Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Cautionary Tale every Essential Oil lover needs to read

For those who have not yet met her ~ this is my treasured Nevada. A gorgeous Manx breed kitty that spent her early days in life roaming the busy streets of Las Vegas as either a feral cat born on the streets or one who was abandoned there by someone. 

They call pets that you adopt from shelters or the streets 'rescue cats' but I think she rescued me. She came into my life at a time where I was in a dark place struggling with depression and battling what point was there to life. I was in need of some serious light and she brought me that! IME it really is true that pets can relieve depression symptoms and help get the mind and body back on track!

She came into my life back Christmas 2002 when I'd taken a trip to Las Vegas with my ex who was trying to help cheer me up in face of struggling with a life altering disease and impending surgery in the New Year which would seal my fate of never having any natural born children of my own. The trip was to help me visualize that without children we would be free to have a different kind of life with more freedom for travel and seeing the world but the Universe had something different in store for me. 

We were touring the strip enjoying the architecture of the many amazing hotels and were at the Monte Carlo main entrance about enter. However they were painting the front entrance  and being a bit superstitious I did not want to walk under ladders ~ so we were rerouted to one of the side entrances. This is where we found this little treasure curled up under a  napkin on a pot light meowing at passersby ... she tugged at my heart so I stopped to pick her up and she just snuggled into me chest with those big eyes. I just HAD to help her! 

It was already late at night so no one to call for help so I tucked her inside my jacket where she snuggled right in and quieted down. We stopped at a convenience store and paid a small fortune for some kitty food and a couple bowls and litter and a box and we  took her back to the hotel.

Nevada enjoying a real meal at the Tropicana Hotel
Next morning we started calling around for their SPCA to find her help only to find out that their feral cat population is so high that they no longer help they just euthanize ~ which broke my heart. And while I could not save them all I could certainly save THIS cat who'd tugged my heart! So next we called the airport and found out what we needed in place to bring a cat back home with us to Canada! Actually pretty easy ... a certificate of health from a Veterinarian and an $80 plane ticket for an additional carry on. The certificate of health proved to be a bit more costly with it being a holiday and having to pay emergency vet fees they kept her for two days to re-hydrate her and do their tests but she got an amazing clean bill of health for a feral cat. So we altered some of our concert and attraction plans for that vacation to stay within our budget. So at the end of our vacation we brought her home where the Canadian winter was a wee bit of a shock to her ~ even after a decade she can still be found seeking out heat sources in the house! Other than seeking extra heat either in the form of a human body heat, laptop vent or heater she has made an amazing assimilation to being a landed immigrant here!

So the point of my little back story is to share how very important she is to me! She is a member of the family. And as such we would never knowingly do anything to her that put her at risk ... she eats a specialty grain free diet because we learned early on she could not tolerate certain foods, we keep her active with playful times and we take her regularly to the vet for check ups to take care of her dental and physical health.  

So when over the past holiday period she started sneezing/wheezing, throwing up more than the occasional hairball and getting 'hot spots' from licking herself bald we were naturally concerned about WHY. 

We brainstormed what had changed in her diet or environment that could equate for the change in behavior. We were having a really hard time figuring it out. Wondered if she was getting into the artificial Christmas tree and eating the plastic or what not!

While she was symptomatic we took her with us to the in laws for a few days over the holidays because we were afraid to leave her home alone with the teenager in charge and noticed that the symptoms totally disappeared. No weasing, not vomitting and she stopped picking at her hot spot. Leaving us to assume it was something in OUR home and not her diet that was causing the symptoms!

The only thing I was doing differently at home is I had invested in diffuser this past Fall and had gotten some new oils for the holiday season ~ and with it being cold and flu season I was diffusing more often and using my new essential oils in both our bedroom and the main floor where she spends a lot of time. Alternating between having the Holiday Joy which is a blend of Siberian Fir, Wild Orange, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Bark, Cassia, Douglas Fir, Nutmeg essential oils and Vanilla Absolute, a personal combo of Frankincense, Wintergreen and Peppermint, or my On guard which is a blend of Wild Orange, Clove Bud, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary essential oils and than mixing it up with the Purify made up of a blend of Lemon Peel, Lime Peel, Siberian Fir Needle, Austrian Fir Needle, Pine Needle, Citronella Grass, Melaleuca Leaf, Cilantro Herb essential oils.

Perfect oils for the holiday season!  They were from nature, designed to help pump up immunity and ward off germs during the silly flu season and they were being used in a diluted manner which was safe it never occurred to me that they could put my poor kitty at risk!  

Until I went to google and did some research on essential oils and pets! 

I found a few resources including the Dog Oiler which seems to have some awesome information about the beneficial and holistic use of oils with animals as well as what to be careful of including the following list.  


  • Melaleuca (Tea Tree)
  • All Citrus oils (e.g. orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, bergamot as well as any blends containing these oils)
Also not recommended:
  • Clove Bud
  • Cypress
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • White Fir
  • Wintergreen
  • Vetiver
Cats lack a liver enzyme (glucuronyl transferase) that humans and dogs have. This enzyme is necessary to metabolize and eliminate some essential oil constituents. Therefore, Melaleuca (Tea Tree) and all Citrus oils are toxic to cats.

Cats are also sensitive to high levels of phenols (which are found in Clove Bud, Oregano Peppermint and Thyme) and ketones (found in White Fir, Wintergreen, Rosemary, and Vetiver). Oils with high levels of these constituents may overwhelm the ability of the cat’s liver to properly metabolize and effectively eliminate them, which can result in toxic overload.
Cypress and Roman Chamomile also can be problematic for cats.
Do not use Blends with these oils (except in the few instances recommended in the next section).

If you decide to use any of the above-mentioned oils, dilute heavily. I recommend only using these oils for short periods of time when other oils are not giving needed support."
There seems to be some controversy in the industry with some oil users saying they use oils with their pets with no issue and others where they have shared stories of pets falling ill with them. I am always one to air on side of caution specially when I am seeing first hand a correlation between what I was practicing in my home, my poor kitties sudden on set of symptoms and than how they stopped when we changed to an environment where the oils here not being diffused daily.

For myself this has been a stark reminder that just because something is NATURAL does not mean that it is SAFE to use in abundance! Something I already KNEW but had still missed in the case of my poor kitty ~ I thought I was being SAFE in my use of them but not safe enough for her poor size and structure! 

Essential oils are holistic MEDICINE and just like ANY medicine they have amounts of use that are safe but amounts that are TOXIC and others that are safe for adults but not for children or in our case PETS! 

So while I will continue to use essential oils because I love the way they are helping with my own health and wellness I will do a much better job to heed the list of pet sensitive cautionary ones being put in my diffuser where she will inhale them.

Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

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