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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 it moves into the bloodstream. From the bloodstream, it moves 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 burns 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 several substances, including the components of essential oils and liquid potpourris.

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, 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). 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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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. 

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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Orange cat

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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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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0 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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Duchess

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Ragdoll

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6 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

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Normal

After my kitten getting into some smelly mischief I had to bathe her. It was late and I grabbed my Castile oil soap which I had read in the past was safe to use on animals and washed her, it was only after I realized that it was lavender and not safe for her so I washed it off with a specified cat soap from the pet store. She was exposed to it for probably 20-30 minutes before I washed it off, I have since given her food and water and so far she seems fine. Is there any home remedies I can provide for her? such as mixing paediatric electrolyte into her water? Right now I am monitoring her and if any serious signs show I will contact the vet, I'm just hoping for a home remedy that could help. Thanks.

Aug. 24, 2018

Duchess' Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Castile soap is safe for cats when it doesn’t contain any essential oils, however the quantity of lavender oil in the soap is small and exposure was short; you should keep an eye on Duchess for the time being to be on the safe side and visit your Veterinarian if any symptoms present. Ensure that Duchess is kept hydrated and is in good spirits otherwise. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 24, 2018

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Oreo

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Unknown

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10 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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N/A

Hi, a family member put lavender essential oil on my cat’s ears after reading that it would help with his anxiety. When I was told this, I researched and found that it’s toxic for cats. Do you have any advice on how to treat this? Though he’s okay now, i am worried about him being poisoned.

July 17, 2018

Oreo's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Essential oils are toxic to cats especially if they are not diluted; you should wash any area with Dawn dish soap and rinse thoroughly. Keep a close eye on Oreo for any symptoms and visit your Veterinarian if any present, apart from washing off any residue and visiting your Veterinarian there is little to be done at home. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 17, 2018

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Mithias

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domestic short hair

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8 Years

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Mild severity

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2 found helpful

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Mild severity

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Sleepiness

Hi I've been using foodgrade edible essential oils like lemon peppermint clove and lavender I was told to use 10 % which is 37.5 drops of each oil I do use glass dropper bottle to distribute on neck there are she now just sleep she stopped doing thing is that the right amount I use a 50ml Amber bottle I want no chemical products she again continues in infest our house with fleas she's is in door but all get bugs because there are cat in our joining house and outdoors all around I want her to be safe but also clean and happy which means no bugs but using only natural safe product what do I do thanks for your help and information also what percent of not 10% then what percent of my oils would I use thanks I don't want to hurt her or worse kill her thanks

June 13, 2018

Mithias' Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Cats are very sensitive to concentrated forms of essential oils, and I can't recommend applying the oils directly to Mithias. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to control flea infestations without the use of very safe chemicals. If she is not moving, isn't eating or drinking, and seems lethargic, you may need to have her seen by a veterinarian.

June 13, 2018

Thanks so much I will stop the oils also they were diluted I will read more vet books about essential oils I will do a lot more investigating before I use oils iwill use vet tested 100%safe products I only want her safe happy and comfortable in her home I don't want to hurt her or her spirit thank a billion for the info

June 13, 2018

Mithias's Owner

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Bubba

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tabby

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8 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

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None Yet

Hello, my wife and I are watching my parents cat and she though lavender oil would help him relax a bit. I told her I wanted to look up if it was a good idea first but she did it before I read that it wasn’t a good idea to do. She diluted it with coconut oil and put it on the top of his neck mostly in the fur and now I’m concerned. The lavender mix doesn’t seem to be overly strong to me but to the cat it might be. He is acting normal now but I’m not sure if we should bathe him to be safe?

June 10, 2018

Bubba's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Any concentrated oils that are applied to the skin of a cat or dog can be quite irritating. It would probably be best to wash the oil off.

June 10, 2018

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Love

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Calico

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10 Months

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Fair severity

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No Sym
No Sy
No Symt

Does anyone know if seventh generation lavender detergent and softener is bad for cats? My cat didn’t eat it but it obviously gives off a scent.... I’m nervous. Should I not use it anymore?

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Sormi Bagherra

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Torti

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Lethargy

PLEASE HELP!!! I am a single mother of 4.. while I was cleaning my son my lavender essential oil on my cat it was about a 1/2 ounce bottle decided to make our one year old kitten smell good by dumping and almost full bottle of I lavender essential oil on our 1 year old I managed to get her covered in Dawn dish soap and rinse her off twice with two large cups of water before she had twisted and scratched me so bad all over my arms and my chest that she got away I managed to let her calm down and then I got a hold of her and dried her with a towel and I noticed she still extremely oily I'm about to try to give her another bath but I'm scared to death that she is going to get fatally ill I have no finances right now as I'm a single mother of four and my son is disabled and we are on a very limited budgets so I have no money to take her to a vet please help I live in Nashville I don't want my princess to die

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Link & Bloo

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Domestic shorthair

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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A person in our life recently found out their house has bedbugs. I have been giving her rides and visiting her house and I was afraid that my house would be infested. So I looked up ways to repel bedbugs and it said lavender oil would work. Not thinking about the effect it could have on my cats, I bought some and sprayed it on myself, in my car, and in the bedrooms. Now one cat is acting really odd. He acts like he’s high. He runs circles and looks at me like I have three heads. Yesterday he was running from room to room howling in each room like he was calling someone. He was panting like a dog for a few minutes but I assumed it was due to the running. I’m going to wash all of the blankets that I sprayed it on. His sister seems to be ok. They are both still eating, drinking, and using the litter box. Should I take him to the vet now or wait and see if it stops when I wash everything?

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Bella

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Sphynx

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8 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Gagging Lethargy Loss Of Appetite

My cat licked some lavender like bath oils sort off of my skin a couple days ago and then today and yesterday, she is very lethargic. She doesn't want to eat and is gagging slightly. Vet says out of all oils or what have you, lavender is fine. Gave her an antibiotic but it hasn't worked yet. Is this the fault of the lavender or something else? Her white blood cell count was normal, stool fine, skin perfect.

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Val

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tobby

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

Hi, my husband purchased cat food for our 1 1/2 year old male cat. The brand name is Orijen for cat and kitten. I found that one of the contents of the food is lavender, didn't say how many mg... No symptoms yet. Is lavender safe? please advice if I need to continue this food for my cat. Thank you.

Lavender Poisoning Average Cost

From 235 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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