Aromatherapy, Essential Oils, and Cats
There is a lot of information online about not using essential oils with cats or even diffusing essential oils as aromatherapy in the home with cats around. The concern is due to a chemical component known as phenols. Products that are not pure essential oils often contain synthetic phenols, but even some pure oils, like the Nature's Sunshine's oils sold on this site, contain naturally-occurring phenols as part of their chemical structure.
Phenols are water soluble and evaporate more quickly than oils that do not contain phenols. Because of their strength they can be irritating to the skin and possibly damaging to the liver.
It's always important to use a pure essential oil, rather than one with synthetic ingredients. An example of some essential oils with natural phenols in them would be: Bay, Oregano, Clove, Thyme, Cinnamon, Savory, and Tarragon. This is not an inclusive list. Please do your research before using an essential oil on a cat.
We have personally used essential oils with our cats and others for many years without problems, but we have had extensive herbal training. It is very easy to overdo with essential oils and we do not want any harm to come to any animal from informational content on our site.
Essential oils are extremely potent substances even when using for humans, so use in a small animal, such as a cat, can be dangerous, not only due to the size and weight, but also considering that cats do not have the same metabolism for the oils as we do.
When being questioned as to how we have used essential oils with our cats, we can give no specific information since we don't have any veterinary staff. FDA/FTC have made it illegal for us to recommend without a professional degree.
However, we have two natural health books on our shelf that we reference recommending use of essential oils for dogs and cats. They are: New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats by Amy D. Shojai and Editors of Prevention for Pets. The New Natural Cat by Anitra Frazier.