Essential oils are controversial for use on cats because felines lack a key enzyme that both humans and dogs use to process the oils. Thus, flea prevention in cats is more difficult when looking for natural options. However, some essential oils can be applied to cats when done properly and with veterinary supervision.
Essential Oils for Flea Treatment
Commonly recommended essential oils for flea treatment in cats are cedar, eucalyptus and lavender. These are all well-known flea repellents that have been deemed safe when used properly. Lavender is the most common and has been shown in university studies to repel fleas. Cedar oil interrupts production of certain pheromones, repelling fleas. Eucalyptus has anti-bacterial properties that also repel fleas.
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You should dilute essential oils before applying them to your cat's coat or bathing your cat with a rinse. Dilution will depend on the oil, so consult a holistic veterinarian or buy a premade rinse from a holistic company. Outdoor cats will need more frequent applications because they will face higher exposure.
In addition to applying the essential oils directly to your cat's coat, you also can use rinses around your house to repel fleas from the property. Planting lavender, cedar and eucalyptus plants around your yard or house also can help repel fleas. Use caution as these can be toxic to your cat if ingested in high doses.
Essential Oils Warning
Cats have difficulty processing many essential oils because their liver is not designed to do so. Because of this, use extreme caution when applying essential oils and make sure to dilute them based on a recommendation from a holistic veterinarian. Consult your veterinarian before using an essential oil as some, such as tree oil, are dangerous to cats and can cause tumors, toxicity and other illnesses. Peppermint oil is a well-known flea treatment in dogs but is controversial in cats, so consult your veterinarian before use.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.