Increasingly in modern medicine, there is a coming together of the practices of the west and the east. This is because both sides of the health coin have benefits to offer when used correctly.
This is true both for “people” medicine and for animal medicine. Just as many people doctors are becoming more open to using alternative health remedies such as essential oils, many veterinarians are now more willing to consider the same for pet cats.
Terrashield is an essential oil blend that is of particular interest because it is designed for both people and their cats to use. However, the way you use Terrashield for yourself, and the way you use it for your cat may look different.
In this article, we take a closer look at some of the controversy surrounding the use of Terrashield and similar essential oil products for cats and answer the question of whether this product is safe for cats.
Is Terrashield Safe for Cats?
As Hasbrouk Heights Veterinary Hospital explains, essential oils can provide some very healing and protective benefits to pets.
Many essential oils like those found in Terrashield have antibiotic, antiseptic and antiviral properties, among others, that can help ward off illness and disease and protect your cat from pests and other dangers.
However, it is equally vital to learn about essential oils before you just start using them on your cat, which is what we will discuss in the rest of this article.
Learn More About Terrashield and Feline Essential Oils With These Videos
This short YouTube video explains why Terrashield is a healthier alternative to natural insect repellant than most commercial bug sprays.
This helpful YouTube video explains some best practices for choosing and using essential oils with felines, including how much to use and which oils are best for cats.
What Is Terrashield?
Terrashield is an essential oil product made by a company called doTerra.
The blend is designed to be used by humans and animals. Let’s take a look now at the ingredients in Terrashield and what each one has to offer.
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Fractionated coconut oil is one of the most popular carrier oils today. A carrier oil is a stable substance that can help to dilute essential oils and allow your skin to absorb and benefit from them more easily.
Tamanu seed essential oil is extracted from the seeds of the tamanu nut tree. This oil is especially good for skin rejuvenation and health.
Skin irritations, dryness, abrasions, and infections can all respond positively to tamanu seed oil’s healing properties.
Lemon Eucalyptus Leaf
While this sounds like two different essential oils mixed together, in actuality lemon eucalyptus is a varietal of the eucalyptus tree.
In addition to its soothing respiratory and anti-microbial benefits, lemon eucalyptus essential oil contains citronellal, the active ingredient in citronella that can repel insect pests.
No cat owner is unfamiliar with the basic concept of catnip – an alternately invigorating or calming grass that some cats love and other cats seem relatively indifferent to.
In the context of Terrashield, catnip is designed to have a calming effect.
Cedarwood essential oil is one of the most controversial ingredients in doTerra’s Terrashield product. Many cat owners believe that cedarwood essential oil is always toxic to animals.
As Public Goods explains, there are different distillation methods that can make cedarwood more or less safe for use with cats.
The only cedarwood oil that is safe to use with your cat is made from the Juniperus ashei tree. The essential oil should also be distilled in a way that is phenol-free.
Ylang Ylang Flower
Ylang Ylang flower essential oil is another controversial essential oil when it comes to its use with pets and cats.
The benefits include reduction of pain and inflammation and as a natural bug repellant.
However, as Canadian Veterinarians explains, cats, in particular, can be extra-sensitive to certain essential oils because of how the feline liver works.
The feline liver does not do as good a job at breaking down some chemical compounds and this can mean an increased risk of toxic overdose. Ylang Ylang essential oil does make the list of potentially toxic essential oils for cats.
Nootka essential oil comes from a Canadian cedar tree varietal. The Nootka cedar tree is known to be particularly strong in its benefits as a pest control method.
The Journal of Parasitology Research published the results of a small-scale research study in which Nootka wood and other medicinal plant treatments were used to repel fleas and ear mite infections in dogs and cats.
The research showed that Nootka wood could be effective to repel parasites but that its use is not without risks.
As Essential Oil Vet explains, arborvitae essential oil is another essential oil derived from a varietal of a cedar tree.
Arborvitae has a long history of use as a natural insect repellant. With cats, only a very small amount heavily diffused could potentially be a safe agent.
As Rehab Vet explains, litsea essential oil has well-known benefits as an insect repellant and pest deterrent but may cause skin irritation in some animals.
Vanilla Bean Absolute
Vanilla bean essential oil is also somewhat controversial in the sense that vanilla bean pods are known to be potentially toxic to cats.
However, in minute quantities heavily diffused its benefits as a pest deterrent may be well tolerated in contrast to commercial flea treatments for some cats.
How to Use doTerra Terrashield for Cats
Because many commercial fleas, mite, and pest treatments are also potentially toxic, it is important not to rule out essential oil-based treatments like Terrashield as an alternative.
If your cat is not able to tolerate standard veterinary medicine pest control treatments, it is better to give a product like Terrashield a try than expose your cat to the misery and health danger of fleas or mites or worse.
As Healing in Our Homes describes, how the essential oils are distilled and combined can make a big difference in how well your cat does or does not tolerate them.
In the same way, it is important to know how to use essential oils safely with your pet cat.
Terrashield is available as both an essential oil blend and a spray.
The former can be used easily in a diffuser, which is a gentle way to release the essential oil blend’s benefits into the air near your cat.
The latter can be spritzed directly onto your cat’s collar as a method of repelling fleas and mites.
It is vital to start with a very minimal dose of Terrashield until you see how your cat reacts. Some cats may tolerate the essential oil blend very well while others may experience mild skin or respiratory irritation.
In general, if your cat has a history of respiratory issues or sensitive skin, you may want to reconsider using Terrashield with your feline. When in doubt, always discuss your options with your cat’s veterinarian to decide on the safest treatment to try.
Do Not Make These Mistakes When Using Terrashield with Your Cat
As doTerra points out in their article on using essential oils with pets, it is important to avoid making these common mistakes when you use Terrashield with your cat.
Using on kittens
Never use Terrashield or any other preparation on a kitten – always consult your feline veterinarian if your kitten has fleas, mites, or other pest control issues.
Using too much
It is important to use the right amount for your cat’s size, weight, and coat. A larger, sturdier adult cat with a thick, long hair coat may be less sensitive to certain essential oils than will be a lean, slight, short-coated, or hairless cat breed.
Offering essential oils internally
Topical or diffusion is always the best way to use essential oils with pets. You don’t want to give Terrashield internally even if you dilute it in water because it may cause irritation or gastric distress.
Diffuse in large doses
You always want to exercise caution when diffusing any essential oil blend around your cat. Use a very tiny amount in a well-ventilated room with good air circulation. Only run your diffuser for a very short time period until you see how your cat reacts.
When in doubt, the best approach is to talk with your feline veterinarian about the optimal treatment to address any pest issues your cat may be suffering through.
Seasonal fleas, ticks, ear mites, and other pests can bring their own significant health problems, including infection and disease. Sometimes, you may not be able to find a completely risk-free pest treatment for your cat.
When this happens, the next best option is to identify the lowest-risk treatment and try that first.