Despite the fact many of our cats lounge around like they do not have a care in the world, there are a lot of real-life stressors that can negatively impact your cat’s mental health. If you are looking for some more natural ways to calm or soothe your feline friend, aromatherapy for your cat could be the route to go.
Just as if you were using aromatherapy for yourself or another human, it is important not to jump in without doing your research first. Never under any circumstances should you directly apply essential oils to your cat’s skin, especially around their face. Cat’s noses and skin have different sensitivities than humans, and some plants that are poisonous to cats that aren’t to humans. Cats’ skin is also thinner than human skin, which means your kitty’s skin will absorb the essential oils faster than your skin would.
Cats are especially sensitive to essential oils with polyphenolic compounds, like anise, clove, and basil, to name a few.
Opt For A Hydrosol
Since cats are so much more sensitive than their human companions when it comes to scents, try out a hydrosol instead of a concentrated essential oil. Hydrosols are also known as “flower waters,” as it is the distilled water left over after steaming plants, herbs, fruits, and flowers. You can spritz your kitty’s favorite hangout spot with a bit of hydrosol or even use it as a room freshener to help calm her down. You can also add a few drops of an essential oil to a water diffuser.
Stick To Calming Scents
Like humans, cats are very soothed by the scent of lavender (as long as they are not allergic to it). Kristen Leigh Bell, who wrote Holistic Aromatherapy For Animals, suggests a mixture of lavender, rose, and neroli for a fresh, calming scent.
While there are other hydrofoils and essential oils in the citrus family that can have soothing properties on humans, that is not the case for kitties. In fact, lemon and other citruses are often suggested to use to keep cats away from certain areas – like that houseplant you don’t want him chewing up. So yes, lemon balm can be soothing to you, but it won’t be to your cat.
Stay Away From Toxic Combos
As mentioned before, oils with polhphenolic compounds are on the avoid-at-all-costs list when it comes to aromatherapy for your cat. Some other oils to avoid include oregano, tarragon, tea tree, birch, pennyroyal, tansy and thuja.
Always Consult Your Vet First
It should go without saying, but aromatherapy is not a replacement for routine medical checks with you and your cat’s vet. Before starting your kitty on any sort of aromatherapy or natural medicine regimen, it is important to make sure any other possible medical issues for your cat’s anxiety are addressed.