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Cats and Diffusing Oils 
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Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:32 pm
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Post Re: Cats and Diffusing Oils
Hi Merlin,

I just purchased a book recently about Essential Oils, Hydrosols and Pets. There are definitely some serious contraindications for diffusing oils and cats. It has to do with the fact that their livers do not produce a certain enzyme that can break down and eliminate toxins. Diffusing certain essential oils can make cats very sick and even cause death. There are some safe oils, but I don't have the book handy and don't want to make a guess. I do remember for certain that the cannot process the "limonenes?" present in lemon, lime, etc. and certain terpenes. The book is in my office. On Monday, I will post some information for you and I will give you the name of the book and the author. The authour trained under Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt author of Advanced Aromatherapy and founder(?) of Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy, so I think it's safe to assume she is a trusted authority on pets/cats and essential oil use. She has case studies in her book as well and she mentions the Lavender Cat.

Regards,

Sue


Last edited by Sue Cruz on Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:29 pm
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Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:32 pm
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Post Re: Cats and Diffusing Oils
Hi Merlin,

The name of the book is: "Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals --- A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of Essential Oils & Hydrosols with Animals" by Kristen Leigh Bell (First published in 2002 by Findhorn Press). I found it on Amazon.com
Below are some important points I gleaned from Section 5 of this book - titled "Aromatherapy for Cats --- Sensitive and Mysterious Creatures"

MANY ESSENTIAL OILS AND OTHER THINGS HARMLESS TO HUMANS AND DOGS ARE DANGEROUS FOR CATS

1) Feline hemaglobin, the molecule in the blood that carries oxygen, is extremely sensitive to drugs such as acetaminophen and allyl propyl disulfide (found in foods like onions). The end result is severe anemia and possibly death.

2) Cats do not have the necessary enzymes to break down certain substances and effectively excrete them. This leads to a build up of toxins in their bodies. The toxin buildup does not always manifest itself immediately in cats. Depending on the cat and what it is exposed to, it can show up in hours, days, weeks, months or even years. A cat with symptoms of essential oil toxicity may be despondent, clumsy and uncoordinated, sometimes partially paralyzed, vomiting, drooling and in a daze. A run of bloodwork on a cat showing such symptoms almost always reveals highly elevated enzyme levels and varying degrees of impaired liver function. Veterinarians see many cases of what they call "mystery poisoning" in cats. Sometimes Essential Oils are to blame.

3) Cats are uniquely sensitive to phenolics and other compounds containing benzene rings. Compounds preserved in benzyl alcohol are toxic to cats. Exercise caustion when administering phenol-containing essential oils as Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris or T. serpyllum) Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) and Tea Tree (Melaleuca, Melaleuca alternifolia). Cats are adversely effected by certain essential oil components known as phenols and ketones, but veterinarians have also determined through toxicology reports that cats are MOST SENSITIVE to a specific group of essential oil constituents which other mammals are not --- MONOTERPENE HYDOCARBONS, specifically PINENE and LIMONENE having the MOST ADVERSE SIDE EFFECTS. These two substances found most commonly in citrus and pine essential oils, are common ingredients in natural flea and tick repellants and shampoos, as well as natural citrus and pine cleaners. These products can wreak havoc on a cat's liver detoxification mechanisms.

ESSENTIAL OILS HIGH IN MONOTERPENE HYDROCARBONS:

Lemon (Citrus limon), Orange (Citrus sinesis), Tangerine (Citrus reticulata), Mandarin (Citrus reticulata), Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi), Lime (Citrus aurantifolia), Begamot (Citrus bergamia), Pine (Pinus sylvestris), Spruce (Picea mariana), Fir (Abies balsamica)

ESSENTIAL OILS HIGH IN PHENOLS:

OREGANO (Origanum vulgare), Thyme (Thyme vulgaris), Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata), Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis), Winter Savory (Satureja montana), Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia)


Although the author alleges that there some essential oils that are safe to use for cats, she claims there are too many risk factors and she discourages their use amongst laypeople. For this reason the author only includes recipes for cats based on hydrosols.

My cat had to be euthanized last January with the symptoms of Essential Oil poisoning, because I had no idea that the Citrus and Pine Oils I was diffusing near her litter box were causing her harm. Until I purchased this book recently, I had no idea that these seemingly harmless oils could be fatal to cats.

I Hope this is helpful.

Regards,

Sue


Last edited by Sue Cruz on Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:41 pm
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Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:32 pm
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Post Re: Cats and Diffusing Oils
Hi Cryan,

A word of advice on using essential oils around cats from the book: "Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals --- A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of Essential Oils & Hydrosols with Animals" by Kristen Leigh Bell (First published in 2002 by Findhorn Press). The majority of essential oils have one or more components that a cat's liver and or kidneys can't properly metabolize or fully excrete, so the only alternative is to exercise caution when using essential oils around cats.

Quote:
If you diffuse essential oils, don't keep your cat enclosed in the room with diffuser. Open a window and provide ventilation. If you apply oils to your dogs, keep the cats away for at least an hour. (The same goes for you). You can't eliminate exposure, but you can responsibly minimize it, thus decreasing the chance that any level of essential oils will quickly build up in your cat's system.


Good luck and Happy New Year!

Regards,

Sue


Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:42 pm
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Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:18 am
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Post Re: Cats and Diffusing Oils
This is fantastic. So I have three favorites and would be very grateful if someone would let me know the research out there. I like diffusing cedarwood, lavender, and verbena. Can anyone let me know if this is safe to use in my house. I have both a cat and dog. I just purchased an aroma ace nebulizer and don't want to see anything happen to my precious cat.


Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:27 pm
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Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:18 am
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Post Re: Cats and Diffusing Oils
Where might I locate verbena and cedar wood hydrosols or are they safe?


Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:35 am
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:51 pm
Posts: 121
Post Re: Cats and Diffusing Oils
Hmmm...you'll have to search the web...these are a little rare. Diffusing the oils for your own aromatic pleasure won't be a problem for your cat - just use per instructions, where you're only to run the diffuser for 5-10 min every hour - otherwise your olfactory sense gets desensitized to the aroma. But with just enough oil in the air so you're enjoying the aroma, your cat will be fine.


Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:09 pm
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