I’m going to go out on a limb and talk about a controversial hot topic that has gone viral on social media in the past month … and it does not seem to be slowing down.
Essential Oils for Cats and Pets.
It all started last month when a friend notified me about a Facebook post from a lady who has an 18-year-old cat who was very sick because she had been diffusing essential oils purchased on Amazon since Christmas. I created this video below to help calm the fear and clarify the confusion. I’m not sure how her cat is doing but I hope he will be okay.
I received over 100 messages from concerned friends, fellow oilers and strangers about that post so it really touched a nerve with people. For those of us with fur family member, of course we want them to be safe.
Here’s the video I did on my Facebook page.
Then I’ve seen this graphic and loads of stories circulating on social media almost every day for the past month. When it rains it pours, right? So I want to give you some clarity and relief from concern about what essential oils are safe to use with cats (and any pets).
I am NOT a veterinarian, I’m a former prosecutor, an attorney specializing in animal abuse cases and animal protection, and an essential oil educator for people AND pets. Because of my life-long and career-long love of animals, I have studied with the best of the best for 5 years and I talk from my personal experiences with my own cats, pet clients, and shelter pets I’ve helped. And I have the pleasure of being friends with and learning with some amazing veterinarians who actively use Young Living essential oils in their practice.
So let’s start with this graphic. First, it’s deceptive. There’s no ownership on the graphic which concerns me about who created it. While it’s raising the discussion about safe and unsafe use of essential oils with cats and I’m sure this person created it out of concern, it’s creating confusion and fear by giving partially true and partially untrue information. This graphic is deceptive because it’s partially accurate and partially not. The concern is NOT be about the type of oil (Lemon, Eucalyptus, etc.). The focus must be on the BRAND of oil and whether the brand is intended to be used with animals.
Most brands (about 98%) have essential oils that have been adulterated during the distillation process (by using solvents and alcohols to get the oils out quicker and cheaper). Adulteration could simply be that something else is in the bottle (such as a carrier oil, a solvent, synthetic essential oil, etc). Most essential oils are simply to fragrance a room and are not intended to be used around animals. This is what is dangerous to cats and ANY animal.
Essential oils are very popular right now (because of the success of Young Living) and you can find them anywhere. Seriously, I found them at a gas station this past week. One rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for in essential oils. Essential oils are NOT cheap. When they are grown and processed properly and safely, you will pay for that. So when you find a bottle of Lavender at the local discount store for $3.99, it’s not really Lavender and it should not be used in any way around pets (topically, diffused or ingesting).
So how do you know what’s safe for cats?
- Go to the company website to see if there is any mention on the website about animals or pets (use the search function). If a company does not mention that their oils can be used with animals, don’t use them with animals! If something goes wrong, you will have no recourse because you used the essential oils in a way that was not promoted.
- Look to the process that the company uses to grow, harvest, and distill their essential oils. Does the company handle everything from start to finish, do they disclose the process? If not, I would not recommend those oils to be used with pets. Transparency is important.
- If the label has too many cautions on it, especially cautions against ingesting or topical application, the label is telling you that something else is in the bottle.
- And please use common sense. No rational person would pour an entire bottle of essential oil on themselves, so don’t go to the extreme with your cat. And while some constituents in essential oils may be difficult for cats to process, when you use an essential oil that is safe and use it in a responsible manner, your cat will be safe.
Let’s go back to the label. I always ask people to do their own research since federal labeling laws do not require much on a label. Just because an essential oil is labeled “pure” or “organic” does not mean that it is pure. And there are no labeling laws for essential oils to be listed as natural or organic.
For example, I have a bottle (for teaching purposes) of an organic lemon oil. On the label it says “dilute properly, not for ingestion.” Since when can’t you ingest a lemon or its oil? I don’t like to call out companies by name so I blocked that out. But the label is accurate and is telling you that while the lemon may have been grown organically, the process of getting the oil into the bottle did something to make it unsafe to topically apply or ingest. These are the details that make most essential oil brands unsafe for pets. Yet this label says nothing about pets (and it’s legal).
