The Best Essential Oils for Cats (2023)

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Lavender Essential OilThese days, reed diffusers are a big trend and people use essential oils in a wide range of applications, hoping to reap the positive effects associated with them. However, it’s not so easy for cat owners to use them due to the fear of their cats having adverse reactions to them. In this article, we take a closer look at the best essential oils for cats along with toxic oils that you shouldn’t use around your fur baby.  

What are Essential Oils? 

Essential oils are plant extracts in the form of concentrated liquids that contain chemical compounds. Because they will often have a nice scent, they can be used in different ways for healthcare, skincare, and cosmetics. However, before setting up an essential oil diffuser around your home, make sure that it won’t have toxic effects on your cat’s health.  

For humans, essential oils can do wonders but they may not bring the same great benefits for your four-legged friend. While there are a few safe essential oils that can be used around your feline companion, many essential oils can cause health problems in cats, so they should be used with extreme caution. 

Safe Essential Oils for Cats

Essential oils that have high levels of plant compounds may not be a good choice because cats detoxify their bodies differently from other animals. As such, it’s important that you opt for the kind of oils if you wish to use them around your pet’s environment. Pure essential oils are also safer to use when you dilute them with a carrier oil.  

Below we provide a list of essential oils that will work well with cats while discussing the effects of essential oils on them.

1. Lavender Essential Oil


Lavender Essential Oil

While lavender oil has a strong smell, it’s a safe essential oil to use with both active diffusers and passive diffusers. It’s known to have anxiety-reducing and calming properties and can be used inside your cat’s litter box to encourage it to pee inside rather than in other areas in your home.   


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2. Copaiba Essential Oil

Copaiba Essential Oil

Because it doesn’t have a strong smell, Copaiba oil is safe for cats and is considered to be the best essential oil to use inside homes with senior cats. It’s often used to treat pain, wounds, or inflammation in humans and is also safe to use for cat treatment. 


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3. Cedarwood Essential Oil

Cedarwood Essential Oil

If you have a new cat that’s fearful of its new surroundings, Cedarwood is a great choice to help it stay calm and grounded. It also helps to rid your furry friend of fleas and will stop them from coming back. 


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4. Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense Essential Oil

Dilute essential oils from Frankincense can be used for topical application because it’s safe for cats. The diffused oil can also help to boost the immune system of your cat and can also help to boost emotional health by keeping it calm. 


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5. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

For cats that have a jumpy or reactive nature, Roman chamomile can be used to provide a sense of calm and peace. You can diffuse essential oils with this flower to give your cat the best way to relieve an upset stomach. 


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6. Olive Essential Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cats tend to like the smell of olive oil, which works somewhat like catnip to them. Cats may become more active and playful once they get a whiff of this scent. 


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Please keep in mind that even if these essential oils are safe for cats, make sure that you only use them to bring fresh air into your home and don’t let your cat ingest them. Moreover, always consult your vet before using any kind of oil with your cats. 

Toxic Essential Oils 

Unfortunately, there are many toxic oils that produce a negative reaction in a cat’s body. Because they contain toxic compounds that may put your cat at a greater risk of damage to their health, the following essential oils should never be given to cats: 

  • Peppermint oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Citrus oils (these contain phenolic compounds)

Health Benefits Of Essential Oils for Cats

While it’s usually the pet parents who will get to enjoy the nice smells of essential oils, they’re actually beneficial for cats too. But because of their strong aroma, it’s best to use them in low concentrations. When diluted, cedarwood essential oil is among the best and most gentle oils to use for eliminating fleas and ticks. 

Using Essential Oils on Cats

One way for pet owners to use these oils on their cats is to diffuse cat-safe oils to serve as air fresheners that cats can inhale. Diffusing is the safest way to use essential oils on your cats, but make sure that they don’t get too close to your diffusers. However, be sure to use them in small amounts since they could potentially irritate your kitty. 

You can also dilute a drop of essential oil with two tablespoons of carrier oils such as coconut oil or almond oil but it’s recommended to dilute them in water to make them safer for cats. As such, essential oils with a high dilution rate may also be placed in the bath or used as room sprays.  

Are Essential Oils Toxic to Cats?

Most essential oils are poisonous when to cats when ingested — you should never apply them onto your cat’s skin or your cat’s fur since they will likely lick it. Should your cat ingest essential oils, you may need to take a trip to a veterinary hospital since it can induce respiratory distress and cause many health issues in different ways. Because cats are such small creatures, even the tiniest amount of oil can cause harm.

Your pet’s skin is very thin, which means that it’ll quickly absorb anything that touches it but a cat’s liver enzymes can’t process these toxins. This can lead to liver damage and liver failure if it is ingested in large amounts. Furthermore, essential oils may also damage the central nervous system and cause respiratory problems. 

Cats also have a highly sensitive sense of smell, so cat parents need to know that even a drop of essential oil will be enough to overwhelm their noses. This can cause them to have breathing difficulties and may lead to respiratory issues. To reduce an oil’s toxicity, avoid using undiluted essential oils and only use a small amount of oil when using diffusers. 

It will also help not to use these oils in a small space — instead, opt for an open space where your cat’s chances of absorbing or ingesting these oils are lower. If you suspect that your cat has ingested something out of your diffuser, here are symptoms of essential oil poisoning to look for: 

  • Redness in and around the mouth area
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Agitation
  • Watery nose or eyes
  • Pawing at their face
  • Difficulty walking
  • Muscle tremors

If you see these signs of poisoning, immediately call the pet poison helpline or your vet to get medical treatment for your cat. 


While using essential oils for aromatherapy is becoming more and more popular, having cats around your home means that you need to take extra precautions before using them. To ensure that your cat stays healthy, look for therapeutic-grade oils that won’t have any harmful side effects for your feline companion. You may also consult a holistic veterinarian to give you guidance on how to safely use essential oils in a home with cats.