Cats have an acute sense of smell that they rely on for communication and to gather information about their surroundings. It’s no secret that cats are biased toward certain smells, like their food and the rotisserie chicken that’s about to be served for dinner.
They are also known for being drawn to the smells of certain plants, especially catnip. If they can favor certain smells, what about the scent of eucalyptus? It’s common for the humans in the household to use eucalyptus scent, especially during cold and flu season, but cats strongly dislike the smell of eucalyptus.
Cats do not like the scent of eucalyptus. Not only is eucalyptus a deterrent for cats but it’s also toxic and poses a danger to our feline friends. Keep reading to learn more about eucalyptus and the effects it has on cats.
What Is Eucalyptus?
Eucalyptus may be best known for being the primary food source for koalas. Eucalyptus is a genus of fast-growing evergreen trees and shrubs and nearly all species are native to Australia. The fragrant eucalyptus leaves have been used in traditional medicine practices for many years and across various cultures.
Not only are the leaves still used for medicinal and healing purposes, but eucalyptus is also used as a fragrance, flavoring, and an ingredient in various cosmetics and industrial solvents. Eucalyptus oil has been studied and proven to kill bacteria, certain viruses, and fungi and has also been shown to act as an expectorant that loosens phlegm and assists with coughing.
The Dangers of Eucalyptus for Cats
Humans and cats have very different systems and though eucalyptus has an abundance of health benefits for humans, it is dangerous for cats. The toxic component in the leaves is eucalyptol. Exposure often occurs through ingestion of eucalyptus essential oil or products containing the essential oil.
The leaves of the plant are also toxic if ingested, but exposure is rare because eucalyptus is hardly ever grown indoors. Thankfully, cats are heavily deterred by the smell of eucalyptus but if for any reason they were to ingest the leaves or any product containing the oil, you should contact your veterinarian or pet poison helpline right away for further guidance.
Common Essential Oils That Are Dangerous for Cats
Any questions regarding the safety of essential oil use should be discussed with your veterinarian. You can also access the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants to see which plants pose a danger of toxicity to your pets.
Though oils derived from toxic plants are incredibly dangerous, essential oils from non-toxic plants are highly concentrated and can also pose a health risk. We’ve included a list of the most common essential oils that are potentially dangerous to cats:
Keeping Your Cat Safe
It’s very important to keep your cat safe from the dangers of eucalyptus and other essential oils. Not only are they at risk of toxicity but also respiratory problems associated with inhalation when exposed to oil diffusers.
Eucalyptus is not only a very unpleasant smell for cats, but it is also considered toxic. Eucalyptol is the toxic component found in the leaves of the plant and ingestion could lead to some troubling clinical signs. If your cat were to ingest any eucalyptus-containing products, you should contact your veterinarian right away for further guidance. It’s a good idea to keep all things eucalyptus away from your cat; they will certainly appreciate it.
Featured Image Credit: abeldomi, Pixabay