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Is Peppermint Oil Safe For Cats Or Should They Skip It?

Is Peppermint Oil Safe For Cats Or Should They Skip It?

Peppermint oil is gained from the herb peppermint, which is a cross of two types of mint herbs.

Humans use this essential oil for many different purposes. It’s used as a flavoring in different meals, as well as a nice and fresh fragrance in cosmetics.

Also, many people use it to treat health conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, or sinus infections. It can also be applied to the skin to relieve itching, joint pain, or coughing.

While peppermint oil seems like a wonder remedy, its safety for cats is a concern. Having a feline friend at home means you should be aware of every little thing that can potentially be toxic for it.

So, let’s find out whether peppermint oil is safe for cats. 

Is Peppermint Oil Safe For Your Cat?

There are some essential oils you can freely use around your cat. For instance, lemon, orange, or lavender oil can be used as deterrents to keep your cat off your kitchen counters.

Unfortunately, peppermint oil is not among the oils that are safe for cats. According to the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists, peppermint oil is toxic to felines when inhaled or ingested. 

Therefore, it’s not advisable to use peppermint oil while your cat is around. You should especially be careful not to leave it in places available for your cat to reach it. 

While inhaling peppermint oil isn’t as bad as ingesting it, even using it as an air freshener can be dangerous for your kitty.

Remember that cats have a very strong sense of smell and feel all fragrances a lot more intense than us.

What Are The Signs Of Peppermint Oil Poisoning In Cats?

cat lying on man's hand sleeping

Knowing something can be dangerous for your cat’s well-being should be enough to keep that potential hazard away from it.

However, cats are naturally very curious, meaning that they can easily get into trouble. Even if you’ve done your best to keep the peppermint oil away from your cat, it still isn’t impossible for it to find it and sniff it.

Although the smell of this oil is intense, some cats will simply want to know its taste. In this situation, it’s crucial you’re able to recognize the signs of peppermint oil poisoning.

VCA Animal Hospitals points out how the following are the most common symptoms of poisoning:

• Vomiting

• Redness on lips, tongue, gums, or skin

• Muscle tremor

• Lethargy

• Drooling

• Difficulty walking

• Difficulty breathing

• Peppermint oil fragrance on your cat’s coat or breath

Please bear in mind that only a couple of drops of peppermint oil can be life-threatening for your pet. 

Felines lack liver enzymes that metabolize essential oils, making them very sensitive to their features. Young kittens are particularly in danger of the effects of oils like peppermint.

A cat doesn’t necessarily have to lick the peppermint oil to come in danger of severe consequences. 

Even if this oil only comes in contact with a cat’s coat, it’s likely that it will ingest it while grooming. And we all know how grooming is exactly the favorite activity for our pets to spend their time.

How To Help A Cat With Peppermint Oil Poisoning?

photo of poisoned cat at vet clinic

As soon as you notice potential peppermint oil poisoning symptoms in your cat, you need to take it to a veterinarian’s.

Symptoms like lethargy, drooling, and difficulty breathing are pretty universal and can mean a lot of different things. However, if your cat experiences muscle tremors and severe drooling, this is a clear indication that it ingested a toxic substance.

In case you notice any peppermint oil on your cat’s coat or skin, wash it off using a liquid detergent. 

You shouldn’t try to resolve the problem on your own, such as by trying to induce vomiting by using activated charcoal. 

The veterinarian is the only person who should decide about the treatment steps and who can diagnose peppermint oil poisoning in a cat. 

Based on blood work, the veterinarian will make a decision about the best way to treat your cat. Most likely, they will also prescribe anti-vomiting medication, as well as medications to protect a cat’s stomach and liver.

An important piece of information here is that you can always call the Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number, which is available 24/7.

If you suspect your cat has ingested peppermint oil, this emergency call can give you essential helpful information while you’re taking your cat to the emergency vet.

Remember that most cats have a good chance to survive poisoning, just as long as they receive early intervention and supportive treatment right away.

What Are Preventive Measures?

cat sniffing peppermint

I believe most of you are already aware that putting peppermint oil on your cat’s skin or letting it lick on it is not a smart idea.

But, the preventive measure with this oil isn’t just about this. It’s more of preventing your cat from getting in touch with it in any manner. You shouldn’t consider, for instance, putting this essential oil in your cat’s litter box to get rid of the bad smells.

Having a feline friend in your home, you should forget about using peppermint oil in any way. I would even suggest you not keep it in your house at all.

If you do, however, have this oil somewhere, please make sure that this place is entirely out of reach for your kitty.

I don’t mention these preventive measures to scare you, but only to help you understand how peppermint oil can even be deadly for cats if not reacted on time.

Summary

Peppermint oil is decidedly unsafe for cats. It can be highly toxic if a cat ingested or inhaled it.

While peppermint oil has many different purposes for humans and it’s entirely safe for them, for cats, the situation is exactly the opposite.

So, to be safe your cat isn’t at risk of poisoning, the best preventive measure is to keep the peppermint oil away from it.

You know how curious cats can get, especially about strong fragrances. Not having peppermint oil at all in your home is the only way you’ll know your cat won’t get into trouble.

You may also find it interesting to read about whether olive oil is safe for cats. Hope to catch you there!