DeVries Animal Hospital

528 S Spring Road
Elmhurst, IL 60126



They can be- cats lack the enzyme in their liver required to break down essential oils, causing poisoning.

 The level of exposure depends upon method of contact- oral ingestion causes the highest level of exposure and is always a concern for cats- seek immediate professional help from your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) or Animal Poison Control Hotline (800-548-2423)

Exposure to essential oils via the use of passive diffusers (think reed sticks, heat diffusers, necklace pendants and bracelets) can cause respiratory irritation if inhaled by cats, leading to watery nose or eyes or a burning sensation in their nose or throat leading to drooling and/or vomiting and difficulty breathing with wheezing or coughing.  Should your cat experience these symptoms, immediately move them into fresh air and seek veterinary medical care if the symptoms don’t resolve. 

Finally, use of active diffusers can present a higher risk of toxic exposure- these devices function by emitting microdroplets into the air as in nebulizing and ultrasonic diffusers.  These droplets may collect on your cat’s fur and be ingested by grooming, or be absorbed directly through the skin.  Signs of exposure can include drooling, vomiting, tremors, and ataxia (wobbly or loss of balance) along with respiratory distress.  If your pet experiences these symptoms seek immediate veterinary care for your pet.

So use essential oils carefully in your home- keep your cat away from them and monitor your cat closely for any signs of toxic exposure.  Click here  for a more detailed explanation of Essential Oils and the risk to cats.  Download this helpful handout prepared by Pet Poison Helpline