Tea tree oil for cats: understanding the risks and safe use (2023)

Tea tree oil for cats: understanding the risks and safe use (1)

Welcome to our guide to tea tree oil for cats. Is tea tree oil safe for cats or is it toxic to cats?

Does Tea Tree Oil Kill Fleas On Cats? Or should we keep this essential oil away from our pets?

Sometimes it's tempting to use our favorite home remedies on our pets.

But it's also important to remember that cats can react very differently to certain products, so caution and a little research are needed.

In this article, we take a look at using tea tree oil for cats and if it has any benefits.

We will also look at the dangers of tea tree oil abuse and the tragic consequences this has had in the past.

First, let's take a look at what tea tree oil does and how exactly it works.

Tea tree oil for cats

Tea tree oil for cats is used as an antibacterial ear cleaner, shampoo, or spray. But unfortunately, this alternative remedy is not safe. Potentially toxic to cats at relatively low levels, best avoided.

So why do people want to use it instead of modern medicine? Is there a solution to the problem of toxicity?

Tea tree oil is also known as tea tree oil. It comes from the tea tree plant (Melaleuca alternifolia), which is based in Australia.

Tea tree oil is known for its multiple uses and benefits for humans, which is why many of us have this essential oil in our homes.

Timeantibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatoryCharacteristics.

The pure essential oil is used to treat acne, burns, insect bites and many other skin conditions in humans.

Tea tree oil is also found diluted in a variety of other products, including shampoo, toothpaste, and soap.

How does tea tree oil work?

The composition of tea tree oil is complex, but the chemicals that give tea tree oil medicinal properties belong to a group of compounds known as terpenes.

Tea tree oil for cats: understanding the risks and safe use (2)

Tea tree oil, in particular, contains large amounts of the terpene terpinen-4-ol, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

(Video) Is tea tree oil bad for cats

But as we'll see below, some terpenes, including those found in tea tree oil, can also cause toxicosis (poisoning) in cats if used incorrectly.

Is Tea Tree Oil Safe for Cats?

The answer to that largely depends on the concentration of tea tree oil used.

TeebaumölToxicosisIt has been reported in cats, dogs, rats and humans.

This toxicity is caused by high levels of terpenes, the same molecules that give tea tree oil its beneficial properties.

Because terpenes are quickly absorbed by the body, applying this oil to the skin or by mouth can have the same toxic effects.

Since cats groom themselves, this also increases the risk of toxicity when topical applications are applied to the skin in an area your cat might lick.

High levels of tea tree oil in cats can lead to poisoning because their livers are less efficient at removing toxins than ours.

Signs to look out for include:

  • weakness
  • low body temperature
  • impressively
  • unable to walk
  • Tremble
  • and eat at the end.

Treatment depends on the degree of toxicosis but usually consists of decontamination of the skin with washing and intravenous fluids.

Despite the risk of poisoning, there are many different products containing tea tree oil in various dilutions for humans and pets.

It's worth taking a closer look at, so let's look at using 100% tea tree oil first.

Cat and Tea Tree Oil 100%

Pure tea tree oil isNOsafe for cats

ÖPoisoned Pet Hotlinelists tea tree oil as toxic to cats.

Toxicity is classified as moderate to severe and can be fatal.

A ten-year study using data collected from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center database found details of 106 cats and 337 dogs exposed to 100% tea tree oilsuffered poisoningConsequence.

89% of these pets have had their owners intentionally apply tea tree oil.

This shows the lack of awareness that this oil can be toxic.

This study also found that younger and smaller cats are at greater risk of developing serious clinical symptoms.

(Video) Are Essential Oils Safe for Cats?

Another veterinary report of three cats being treated with 100% undiluted tea tree oil as a flea repellent by their ownerresulted in all three being treated for symptoms of poisoning, and unfortunately one dies.

Safe to use tea tree oil for cats

It is not difficult to find information on the internet and in books about using tea tree oil for fleas in cats, using tea tree oil for tinea in cats, and using tea tree oil for mites in cats.

Still, it's better to be very careful. Studies have shown that the products can cause poisoning and even death if used incorrectly or not diluted properly.

It is important to note the difference between the dilutions.

100% tea tree oil is very toxic to cats, but there are some products with a lower concentration.

Let's take a look at them now.

Diluted tea tree oil products

Products with a concentration ofless than 2% tea tree oilWhen used as directed, they are non-toxic to cats.

There is a wide variety of products that contain diluted tea tree oil.

These include ear cleaners, tea tree oil cat shampoo, grooming spray and tea tree oil cat cream.

