safe scent-sa­tion

Pets (Singapore) - - Ask The Expert -

I’ve been get­ting mixed in­for­ma­tion about the safety of es­sen­tial oils for kit­ties. Some web­sites say that they are safe as long as you’re not dif­fus­ing it or let­ting your cat lick you if you’ve used it top­i­cally, while oth­ers ad­vise avoid­ing them com­pletely if you own cats. What do you ad­vise?

Cats are not able to break down many toxic chem­i­cals, as they lack cer­tain en­zymes in the liver to do so. As such, fe­lines are more sus­cep­ti­ble to a wide range of these chem­i­cals, which are present in some es­sen­tial oils.

There are a great num­ber of es­sen­tial oils with dif­fer­ent con­cen­tra­tions, for­mu­la­tions and com­bi­na­tions. It is im­por­tant to know if ad­di­tives have been added to the essentials. Choose only high qual­ity es­sen­tial oils that have been pro­cessed strin­gently by rep­utable com­pa­nies. Do not use those that are pun­gent, “burn’’ the skin, or have high phe­nol con­tent.

Es­sen­tial oils that are safe for cats in­clude cedar­wood, rose­mary, lemon­grass, mar­jo­ram, gera­nium and laven­der. Those that are high in phe­nols, eugenols or d-limonene like pep­per­mint, tea tree, oregano, win­ter­green and all cit­rus oils should be com­pletely avoided. Do not ap­ply them top­i­cally on your­self or Puss, and avoid dif­fus­ing them any­where near your cat.

When­ever you in­tro­duce a new es­sen­tial oil, start slow by dif­fus­ing a small amount near your cat to see if she sneezes, pro­duces dis­charge from the nose or eyes, sali­vates, vom­its, de­vel­ops tremors, has dif­fi­culty breath­ing, or ap­pears to be un­com­fort­able. If all is well, then you can try ap­ply­ing a highly di­luted drop of es­sen­tial oil on your kitty’s col­lar. Do not ap­ply es­sen­tial oils di­rectly on your cat’s body and avoid daily use. As a rule of thumb, avoid ap­ply­ing any es­sen­tial oil near the eyes, nose, mouth and parts of your body that Puss can eas­ily ac­cess or lick.

Ex­pert: Dr Tai Ye­sun BVSc (Syd­ney), MVS (Mur­doch) MRCVS CVA GDBA Vet­eri­nary Sur­geon Cer­ti­fied Vet­eri­nary Acupunc­tur­ist Nam Sang Vet­eri­nary Clinic

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