Is Lavender Essential Oil Toxic To Cats?

Is Lavender Essential Oil Toxic To Cats? Close-up of essential oil bottle with fresh lavender scattered around

Lavender is one of the world’s most popular plants because of its wide range of uses, but is lavender essential oil toxic to cats? It is frequently infused with other ingredients in the production of medicine for the treatment of pain, headache, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness. And lavender has a unique flavor, which is why it’s used to enhance taste in many dishes around the world. In the beauty industry, it’s utilized as a fragrance ingredient in perfumes, decorations, cosmetics, and soaps. The main reason why Lavender is a sought after plant is it contains oil that can sedate humans and relax body muscles.

Why lavender essential oil is toxic to cats

Lavender plant is non-toxic to cats, but the formulations derived from the extracts make it poisonous to cats. In fact, many people report their cats have eaten lavender leaves, but the only symptom diagnosed was stomach upset. However, they can have adverse effects if your cat consumes them in large quantities. That’s because raw lavender plant comprises substances called linalool and linalyl acetate, which can bring about gastrointestinal discomfort in cats.

The most toxic formulation from the lavender extract is Lavender essential oil. This is because the final product the production process creates a concentrated essential oil. During the production process, lavender flower buds are harvested and distilled. The steam is captured and condensed into a liquid to produce lavender essential oil. After processing, Lavender essential oil contains many volatile compounds that your cat’s liver, which lacks essential enzymes, cannot safely process. Therefore, always keep your lavender essential oil out of reach of your cat.

Expect to see the following symptoms if your cat consumes lavender essential oil:

If your cat finds its way into your garden and consumes lavender leaves, you’ll notice symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, drooling and loss of appetite. It gets worse when your cat consumes lavender essential oil. Symptoms related to consumption of lavender essential oil include breathing difficulty, weakness, lethargy, muscle tremors, pawing at mouth and face, and burns on tongue, gums, and lips.

What to do when your cat has consumed lavender essential oil

Veterinarian with stethoscope holding kitten

The first cause of action is to call the vet. If the vet can’t make it to your home, take the cat to them. Don’t get the cat to vomit because lavender essential oil can cause severe burns to its digestive tract. The vet will take blood and urine samples from it for analysis. The analysis will tell the vet the extent of the impact of the lavender essential oil on the cat. Notably, the vet will determine the degree of liver damage. They will then come up with an appropriate treatment routine for your cat.

Treatment routine for your cat

Once the vet determines the extent of damage of the lavender oil to the cat, they will start the treatment process right away. First, they’ll rehydrate your cat by giving it appropriate fluids. If the lavender essential oil caused burns in your cat’s mouth, it might not be able to ingest anything. If this is the case, the vet will become more creative. They will use a tube to inject fluids into the cat’s stomach.

In this condition, cats are prone to vomiting, so the vet will give your cat an anti-vomiting medication. They will also give it the drug that insulates its stomach lining to prevent further inflammation. If the vet realizes that your cat is in pain because of lavender oil burns or poisoning, they will administer the right pain relievers, including antibiotics. The liver is the most critical part of the medication procedure, so your vet will also administer medication meant to insulate the liver from further damage.


Your cat can recover from lavender essential oil poisoning if detected early and the appropriate treatment administered. Make sure you keep all the lavender essential oil out of reach of the cat. Also, if you’re growing lavender plants outside, make sure to fence around the garden to ensure the cat can’t access it. If you really don’t need the lavender plants, you can get rid of them.