Toxic plants

Is Lavender Toxic To Cats?

Is Lavender Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

While the lavender plant itself isn’t much of a threat to cats, lavender-based products can be. Cats can consume a lot of lavender and simply get an upset stomach, but lavender essential oil, can be fatal to your cat due to its high concentration. Essential oils should be kept away from your cat since it lacks certain specific enzymes that let it safely metabolize the volatile chemicals in them.

Lavender essential oils are easily absorbed by your cat’s respiratory system and then circulated throughout the body. These oils travel from the bloodstream to the cat’s liver. Because your cat’s skin is sensitive and thin, rubbing a lavender oil combination that hasn’t been diluted with a carrier oil might cause liver problems and chemical burns. Cationic agents and essential oils are also present in liquid potpourris  which might cause skin and mouth burns in your cat

What Is Lavender?

Scientifically known as Lavandula angustifolia, lavender is a Mediterranean evergreen shrub that is known for its flower and oil scents, which are also utilized for medical purposes. This plant member of the Lamiaceae family is often used by humans to treat anxiety, stress, sleeplessness, depression, dementia, pain, and a variety of other ailments. Lavender has oil that has relaxing properties and may help to relax some muscles. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Lavender has a wide range of leaf shapes but in some regularly cultivated species, they are simple; in others, they are pinnately toothed, or pinnate, with many pinnate and dissected teeth. The leaves of most species are covered in fine hairs called indumentum, which carries the essential oils.

Flowers are borne in whorls on spikes that rise above the leaves, and in some species, the spikes are branching. At the terminals of the inflorescences, some species generate colorful bracts. In the wild, the flowers are usually blue, violet, or lilac, but they can also be blackish purple, or yellowish. The calyx is a tubular structure. The corolla is also tubular, with five lobes in most cases.

Clinical Signs of Lavender Poisoning in Cats

Cats suffering from lavender poisoning may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Uncoordinated gait
  • Weakness
  • Pawing at face and mouth
  • Muscle tremors
  • Redness and dryness of lips, skin, gums, and tongue

First Aid and Treatment of Lavender Poisoning in Cats

The veterinarian will provide treatment based on your cat’s symptoms. Treatment may include intravenous fluid therapy and administering medications such as anti-emetics,  antibiotics, and pain relievers among others.

Your cat may not be able to eat normally if he or she gets chemical burns from ingesting potpourri or lavender essential oil. In such circumstances, your veterinarian will implant a feeding tube into your cat’s stomach so that it may absorb nutrients while the burns heal.

Recovery from Lavender Poisoning in Cats

Your cat will eventually recover from lavender poisoning provided that prompt and appropriate treatment has been received. Give your cat time to rest in a quiet and comfortable space as he or she is regaining strength. 

Prevention of Lavender Poisoning in Cats

Avoid using essential oils and potpourri products, or keep them in an area where your cat cannot access them. If your cat ingested a lavender plant in your home, remove it immediately and prevent bringing in another in the future. 

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

About the author

Clair Chesterman

Clair Chesterman is a professional cat breeder having her own cageless CFA and CCA Registered cattery & fostering company FluffyMeowPaws in Eugene, Oregon. Clair is a plant enthusiast too and she made in-depth research on toxic and non-toxic plants for cats.

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