Q. She has been exposed to peppermint oil and has likely inhaled some.

Wed, Jul 12, 2023

We sprayed the house with peppermint oil diluted with water as an insect repellent before we realized it is toxic to cats. She has been in a room where none was sprayed for most of the day and is acting normal (no vomiting, fatigue, or visible breathing difficulties), but I think she probably inhaled at least a small amount. I am wondering how long I should wait to let her into the main area of the house and if I need to get her to a vet.
Should I make a vet appt?

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Dr. Brown

As a veterinarian, I understand your concern about your cat being exposed to peppermint oil and potentially inhaling it. Peppermint oil can be toxic to cats, especially if ingested in large amounts. However, inhalation of small amounts may not always lead to immediate symptoms. Let's go through the information step by step.

Firstly, it's important to note that the severity of the toxicity can vary depending on the concentration of the peppermint oil, the amount inhaled, and the individual cat's sensitivity. Since you diluted the peppermint oil with water, it may have reduced the concentration and potentially minimized the risk to some extent.

Based on the information provided, your cat has been in a room where no peppermint oil was sprayed for most of the day and is currently acting normal without any visible symptoms such as vomiting, fatigue, or breathing difficulties. This is a positive sign, indicating that she may not have been exposed to a significant amount of the oil.

However, it's still important to monitor her closely for any changes in behavior or the development of symptoms. Keep an eye out for signs such as excessive drooling, difficulty breathing, coughing, sneezing, or any other unusual behavior. If you notice any of these symptoms, it would be best to contact your veterinarian immediately or take her to an emergency veterinary clinic.

In the meantime, you can take some steps at home to help minimize any potential effects. Ensure that your cat has access to fresh air by opening windows or using fans to improve ventilation in the room. Keep her well-hydrated by providing plenty of fresh water. If she shows any signs of discomfort or respiratory distress, you can try using a humidifier to help ease her breathing.

It's also important to thoroughly clean any surfaces or objects that may have come into contact with the diluted peppermint oil. This will help to prevent further exposure and reduce the risk of ingestion if she were to groom herself.

Regarding when you can let her into the main area of the house, it would be best to wait until you are confident that the peppermint oil has dissipated and the area is well-ventilated. This may take a few hours or even a day, depending on the size of the area and the ventilation in your home.

In conclusion, while your cat may have inhaled a small amount of peppermint oil, the fact that she is currently acting normal is a positive sign. However, it's important to monitor her closely for any changes in behavior or the development of symptoms. If you notice any concerning signs, contact your veterinarian immediately or seek emergency veterinary care.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to come back to us! Thank you.