Is Eucalyptus Candle Safe for Cats?

If you are a cat owner and want to know Is Eucalyptus Candle Safe for Cats? This blog is for you.

When we consider the ambiance and comfort of our homes, the use of candles can add a layer of tranquility and aromatic pleasure. However, for cat owners, the choice of scents and types of candles can involve more considerations. Eucalyptus candles, known for their refreshing and invigorating scent, raise a particular question: Are they safe for cats?

What are eucalyptus candles?

Eucalyptus candles are candles that are either infused with eucalyptus oil or scented with synthetic fragrances that mimic the distinct, crisp aroma of eucalyptus. These candles are popular both for their pleasant scent and for the various benefits associated with eucalyptus.

Why Do People Use Eucalyptus Candles?

Aromatherapy Benefits

Eucalyptus is widely used in aromatherapy for its refreshing and invigorating scent. It is believed to help clear the mind, improve concentration, and relieve mental exhaustion. The scent of eucalyptus is also associated with a clean, fresh atmosphere, making it a popular choice for living spaces and bathrooms.

Respiratory Relief

Eucalyptus is known for its decongestant properties. The aroma is often used to help relieve symptoms of colds, sinus infections, and allergies. It is thought to help clear nasal passages and aid in breathing more easily, which is why eucalyptus essential oils and candles are popular during the cold season.

Insect Repellent

Eucalyptus has natural insect-repellent properties. Burning eucalyptus candles can help keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay, making them a favorite for outdoor events or evenings spent on patios and decks.

Stress Reduction

Like many other essential oils, eucalyptus is believed to have stress-reducing effects. The calming nature of its scent can help to alleviate stress and relax the body, making eucalyptus candles a popular choice for spas, yoga studios, and homes.

Aesthetic and Ambiance

Beyond their functional benefits, eucalyptus candles are also used for their aesthetic appeal. They can enhance the ambiance of a room, providing a soothing atmosphere that complements both modern and traditional decors.

Is Eucalyptus Candle Safe for Cats?

Eucalyptus candles are generally not considered safe for cats. The primary concern with eucalyptus candles stems from the eucalyptus oil they contain, which includes a compound called eucalyptol (1,8-cineole). This compound is known for its strong scent and therapeutic properties in humans but can be toxic to cats if inhaled or ingested.

Cats are particularly sensitive to many essential oils, including eucalyptus, because they lack certain liver enzymes needed to properly metabolize these compounds. This makes eucalyptus and similar essential oils potentially toxic to felines.

Toxicity of Eucalyptus in Candles

In candles, eucalyptus oil is typically used to provide a refreshing, clean scent. However, when these candles burn, they can release volatile organic compounds, including eucalyptol, into the air. Although the concentrations might be low, they can still be significant enough to affect a cat, especially in poorly ventilated areas.

How It Affects Cats

Respiratory Irritation

Inhalation of eucalyptus oil vapors can lead to respiratory irritation in cats. Symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, it can cause respiratory distress, which may be noticeable if a cat appears to be struggling to breathe or is panting unusually.

Neurological Symptoms

Eucalyptol can affect the nervous system. Cats exposed to high levels might display symptoms such as depression, lethargy, or even seizures in severe cases.

Gastrointestinal Issues

If a cat gets too close to a burning eucalyptus candle and somehow ingests residue (perhaps while grooming), it could lead to gastrointestinal upset. This might manifest as vomiting or diarrhea.

Precautions to Take

Given the potential risks, cat owners should consider the following precautions if they choose to use eucalyptus candles:

1. Use in Well-Ventilated Areas

Ensure the room is well-ventilated to dilute the strength of eucalyptol in the air. This can help reduce the overall exposure for the cat.

2. Keep Candles Out of Reach

Place candles where cats cannot reach them to prevent any direct contact or ingestion of candle wax.

3. Monitor for Adverse Reactions

Watch for any signs of distress or illness in your cat when using eucalyptus candles. If any symptoms are observed, discontinue use immediately and consult a veterinarian.

4. Consider Alternatives

Opt for candles marked as pet-safe or choose other types of scents known to be less harmful to cats, such as lavender or chamomile.

While the occasional use of eucalyptus candles in a well-ventilated room may not necessarily result in toxicity for cats, the risks should be carefully considered, particularly in homes with cats that have existing respiratory issues or are particularly sensitive to airborne compounds.

How can eucalyptus exposure affect cats?

Eucalyptus exposure can pose significant health risks to cats due to their unique physiology, particularly their limited ability to metabolize certain compounds found in eucalyptus oil, such as eucalyptol (1,8-cineole). This sensitivity can lead to various symptoms and health issues, which may range from mild to severe depending on the level of exposure.

Symptoms of Eucalyptus Poisoning in Cats

1. Respiratory Problems:

Difficulty Breathing: Cats may exhibit labored breathing or increased effort to breathe.

Coughing or Wheezing: These symptoms may occur as the cat’s respiratory system reacts to the irritants.

Nasal Discharge: In some cases, cats might experience a runny nose due to irritation of the nasal passages.