Every few months I research the top essential oils companies to see which ones mention animals on their website. When I searched the top 10 last month, only 1 mentions pets on their website … Young Living. Only Young Living has a Veterinary Advisory Council, puts on the only national Animal Essential Oil Conference (which I’ve had the honor to teach at), and a vast majority of books on oils for animals have been written about Young Living oils. It’s not something recent, it’s been part of Young Living’s foundation since it was started in 1994. One product created by Young Living early on was the Animal Scents Ointment (an amazing ointment for skin support). There is TEA TREE in the ointment, yet it is safe to use with cats. Other Tea Tree oils can harm/kill a cat. This is because Young Living has their own farms and they grow, harvest and distill their own oils with simply low pressure and steam/water (no solvents). This one example shows you how the purity of an oil can be safely used.
What did I do?
I ditched all the other oils brands I had used for 15 years and now only use Young Living oils with shelter pets and my cats successfully and safely. I’m not saying that to sell you oils, I’m saying that because I’ve spent years researching this and it’s true. This is why I have a 2nd career educating people about oils because other brands of oils can/will be toxic to cats and other pets because those oil brands were not intended to be used around or on pets. And while I do make money from my Young Living business, anyone who is providing value and a service to others should be paid, right? You wouldn’t go to your dentist or auto mechanic and criticize them for charging you, would you? So whether you like, loathe or are indifferent to Young Living, let’s just put that to rest right now because I want to educate you.
A quick lesson in how to use essential oils with cats
Topically: Even with the purity of Young Living oils, you have to know HOW to use the oils with cats. I can only recommend topical application of Young Living oils with cats and pets. A Young Living essential oil must be diluted in a carrier oil for TOPICAL application due to a cat’s slower ability to process the oil due to a missing enzyme in their liver. The ratio I use is 9 drops of carrier oil to 1 drop of Young Living oil (no matter what the type of oils is … Lemon, Eucalyptus, etc.). A carrier oil simply is a time release for the essential oil so that it goes in slower for the cat to eliminate properly. This helps with a cat’s enzyme deficiency in their liver for excreting essential oils (and medicine and toxins). And the same is true for small dogs under 25 pounds and pocket pets. This is why I teach classes in-person and online because there’s things you need to know and a store or a website isn’t going to educate you.
Diffusing/Smelling: I can only recommend diffusing Young Living essential oils. Why? Whatever you topically apply, ingest or smell is going into the bloodstream. Diffusing Young Living essential oils in a cold water diffuser (not one that heats water and never a burner) is safe. And yes, you can safely diffuse citrus oils … I do almost every day. Diffusing is very gentle and your pet can go into another room if they have taken in enough. The photo at the beginning of this newsletter is my 5-year-old Rudy. He’s been exposed to Young Living oils since he came to me at 5 months of age. He loves to stick his face over the diffuser and it’s totally safe!
And just a few weeks ago I helped a friend who is fostering a young cat who was taken to a vet for euthanasia because the family was unable to pay for medical care. The cat is safe and in foster care, but is heartbroken. Cats know, they are very intuitive when they are not wanted. The foster mom is in my Young Living team so she let him smell the Forgiveness oil and within minutes his outward demeanor and personality dramatically improved from shut down to engaging and eating. Check out the photos below.
Ingesting: Again, I can only recommend Young Living. Rudy and Lucy who is 19-1/2 year old ingest a Young Living essential oil product daily to help them maintain well body systems! My veterinarian tests their liver values frequently and is amazed at how healthy they are.
If you’re concerned, have your cat’s lab work done before using Young Living oils in any way, then get re-tested in 3-6 months. When a cat is subjected to UNSAFE essential oils over years, it can harm or kill them (it can do so even in a matter of weeks). And if you want to watch a veterinarian talk about blood tests of a cat who was given extensive Young Living essential oils over a 10 day period, check out this video.
Remember … It’s the brand and purity that is important, along with a company that promotes their oils for animals … it’s not the type of oil.
If you want more information, click here to access an online class I recently did specifically on Essential Oils for Cats.
And while I cannot answer specific medical questions about your pets (that’s in violation of federal regulations), I encourage you to stay connected with me to educate yourself. And if you want to learn more and partner with a team of oilers who are doing the same, join me and my team!
Here’s the bottom line … you cannot believe everything that’s on the internet. I would encourage you to research what I’ve said here. Go to Young Living’s website and in the search bar type in animal and pet. Go to Amazon or Life Science Publishers and get some educational materials specifically about Young Living essential oils for pets.
And if you see people talking about this graphic or oils for cats, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE send them this blog post. Education is where we can advance this important field of wellness for pets (and people, too)! So I hope to see you in one of my upcoming in-person or online classes!
About Allie Phillips: