By now, you know how much I love essential oils and how beneficial essential oils are for you, your family and friends. Essential oils have been used in a myriad of ways for various ailments, be it for skin problems, health issues, stress, pain, and much more or simply to make you feel good. As much as essential oils are beneficial for humans and dogs, they can be overwhelming for cats. Cats need to be dealt with caution!
So, why is there is a lot of fuss around the subject of using essential oils on cats? I have successfully used hydrosols, herbal and essential oils on dogs and helped them with problems of lifestyle to become healthier and happier, without any harmful side effects. However with cats, it is a whole new game and I would not recommend that you use essential oils on cats. Why not? Read on…
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Why Not Use Essential Oils On Cats?
In general, essential oils are absorbed into the body of the pet by means of inhalation or direct contact with the skin, i.e. topical application. Small amounts of essential oils are potent enough to have a significant biological impact on all systems of the body of the animal.
However, cats metabolize substances very differently than the rest of the animal family. The main reason for this is that the liver of the cat does not contain an enzyme (glucuronyl transferase to be precise) to break down some compounds as effectively as humans or other animals. Therefore, when the cat’s liver cannot process those compounds, it tends to store it and this can lead to toxicity.
For cats, this process takes place over a period of time and it can be slow and lead to illnesses along the way or worse, it can be very quick and prove fatal. The point is – be very careful and avoid using essential oils on cats.
What Should You Do Instead?
Essential oils, misapplied, can kill cats. As noted above, cats lack an important detoxification mechanism which is present in most mammals. Are there any safe options with cats you’d ask? Luckily, there is and a safer option that I recommend is to use hydrosols.
Cats seem to enjoy hydrosols which are also known as hydrolats / steam distillates and are basically the waters drawn out of the aromatherapy distillation process. Hydrosols have strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties due to high levels of carboxylic acids. They are soothing and best of all, they are rather inexpensive.
How To Use Hydrosols On Your Cat?
Well, to start off, don’t simply spray your cat with hydrosol. Let her smell the hydrosol first and watch for any signs of resistance or let your cat decide whether she likes the hydrosol or not. If she appears to like the smell, you can then apply a small amount of hydrosol to your hands and rub it on her coat. Please only use a small amount as cats tend to lick their coats.
One of the most useful hydrosol is witch hazel water. Further, you can mix and match various hydrosols and use them on cats for the treatments noted below as follows:
- Skin issues and healing (chamomile hydrosol)
- Fleas (lavender hydrosol)
- Scenting or freshening (geranium hydrosol)
- Calming (neroli or lavender hydrosol)
- Burns (lavender hydrosol)
- Rashes or irritation (rose hydrosol)
How To Store Hydrosols And Where Can You Buy Them?
Hydrosols are normally kept refrigerated. Another option is to keep the hydrosols in tightly closed bottles, away from heat and direct sunlight.
When buying hydrosols, always get them from your preferred supplier of essential oils if possible, i.e. a company which deals in therapeutic grade essential oils for aromatherapy purposes. Most of them will also carry a range of excellent quality hydrosols. And be sure to get hydrosols or hydrolats and not the synthetic versions such as rose water.
The Bottom Line
Don’t we all love our feline buddies! So, it is up to us, pet owners, to be responsible and be knowledgeable about what is good and what can be dangerous for our cats!