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Is Peppermint Oil Safe for Cats? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Jana Blagojevic

Last Updated on June 20, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

peppermint essential oil

Is Peppermint Oil Safe for Cats? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ


Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo


Dr. Karyn Kanowski

Veterinarian, BVSc MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cats are incredibly explorative and curious animals, often found rummaging through forgotten corners of your home for a new adventure. If you have essential oils around your home, you may have noticed your cat taking an interest in them. However, many are very dangerous for cats, so it is important to familiarize yourself with which ones to avoid.

If one of your essential oils is peppermint, we advise you to keep your cat as far away from it as possible. While its smell may interest your cat, this essential oil is highly toxic for them.

Read the article below to learn more about the safety of essential oils for your cat.

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The Safety of Essential Oils Around Cats

The information about using essential oils on or around cats can be confusing. There are some that say certain types are okay to use if properly diluted, but none have been certified as safe for use on cats.  If an undiluted oil comes into direct contact with your cat’s skin, it can cause serious injury. Knowing how to properly dilute certain essential oils and make them safer to use around our pets is crucial. The majority of essential oils are unsafe to use around cats, especially if undiluted, but there are some that are particularly toxic to our feline friends. These should not be used, even in diluted form, near or around your cat. These include:

<strong>Toxic Essential Oils:</strong>
  • Citrus (bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, tangerine)
  • Ylang ylang
  • Peppermint
  • Cinnamon
  • Wintergreen
  • Pine
  • Eucalyptus
  • Tea tree
  • Lavender
  • Wintergreen
  • Sweet birch
  • Clove

Some essential oils are less toxic and can be used with cats around, but you should still be careful not to expose them to the undiluted oils or allow your cat to breathe them in, as their airways and olfactory senses are far more sensitive than ours. Despite what you may read, there are no essential oils that should be considered to be safe to use on cats.

Is Peppermint Oil Safe for Cats?

a cat that feels sick and seems to vomit
Image By: chie hidaka, Shutterstock

Peppermint oil is a very popular essential oil with various beneficial effects on humans. While peppermint oil is safe for humans, it can be very toxic to cats. Some cats may enjoy the smell of peppermint oil near them; however, that doesn’t mean it is safe. Cats cannot break down certain components in peppermint oil, so they can quickly exhibit symptoms similar to poisoning or liver failure.

Ingesting peppermint oil is not the only way it can hurt your cat. Diffusing it into the air or applying it to their skin can also cause a reaction. Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell, so inhaling peppermint oil can become very irritating.

If you suspect your cat has inhaled, ingested, or come in contact with peppermint oil, or any other essential oils, it is crucial to look out for the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rubbing their mouth or nose
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Shaking
  • Redness of the lips, tongue, or gums
  • Difficulty walking
  • Seizures

divider 2 cats

Final Thoughts

Essential oils and cats don’t really mix, and some, like peppermint oil, are particularly dangerous for them. While some essential oils are less toxic to cats, none should be considered safe for our feline friends. That’s not to say that you need to toss out your diffuser, but be careful to use it in a well-ventilated area away from your cat, and always make sure to keep all oils out of their reach.

Related reads:

Featured Image Credit: silviarita, Pixabay

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