Is lavender essential oil safe for cats? Yes, lavender oil is perfectly safe for your cats. Some essential oils contain compounds that may lead to toxicity, but lavender is not one of these oils and can be used safely around your cat. Lavender is widely used for its soothing effects, meaning you and your pet can benefit from it.
We’ll describe how this fantastic oil can help your pet and give you some helpful recipes too!
Some Background on Lavender
Lavender oil can be distilled from a few different species of the lavender plant (Lavandula angustifolia), which is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. This widespread growth of lavender throughout the world means that many different cultures have had the chance to experiment with its use and find different ways it can benefit them. The plant has been used for hundreds of years to help calm and soothe the mind, body, and soul.
Aromatherapists have historically used lavender essential oil for insomnia, depression, and relieving pain. Contemporary research [Mori, 2016] also suggests that lavender oil can heal wounds. The results of this research are greatly supported by the fact that the plant has been used for centuries to help with wounds and burns.
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How Can Lavender Oil Help My Cat?
As we mentioned, lavender oil has been historically used for its soothing properties and healing wounds, but what does that mean for your cat? Here are some ways lavender’s properties can benefit your pet.
Your cat may experience some anxiety from time to time. This isn’t pleasant for you; more importantly, it’s no fun for your feline friend. If your cat is displaying anxious body language, then something that could benefit you both is diffusing some lavender in your home so that its calming properties can help your pet. Before you diffuse any essential oil around pets, checking if they enjoy the smell is a good idea. Cats (and dogs) have a much more sensitive nose than humans, so smells that are “barely there” for you may be overwhelming for your pet.
A great way to check if your cat likes the smell of lavender essential oil is by sitting near them and opening a bottle of the oil. This is enough for the smell to diffuse out and reach your pet (even though you might not be able to detect it). If your cat enjoys the smell, you might notice them closing their eyes, twitching their nose, or even turning their head towards the bottle. Since lavender has such a soothing effect, there’s a chance they’ll even decide that it’s time for a doze.
If your cat likes the smell of lavender, then diffusing it can be a great way to calm them down if they’re experiencing anxiety. However, we'd recommend caution to diffuse any essential oil around pets. Remember, their noses are about forty times more sensitive than yours! This means that very weak smells to you may be overpowering to your cat. Because of this, be sure to leave a door (or window) open so your cat can exit the room if they desire, and be sure you’ve got at least some mild airflow to ensure the smell doesn’t become too potent.
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For example, it’s coming up to New Year’s Eve. Everybody loves the spectacle, and a big firework show is a common way to end the year and bring an exciting start to a new one, but your cat may not feel the same joy towards fireworks that you do. This anxiety is something any pet owner will be familiar with.
Cats have much better hearing than humans - not only do they hear a much wider range of frequencies than humans, but their ears are also more sensitive to sound than ours. While this trait is useful to cats when they’re hunting in the wilderness, it does mean they’re more easily surprised by loud noises.
You can tell if your cat is getting scared by fireworks by watching out for a few signs. If they seem startled when a firework goes off, it’s an obvious sign that they may be in for a difficult night. You might also notice them hiding somewhere in the house or being restless. This is another sign that the fireworks may be scaring your pet.
If you’ve diffused lavender around your cat a few times before now, and know that they appreciate it, then this could be an option to provide some calm on a potentially stressful night. However, even if you know your cat appreciates lavender's soothing scent, it might not be the best idea since your pet is less likely to go outside should they need some fresh air, which means you may end up overwhelming your cat on a night where their senses are already getting a lot of input.
There is another option, however. If your cat has a plush toy they go to for comfort, or even a blanket, then applying a diluted solution of lavender oil inside the blanket or toy can be a great option to provide lavender’s calming benefits without potentially overwhelming your pet.
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Potential safety concerns exist around diffusing essential oils with cats in the house, but this does not apply to lavender oil. Cats’ livers lack a certain enzyme that humans have, which is involved with metabolizing essential oil constituents when they reach the liver. The main constituent that causes them issues is phenols, which are at infinitesimal levels in lavender.
Citrus oils and eucalyptus, for example, can cause them issues, even if small molecules drop onto their fur, then they groom themselves.
Lavender essential oil is safe from this perspective. However, we’d just urge a little attention to how much you use in the diffuser.
The smell is a cat's primary method of identifying people and objects. Humans have 5 million odor receptors in their noses, but cats have more than 200 million; Statistically, their sense of smell is 14 times better than yours. Recognize that just because lavender is cited as good for soothing headaches, whether human or feline, it can give you one too.
By all means, use lavender oil when your cat is around, but only in small dilutions, and most importantly, make sure you leave a door open for her so that she can choose to leave when she has had enough.
Cats, like dogs, also taste odor molecules in the air, so you might also find that she licks her lips more. Ensure plenty is available for her to drink when your diffuser is on.
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You can use lavender essential oil safely on your cat's skin if you dilute it properly. They are tiny beings, so they don’t need as much as humans. Rather than the normal 3%, we’d suggest one drop of lavender essential oil in a tablespoon of cream or carrier oil.
You can put it on their fur to apply, but finding it easier is better. Inside of their ears works well, and their tummies. There is an artery that runs directly to their brain, that runs up the inside of their back legs.
In the same way as for humans, though, it’s probably not a great idea to use oils topically on your cat if they are pregnant.
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The answer to is lavender essential oil safe for cats is yes, as long as you use very small dilutions and avoid using it if your cat is pregnant.
Also Read: Is Eucalyptus Essential Oil Safe for Cats?