This article is an elaborate guide for cat owners to figure out how to ensure the safety of their pets because essential oils have become an invaluable commodity in our homes. You maybe have been already using essential oils in a variety of ways in daily life, including herbal remedies, aromatherapy, body care products, and natural home cleaning products.
Hence, if you are a cat parent, knowing the basics about the potential effects of essential oils on your cat is vital.
What is lemongrass oil
Lemongrass is a herb with a citrus scent that closely resembles the smell of lemons. Its medicinal and culinary uses are well known over the globe.
Extracted from the leaves and stems of lemongrass plants, lemongrass essential oil has got a unique citrus scent.
The effective ingredients of lemongrass essential oil are believed to have antifungal, antibacterial, insecticidal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Hence, they are a natural remedy for pain relief, making it a popular aromatherapy massage oil.
It has also become popular as a homeopathic remedy for sleep disorders and digestive problems.
Is lemongrass oil safe for cats
The answer, however, is both a “yes” and a “no.”
On the one hand
Cats are very different from humans so what is good for you may impact your cat in a totally different way.
First, we have to say that essential oils are likely more safe for cats than air fresheners and synthetic fragrance oils. Even still, your cat’s sense of smell is indeed exceptional. Cats have stronger senses than humans and their nose is way more sensitive than ours. So it’s definitely possible that scents you might find calming and sweet, can be extremely strong and unbearable for your cat.
Cats are deficient in an enzyme that is for breaking down phenol. When used in error or overdose, any essential oil could be a health risk to felines.
Hence, directly applying essential oils to cats is dangerous to them.
On the other hand
For pet parents who would like to use essential oils on pets, hydrosols are said to be a great choice in terms of safety. Lemongrass oil is most commonly found in the form of a hydrosol, a totally non-alcoholic aroma made by steam-distilling or hydro-distilling plant matter. Lemongrass is safe to use around cats when it is at low concentration. It is not recommended to, however, be ingested by cats or directly applied to their skin.
Lemongrass essential oils are safe for cats, but should still be diluted or diffused. Hence we suggest using them in moderation to keep a safe environment for your pet.
How should cat parents use lemongrass essential oils
If you are a cat owner and you want to use essential oils, there are several instructions to keep in mind to ensure the safety of your pet.
Dilute your essential oils
Even natural and 100% pure essential oils need to be diluted before using them on felines.
You can highly dilute your oils using pure vegetable oil or other carrier oils. And make sure your essential oils are therapeutic grade. Dilute your essential oils at a ratio of 40:1. It means you need to dilute one drop of your essential oil to 40 drops of carrier oil. Use just a single drop of this diluted oil and apply it to your cat from ear to tail.
Use a diffuser — the most efficient way
The most common technique to receive the benefits of aromatherapy on cats though, is through diffusing essential oils via a diffuser. Over time, while humans have enjoyed the beneficial results of oils in improving health, people also started using them on animals to see if they also create wonderful impacts on pets. Using essential oils through a diffuser has been one effective way to do so.
Start cautiously with observation to your feline friends
Start slowly and cautiously. At the very beginning, we would recommend you to add 3-5 drops of lemongrass essential oil in a diffuser filled with water (should be halfway or more), then diffuse them.
Every pet is unique. Observe your cats closely while introducing essential oils to them. Keep eyes open for behavior changes or other issues.
Using therapeutic grade essential oils only is a vital part. As many problems would arise when you bought expensive but low-quality products and use them on your cat.
Do not apply undiluted oils to any part of a cat’s body
Felines have got a habit that licking themselves for hygiene. Even if you apply oils to the cat’s tail, she or he would lick the oil content off its fur.
Essential oils are much more effective when applied directly to the skin (yours or that of your cat). Essential oils diffused in a room is much safer for your cat than trying to treat your cat with oils by applying them to his or her body.
Avoid eyes, nose, mouth, and paws. Be sure to avoid those sensitive areas on your domestic cat even you have diluted essential oils.
Do not pet your cat after having applied essential oils to yourself.
Exercise caution when using essential oils on your body by ways of body care products, lotions or creams; Since your cat may have physical contact with you and potentially lick the oil contents off your skin (Actually it does happen!). You must wash your hands before petting her.
DO NOT use tea tree oil. It is deadly to cats.
Keep your cat away from oils high in phenols (such as oregano, tea tree or thyme).
Essential Oils that may do good for Cats
Not all essential oils are bad for cats.
Cats may tolerate some certain kinds of essential oils. And those may help cats fight health problems. Luckily, science has provided research on the potential benefits of several essential oils on our cats if used properly and cautiously.
Let us check out this list of essential oils safe for cats:
Lemongrass oil: Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties
Lemongrass oil can be safely used around cats If kept at low concentrations. The main method of diluting is to use them in hydrosols via a diffuser. Avoid applying undiluted lemongrass oil to cats.
The same goes for sweet basil oil which is safe to use as air fresheners around cats.
Like lemongrass, Helichrysum oil contains potential properties that are antibiotic and antifungal.
Cedarwood oil: Stimulates circulation, enhances the immune system, helps repel fleas
Cedarwood is a safe essential oil for cats, it is because cedarwood is usually made without phenol. However, you should always doublecheck the label for contents before use.
Chamomile: Eases upset stomach, Supports skin health
You can also use Chamomile for anti-inflammatory help.
Frankincense oil: May help with cat digestive problems.
Along with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, it may also help solve cat digestion problems.
Jasmine oil: Reducing stress and depression.
The gloomy mood is quite common to the feline species, especially when you move to a new place. Jasmine can shift your cat’s hormones into a balance and even uplift its mood.
Similar to jasmine, yarrow essential oil could help your shy cat develop confidence.
Rosemary oil: An effective flea repellent if diluted or diffused properly.
This is not a comprehensive list
Essential oils that are toxic to cats
There is an undeniable fact that Some oils affect cats with noticeable signs of toxicity.
Most important to know, is that essential oils are highly concentrated. And some contain phenols and other phenolic substances that are considered toxic to cats. If your cats ingest these substances, their intestines and liver don’t have the necessary enzymes capable of eliminating, absorbing, or digesting the oils. And You may have to rush for the vet most of the time.
Though the following essential oils are likely more safe for cats than air fresheners and synthetic fragrances oils. And they are commonly used for relaxation or other purposes by humans, you still need to steer clear of them if you have feline friends under your roof:
Citrus oil (lime, lemon, grapefruit, etc)
Sweet birch oil
Tea tree oil (critically dangerous)
This is not a comprehensive list，either.
Toxicity symptoms of essential oils to cats
When reading here, you might raise a question like: What are symptoms that would indicate that essential oils have poisoned my cat?
Though those symptoms might vary from the specific types of essential oils. However, in general and summarized, these symptoms include:
Aches and pains during breathing
Coughing, wheezing, fast breathing, and gasping for breath
Salivating or drooling
Low heart rate
Shivering and shaking, or muscle tremors
Low body temperature
Nausea or vomiting
Inability to walk or ataxia
Before introducing new foods, treatments or substances to pets, pet owners should always consult a veterinarian. When using essential oils for cats or adding them to your pet’s environment, keep your eyes open for unusual behaviors. You may also notice redness on your cat’s skin after using essential oils. If you notice any symptoms listed above, contact your veterinarian immediately. Generally, they are indicators of essential oil poisoning.
Storage essential oils carefully, make sure they are out of reach. As cats have an uncanny knack for getting into things they shouldn’t. Also, most cats are irresistible to lemongrass plants and nibble them if they have access.
As for Kittens, elderly cats, or cats who have liver or respiratory problems, you need to keep him or her out of any room where essential oil diffusers are used.
Essential oils generate various effects on our pets. However, the general conception is that, as long as these oils are kept in moderate concentrations levels, your cats are definitely safe from any possibility of toxicity. Hence, make sure you use essential oils in a proper way.
Also, you need to ensure that you store essential oils properly and unreachable by your cat. If your pet cat already has a serious medical problem and you gonna use essential oils, it is necessary for you to check with a veterinarian first. As they may know better and may give more useful instructions.