Is Lavender Safe for Cats?

Cat sitting over the lavender field

Is Lavender Safe for Cats? No, lavender is not safe for cats as it contains compounds that can be toxic to them, particularly if ingested in large quantities.

Understanding the Risks of Lavender for Cats

Lavender contains linalool and linalyl acetate, compounds that can cause gastrointestinal upset and more severe symptoms in cats.

Even small amounts of lavender oil can lead to toxicity, and ingestion of the plant itself can also be harmful.

Symptoms of Lavender Toxicity in Cats

If a cat ingests lavender or is exposed to lavender oil, you might observe the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting: One of the most common signs of ingestion.
  • Diarrhea: Accompanied by abdominal pain.
  • Loss of Appetite: Your cat may refuse to eat.
  • Lethargy: General weakness and lack of energy.
  • Nausea: Signs of discomfort and drooling.

Are All Parts of Lavender Harmful?

Yes, all parts of the lavender plant, including the flowers, leaves, and stems, can be harmful to cats if ingested.

The essential oils are particularly potent and can cause more severe reactions.

Safe Alternatives to Lavender

If you love having plants around your home, consider these cat-friendly alternatives:

  • Spider Plant: Non-toxic and easy to care for.
  • Bamboo Palm: Safe for cats and adds a tropical touch to your home.
  • Boston Fern: Another non-toxic option that is safe for cats.

Do Cats Hate Flowers?

Cats generally do not have strong aversions to flowers, but certain scents, like citrus, can deter them.

Lavender, while not typically repellent to cats, should still be avoided due to its toxicity.

Are All Flowers Toxic to Cats?

Two Colored Yellow and Red Tulips

Not all flowers are toxic to cats, but many common household plants and flowers can be harmful. It’s essential to know which ones to avoid. Common Toxic Flowers for Cats:

  • Lilies: Lilies are extremely toxic and can cause kidney failure.
  • Tulips: The bulbs in tulips are particularly dangerous.
  • Daffodils: Can cause severe gastrointestinal issues.

How to Prevent Lavender Toxicity

  • Remove Lavender Plants: If you have lavender plants indoors or in your garden, consider removing them or placing them in areas inaccessible to your cat.
  • Avoid Lavender Oil: Do not use lavender oil in diffusers, sprays, or as a topical treatment on your cat. Even small amounts can be harmful.
  • Monitor Your Cat: Keep an eye on your cat’s behavior and health, especially if you suspect they have been exposed to lavender. Early detection of symptoms can lead to more effective treatment.

What to Do If Your Cat Ingests Lavender

If you suspect your cat has ingested lavender or is showing symptoms of toxicity, take the following steps:

  • Remove Access: Ensure your cat can no longer reach the lavender plant or oil.
  • Contact a Veterinarian: Seek immediate veterinary advice and follow their instructions.
  • Monitor Symptoms: Keep a close watch on your cat’s behavior and health.


Lavender is not safe for cats due to its toxic compounds, which can cause a range of health issues.

It’s essential to keep lavender and other toxic plants out of reach and be aware of safe alternatives to ensure your cat’s safety.