Last time we discussed the question, “Is Lavender Safe for Cats?” today, another exciting and well-loved scent that we’ll try to understand, ‘Is peppermint oil safe for cats’?
Peppermint is something that reminds us of Christmas. It gives us the vibe of a freshly, sweet, woody, cold ambiance. Aside from that, we enjoy its smell, especially after brushing our teeth. Isn’t it so fresh right? We adore so much the scent and taste of peppermint, especially on those peppermint candy cane and chocolate. While others use peppermint oil in their diffusers to freshen up the smell of their house. But, what if you have cats at home? Is peppermint oil safe for cats? Is peppermint oil safe for cats, that adore the scent of peppermint? Is peppermint oil safe for cats so that they can feel the coolness of its menthol? Let’s find out!
Peppermint is indigenous to Europe and the Middle East. It is a hybrid mint, a cross between watermint and spearmint. Peppermint symbolizes wisdom and hospitality. Peppermint has high menthol content and its oil has concentrated menthyl acetate. Peppermint is a traditional medicine that relieves irritated bowel movement, and muscular pain. Otherwise, aromatherapy is used to enhance attentiveness and memory.
Is peppermint oil safe for cats to smell?
Peppermint oil is high in phenols and our lovely cat doesn’t have the enzyme that breaks down this compound. This means that peppermint isn’t safe for our cats, it may not be toxic but it can cause harm. As we have discussed before in “Is lavender safe for cats?” once a cat doesn’t have the responsible enzyme to break down such compounds their system may haywire and peppermint is the same case. When your cat’s system haywire, it can lead to dangerous health issues. Sometimes, when not taken seriously, it can be fatal.
Will peppermint hurt cats?
Once peppermint oil is applied to our skin, it activates the cold receptors. This allows us to feel a slight cold feeling in the applied area. But, in cats, whether they smell it or accidentally touch their skin, it will feel a tingling freeze in their spine. That situation may become deadly or bad for your cat’s health.
There’s a big chance that your cat will not like the smell of peppermint because of its strong olfactory senses. However, an instance that exposes your cat to peppermint may result in bad health problems. Your cat may experience the following health issues:
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Difficulty in breathing
- Leveled heart rate
That’s just the possible health problem that a cat may encounter when it smells peppermint in a longer exposure. It is more problematic if they accidentally ingest or pour it on their skin as it goes directly into their bloodstream. Since our cats don’t have the proper enzyme to break down phenol, their system will go haywire. Here are the possibilities:
- Liver damage or failure
- Central Nervous System breakdown
Here are some of the symptoms to look to know if our cats’ system is haywire and needs to be checked:
- Loss of appetite
What to do when my cat showed symptoms?
If you have suspected that your cat touched, ingested, or smelled a peppermint in longer exposure, make sure to pay a visit to your veterinarian. Prolonging the agony of letting your cat heal on its own may become fatal.
Inform your veterinarian with complete details of symptoms so that the veterinarian will know what to do. If your cat has a pre-existing illness, it’s better to remind your vet of this history as it also may help in treating your cat.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the cat’s body reaction. The cat may be prescribed something that induces vomiting. The vet will give support care to avoid dehydration through IV fluids. Once the cat completely recovers, the doctor will issue a release. If ever the cat has liver damage or any central nervous system damage, the vet will give special instructions in taking care of your cat at home.
If you are using a diffuser at home, you may check the scent from the website of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) if it’s safe for your cat. The site is very reliable and very helpful for pet owners.
Keep the peppermint oil in a cabinet with a lock so that your cat will not reach it and accidentally have contact with it.
Peppermint is a hybrid cross between watermint and spearmint. It is indigenous to Europe and the Middle East. It is traditionally used as medicine. It helped relieve itches, muscular pain, and minor ailments. It gives good benefits to humans but not the same with our cats.
Peppermint contains phenol. Cats don’t have the enzyme that can break phenol in their system. When phenol is ingested, touched, or inhaled may result in a cat’s system’s haywire. It may cause health issues such as liver damage and central nervous system breakdown.
To help your cat recover, you need to have a checkup with a veterinarian. The treatment will depend on the severity of the cat’s body reaction. The cat may be given vomiting-inducing medication and IV fluids to prevent dehydration. The cat may recover soon. In the occurrence of incurred liver damage or central nervous issues, extra instructions will be given on how to take care of your cat. Keep peppermint out of your cat’s reach to keep it safe and away from any health problems it can cause.
Remember to be mindful of what scent to introduce to your fur buddies. They are not like us humans that can have any scent and anything.
Do you like peppermint? How’s your experience with peppermint? Has your cat accidentally taken peppermint? What happened? What did you do to help your cat? We would like to hear your story. Share it with us!