No, lavender essential oil is not safe for cats as it contains linalool and linalyl acetate, which are toxic to them. Even small amounts of lavender oil can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats.
Besides, lavender oil can also cause an allergic reaction in some cats, leading to skin irritation and other problems. So, it’s best to avoid using lavender oil around cats. If you must use it, make sure to keep your cat away from the area where you’re using it.
To make your query real clear here I’ll share some studies done on the effects of lavender oil and cats. I’ll also provide some helpful tips on how to keep your cat safe from its potential side effects.
Why Lavender Essential Oil is Not Safe for Cats?
Here I’ll try to explain, in simple terms, the science behind why lavender oil is not safe for cats.
1. Lavender Oil Contains Linalool and Linalyl Acetate
As I mentioned earlier, lavender essential oil contains linalool and linalyl acetate. These are organic compounds known as terpenes. Linalool is a common terpene found in many essential oils. It’s known for its relaxing and sedative effects.
Linalool is also used as a flavoring agent in foods and drinks. Linalyl acetate is another terpene found in lavender oil. It’s known for its sweet, floral smell. Like linalool, it’s also used as a flavoring agent in food and drink.
2. Cats Lack the Enzyme Glucuronosyltransferase
Linalool and linalyl acetate are metabolized by the enzyme glucuronosyltransferase in the liver. This enzyme helps to break down and remove these terpenes from the body.
However, cats lack this enzyme. This means that they can’t metabolize or remove linalool and linalyl acetate from their bodies.
3. Linalool and Linalyl Acetate Are Toxic to Cats
Because cats can’t metabolize or remove linalool and linalyl acetate from their bodies, these terpenes can build up to toxic levels. Linalool and linalyl acetate are both toxic to cats. Even small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, they can even cause liver damage.
4. Lavender Oil Can Cause Allergic Reactions in Cats
Some cats are also allergic to lavender oil. This can lead to skin irritation, redness, and other problems. If you think your cat is having an allergic reaction to lavender oil, take them to the vet immediately.
5. Cats Have a Strong Sense of Smell
According to the ASPCA, cats have a sense of smell that’s 14 times stronger than ours. This means that they’re more sensitive to the scent of lavender oil than we are. Because of their strong sense of smell, even a small amount of lavender oil can be overwhelming for cats.
Interesting Read: Is Rose Essential Oil Safe For Cats?
What Studies Show About Lavender Oil and Cats?
Studies have found that lavender oil can be toxic to cats when ingested. In one study, cats who were given a single dose of 2 mL of lavender oil developed vomiting and diarrhea within hours. The cats also experienced an increase in heart rate and hyperactivity.
Another study found that exposure to high concentrations of lavender oil led to severe respiratory irritation in cats, and another study found that ingestion of even small amounts of lavender oil could lead to death.
In addition, research has shown that cats can be allergic to lavender oil. One study found that a single dose of 0.15 mL of lavender oil was enough to cause mild skin irritation in some cats.
You can also read: Is Chamomile Essential Oil Safe For Cats?
Do Cats Like the Smell of Lavender Oil?
To be honest, I never tried this with my cat Gremlin, but then I read a funny story on Quora.
According to Mari Ruiz’s (Quora user name) cat, Sparky (her cat name) doesn’t seem to like the smell of lavender oil. Whenever she catches a whiff of it, she starts scratching and biting. It’s unclear why this is, but it seems that the smell of lavender oil is something that Sparky doesn’t enjoy.
Mari has tried using other cat deterrents in the past, but nothing has worked as well as the lavender oil. She’s not sure why this is, but she’s grateful that it seems to work as well as it does. Perhaps there’s something about the smell of lavender oil that just scares Sparky off.
Interesting Read: Is Vanilla Essential Oil Safe For Cats?
Symptoms of Lavender Poisoning in Cats
If your cat has been exposed to lavender oil or plant, watch out for these symptoms of toxicity:
Vomiting is one of the first signs of lavender poisoning in cats. If you notice that your cat is vomiting more than usual, it may be a sign of toxicity.
Diarrhea is another common symptom of lavender poisoning in cats. If your cat is experiencing watery stools or vomiting more than usual, it may be a sign of toxicity.
