all-natural healthy cat

All-Natural is Not Always the Answer

We all know that there have been many trends to eat healthier, exercise more, to put less chemicals on ourselves, and less artificial ingredients into our bodies. As wonderful as that is for us humans, there is a downside when we try to do the same for our pets, especially cats. Did you know that a lot of the all-natural ingredients out there can actually be harmful and potentially deadly for our feline friends?

Essential Oils

Many of us like to relax with essential oils, such as lavender, and some of us like to use them for cleaning, such as lemon oil. Unfortunately, these oils are marketed as safe and natural, but the fact is that a lot of the essential oils can be quite toxic to cats. Not only can they cause medical issues if they are ingested by your cat, but even exposure to their skin and to their respiratory system can lead to major complications.

  • A few popular essential oils to avoid using in your home are Citrus (Lemon, Lime, Orange), Tea Tree, Wintergreen or Peppermint, Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, and Lavender. This includes using them in a diffuser, a plug-in, in homemade cleaning products or repellants, and applying them to your cat or to yourself if you are planning to be in close contact with your cat.
  • What is so dangerous about essential oils? Essential oils contain phenols, which in high concentrations can cause severe illness. The higher the concentration of the oil, the more phenols it contains. Humans can normally metabolize the phenols through the liver, but cats lack an enzyme in their liver to allow them to do the same. This then causes a toxic buildup of phenols in the cat’s systems that can lead to liver and kidney damage or failure. Aside from serious organ damage, essential oils can also cause irritation or burning sensations to the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat, respiratory distress, cough, and vomiting.
  • Symptoms or signs of possible essential oil toxicity can begin with watery eyes and nose, wheezing or coughing, fast breathing, and drooling. As the toxins build up, you can notice vomiting, lethargy, being unstable when standing or walking, and respiratory distress. If you believe your cat could have been exposed to essential oils and is showing symptoms, please contact your veterinarian or closest pet emergency facility.

Plant Based Insect Repellent and Sprays

No one likes the smell and potential harm of a chemical-based insect repellent or spray. We want to protect ourselves, our families, and our pets from harmful chemicals and we do not want to cause more harm to the environment by using chemicals in our yards. Also, not everyone wants to apply a chemical on their pets to protect them from fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. So, naturally, when we see a product is plant based and effectively kills or repels insects, we trust that it is safe for our pets.

  • Plant based insecticides and repellents are made with the essential oils of plants. Those plants that repel insects are the same plants that produce harmful phenols to our cats. Wintergreen, peppermint, and clove are a few of the top oils that are used in plant-based insect products. Some products have a percentage of oils used on their label, but they do not include the concentration.
  • All-natural flea and tick sprays made for animals can also be a potential danger to your cats. These sprays are made mainly for dogs, who are less sensitive to essential oils or can tolerate the concentrations in these products better than cats. Cats can develop a rash, irritation, or even blistering when these products are applied to their skin.
  • When purchasing these products, please make sure they are truly safe for cats and to check with your veterinarian as well. Just because a product says “Pet Safe” does not always mean it is 100% safe for cats.

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