What Essential Oils are Safe to Diffuse Around Cats 

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Last Updated on July 27, 2022

If you have cats as pets in your home, then you need to be weary of the kind of essential oil you use around the home. In as much as aromatherapy is beneficial to the entire home, it could also do that at the expense of your cat’s health. This is in no way insinuating that exposing your cat to diffused essential oil will kill them pronto, but it could irritate and cause them to display certain unhealthy symptoms. 

Cats are more sensitive to smell than humans. A cat’s sensitivity to scent is 14 times greater than that of the average human and 200 million scent cells are found in cats compared to the 5 million found in humans. So a cat perceives to a greater extent what you can’t even sniff out, this makes them extremely sensitive to certain smells. 

Much more than that, the genetic makeup of cats differ from that of humans and other animals. Although this has a conflicting background with some quarters falsifying it, according to vet researchers and authorities in the field, the liver in cats which is designed to flush off excess toxins in its body system is lacking the enzyme called glucuronosyltransferase. This enzyme in question is responsible for the breaking down of Phenol – an organic compound present in certain drugs like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin amongst others. This same phenol is also present in many essential oils and since the cat’s body system is lacking the said enzyme up there, there’s no way it can break down the build-up of toxins like the dangerous phenol. At the end, it becomes risky for you to expose your cat to diffused essential oil. Most times, people end up diffusing the essential oil in a locked room housing the cat, if you must do, then let there be an opportunity for the cat to walk away from the toxicity emitting from the diffuser. 

This won’t be necessary anyways since we’ll be answering the question “what essential oils are safe to diffuse around cats? These are essential oils that cats can tolerate and possibly enjoy their scent. 

Here are Some Essential Oils that are Safe to Diffuse around Cats 

Some of these essential oils are void of the organic compound phenol and if any is however present, then it must have reduced in terms of its concentration to a level where it is bearable for cats. 

Cedarwood Essential Oil

This essential oil is void of phenol and thus certified safe to diffuse around cats. You just need to follow the precautions contained in the usage leaflet to be certain you are doing the right thing. 

Rosemary Oil 

This can be used as a flea repellent for your cats but it doesn’t require diffusing. It’s a preventive measure against fleas in cats. 

Lemongrass oil 

The lemongrass essential oil is deemed safe for usage around cats at lower concentrations only. This doesn’t mean that the cat should ingest it or be meddle with it, which could pose a threat to its health. It should not also come in contact with the cat’s skin in any way. 


Some Other Safe Essential Oils Worthy of Mentioning

  • Cypress 
  • Thyme 
  • Wintergreen 
  • Frankincense 
  • Melrose 
  • Myrrh 
  • Pine 
  • Geranium 
  • Blue Tansy 
  • Valerian 
  • Palo Santo 
  • Mountain Savory 

Symptoms that Show that your Cat is Battling with Toxicity from an Essential Oil 

Most times getting it right with essential oils that are safe for cats can be very tricky, some can assure of complete dilution which is safe but that could be an erroneous assurance. However, you can tell if your cat is allergic to the scent in the room if it starts displaying the following signs:

  • Drooling
  • Hyperactivity 
  • Apprehension 
  • Panting 
  • Green or yellow urine 
  • Vomiting 

How to Diffuse Essential Oils around Cats 

The best method of using essential oils in the home is through the diffusion method. Diffusing reduces the toxicity of the essential oil if any is present and makes it safer for cats and other pets in your home. However. when diffusing, observe the reaction of your pet cat, use the clues and symptoms to tell if the cat is comfortable. Thus observation can be done within a few minutes. If the cat is comfortable with it, she’ll stay put, but if she finds it offensive, she’ll try to avoid it by walking away from the room. When diffusing it’s best to leave the room door slightly ajar just in case the cat decides the aroma is not in its best interest. 

You can also run a small test to determine if the cat is okay with aroma. Start by adding 3 to 5 drops of the essential oil into the diffuser and observe the cat. If you notice that it is tolerant with it, you can then you can increase the concentration by adding more drops for a full aromatherapy benefit. Also, start this process with one essential oil, you can blend later when the cat feels at home with it. 

Why Diffusing is the Best for Essential Oils around the Home 

There are a few other ways you can use essential oils at home. You can put them in a handkerchief and sniff or use them in candles for aromatherapy. The best method for using essential oils when it comes to aromatherapy in the home is diffusion. Here are some tangible reasons why it’s best:

  • Diffusion dilutes the concentration of the essential oil 
  • Diffusion allows for ventilation within the room 
  • Diffusion can also be used for pet control and as insecticides 

What Essential Oils are Safe to Diffuse Around Cats


Essential oils are great for a lot of purposes for humans. But the same can not comfortably be said of cats since they are genetically wired in a contrasting pattern from humans. It’s best to find essential oils that are safe when using them in an environment where you harbor cats as pets. If you are new to the usage of essential oils, this should be your guide and we hope you found this piece resourceful. 

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