3. Loss of Appetite
If your cat has been exposed to lavender oil or plant, they may lose their appetite. You may notice that your cat isn’t eating as much as usual or is refusing food altogether.
Lethargy can occur if your cat has been exposed to lavender oil or plant. They may appear tired and sleepy and not want to move around very much.
5. Abnormal Heart Rate
Your cat’s heart rate may increase if they have been exposed to lavender oil or plant. A higher than normal heart rate can be dangerous, so it’s important to seek immediate medical attention if you notice an increase in your cat’s heart rate.
Excessive drooling is another symptom of lavender poisoning in cats. If you notice that your cat is drooling more than usual, it could be a sign that they have been exposed to lavender oil or plant.
7. Difficulty Breathing
If your cat has been poisoned by lavender oil or plant, they may experience difficulty breathing. This can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, so it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately if you notice any signs of difficulty breathing in your cat.
How to Use Lavender Oil Safely Around Cats?
If you want to use lavender oil around your cat, it’s important to do so safely. Lavender oil should always be used in a diluted form, never in its purest form. Here I’ll explain more about the safe ways to use lavender oil around cats.
1. Use a Diffuser
One of the safest and most effective ways to use lavender oil around cats is by using a diffuser. This ensures that the oil is used in its diluted form, without any risk of contact with your cat’s skin or fur.
Also, read Is Diffusing Essential Oils Safe for Cats?
2. Dilute Before Applying
If you plan to apply lavender oil directly to your cat’s skin, it’s important to make sure that the oil is diluted first with a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil. Never use lavender oil in its purest form on your cat’s fur or skin.
3. Do Not Ingest
Finally, it’s important to make sure that your cat does not ingest lavender oil in any form. Lavender oil is toxic when ingested and can cause serious medical issues if swallowed by cats. It’s best to keep all products containing lavender oil out of reach of your cat.
Treatment of Lavender Essential Oil Poisoning in Cats
If your cat has been diagnosed with lavender poisoning, the treatment will depend on the severity of their symptoms. Depending on how much of the plant they consumed and how long it was in their system, your vet may opt for one or more of the following treatments:
1. Induce Vomiting (Emesis)
This is done to remove any remaining toxins in the digestive system. Your vet may give your cat activated charcoal or fluids to help flush their system if needed.
2. Intravenous Fluids (IV)
To replace lost electrolytes and maintain hydration, IV fluids may be given to your cat after they have been diagnosed with lavender poisoning.
3. Medications to Treat Symptoms
Depending on the severity of your cat’s symptoms, they may need medications to help them cope while the toxins are flushed from their system. Your vet may prescribe anti-nausea medications and/or pain relief medications if needed.
4. Rest & Relaxation
Finally, your vet may recommend that your cat rest and relax as much as possible while they recover. This will give their body time to heal while the toxins are flushed out of their system.
If you suspect that your cat has been poisoned by lavender, you must seek medical help immediately. Timely treatment can make a difference in the outcome and help prevent any long-term complications. Your vet can determine the best course of action for your cat’s specific situation and provide the necessary treatment.
How to Prevent Lavender Essential Poisoning in Cats?
The best way to prevent lavender poisoning in cats is to keep lavender oil and plants away from them. Here are some tips on how to do that:
1. Keep Lavender Oil Out of Reach
It’s important to keep all products containing lavender oil out of reach of your cat. This includes diffusers, essential oil blends, and any other products that may contain lavender oil.
2. Avoid Planting Around Your Home
If you have cats, it’s best to avoid planting lavender or any other plants that are toxic to cats in your home. This will help ensure that your cat does not accidentally ingest the plant and potentially become poisoned.
3. Monitor Your Cat’s Health
Finally, it’s important to keep an eye on your cat’s health and watch out for any signs of toxicity. If you notice any symptoms of lavender poisoning in your cat, seek veterinary care immediately.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your cat stays safe and healthy when around lavender oil and plants. As always, it’s important to consult with a vet about your cat’s specific situation and provide the necessary treatment if needed.
My Final Thoughts
In conclusion, I was motivated to write this article after finding copious amounts of incorrect information surrounding the topic of lavender essential oil and cats.
I hope this article has helped to clear some things up and provided you with the information you need to make an informed decision about using lavender oil around your cat.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian. They are always the best source of information when it comes to your cat’s health and well-being.