Cats, Lavender and Poisons
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Sandi
Posted on: November 06, 2006

I am aware that lavender oil is extremely dangerous for cats, but my concern is around the lavender plants in my garden. I have 3 cats, one who is 7 months old and insists on sleeping under a lavender bush. We have just had an episode where the vet diagnosed that she had been poisoned. While it is entirely possible that she ingested some snail bait or other garden pesticide (we live in a housing complex in very close proximity to our neighbours), I would just like to know if it is at all possible that the lavender bush might be a problem?

This is a difficult question to answer. It is true that the oil from lavender is toxic to the liver of a cat, so care needs to be taken to neither allow lavender to be ingested by a cat nor apply it externally where it can be absorbed transdermally or ingested through the process of grooming. In this case, I am wondering what makes the spot under the lavender shrub so attractive to your kitten. Is there any other mitigating factor that may be involved? It is also true that pesticides of any type are poisonous to cats (and other creatures) so you may want to speak with your neighbours about their use of toxins. There are many ways other than the use of pesticides to keep one’s garden attractive; take a look at "Organic Pest and Disease Control" by Taylor’s Weekend Gardening Guides for example.

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