2. Gastrointestinal Upset:

Vomiting: This is a common symptom when cats ingest toxic substances, including eucalyptus oil.

Diarrhea: Gastrointestinal irritation can also lead to diarrhea.

Decreased Appetite: Affected cats might show less interest in food due to nausea or stomach discomfort.

3. Neurological Issues:

Lethargy: Cats might appear unusually tired or sluggish.

Depression: Behavioral changes such as decreased activity levels or disinterest in usual activities.

Ataxia (Loss of Coordination): In severe cases, cats might have trouble coordinating their movements.

Seizures: Although rare, severe toxicity could lead to seizures.

4. Other Possible Health Issues:

Drooling: Excessive salivation can occur if the cat has ingested or inhaled eucalyptus.

Muscle Weakness: Some cats may display signs of muscle weakness or collapse.

Immediate Actions and Treatment

If you suspect that your cat has been exposed to eucalyptus and is showing any of the above symptoms, it’s crucial to take immediate action:

1. Remove the Source

Eliminate any further exposure by removing eucalyptus plants, oils, or candles from the cat’s environment.

2. Ventilate the Area

If exposure occurred indoors, ventilate the area to reduce the concentration of airborne compounds.

3. Consult a Veterinarian

Prompt veterinary care is crucial. Provide the veterinarian with as much information as possible about the exposure.

4. Supportive Care

Treatment may include medications to control symptoms like vomiting and seizures, IV fluids to help flush the toxin from the body, and supportive care to stabilize breathing and heart rate.

What are the safer alternatives to eucalyptus candles for pet owners?

For pet owners, especially those with cats, choosing safer alternatives to eucalyptus candles is crucial to ensure the well-being of their furry friends. Here are some non-toxic options that can provide a pleasant aroma in your home without the risk associated with eucalyptus and other potentially harmful essential oils:

1. Soy or Beeswax Candles with Safe Scents

Opt for candles made from natural materials like soy or beeswax, which burn cleaner and produce less soot than paraffin wax candles. Choose scents that are known to be safe for cats, such as:

  • Vanilla: Often soothing and not known to cause problems for cats.
  • Chamomile: Mild and calming, without the toxic effects associated with stronger floral scents.
  • Ensure that these candles use safe, non-toxic fragrances or essential oils in moderation.

2. Unscented Candles

Eliminating scents altogether is the safest option. Unscented soy or beeswax candles can still provide the warm glow and cozy atmosphere you desire without any aroma.

3. Pet-Safe Candles

Some companies manufacture candles specifically designed to be safe for homes with pets. These are typically free from both the toxic chemicals found in fragrances and the essential oils that can be harmful to cats and dogs.

4. Diffusers with Safe Oils

If you prefer using essential oils to enhance your home’s scent, opt for an essential oil diffuser with oils that are safe for cats. Safe options include:

  • Cedarwood: Non-toxic and can help with relaxation.
  • Frankincense: Generally safe and known for its calming properties. Always use essential oils sparingly and ensure your diffuser is in a well-ventilated area.

5. Electric Diffusers or Wax Warmers (Unscented)

Electric diffusers or wax warmers that use unscented wax can be a great alternative. They provide the warmth and ambiance of a candle without the use of a flame or scented oils.

6. Activated Charcoal or Bamboo Charcoal

To freshen the air without adding scent, consider using activated charcoal or bamboo charcoal in your home. These natural products absorb odors without releasing any scent or chemicals into the air.

7. Natural Potpourri

Create your own potpourri using dried herbs and flowers that are safe for cats. Options like dried rose petals, lavender (in small quantities), and lemon balm can provide a subtle fragrance without the risks associated with stronger essential oils.

How can pet owners safely use candles around cats?

Using candles in a household with cats requires careful consideration to ensure safety and prevent any potential hazards. Here are some practical tips for pet owners on safely using candles around cats:

1. Choose Safer Candle Types

Opt for soy, beeswax, or vegetable-based candles, which burn cleaner and produce less soot compared to paraffin wax.

Select candles with pet-safe scents or unscented candles to avoid exposing your cat to potentially harmful fragrances or essential oils.

2. Safe Placement

Place candles on stable surfaces where they cannot be knocked over by cats. High shelves or mantels can be good options, provided they are not accessible to agile climbers.

Use hurricane lamps or protective globes around candles to shield the flame and keep curious paws at a safe distance.

3. Supervise Candle Use

Never leave candles burning unattended, especially when pets are around. Cats are naturally curious and may inadvertently come into contact with the flame or hot wax.

Extinguish all candles when leaving a room, even for a short period.

4. Ensure Proper Ventilation

Keep the room well-ventilated when burning candles to disperse any fumes and reduce the accumulation of any potentially irritating or harmful substances.

Avoid burning candles in small, enclosed spaces where fumes can concentrate.

5. Secure Loose Items

Ensure that there are no flammable materials like curtains, papers, or fabrics near the candle. Cats can easily cause these items to come into contact with the flame.

