Is eucalyptus safe for cats?

Is Eucalyptus Safe for Cats (Key Considerations)

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Our cats rule the roost in my house and can get into pretty much anything. As a result, it’s always good to know which things are and aren’t safe for them. It can be a stressful experience if your cat gets into something you’re not sure about, since you want to make sure your pup is going to be OK. For that reason we’ll help you in this post answer the question:

Do I really need to go to the vet?

We asked our veterinary advisor Dr. Jamie Whittenburg to offer some general tips for what to do when your pet gets into something they shouldn’t (or that you’re not sure about), and will give you all the information you need about eucalyptus and your cat.

Is Eucalyptus Safe For Cats?

  No, eucalyptus is not safe for cats. Eucalyptus is very toxic to cats, dried or live, and as essential oils

Cats are curious creatures that love to nibble on house plants. Many plants and essential oils we use in our homes are actually toxic for our pets. One of those plants is Eucalyptus. 

Eucalyptus produces an aromatic liquid called Eucalyptol. Eucalyptol is incredibly toxic to cats. Whether it’s through the skin, nose, or mouth, any contact with eucalyptus can be dangerous for cats.

Cats do not have the correct enzymes to process certain parts of essential oils. Eucalyptus plants that make the oils also contain these parts. Even smelling the oil in the air can cause respiratory issues in cats because of the concentration of the plant.

Using eucalyptus on your skin can also cause health concerns in your cat if they lick it off your skin. Additionally, eucalyptus oils can cause chemical burns if they directly touch your cat’s skin.

Can I Keep Eucalyptus Plants Around my Cat?

People like to keep eucalyptus plants around for their soothing aroma and beauty. However, eucalyptus plants are not cat friendly. Cats love to nibble on the leaves of various plants you may have around the house. 

Should your cat decide to nibble on eucalyptus, it can induce many severe medical concerns such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory issues
  • Liver issues
  • Death

What Should I Do If My Cat Accidentally Ingests Eucalyptus?

If you suspect your cat has ingested eucalyptus, the first thing you should do is contact your local pet poison control. Based on your cat’s symptoms, they may direct you to take your pet to an emergency veterinarian. 

Symptoms of eucalyptus poisoning include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Shakiness
  • Weakness
  • Trembling

Symptoms of poisoning can appear within minutes or may not show up for hours.

If your cat only ingested a small amount, it may be lucky to have only GI upset. However, you should bring your cat to a veterinarian ASAP after ingesting any amount of eucalyptus.

What Should I Do If Eucalyptus Gets on My Cat’s Fur or Skin?

If your cat gets eucalyptus on its fur or skin, you should wash the area immediately with mild soap and warm water. Washing the area will prevent further skin irritation and avoid your cat accidentally ingesting it while grooming.

You should then take your cat to a veterinarian. Be sure to bring the packaging of the product with you. This way, the veterinarian can treat each specific ingredient interaction if necessary.

Tips from Our Vets

It is normal to be concerned whenever your dog or cat gets into something they should not have. Dogs particularly tend to eat things with little to no regard for edibility. Because so many things can be toxic to pets, even some that are perfectly safe for humans, it can be hard to know what to do. Here are three key steps to take first:

  1. The first thing you must do if your dog or cat ate or were exposed to something that they should not have is to determine how much of the substance they actually ingested.
  2. Save labels or take pictures so that you are able to show the ingredients to your pet’s veterinarian.
  3. Your veterinarian should be the first point of contact in the case of such an event. Call the nearest emergency veterinary hospital if it is outside of normal business hours.

Please follow the advice of your veterinarian. If your dog has ingested something toxic, they must immediately be taken to a hospital or clinic for treatment. If your veterinarian does not recommend seeing your pet right away, you should observe them carefully for any signs of illness. Things to be on the lookout for include:

  1. Vomiting – Your dog may vomit from simple gastrointestinal distress after eating something other than their dog or cat food. However, intractable or repeated vomiting can signal a toxin ingestion or another serious issue like gastric dilation volvulus. These conditions are life threatening and require emergency treatment right away.
  2. Lethargy – If your dog is acting oddly, or “not themselves,” it is a clue that the ingestion might be serious. Veterinary care should be sought as soon as possible.
  3. Hypersalivation – Excessive drooling may signal a toxin exposure or an injury to the mouth. It can also be a sign of nausea. If your dog or cat is in hypersalivation, you should reach out to their veterinarian.
  4. Weakness – If your dog or cat appears to be weak, is stumbling, or has difficulty walking, the likelihood of a toxin ingestion is higher. This is a sign that your dog requires veterinary care.
  5. Seizures – Twitching, rapid leg or eye movements, and convulsions are all signs that something is wrong. These abnormal movements may be due to a toxin or another issue that the dog is experiencing.
  6. Dribbling urine – Leaking urine is often seen in cases of marijuana toxicity. Dogs or cats exhibiting this sign should be taken to the nearest veterinary clinic for treatment.

If you are unable to reach your veterinarian, a great resource for help is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. The APCC is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can reach them at (888) 426-4435. There is a one-time $75 fee for this service.

What Is Eucalyptus Oil?

Eucalyptus oil is an essential oil that comes from the eucalyptus tree. The oil has a history of being used for medicinal purposes, and it is still used today in many different ways.

The eucalyptus tree is native to Australia, but it can also be found in other parts of the world, including South America and Africa. There are more than 700 different species of eucalyptus trees.

Eucalyptus oil is made by extracting the oil from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. The leaves are steam distilled to create the oil.

The main chemical component of eucalyptus oil is eucalyptol. This substance has a variety of medicinal uses.

Final Thoughts: Is Eucalyptus Safe for Cats?

No, eucalyptus is not safe for cats in any way. Additionally:

  1. Eucalyptus poisoning can occur from smelling, eating, or touching eucalyptus.
  2. You should bring your cat to a veterinarian immediately if you suspect it has had contact with eucalyptus.
  3. Symptoms of poisoning can appear anywhere from minutes to hours.
  4. Extreme exposure to eucalyptus can be fatal for cats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Resources

Our writing staff and team of veterinarians have dedicated a ton of time and energy to bringing you the best information possible about household products and food to help make sure your pets are safe.

You can check out our giant guide to human foods dogs can and can not eat, and we’ve created guides on whether over 40 human foods are safe for dogs to eat.

We’ve also created a series of posts on what household products are and aren’t safe for your pet, including:

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.