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Is Peppermint Oil Safe for Cats? What You Need to Know!

Peppermint oil has been touted as an effective flea repellent for cats. Indeed, fleas don’t want to go anywhere near peppermint oil. So, it makes sense to apply the oil to your cat so fleas won’t even try to take over. Plus, there is the benefit of spending time around a cat that smells good all the time. However, peppermint oil can actually be dangerous for cats.

Although some people choose to use peppermint oil on their cats, it isn’t a safe practice to get in the habit of. There are various reasons that you should not use peppermint oil as a flea repellent for your cat. Fortunately, there are safe and natural alternatives to peppermint oil that will help to keep your cat free of fleas. Keep reading to learn why peppermint oil isn’t the safest choice for flea control and to find out which natural flea repellent options are safe for your cat.

cat face divider 2Why Peppermint Oil Isn’t Safe for Cats

Cats lack a special enzyme in their liver that helps break down the toxins found in essential oils. Like any other oil, peppermint oil is quickly absorbed both orally and through the skin. The quick absorption makes it almost impossible for a cat’s liver to keep up when it comes to cleansing the toxins from the oil out of their body.

Image Credit: imazite, Pixabay

This can result in health problems such as drooling, tremors, trouble breathing, and even complete liver failure. Low toxicity exposure could result in an upset stomach and/or a missed meal, which many cat parents could overlook or pass off as a cold or just an “off day.” Even diffusing essential oils into the air can cause health problems, as well as nervous system disorders over time.

Cats can smell much better than us humans can, which means that peppermint oil is probably going to be way too powerful for your cat’s senses. Cats don’t typically like the smell of peppermint oil, so having it on their fur can make your feline friend irritated and uncomfortable.

They’ll also probably try to lick it off, which means that they will consume most of it as they clean themselves. Whatever peppermint oils are left behind will just make your cat miserable until it finally wears off. Putting peppermint oil on your cat just isn’t worth the health risks or the unpleasant experience that your cat will likely have.

  • You might also be interested in whether essential oils are safe for cats – read about it here!

Alternative Natural Options to Consider

Although peppermint essential oils and other essential oils, for that matter, aren’t healthy flea control options for cats, there are other natural options to consider that won’t harm your cat in any way. These can be used alone, in combination with one another, or along with flea control treatments that your veterinarian prescribes.

  • Diatomaceous Earth: Also known as DE, this fine white powdery substance is made up of fossilized single-cell organisms found in freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds. The substance kills fleas so they can’t keep reproducing as time goes on, making it the perfect natural flea treatment for cats of all ages. The powder can be sprinkled on cat bedding, furniture, and other places in the house where your cat likes to spend time. It can also be put directly on your cat’s fur to kill fleas living on them. Treating your home and cat with diatomaceous earth regularly should keep the fleas away for good.
  • Lemon Juice: The citric acid in lemons helps repel fleas from pet fur and the home. Boil water, slice a lemon, and throw the lemon into the water. Let the water boil for a few minutes, then cool it down and put it in a spray bottle. You can then spray your furniture, home, and cat with the solution to cut down on fleas.
  • Rosemary: This herb may not kill fleas off, but it will repel them so they don’t want to live in your home and on your cat anymore. Therefore, you’ll need to bathe your cat to get rid of as many fleas as possible before treating them with rosemary. The same goes for your home: Put all the bedding, blankets, and other materials that your cat interacts with inside the washer and thoroughly vacuum before trying a rosemary treatment.

Once cleaned up, you can treat your home with rosemary powder and boil fresh or dried rosemary in water to create a “wash” for your cat. The wash should be used like shampoo when bathing your cat, but it shouldn’t be rinsed out.

cat paw dividerFinal Comments

Peppermint oil does smell good but it isn’t good for your cat. No matter how you decide to treat your cat’s fleas, it is always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian first. Have you tried any home remedies for fleas? Which worked for you and which didn’t? We would love to hear your feedback in our comments section!

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Featured Image Credit: mohamed hassan, Pxhere