This post will be updated in February after I finish doing some more research since there is so much conflicting information out there about cats and essential oils safety.
Please visit this blog post for further information on essential oils safety and cats: http://www.jennifervatza.com/jennifers-oily-blog/essential-oils-toxicity-for-cats
Originally posted 5/5/17; Updated 1/23/18
Since I have cats, I wanted to make sure that diffusing essential oils was safe for them since there are some oils that are toxic to cats. I only diffuse the Young Living essential oils at home. I do not use any oils directly on my cats, but they would be exposed to the oils that I use in my diffusers and the Thieves household cleaning products. As many of you know, there was a Facebook post and articles making the rounds about a woman who was using essential oils that she bought on Amazon around her cats and how they were toxic and unsafe to use.
There may be some truth buried in the hysteria as some essential oils producers will dilute their oils with synthetics and/or additives to bring down the retail cost of the oil - that is why many of the store-bought oils or ones on Amazon are so cheap. The synthetics and additives used in store-bought oils can be toxic to cats. This is why I use high quality, pure, unadulterated essential oils because they do not dilute their oils or use synthetics or additives. That said, some should never be applied topically like Peppermint and Tea Tree oils and special caution should be taken when diffusing oils around your cats.
The two major components that can affect cats are monoterpene hydrocarbons, which are in some citrus oils and some coniferous plants like pine and fir and high-phenol oils such as Cinnamon, Clove, Thyme, Oregano, Savory. Certain oils can affect their kidney and/or liver functions because they lack an enzyme that other animals have. It is recommended that you do not diffuse oils that are toxic to cats. Also wash your hands after applying oils to yourself before you pet you cats. If you do choose to diffuse these oils, it is suggested to do so in a well-ventilated area where the cats don't regularly spend long amounts of time in close proximity to the diffuser.
I found this list on The Essential Girl's blog: http://theessentialgirl.com/6-essential-oil-safety-tips-cat-owners/ Since there are a lot of proprietary blends, it is important to know each oil that is in a blend as they may contain some of these oils listed below. This list may not contain ALL oils that can be toxic to cats.
I contacted Young Living's Product Support in May 2017 for further clarification and details and this was what they had to say about the matter.
First, Thieves Household Cleaner is safe for use around children and pets.
Essential oils can be safely and effectively shared with your animal friends. Young Living’s products are intended only for the use listed on individual labels—either for topical/aromatic use or as a dietary supplement. Please always refer to the label for usage directions. For more information on how to utilize the Young Living® products for your animals, please visit https://www.youngliving.com/blog/essential-oils-and-pets-a-quick-how-to/.
As every animal is different we would suggest diffusing small amounts for short periods of time (5 minutes every 1-3 times daily) and observing how the animal responds before increasing the amount and time. Special caution should be exercised when using essential oils with cats. Cats are also generally averse to citrus essential oils and high-phenol oils below.
1. Cinnamon Bark
3. Mountain Savory
5. Plectranthus Oregano
If you have further concerns, it is recommend that you seek the advice and recommendation of a competent, trained veterinarian with knowledge and experience with essential oils use on animals.
Owner, Restorative Aromatics and NAHA Certified Aromatherapist Level One. This blog focuses on aromatherapy education and other essential oil related topics.