The smell of wintergreen is calming, citrus is pleasant, and eucalyptus can be soothing to achy sinuses during the cold winter months. Vaporizers, charms on bracelets and potpourri are all ways to use essential oils to impart these lovely smells to the air. We use essential oils for many things to keep us happy and healthy but we hardly ever think these fragrances can be toxic to others including cats.
There is evidence that in high concentrations essential oils can be dangerous to cats. The highest levels happen when the oils come in contact with skin. Essential oils are absorbed into the body, and when this happens to us, our bodies can eliminate the oils well. Cats, on the other hand, have difficulty doing this and the oils will build up in the system.
The vaporized oils tend to be safer as long as the room where the vaporizer is large enough to diffuse the scent. Having a time of the day when the vaporizer is turned off gives cats more time to clear any inhaled essential oil.
The message here is not to stop using essential oils but to be cautious in their use around cats. Here is a link to an excellent article discussing this in more detail.
Written by Dr. David Kerr, DVM