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Home > Cats > Safe Essential Oils for Cats? 4 Viable Options

Safe Essential Oils for Cats? 4 Viable Options

Cedarwood bottle with pine oil

Essential oils are in many products that we use, from air fresheners to personal hygiene products. We also find essential oils in many of our pet care products. Unfortunately, most essential oils are harmful to our cats and dogs, and you will need to avoid them at all costs to keep your pet healthy.

There are only a few essential oils that are safe to use around the cats, so keep reading while we discuss the four essential oils safe to use around your pet.

divider-catThe 4 Essential Oils Safe for Cats

1. Cedarwood

Cedarwood with oil
Image Credit: Madeleine Steinbach, Shutterstock

Cedarwood is the first essential oil on our list that is safe for cats. Not only is it non-toxic, but it also is extremely effective at killing fleas which makes it one of the better essential oils to use around your cat. If you have an outdoor cat that wears a collar, a few jobs applied to it are all it takes to prevent your cat from getting fleas, and it may also reduce the number of ticks.

Unfortunately, cedarwood essential oil is not without its problems. While it may be safe to use around your cat, you will likely find that they hate the scent of it. Many homeowners use cedar chips to keep stray cats out of their yard, so your pet might not be too happy about applying it to its collar to keep away the fleas.

2. Sweet Basil

Sweet basil is another essential oil that’s safe to use around your cat, and unlike cedarwood, most cats don’t mind the smell, and some even like it. While sweet basil doesn’t have many benefits for your cat, you can use it for its antiviral, antifungal, and anti-bacterial properties. It makes a great additive to your cleaning products and does a fantastic job of fighting odors. Some people even report that it helps with their migraine headaches.

3. Peppermint

Image Credit: Pixabay

Peppermint essential oil is generally safe to use around your cat, and like cedarwood, it’s effective at killing fleas, so keeping some on hand can benefit your pets. However, peppermint is one of the more controversial entries on this list. It contains the toxic ingredient salicylate. Salicylate is an ingredient that we also find in aspirin, and it can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, stomach bleeding, tremors, seizures, kidney damage, and more. This list of problems will send any pet owner running for the hills, but there is very little salicylate in peppermint essential oil, especially when compared to aspirin, and it shouldn’t be a problem for your cat if you use it in moderation with plenty of ventilation.

4. Rosemary

Rosemary is yet another essential oil that is effective at killing fleas. It’s completely non-toxic, and you don’t need to worry about salicylate or any other harmful ingredients. Unfortunately, like cedarwood, most cats don’t like its smell and will avoid it when possible, so they won’t like it if you try to apply it to their collar or put it in an area they frequent often.

divider-catThe 6 Tips For Using Essential Oils

  • Never apply essential oils directly to your pet’s fur or skin.
  • If using essential oils to kill fleas, dilute them in a spray bottle mixed with water. Spray the affected area of your home when the cat is not present to give the oil some time to dissipate.
  • Never use essential oils inside a closed litter box or any enclosed space.
  • Never let your pet ingest essential oils. It may sound silly, but many cats like the taste of sweet basil and even peppermint, and consuming it can give your pet a stomachache or even salicylate toxicity.
  • When using any of the essential oils on this list, we recommend spraying a tiny amount at first to see how your cat reacts. If you notice any strange behavior or vomiting, discontinue use immediately.
  • If you need to control fleas, consider using a medication like Frontline, which kills fleas, ticks, and many other parasites. It kills parasites internally and externally before they have a chance to hatch eggs in your home. Even heavily infested homes will clear up quickly once your cat begins taking this medication.
woman giving CBd oil to cat
Image Credit by: Erin Stone, Pixabay



While we normally recommend avoiding essential oils to preserve the health of your car, the few oils listed here should be safe. Safe doesn’t mean you should spread all over your cat, though. We recommend using a spray bottle filled with cedarwood, peppermint, or rosemary essential oils to spray around your property to keep fleas and ticks away without harming your pet. It can be an extremely effective first line of defense, especially if your cat primarily stays on the porch or in the house. Sweet basil is an excellent cleaning additive that will help kill mold and bacteria without harming your pet. We found it great for cleaning counters and other hard services and even use it to help clean the floor now and then.

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Featured Image Credit: Pavlovska Yevvheniia, Shutterstock

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