Lavender Poisoning in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Lavender Poisoning in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Lavender Poisoning in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Lavender Poisoning?

While a lavender plant itself isn’t toxic to your cat, formulations from the plant can be. Your cat can eat a lot of lavender and may suffer only an upset stomach, but on the other hand, lavender essential oil can be deadly for your pet because of its concentration. A cat’s liver lacks several specific enzymes that helps it to safely process the volatile compounds in essential oils, so these should be kept far away from your cat.

Lavender Poisoning Average Cost

From 235 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Lavender Poisoning in Cats

If your cat has gotten into a lavender plant and eaten a large quantity, you’ll notice the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Lavender essential oils can easily be absorbed through your cat’s respiratory system, where they then move into the bloodstream. From the bloodstream, they move into the cat’s liver. Your cat’s skin is delicate and thin, so rubbing a “soothing” blend of lavender oil that hasn’t been diluted with a carrier oil can lead to liver problems for your cat, as well as chemical burns. Likewise, liquid potpourris contain cationic agents and essential oils. which can burn your cat’s skin and mouth. Ingestion of these oils can cause:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Uncoordinated gait
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Pawing at face and mouth
  • Muscle tremors
  • Redness and/or erosions on lips, skin, gums and tongue
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Causes of Lavender Poisoning in Cats

Your cat’s liver lacks several specific enzymes that allows it to break down certain substances, including the components of essential oils and liquid potpourri.

The lavender plant itself contains linalyl acetate and linalool. These substances can cause gastrointestinal upset in your cat. Even a diluted massage oil can lead to a mildly upset stomach, so try to avoid letting your cat get into lavender plants or anything that has been made from lavender.

Your cat needs attention, play sessions and the chance to safely explore its environment every day. If it doesn’t get these opportunities, it will become bored and get into situations that can make it sick.

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Diagnosis of Lavender Poisoning in Cats

When you realize your cat has gotten into some form of lavender, call the vet, even if it hasn’t become symptomatic. If you believe it has gotten into your potpourri or essential oils, do not make your pet vomit, as the ingredients can burn its digestive tract. Instead, put the lavender, potpourri or essential oil into a sealed plastic bag and give these to your vet for examination and testing.

Your vet will give your cat a full physical exam, which includes a urinalysis and blood work. These will tell the vet just how the lavender and related products are affecting your cat, so they can devise the most appropriate treatment plan. Specifically, the vet will look for signs of liver or kidney damage.

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Treatment of Lavender Poisoning in Cats

Once your vet knows just how badly affected your cat is by the lavender it ingested, they will be able to order the most appropriate treatments, which include supportive IV fluids (to rehydrate your cat, eliminate toxins and support their liver and kidneys). If your cat has suffered chemical burns from eating potpourri or a lavender essential oil, it may not be able to eat normally. In cases like this, your vet will insert a feeding tube into your cat’s stomach so it can get nutrition this way until the burns have healed. 

Your vet will also give an anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) medication to your cat, along with medications that coat and protect the stomach. If your cat is in pain from its poisoning or from chemical burns, it will receive pain medications appropriate for cats, as well as antibiotics. To prevent liver damage, your vet will also give medication to it that helps to protect its liver.

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Worried about the cost of Lavender Poisoning 1 treatment?

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Recovery of Lavender Poisoning in Cats

Your cat can recover from lavender poisoning as long it receives veterinary care as quickly as possible. It can recover from chemical burns it may have suffered after licking up an essential oil or potpourri. If you massaged an essential oil into its skin, thinking to help it relax, it will also recover from the injuries to its skin with the right treatment. 

Before your cat comes home, remove all essential oils and potpourri products, or keep them in an area where it can’t get to them. Before you massage any essential oils into your cat’s fur, ask your vet if it is safe to do so. 

If your cat ate from a lavender plant and you don’t want it to do so in the future, remove it or place it where your cat can’t get to it. Give it the chance to nibble at “cat-friendly” grasses instead.

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Lavender Poisoning Average Cost

From 235 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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Lavender Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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dog-breed-icon

Short haired cat

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Four Years

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9 found helpful

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9 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Normal

I bought a relaxing neck heating pad with lavender buds and flex seed in it. Will it affect my cats if I have to heat it up in the microwave will the smell be a problem? I know not to let them eat it or rub up against it but it makes me anxious. Thanks

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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9 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. Heating that in the microwave should not cause any harm to your cats.

Oct. 10, 2020

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dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Orange cat

dog-age-icon

Five Years

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8 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

8 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Lavender Poisoning

Are Sentry Calming Collars safe for my cats to lick since they have SYNTHETIC lavender oil in them? I don’t trust the company’s website b/c their answers vary and are vague. My cats are bonded brothers, but after I took one of them to the vet they have been fighting and dominance & fear has been alternating. The collars seem to be helping and they aren’t showing any of the listed symptoms of SYNTHETIC lavender poisoning. My one cat did drool the FIRST day. They have been wearing them for five days. I just don’t want to expose them to poisons through licking or breathing it in.

July 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Hello, If your cat licks enough of the collar, your cat may have some issues. I have used Feliway air plugs for calming and it works very well without you having to put a collar on them. I hope your cats continue to feel great.

July 13, 2020

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Lavender Poisoning Average Cost

From 235 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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