Using Essential Oils and Natural Remedies on Cats
We all know how effective natural remedies can be for humans, but when used properly essential oils and other natural remedies can make a big difference in the lives of your cats.
For years, we’ve used Plants that Naturally Repel Fleas and Ticks and there are thousands more uses for people and pets.
However, before using essential oils, you must understand the precautions that must be exercised to not only to have a favorable reaction, but to avoid dangerous reactions (you’ll also want to make sure you Understand Toxicity Levels of Natural Cures)
Cats are particularly sensitive to oils as they have very thin and delicate skin, which makes them highly sensitive to topical applications. Their thin skin allows for a quicker absorption rate and faster response times. Cats also have additional challenges in that they can’t metabolize certain compounds, which can quickly lead to a toxic buildup in their bodies, causing irreversible liver damage.
They also have an incredibly acute sense of smell – so you must use highly dilute products. Each animal will differ in what they respond to (both negatively and positively), which makes it even more difficult to use essential oils in multi-cat households.
Before using essential oils in your cat’s water supply, be certain you understand the risks in doing so. Most cats avoid drinking enough water on their best days, so it can be a challenge to place any type of oil into their water without increasing the chance they will have kidney problems.
They are highly sensitive and can detect even the tiniest change in their drinking supply. This could easily put them off water completely, and if another clean source is not provided, they could become dangerously dehydrated. In a multi-cat household, be certain you take the proper precautions before using any kind of natural remedies in the water.
You may think I’m going to argue that you should never use any type of essential oil in or around a favored feline, but I’m not. Because the same qualities that makes cats so sensitive to natural treatment also makes them great candidates for natural treatment.
Products that I feel very confident recommending to you include:
Bach Pet Rescue Remedy was created by Dr Bach to deal with emergencies and crises – the moments when there is no time to make a proper individual selection of remedies. It’s touted as a cure for both humans and animals, but of course you’ll need to make adjustments in dosing. We have found it to be a wonderful way of calming our pets during transportation, in an emergency, during stressful visits, or to restore peace in multi-pet households.
Comfort Zone with Feliway products are focused on pheromones and are clinically proven 95% effective to reduce urine marking and vertical scratching. This product is a standard fixture in our home as we rely on it’s calming influence to manage our multi-pet household.
We’ve found many of their products to be highly effective in both dogs and cats, and particularly like the Spraying Flower Essence for Pets. Again, pay attention to the dosing. These remedies help the mind overcome bad experiences, fears, and stressful feelings that interfere with proper function, diminishing the pet’s ability to think and learn.
This line of all natural skin care products for pets is one of our all-time favorites. It’s the only one we’ve seen that is effective enough to naturally resolve problems related to yeast (skin irritations, flea allergies, dermatitis, and dandruff), yet gentle enough to be used on our cats.
There are several oil companies you should check out. Some are multi-level investments, others are buy as you go (our preference). Remember that essential oils are only as good as the plant. Make sure you understand how the plant was grown, what type of chemicals may have been used in the ground before planting, or chemicals used during growth, etc. One way to do this is to only buy from reputable companies.
The ones we personally use are ones that use most often on ourselves. You may prefer oils from an MLM like Doterra or Young Living or one of the many great manufacturers out there. Others we’ve researched and used are from:
Remember that you get what you pay for – a higher price is generally indicative (but not always) of a safer, high-quality oil, but ask to see their Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GS/MS) reports.
Essential oils should NEVER be applied “neat” (without dilution) to any animal other than a horse (and only then with caution). Also, they should never be diffused or used around birds or reptiles. Use extreme caution when applying essential oils to your pets – reactions may not manifest immediately and you could send your cat into organ failure within a few weeks without knowing it.
Here are two oils we feel are generally safe recommending if used at dilute levels (1 drop EO to 5 ml carrier oil):
Lavender can be quite useful in reducing stress in cats. However, the oil must be a pure grade and it must be highly dilute. Common dilution calls for 1-10% of what the human uses.
For example, you should place 1 drop essential oil in a dram and add 5-25 ml of Fractionated Coconut Oil or other light carrier oil.
We will be adding more oils and an oil guide as we progress through our own learning curve and identify solutions that work.
Some common-sense guidelines
Never force your cats to wear, consume or inhale natural oils. Trust that they know what their limits are and if they ever demonstrate a reaction (behavioral – such as spraying or peeing on bed, or physical – tremors, shaking), see your veterinarian immediately.
These are emergency situations:
- Behavioral issues: aggression, hiding, “yowling” or other unusual vocalization
- Physical issues: physical tremors, head shaking, scratching, breathing disorders, spraying
- Use highly dilute forms: Your cats are hyper-sensitive to nearly everything and moderation is always best. If you can’t smell an oil, that’s okay – your cat can.
- Never diffuse oils in a closed room: Many of us use room deodorizers and oils that naturally diffuse in our homes. This can be potentially fatal to cats (and other pets, particularly birds and reptiles).
- Never use oils that contain phenols: Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is an organic compound with the formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid that is volatile and potentially very dangerous to your cat.
- Use Hydrosols: Hydrosols are the essences left in plants after oils have been distilled. They are much less potent than essential oils. However, they are not without controversy. While some advocate their use, others recommend against it. We find them to be safer to use on animals.
- Use Multiple Sources in Research: Don’t rely on only one source (including us) when it comes to treating pets. One website or study does not count as research. A “news” report is not research. A recommendation from a friend is not research. If you don’t know what counts as research, you need to consult someone who does.
Nature is Balance
Just as nature relies on a rigid dichotomy of maxes and minimums, the same holds true for cats. What may be toxic in one dose can be healing in a smaller dose. Almost nothing is mutually exclusive and nearly everything is jointly exhaustive.
In other words, all of nature is balance...
The same theory holds true for the use of essential oils in our cats. First, if you are not incredibly well-educated on essential oils AND felines, you shouldn’t be applying them. This doesn’t mean that you need a doctorate in applied science, merely that you have discussed both sides with qualified individuals. It’s also good to read everything (both as pros and cons) that you can get your hands on, and explore other options with your veterinarian AND your homeopathic.[load_module id=”582″]