Essential oils are really trendy right now. I have friends who swear by them and use them for basically every facet of their life (cleaning, ingesting them as medicine, diffusing them into a room for a calming mood). I think they are neat, and I like to be trendy, so when my sister surprised me with an essential oil starter set and book for my birthday last year, I was STOKED.
I use lavender essential oils to relax before bed (occasionally putting a few drops on the bottom of my feet like the box said). And I’ve added orange and peppermint to water boiling on the stove make a sweet smelling Fall/Winter aroma like this. And I sometimes I just like to open them up and smell them. Mmm I wonder what orange smells like today? It smells like oranges! Obviously. Mostly, though, I don’t know what to do with them.
A couple nights ago, I decided to make my own lotion.
I have a friend who does this and I found a simple recipe online that said I could just mix coconut oil with a few drops of peppermint and a few drops of lavender and, there you have it, according to the internet, this is a really wonderful natural lotion.
So, I made some. This stuff is like grease. After rubbing it all over my legs and arms I still had access on my hands so I asked Bret if he wanted some. He said no. So I rubbed it in as best as I could. A few minutes later, I was petting Velveeta. Bret paused and asked me if I’d washed my hands and if essential oils are cat safe.
I assume… I said, I mean, they are naturally occurring essential oils…
After a quick google search, Bret confirmed that peppermint oil is definitely NOT cat safe. Even breathing peppermint oil can cause pneumonia in cats. If it absorbs into their skin, they can have liver damage. Even ingesting one drop could be serious… potentially fatal.
Needless to say, I was no longer feeling relaxed from this lavender peppermint lotion. I snapped into stress-filled emergency mode.
I tried to stay as calm as possible and called an emergency animal hospital immediately. [Sidenote: I’m so grateful that we live within MINUTES of a 24 hour animal hospital. If she needed emergency care, we could have been there in 5 minutes.] The person on the phone told me to give Velveeta a bath with Dawn dish soap and keep an eye on her. I was instructed to watch out for any signs of distress including vomiting, uncontrollable shaking, etc.
All of this happened at 10PM, by the way. I checked on her overnight and watched her all day the next day. I even let her hang out in my office with me during the work day.
Fortunately, if any lotion got on her, it was minimal. There was only a small amount left on my hands and it was really diluted since I only put a few drops in with a whole bunch of coconut oil. Still, I felt awful. Bret googles everything (plants, food, cleaning supplies) before having them anywhere near our pets. He’s such a good cat dad.
Velveeta forgave me.
I love you, Pookie. (Sometimes I call Velveeta “Pookie”). I’ll never use peppermint oil anywhere near her again.