Protect Your Familiars – Stop Using Scented Products around Your Cats!


Sorry for the cheesy word play. My cats have recently been sick and I was unaware until literally today how badly scented products such as essential oils, incense, air fresheners, and most candles are for animals.

Essential Oils

Many types of the seemingly harmless essential oils that you can purchase readily online and in most stores/pharmacies are very dangerous for cats. Whether you put these oils on your skin, in a diffuser, on cotton balls, or on sticks, essential oils cannot be metabolized by kitty critters and should be avoided completely.

Essential oils that are known to cause poisoning in cats include oil of wintergreen, oil of sweet birch, citrus oil (d-limonene), pine oils, Ylang Ylang oil, peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, pennyroyal oil, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil.

Symptoms that develop depend on the type of oil involved in the exposure and can include drooling, vomiting, tremors, ataxia (wobbliness), respiratory distress, low heart rate, low body temperature, and liver failure.

From Pet Poison Helpline Online

If you notice your cat vomiting and having unusual bathroom problems after using essential oils in some fashion, your cat may be reacting to poisoning.

Although some argue that it is safe to use lower concentrations of essential oils in “pet safe” scents, I think the smartest option is to completely stop the use of essential oils in any area of your home where your cat has access. Even with proper ventilation and cleaning, the best thing to do is to not use essential oils around your cats at all.


Fellow witches and hippies are hurting at this one. I loved meditating and relaxing with lovely scented incense. Who doesn’t love being surrounded by that floating, creamy smoke that smells like nag champa, lavender, or dragon’s blood?

Needless to say, I was incense’s biggest fan until my cats started getting gooey tear stains, gagging, and even vomiting.

Not only is the smoke bad for their little kitty respiratory systems and lungs, the aromas used to make incense are from essential oils, or plants that kitty’s liver can’t metabolize the way humans do.

Burning incense can also increase health risks in your cat (and you!) such as, asthma, respiratory conditions, and skin irritation.

If you must use incense for your aromatherapy or meditation sessions, a well-ventilated room that your cat has no access to is the safest option.

Even still, just because you cannot see physical signs of harm from burning incense near your cat, does not mean that they are completely safe. Your cat could be building toxicity in their bodies that cause internal problems. Don’t wait until your cat has diarrhea or trouble breathing before you stop poisoning your cats with incense!

Air Fresheners

Air fresheners! I used so many different types of them all over my apartment. Gels, sprays, beads… I couldn’t get enough. Especially in areas where I keep my litterboxes. Little did I know that air fresheners can cause the same dangerous side-effects for cats as essential oils and incense.

When they are placed near the litterbox, the harmful oils from the scents can be absorbed into the litter or even the plastic boxes, causing more trouble for your feline familiar.

Air Fresheners contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and have been known to cause the following health issues in cats, as well as humans:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
  • damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
    (From the EPA website)

Toss the air fresheners before they cause irreparable damage to your cat’s health. Consider calling your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline if you notice changes to your pet’s health or behavior after they’ve been in contact with or around scented products like air fresheners.


Candles that contain essential oils will be harmful to cats for all the reasons mentioned above in this post.

But another lesser known danger of candles is paraffin, a common ingredient in candles which is derived from petroleum.

Paraffin is the final residue left from refining crude oil. It’s made from the sludge in the bottom of a barrel of oil which is then bleached by adding dioxin and other poisonous chemicals and then texturized with a chemical called acrolyn. And afterwards, stearic acid, a byproduct of the meatpacking slaughterhouses, is added as a hardener.

From The Purrington Post

There are supposedly pet-safe candles made from soy, with natural wicks and non-synthetic scents that can be metabolized by your kitty’s complex yet delicate body.

Still, if you want to be very cautious, the best thing to do is research the candles you are buying, scrutinize the reviews, and even contact the manufacturers before lighting candles around your cats.

Again, well-ventilated areas away from your cat are best when it comes to candles.

Is there such a place that cats don’t have access to? The cats always win.

Now that you’re armed with the information, do not make the same mistakes I did and keep using products that will ultimately harm both you and your pets. Switch to natural alternatives, or use activated charcoal to absorb smells and toxins.

Keep yourself and your pets healthy and safe in the new decade so we can all live in peace and harmony.

With love,
Miss Moody Lilac

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