Because they're often marketed as "natural," it's tempting to assume they're better for our cats.

However, keep in mind that some of these products do not always list the dilution of the tea tree used.

It still pays to be cautious when using treatments that contain essential oil dilutions.

A study on the use of natural flea repellents (not just one based on tea tree oil) found this to be the case92% of the animals had side effects..

77% of these animals used the products as directed.

Tea tree as a diffuser oil

With oil diffusers becoming more popular in our homes, it's also worth checking whether diffusing 100% tea tree oil into the air could also be harmful to your cats.

ÖASPCAMany essential oils, including tea tree oil, are said to be harmful to cats when used in a diffuser.

If you still want to use your tea tree oil diffuser, it's best to place it in a room your cat can't access and only use it for a short amount of time.

Note that if your cat is already having breathing problems, it's probably best to turn the diffuser all the way down.

(Video) Dangers of Essential Oils: Top 10 Essential Oil Mistakes to Avoid | Dr. Josh Axe

Cats have a much more sensitive sense of smell than we do, so they can easily find smells overwhelming.

Once again,young and small catsThey are potentially more likely to be affected by negative effects.

The importance of using modern approved treatments

While it can be tempting to prepare your own treatment for fleas and other pests, it's always best to use proven modern veterinary treatment.

Diluting 100% tea tree oil to exactly the right dosage at home is very difficult.

A study using data provided by veterinarians to the National Animal Poison Control Center found that in most cases of tea tree oil poisoning100% oil applied in an unreasonably high dose.

The Merck Veterinary Manual also references the quality control and manufacturing standards required for herbal medicinal productsare not as strict as with drugs.

This means herbal products may vary from batch to batch.

Finally,This studioHe notes that health food stores often tout tea tree oil as safe and non-toxic.

This means you may be getting incorrect advice about using tea tree oil.

It's safest to only use products that are approved by your veterinarian.

Always seek veterinary advice

It's best to use essential oils the same way you would give your cat pharmaceutical medication.

Always visit your veterinarian first for advice.

If there is a product that contains a safe dilution of tea tree oil that you would like to use, speak to your veterinarian.

They have access to the latest research and can give you better advice.

Tea Tree Oil and Cats: Is It Safe?

While it may be tempting to put a dilution of tea tree oil in cats' ears or use it as a flea repellent, there's a lot of evidence that this isn't a good idea.

It is very difficult to accurately dilute 100% tea tree oil at home, so you could accidentally give your cat a higher dose than intended, with dire consequences.

Because of this, it's best to play it safe and keep this pure essential oil away from your cat.

There are a variety of products made with tea tree oil dilutions. So if you decide to use any of these products, read the label carefully and always speak to your veterinarian first.

(Video) Is Tea Tree Oil Safe?

Finally, always seek veterinary help immediately if your cat comes into contact with tea tree oil and exhibits any of the symptoms listed above.

final thoughts

Tea tree oil contains terpenes, which can have medicinal properties in very low concentrations, but are highly toxic to cats in high concentrations.

Never use 100% tea tree oil as a topical treatment on your cat and keep oil diffusers out of the reach of all pets.

Some cats can safely tolerate very low concentrations (less than 2%) of tea tree oil, but since homeopathic remedies are unregulated, the risk of incorrect dosing is high.

In addition, the consequences of incorrect dosing are serious.

It is unwise to use an unpredictable and uncontrolled “natural” treatment in place of a safe and regulated pharmaceutical treatment without good reason.

That's why we recommend using modern, licensed and regulated veterinary treatments and always visiting your vet if your cat is unwell.

Do you treat your cat with tea tree oil?

Has your vet recommended a safe tea tree oil treatment for your cat?

If so, let us know about your experience with it in the comments!

Tea tree oil for cats: understanding the risks and safe use (3)

References and further reading

Kan and others. 2014Concentrated tea tree oil toxicosis in dogs and cats: 443 cases (2002-2012). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Genoveseet al. 2012Side effects of natural flea products that contain essential oil and are exempt from Environmental Protection Agency regulations in dogs and cats. Journal of Veterinary Emergency Critical Care.

Carson and others. 2006Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clinical Microbiology Reviews.

Robinson.herbal medicine. Merck Veterinary Manual.

Vilar dort. 1994Toxicity of topically applied tea tree oil and related essential oils in dogs and cats. Veterinary and human toxicology.

Bischoff and Guale. 1998Australian tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) poisoning in three purebred cats. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Research.

Poisoned Pet Hotline. tea tree oil.

The ASPCA. Are the Latest Household Fashions Harmful to Your Pets? What do you need to know!

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