No, vanilla essential oil is not safe for cats because it contain small amounts of a compound called coumarin. Coumarin is toxic to cats and can cause liver damage.
According to the ASPCA, “Coumarin is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in many plants, including some grasses, herbs, berries and trees. When ingested by pets, coumarin can cause liver damage and/or failure.”
In this blog post, I’ll be discussing the dangers of using vanilla essential oil around cats, and why you should avoid using it. I’ll also share my experience regarding a cat that was exposed to vanilla oil.
What Dangers Does Vanilla Essential Oil Pose to Cats?
Here I’ll go over three dangers that vanilla oil poses to cats.
1. Vanilla Oil Contains Coumarin
As I briefly mentioned above, one of the dangers of using vanilla essential oil around cats is that it contains coumarin. Coumarin is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in many plants, including some grasses, herbs, berries and trees. When ingested by pets, coumarin can cause liver damage and/or failure.
2. Vanilla Oil Can Be Toxic if Inhaled
In addition to being toxic if ingested, vanilla essential oil can also be toxic if inhaled. When inhaled, the oil can cause irritation to a cat’s respiratory system. In severe cases, it can even lead to difficulty breathing.
3. Vanilla Oil Can Cause Skin Irritation
Another danger of using vanilla essential oil around cats is that it can cause skin irritation. If the oil comes into contact with a cat’s skin, it can cause redness, swelling and itchiness. In severe cases, it can even lead to burns.
4. Vanilla Oil Can Attract Bugs
Another potential danger of using vanilla essential oil around cats is that it can attract bugs. If you use the oil in an area where cats typically congregate, such as in their food or water bowls, it could attract bugs that might then bite or sting your cat.
5. Vanilla Oil Can Cause Vomiting, Diarrhea
I forgot to mention this before, but vanilla oil can also cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats. If your cat ingests even a small amount of the oil, they could start vomiting and/or have diarrhea. In severe cases, this could lead to dehydration.
Also, read Is Rose Essential Oil Safe For Cats?
Do Cats Love the Smell of Vanilla Essential Oil?
Cats are known to have a strong sense of smell and can be sensitive to certain aromas, including those of essential oils. While vanilla essential oil is often used to make things smell pleasant, cats may not be as fond of it as we are.
While some cats may tolerate the scent, others may find it unpalatable and even overwhelming. As with any essential oil, caution should be exercised when using vanilla essential oil around cats.
Besides, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah found that cats prefer floral scents over musky or woody ones, like vanilla. Additionally, some cats may have aversions to certain smells due to environmental factors or experiences that are associated with them.
Symptoms of Vanilla Essential Oil Toxicity in Cats
If your cat has been exposed to vanilla essential oil, it’s important to watch for symptoms of toxicity. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes
If your kitty has ingested any type of essential oil or is experiencing discomfort, it’s imperative to visit the veterinarian. In comparison to us humans, cats may not be as charmed by the aroma of vanilla essential oil – so when using any kind of oils near them, proceed with caution and consult a vet if necessary.
Interesting Read: Is Lemon Essential Oil Safe For Cats?
What Treatment to Expect on Vanilla Toxicity in Cats?
Here I’ll go through the different treatment options that are available for cats that have been exposed to vanilla essential oil.
If your cat has been exposed to vanilla essential oil, the first thing that needs to be done is decontamination. This involves removing the oil from your cat’s fur and skin. The best way to do this is to bathe your cat with a mild soap and warm water.
2. Supportive Care
Once your cat has been decontaminated, they’ll need to be monitored closely for signs of toxicity. This may involve providing them with IV fluids and giving them oxygen therapy. In severe cases, they may also need to be hospitalized.
3. Liver Protection
If your cat has been exposed to vanilla essential oil, their liver will be at risk of damage. To help protect the liver, your vet may prescribe a course of liver-protecting medication.
Another treatment that may be recommended for cats that have been exposed to vanilla essential oil is antioxidants. Antioxidants can help to reduce the amount of damage that’s done to the liver.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged tissue from the liver.
How to Prevent Vanilla Toxicity in Cats?
I know it can be tempting to use vanilla essential oil around your cat, but it’s important to remember that it can be very dangerous. If you must use the oil, here are few tips to help prevent toxicity:
1. Keep the Oil Out of Reach of Your Cat
The first and most important thing you can do is to keep the oil out of reach of your cat. This means storing it in a safe place, such as in a locked cabinet, and not using it in areas where your cat
2. Don’t Diffuse the Oil Around Your Cat
Another way to prevent toxicity is to avoid diffusing the oil around your cat. If you must diffuse the oil, make sure to do so in a well-ventilated area.
Also, read Is Diffusing Essential Oils Safe for Cats?
3. Avoid Using Oil on Your Cat’s Skin
If you must use vanilla essential oil around your cat, avoid using it on their skin. If the oil does come into contact with their skin, rinse it off immediately.
4. Talk to Your Vet Before Using Vanilla Essential Oil
Before using vanilla essential oil around your cat, it’s always best to speak to your vet first. They can help you determine if the oil is safe for your cat and provide you with guidance on how to use it safely.
My Experience with Vanilla Essential Oil
I recently had an experience with my cat Gremlin that was exposed to vanilla oil. I was using the oil in my aromatherapy diffuser and my cat walked through the mist. Within minutes, she began to act strange. She became agitated and started scratching herself uncontrollably.
I quickly took her to the vet, where they told me that she was having an allergic reaction to the vanilla oil. They gave her a shot to help calm her down and prescribed an antihistamine for her to take. Thankfully, she recovered quickly and was back to normal within a few days.
So my strong suggestion here will be if you are using vanilla oil around pets, be sure to keep them away from the mist. And if your pet does have a reaction, take them to the vet immediately.
My Final Thoughts
As you can see like lemon essential oil, vanilla essential oil can be very dangerous to cats. If you must use the oil, it’s important to take precautions to prevent toxicity. The best way to prevent toxicity is to avoid using the oil altogether.
However, my final thought is, why take the risk? There are plenty of other essential oils that can be used around cats that are safe and have plenty of benefits. If you’re looking for an oil to use around your cat, I would recommend trying one of those instead.