6. Regular Grooming

Regularly groom your cat to reduce the amount of fur they might shed around the house, which can catch fire if it comes too close to the candle flame.

7. Fire Safety Precautions

Have a working smoke detector in the room where candles are used.

Keep a fire extinguisher accessible in case of an emergency.

8. Consider Alternatives to Traditional Candles

LED candles: These provide the ambiance of candles without any fire risk, making them an excellent alternative in households with pets.

Diffusers or wax warmers: Use these devices with caution and choose scents that are safe for cats.

What should a pet owner do if their cat is exposed to eucalyptus?

If a cat shows signs of distress after being exposed to eucalyptus, it’s essential to act quickly to mitigate any potential harm. Here are the steps a pet owner should take:

1. Remove the Cat from Exposure

Immediately remove your cat from the area where they were exposed to eucalyptus. This could mean airing out the room, turning off diffusers, or removing the cat from the vicinity of eucalyptus plants or products.

2. Ventilate the Area

Open windows and doors to help clear out any eucalyptus oil vapors that may be lingering in the air. Good ventilation is crucial to help reduce further inhalation of potentially toxic compounds.

3. Observe Your Cat for Symptoms

Watch for any signs of distress or unusual behavior. Symptoms of eucalyptus poisoning in cats can include:

  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Appearing lethargic or unusually tired
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pawing at the mouth or face

4. Provide Fresh Water

Ensure your cat has access to fresh water. This can help to dilute any ingested toxins and keep your cat hydrated, which is particularly important if they are showing signs of vomiting or diarrhea.

5. Contact Your Veterinarian

If you notice any symptoms or if your cat was exposed to a significant amount of eucalyptus oil, contact your veterinarian immediately. Explain the type of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, skin contact) and the symptoms you have observed.

  • Emergency Visit: In cases of severe symptoms like difficulty breathing, continuous vomiting, seizures, or any other alarming behavior, take your cat to an emergency veterinary clinic immediately.

6. Prevent Future Exposure

Once your cat is safe and recovering, take measures to prevent future exposure:

  • Avoid using eucalyptus oil or products containing eucalyptus in areas of your home where your cat spends time.
  • Secure any eucalyptus plants, oils, or products in cat-proof cabinets or areas where your cat cannot access them.

Can eucalyptus be used in any form around cats?

The use of eucalyptus around cats is generally advised against due to the inherent risks associated with its primary component, eucalyptol (1,8-cineole), which can be toxic to cats in various forms, including essential oils, plants, and topical applications. Cats have a limited ability to metabolize certain compounds found in essential oils, which can lead to toxicity. However, if you are considering using eucalyptus in any form around cats, there are important considerations and potential ways to reduce risks:

1. Highly Diluted Forms:

Some pet owners might use eucalyptus in a very diluted form, believing it reduces the potential for toxicity. While dilution can decrease the concentration of eucalyptol, it does not eliminate the inherent risks, and there’s still a chance of respiratory or topical irritation. If you consider this route, it should only be under the guidance and supervision of a veterinarian who understands essential oils and cat physiology.

2. Commercially Prepared Pet Products:

There are pet products on the market that contain eucalyptus and claim to be safe for pets. These products are typically formulated to be less potent and are used in ways that minimize the risk of inhalation or ingestion. However, even these should be used with caution. Always check the label to ensure the product is specifically marked as safe for cats, and observe your cat closely for any signs of distress when using these products for the first time.

3. Eucalyptus-Scented Products:

Some products might mimic the scent of eucalyptus without containing actual eucalyptus oil. These could potentially be safer for use around cats, but it’s important to confirm that all components of the fragrance are non-toxic to cats. Always verify the safety of the ingredients and, similarly, monitor your cat for any adverse reactions.

4. Using Eucalyptus Outside the Home:

If you appreciate the benefits of eucalyptus but want to avoid any risk to your cat, consider using eucalyptus products outside of your home, such as in an office or car, where your cat does not have access.

5. Consultation with a Veterinarian:

Before using any form of eucalyptus around your cat, especially in a therapeutic context, consult with a veterinarian. They can provide guidance based on the latest research and the specific health needs of your cat.

What Can Cat Owners Do?

Safe Alternatives

If you love using candles, consider safer alternatives like unscented candles or those specifically marked as pet-safe. There are also candles with scents like vanilla or chamomile, which are generally safer for cats.

Ventilation is Key

Ensure your space is well-ventilated when using any scented products. This reduces the concentration of any volatile compounds in the air, lessening the potential impact on your cat.

Monitor Your Cat’s Behavior

Keep an eye on how your cat reacts to any new household scent or product. Signs of distress or illness should prompt immediate discontinuation of the product and consultation with a veterinarian.


While eucalyptus candles can add a lovely touch to your home’s atmosphere, their use requires careful consideration for the safety of your feline companions. By choosing pet-safe alternatives and ensuring good ventilation, you can enjoy the benefits of candles while keeping your cat happy and healthy. Encourage further exploration and discussion on this topic in cat owner communities and forums to spread awareness and share experiences. After all, the well-being of our furry friends is always worth the extra effort.