Combining essential oils and felines has always been a sensitive and complex topic for cat parents. Some oils, like chamomile, lavender, and rose oil, are safe for cats. On the other hand, some can cause as worse as death even in small amounts, like tea tree oil and citrus oil.
That said, what about lemongrass oil? This effective essential oil is popular among humans because of its relaxation and anxiety relief properties.
The question, however, is: is lemongrass oil safe for cats? Will it have the same beneficial effect? This is what we will talk about in the following sections.
Is Lemongrass Oil Safe To Diffuse Around Cats?
First, let’s answer the question, is lemongrass oil safe for cats if it’s diffused?
If you use lemongrass oil for your own needs, and you want to ensure that it won’t heavily affect your cats’ health, then diffusing the oil is a good choice. This is the same if you plan on using lemongrass essential oil on your cat to treat fleas, its main use in animals.
Note, though, that this won’t always be the case. First off, if you’re using lemongrass oil that is highly concentrated, then diffusing it will just heighten the risks of your feline catching health issues. To safely do this process, make sure that you use low concentrations of the oil.
Another thing worth noting is that diffusing lemongrass oil around cats doesn’t necessarily benefit them. It won’t be that effective in removing fleas, and they may also not like the smell, which can lead to stress.
Still, diffusing lemongrass oil, as long as they’re in low concentrations, is considered safe for felines. It’s not generally recommended, though. Keeping your cat away from the oil will always be the better choice.
Why Is Lemongrass Essential Oil Harmful To Cats?
Let’s first establish this: In the simplest sense, lemongrass essential oil is harmful to cats. Even if some cat parents approve of the use of low concentrations of the oil, it will still be not worth taking the risk. Here are some of the things that lemongrass oil may cause, and at the same time, the reasons why it’s harmful to felines:
1. Lemongrass Oil Increases Risks of Respiratory Issues In Cats
The scent of lemongrass oil can be too strong for a cat. If they smell too much of the oil, no matter if it’s diffused or diluted, there’s a possibility that they may develop respiratory issues, such as difficulty in breathing, lung issues, cough, and likes.
2. A Cat’s Liver Isn’t Capable Of Absorbing Lemongrass Oil Properly
A cat’s liver is built way differently than other animals. It can only absorb a low amount of toxins and is extremely sensitive to the certain contents of essential oils, such as its phenol. That said, whether they get a sniff or a small lick of the lemongrass oil, it’s common for them to immediately develop liver damage. It can range from minor issues to as major as irreversible liver damage.
3. The Overall Contents Of Lemongrass Oil Is Too Strong For Felines
An essential oil, lemongrass included, is usually made up of phenols, alcoholic compounds, and other toxins. Compared to carrier oils like coconut oil, felines find it hard to break it down internally. This can get problematic since the contents of lemongrass oil can be absorbed by a cat’s skin. This means that you’re not just dealing with the scent’s toxicity, but also the possibility for it to enter your cat’s body even without ingestion.
What Are The Symptoms Of Essential Oil Poisoning In Cats?
If you think your cat accidentally licked lemongrass essential oil or basically any essential oil, it’s a must that you observe them carefully to see if they’re suffering from essential oil poisoning. Here are some symptoms that you need to look out for:
- Physical Tremors
- Loss of Appetite
- Inability To Move
- Breathing Difficulties
- Constant Meowing
- Behavioral Issues (Uncontrollable chewing and scratching)
Keep in mind that it’s still better to go to the vet even if you haven’t noticed any symptoms yet. If your cat recently got into contact with essential oil, whether you’re sure that they ingested a few or not, you will have the assurance that you need with a professional consultation.
Read also: Is Patchouli Oil Safe For Cats?
What To Do In Case Your Cat Has Essential Oil Poisoning
If you think your cat has essential oil poisoning based on the symptoms, and if you caught them licking oil in the act, here are the first aid solutions that you can turn to:
Get Fresh Air
Fresh air should be your top priority when dealing with a cat with essential oil poisoning. Whether it’s through scent or taste, bring your cat to a room with no traces of the oil. Better yet, bring them outside, so they can get all the fresh air that they need to breathe and feel refreshed.
This will not get rid of your cat’s poisoning issue. This is just the first thing that you need to do to provide even a little bit of relief for your cat. It will also be better for their respiratory system since they will get to take in more oxygen.
Take A Trip To Your Vet As Soon As Possible
Of course, there is no better solution to essential oil poisoning than taking a trip to the vet as soon as possible. They will be able to conduct the right health tests for your cat, give the right medications, and exercise any treatment they need.
Stay away from home remedies, especially if you’re not knowledgeable in the field. Doing so can just worsen your feline’s condition instead of improving it. Moreover, don’t induce vomiting. This can cause internal damage, which will just make the case worse.
Call A Professional For First Aid
If you’re far from the clinic, and you don’t think you won’t make it in time based on your cat’s current state, you can consider calling your vet for possible first aid solutions. They will be able to tell you what to do, along with what’s proper and what is not.
Keep in mind that you will still need to bring your cat to the vet. The first aid solutions that they will provide will only lengthen the time your cat can survive, and will not totally stop the poisoning.
How Should Cat Parents Use Lemongrass Essential Oils Safely?
Even if you won’t use lemongrass essential oil on your cat, the risks won’t totally be gone if you plan on using them for yourself. Whether directly or indirectly, expect that it will have a corresponding effect on your feline if either you or the oil interacts with it.
Still, this doesn’t mean that you have to stop using lemongrass oil for your needs. You just need to know how to use it safely with a cat roaming around your home.
Know If Your Cat Has Existing Allergies And Respiratory Issues
Before everything else, you need to know if your cat has any allergies, respiratory issues, or any other health concerns. Do this immediately after getting them. You can usually achieve this information through a general check-up done by the vet since they have bespoke tests for it.
Now, why is it important?
Since lemongrass oil is already harmful to cats, they may encounter worsened health if they happen to be highly allergic to lemongrass or the essential oil itself. Some processed lemongrass oils also have additional ingredients in them. Hence, if your cat interacts with it, not only will you deal with poisoning, but there’s also a chance that they will face rashes, cough, or even immediate death.
Store The Lemongrass Oil In A Place Where Your Cats Can’t Access It
Another thing that you should do is store your lemongrass essential oil in a place where they can’t reach it. Take, for example, a kitchen cabinet, drawers, or any storage that your cat can’t open easily. It should also be sealed tightly, so even if they manage to get near it, you won’t have to worry about leaks and spills.
Make Sure To Dilute Lemongrass Oil Before Every Use
No matter if you’re using a lemongrass oil with either a high or low concentration, it’s best to dilute the oil if you plan on diffusing it around your room. Doing so will somehow weaken the scent, and reduce the risks of liver damage and respiratory issues.
So, is lemongrass oil safe for cats?
The answer that you’re looking for is no. Both regular lemongrass oil and lemongrass essential oil are toxic to cats and can cause irreversible organ and liver damage. Respiratory issues are also a given. Although minimal diffusion is considered safe, it’s still not recommended since some felines are more sensitive than others.
Hence, if you’re going to use lemongrass oil for yourself, ensure that your cat won’t be able to touch, lick, or smell it. If you want to totally avoid risks, it’s better to consider other aromatherapy oils like lavender or rose.