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Aroma Therapy and Your Cat

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  • Carolpippin@aol.com
    ... Aromatherapy? No, we re not talking about lighting candles and simmering potpourri for your kitty! Classically, aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2003
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      >>Health Issues
      >  Aroma Therapy and Your Cat courtesy of L. Morningstar

      Aromatherapy? No, we're not talking about lighting
      candles and simmering potpourri for your kitty! Classically,
      aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils. Essential
      oils are extracted from the flowers, leaves, stems, roots, seeds
      and bark of many different plants, and while their most
      obvious property is that they are aromatic, it is these "oils"
      which act as the plant's immune system- fighting off bacteria,
      viruses, yeasts, molds, and other insects.

      But there's a big problem here; and that is that cats cannot
      tolerate or metabolize essential oils. Their use can lead
      to symptoms of toxicity or even death. Why can cats not
      tolerate the oils? There are several reasons. The major one is
      that they cannot metabolize them the way that dogs or humans
      can. (they also cannot metabolize certain herbs or allopathic
      meds, either) This means that they are not efficiently excreted
      by the body and can build up to toxic levels.

      Symptoms of toxicity include vomiting, dizziness, clumsiness,
      lack of appetite and lack of energy. The next one is that cats have
      very thin, delicate skin. This means that essential oils can be
      absorbed more rapidly into their skin and enter the bloodstream.
      Cats also dislike strong odors and generally keep away from
      strong scents- even highly diluted essential oils.

      I have run into several instances where cat owners almost killed
      their cats even by using just one drop of essential oil on their
      paws or belly, or diffusing them in the area where the litter box
      was located. Neither the owners or the vets knew what had
      happened- they just thought it to be a "mystery poisoning"
      which could not be detected. Luckily, their cats spent several
      days at the vet receiving fluids, and did not suffer any
      permanent health problems as a result.

      I am sure that many instances such as this happen every day,
      as there are many cat products out there which do contain
      essential oils. Shampoos, coat sprays, ear cleaners, rechargeable
      flea collars and herbal dips. Many companies refer to essential
      oils as "oil" (as in "Clove oil") or "herbal oils". Please read
      labels carefully and pass on the word about the potential dangers
      of essential oils for cats- too many people are unaware of the

      What is safe, then? A by-product of essential oil production
      is "hydrosols" (also called "hydrolats") Hydrosols are what
      is left after the essential oils are distilled from plant matter.
      Basically, the plant matter is put in a still, on top of a mesh
      screen, and there is water below which is heated to steam. The
      oil phase of the plant matter is taken from the plant with steam,
      condensed and moved to another container (this is the essential
      oil). You are then left with the steam itself- which has passed
      through the plant matter and is now rich with the water soluble
      parts of the plant's chemistry. This steam condenses, and you
      are left with the hydrosol.

      If you want to use aromatherapy for your cat, hydrosols are
      your only safe option. Hydrosols are wonderful because
      cats CAN tolerate them with no problems, no toxicity. They
      can be spritzed on the cat for deodorizing or flea and tick
      control, used as ear cleaners or calming agents. They are not
      concentrated as EO's are and do not require the careful
      thought and dilution which essential oil use does.

      Hydrosols are delicately scented, and are excellent for the skin.
      They have strong anti-inflammatory properties due to high
      levels of carboxylic acids. They are also soothing and act as
      gentle antiseptics. They are so gentle that even a human baby
      can be bathed in a bath of hydrosol. They are excellent for
      use for puppies, cats and kittens and rabbits and ferrets. They
      are also believed to carry the vibrational energy of the plant,
      working in subtle ways on the emotions, as the Bach Flower
      Essences do.

      You can easily mix and match various hydrosols for various
      uses in caring for your cat. Hydrosols have similar effects
      as the herbs themselves do. For instance, Roman chamomile
      hydrosol is very soothing and excellent for skin healing.
      Lavender hydrosol is good for burns, or for calming a cat.
      Rose hydrosol is great for sensitive skin, rashes, irritations.

      You can blend hydrosols together and form delightful smelling
      blends which you can use rest assured that they are perfectly
      safe for your cat. I guess I am saying that there is no way you
      can make a mistake with hydrosols! Hydrosols are inexpensive
      in comparison to essential oils- so you can "play" with them
      and come up with your own recipes. For instance, an ear
      cleaner might contain lavender and roman chamomile hydrosol,
      while a calming spritz might contain rose, lavender and neroli
      (orange blossom) hydrosols. Any hydrosol can be used as a
      deodorizing spritz spray for your cat or in your home.

      The most useful hydrosol of all is Witch Hazel Water. It is an
      anti-inflammatory whose power parallels that of topical steroid
      preparations. Why use steroids when you can use witch hazel?
      Just make sure you get it in a formula with no ALCOHOL
      added. You may have to search, but it does exist.

      Other hydrosols are Rose, Neroli, Rosemary, Roman
      Chamomile, Linden, Myrtle, Lavender, Geranium and Bay
      Laurel. Hydrosols are best kept refrigerated, unless you add
      a touch of vodka to the bottle to help preserve it. Vodka is
      all natural, does not sting as isopropyl alcohol does, and is a
      wonderful preservative, toner and astringent- not to mention
      antiseptic. Hydrosols should be kept in tightly closed bottles,
      away from heat and direct sunlight.

      Make sure you are getting a "hydrosol" or "hydrolat" or
      "steam distillate waters". Some companies add synthetics to
      water and sell it as "Rose Water" or "Orange Blossom Water".
      Sometimes they add Essential Oils to the water as well and sell
      it as a floral water. But this is not good- you don't want the
      Essential oils- you want the steam distillate waters - the

      An excellent source for high quality hydrosols is Original
      Swiss Aromatics, in San Rafael California (415-479-9121).
      When you buy hydrosols, try to get them from a source
      which you trust, which deals in therapeutic grade essential oils
      for aromatherapy purposes. They will most surely carry high
      quality, authentic hydrosols.

      For those of you who want to use hydrosols and aromatherapy
      but are not yet ready to go out and buy the hydrosols and
      blend products yourself, I have an entire line of hydrosol based
      products for cats. They can be found at www.aromaleigh.com,
      or you can call me toll free at 877-894-2283, if you have any
      questions or would like to receive a catalog.

      Kristen Leigh Bell
      President, Aromaleigh Inc.
      Holistic Aromatherapy for Canines, Felines and Humans
      Certified Aromatherapist
      Member, National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy

      Courtesy of Faith Starlight via Everley Pritchard

      Love and Peace Prevail,


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