for relaxing your kitty is to give it to her about 15 minutes prior to the stressful event, such as the dreaded veterinary trip.Studies in animals have shown that chamomile contains substances that act on the same parts of the brain and nervous system as anti-anxiety drugs do.But don’t soothe your feline’s nerves by giving her a sip of ale; the dried flowers are more effective and better for her liver.Humans have known the benefits of this flower essence combination in relieving stress and anxiety and, fortunately, it can also be used with cats (and dogs).However, essential oils should never be used on cats due to their liver functioning, which makes it difficult (if not impossible) to break down the compounds and can lead to serious illness – even death.If you prefer a tincture, make sure to buy one professionally created by a reputable pet product company with holistic (also known as naturopathic) veterinarians on staff.Drops of your purchased tincture can be put in her water for extended calming or squeezed into her mouth for immediate relief. .
Essential Oils and Cats: What You Need to Know – Holistic
This means that the liver in cats cannot break down or metabolize certain drugs, medications, and even some essential oils.If you are interested in using essential oils for your cat, you should do so only as directed and/or supervised by your veterinarian.A few common essential oils that are SAFE to use for your cat include lavender, copaiba, helichrysum, and frankincense.If you diffuse oils in your home, it should not cause a problem for your cat, as oil used in a diffuser is highly diluted (versus direct topical application or dietary supplementation).Stay tuned for another post coming soon: Essential Oils for your Dog! .
Using Essential Oils for Anxiety in Animals: Cats, Dogs and Horses
Essential oils, such as Peace & Calming, can be very helpful in managing anxiety with dogs, cats and horses.How Essential Oils Work to Calm Animals:.How-To Use Essential Oils With Animals For Anxiety Guidelines:.Choose a time when your cat, dog or horse feels safe, calm and relaxed and slowly introduce the scent of the essential oil of choice.Animals have the same olfactory response to small as humans do where the first time they smell something, they will “file” the scent away in their brain and associate it with the emotion they feel at the time.For cats and dogs, it is easy to diffuse in the home when it’s quiet time, such as in the evening before bed.Diffuse in a room with the animal.Example of How To Use Essential Oils for Anxiety with Animals:.For a large dog, such as a Bernese Mountain Dog weighing close to 100#s, several drops can be applied.Also, collar diffusers can be filled with calming essential oils and snapped around your dog’s collar to slowly diffuse out the oil over time or a home diffuser can be running in the room where your dog will be located. .
Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs and Cats?
The popularity of these natural plant-derived oils has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks largely to their pleasing scents and the benefits attributed to them.Not only do essential oils make our homes smell delightful, proponents claim the soothing scents can potentially improve our health and help us feel more centered, too.While some holistic veterinarians and alternative medicine practitioners may recommend certain essential oils, most veterinary professionals urge pet parents to steer clear of them.Not only are dogs and cats at risk, but rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, and other pets can also be harmed by essential oils.Many people use essential oils for a wide range of potential health benefits, including: to regulate sleep, reduce anxiety, as well as to ease muscle aches and nasal congestion.In addition to aromatherapy, certain essential oils may also act as insect repellants, keeping mosquitoes and other bugs at bay.Essential oils come in various forms: pure essential oils, air fresheners, and room sprays, flavorings, herbal remedies, perfumes, aromatherapy jewelry, bath and personal products, household cleaning products (such as Pine-Sol®), candles, and liquid potpourri, as well as passive or active diffusers.In addition to respiratory irritation, using active diffusers can actually expose your pet to an even greater potential threat, when they ingest the oil on their fur while grooming.It’s always a good idea to ask your veterinarian about the safety of an essential oil product marketed for pets – such as shampoos, sprays, or calming treats – before using them.However, no scientific research has proven that these essential oils are fully effective at preventing disease-carrying external parasites or mosquito bites – especially not at a safe, non-toxic concentration.acts as an insect repellant Chamomile oil: elicits a soothing effect and helps calm the gastrointestinal system.currently being evaluated as a therapy for bladder cancer in humans and dogs Helichrysum oil: a member of the sunflower family with some potential in aiding bleeding disorders.Due to metabolic differences, the same oil we can enjoy with no ill effects can cause GI upset, chemical scalding of the mouth or esophagus, as well as respiratory, neurologic, and liver damage in our pets.Being such fastidious groomers, cats are at increased risk of developing toxicity when oils settle on their skin or fur.In such cases, oils enter the body via inhalation, ingestion, and across the skin barrier simultaneously, quickly reaching a toxic concentration in the bloodstream.Furthermore, prevent pets with open wounds or sores from direct dermal contact with such oils, as the broken skin could allow for more rapid absorption.Avoid applying essential oils to your pet’s sensitive areas – eyes, ears, nose, and genitals.If in doubt, consult your veterinarian or check the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC)’s website on toxic and non-toxic plants.: Although cinnamon oil is an ingredient in some over-the-counter “natural” flea and tick spot-on treatments and collars due to its potential pest repellent properties, it can be toxic to dogs and cats and is not fully protective against external parasites.Though tea tree oil carries some antiseptic properties, it should never be fed to or applied to the skin or fur of a dog or cat.Even in diluted form, tea tree oil can be very toxic if ingested or applied topically to a dog or cat.Though tea tree oil carries some antiseptic properties, it should never be fed to or applied to the skin or fur of a dog or cat.Even in diluted form, tea tree oil can be very toxic if ingested or applied topically to a dog or cat.To help calm your cat and deter unwanted destructive behaviors, consider a safe and effective alternative, such as Feliway pheromone spray or diffuser.To help calm your cat and deter unwanted destructive behaviors, consider a safe and effective alternative, such as Feliway pheromone spray or diffuser.Central nervous system impairment: Symptoms include ataxia (wobbliness or difficulty standing), muscle weakness or tremors, depression or lethargy, behavior changes.Symptoms include ataxia (wobbliness or difficulty standing), muscle weakness or tremors, depression or lethargy, behavior changes.If your dog or cat is experiencing mild respiratory irritation after inhaling an essential oil, move them to an area with fresh air.If an essential oil came in contact with your pet’s skin or fur, wash the area with a pet-safe dishwashing liquid, such as Dawn ® .If your dog or cat ingested an essential oil, consult with your veterinarian or poison control center immediately.If your veterinarian advises that you seek treatment, bring the essential oil product with you to your veterinary visit to aid your vet in identifying the toxic substance and dose.If the mouth or esophagus has suffered chemical burns, a feeding tube may be inserted for a few days while the injury heals.Fluids, IV lipid therapy, and supportive care may be provided depending on the severity of your pet’s toxicity.Fortunately, the majority of essential oil toxicity cases carry a good prognosis with prompt detection and veterinary treatment.Pet parents can reduce the risk of harm to their dogs and cats by following these safety tips when using essential oils at home.Limit your use of diffusers, sprays, and other essential oil products to a short period of time, and air out the room before allowing your pet inside. .