Tea Tree Oil For Cats: Essential Treatment for Fleas on Cats

Tea Tree Oil For Cats: Essential Treatment for Fleas on Cats

Tea Tree Oil For Cats - The tea tree oil is used in humans to treat skin problems like stings, bites, sunburn and steam bath treatments for respiratory problems. It is also an excellent antimicrobial agent for fungal infections and popular as an ingredient in everything from lotion to toothpaste.

Sometimes called melaleuca oil, tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, found in subtropical climates, especially in Australia, but it also grows in Spain, Portugal and some southern regions of the United States. But many people asks, is tea tree oil toxic to cats?

Can you use tea tree oil on cats?

Tea Tree Oil For Cats

The healing properties of tea tree oil for cats and dogs have been reported in the treatment for skin irritations, allergies to medications and environmental allergies. Wounds infected skin lesions can also be treated with topical solutions made from manuka honey, derived from the tea tree plant.

While it is true that tea tree oil has been shown to be effective in humans, most people tolerate undiluted oil without any problems, but their safety in animals is a completely different story.

Recently, there have been warnings regarding the use of tea tree oil in cats. In January this year, a study in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, listed numerous cases of toxicity from oil tea tree in cats and dogs. This information dates back to 10 years and is part of the database ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. According to the study:

The tea tree oil or Melaleuca oil has toxic potential, depending on the circumstances of exposure. Clinical effects that could occur followed by dermal exposure to significant amounts of tea tree oil include loss of coordination, muscle weakness, depression, possibly a severe drop in body temperature, collapse and liver damage. If the oil is ingested, the potential effects include vomiting, diarrhea and in some cases, seizures. If the oil is inhaled, it may present aspiration pneumonia.”

When it comes to flea control, we always recommend that pet owners consult their veterinarian for advice on which product to use, based on your cat’s species, age, size and individual clinical history. Also, reading the label first and following the instructions of the product is also key to avoid any potentially problematic situation.

Tea tree oil for Cats

The study involved 337 dogs and 106 cats that had an oral and/or skin intake of a 100 percent concentrated tea tree oil, reporting that "out of the 443 animals exposed, 343 (77 percent) presented an adverse reaction consistent with toxicity." Toxicity symptoms appeared 2-12 hours and lasted more than three days. Negative reactions included:

  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle tremors
  • Increased salivation

Other observed symptoms included skin rashes, elevated liver enzymes and vomiting. A few animals collapsed and went into coma. Adult cats and kittens showed an increased risk.

Tea Tree Oil For Cats: Essential Treatment for Fleas on Cats

Can you use Tea Tree Oil on cats?

Research shows that tea tree oil is safe and effective in cats and dogs only when diluted correctly, that is to say diluted in large quantities of water. The recommended ratio is 0.1 – 1.0 percent, for topical use. Oral application is not safe for pets.

Some important things to know

The use of undiluted tea tree oil in animals is always a mistake. Unless it is properly diluted, this essential oil is not recommended for cats and although it is effective for dogs should never be applied to open wounds.

In the United States, it is not mandatory that products of 100 percent concentrated tea tree oil have warning labels, as is the case in Australia, where this plant grows.

In conclusion, be careful whenever you take any decision that will affect your beloved pet, as you do every time you feed them or expose them to any kind of treatment. When applying a treatment to your dog or cat, it is important to be knowledgeable about natural, safe and effective treatments, in order to avoid costly vet visits and exposure to potentially harmful medications and treatments.

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