Essential oil diffusers can be seen in almost every household today. There was a recent posting on Facebook which talked about the toxicity of these oils for cats. The reason for oils being toxic to cats is often based on the fact that cats are lacking in certain liver enzymes which make them unable to metabolize essential oils. This reasoning can be traced back to research in the early 70’s that showed that phenols (chemicals) are toxic to cats. This has nothing to do with essential oils but is due to certain chemicals in disinfectants, detergents, medications etc. Cats can metabolize essential oils and they will not build up over time in your pet. What is true is that cats have different elimination times for drugs or chemicals. A study was conducted showing that a pony could eliminate sodium salicylate in 1 hour while it took a cat 38 hours. There is an increasing amount of information that now shows that cats can tolerate the proper use of essential oils when used correctly.
It is the recommendation to not use poor grade or fragrance grade essentials oils. It has been documented that cats will have an increase in liver enzymes in homes where a lot of air fresheners and the artificial fragrance is used. The best advice is to use high-quality oil and to consider the source where you purchase it. How cats metabolize essential oils depends on the quality-synthetic or altered essential oils should not be treated the same as true or natural oils.
Written by Dr. Terri Chotowetz