Is Lavender Scent Safe for Cats?

Cats do not metabolize things the same way as humans or dogs do. A cat’s liver lacks the P450 cytochrome metabolic pathway. And is unable to metabolize specific medications and even essential oils the same way we are able to. Contacting your vet is a great way to receive more detailed information on what to avoid giving your cat – especially if interested in using essential oils for your cat. Trust the experts.

Harvested lavender on white background

Is Lavender Essential Oil Safe for Cats

Many essential oils are toxic to cats when administered to cats orally or applied topically due to felines ability to metabolize. Lavender oil is amongst the essential oils that you may want to avoid using topically or orally with your cat. 

A few common essential oils that are safer to use in proximity of your cat include lavender, frankincense, copaiba & helichrysum.

Veterinary Wellness Centers believe If you diffuse oils in your home, that it should not cause harm to your cat. If using oil in a diffuser or a candle.

Essential Oils that are Bad for Cats

If you are a cat owner, it is recommended to avoid oils that are high in phenols or salicylates. To be cautious, you may want to consider avoiding the following oils around your feline:


  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Hot oils like oregano, clove or cinnamon oil
  • Mountain Savory
  • Pine oils (these contain toxic phenols)
  • Citrus oils that contain d-limonene
  • Mint & Menthol Oils

Essential Oils that are safer to use around cats:

  • Chamomile oil
  • Jasmine oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Rose oil
Most essential oil manufacturers will mark which of their essential oils are pet safe. Be sure to check for this before purchasing or contact the manufacturer if concerned.  Diffusers emit a pleasing aroma that at first thought may seem benign to your cat or dog,  but even inhaling diffused oils has been known to cause negative respiratory effects on pets, when used in a small space for an extended period of time.

Is Lavender Plant Safe for Cats

Lavender plant and flower contain small amounts of linalool, which is toxic to cats. Although mild exposure to lavender is not considered generally harmful, there is a risk of lavender toxicity.  If your apartment or home has a lavender plant or fresh cut lavender, it is generally not toxic to felines; but essential oils derived from the plants are, so be mindful when using oil diffusers or candles that contain essential oil of lavender. 

If your cat eats enough lavender plant or flowers, your cat could experience lavender toxicity that may cause gastrointestinal (GI) issues for your cat.

Some signs of lavender toxicity include:

Loss of appetite


Keep an eye out for signs of drooling and excessive licking around their lips. These may be indicators that your cat may be close to vomiting.

If you suspect that your cat may be experiencing lavender toxicity, call your vet immediately or the following resources (consultation fee applies) :

Pet Poison Helpline: 1-855-764-7661
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC): 1-888-426-4435

Looking for more information? Check out the video below from Veterinary Secrets: