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Is Citronella Safe for Cats? Or Toxic? Quench Your Curiosity Now!

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Wondering is citronella safe for cats? Or if citronella is toxic to cats? Citronella products can be used to prevent kitty from mosquitoes?

Felines are very sensitive creatures, and being a pet parent, you must have understood the things that should be kept in the house when your kitty is around.

As we know, citronella plants are safe, and you can keep them in your lawn area, still make sure it is out of reach from your kitty.

Well, the oil used in the formation of the products is extracted naturally from citronella grasses. However, still, it’s better to get the knowledge before using it around your kitty.

Scroll down to get insight information on citronella.

Is Citronella Safe for Cats

But, What Is Citronella?

Citronella is a naturally growing grass with a citrus scent. It is, basically, used to prevent mosquito-borne diseases. In other words, it is recommended as an effective cat repellent.

The oil extract from the grass is used in making products like candles, insect coil, repellent spray, essential oil, etc.

Generally, these products are formulated for human usage and not for pets. Especially if you have a feline at home, then hide it from her, it’s not good for their health.

However, it is an effective one in terms of preventing mosquito-borne diseases[2].

Is Citronella Toxic for Cats?

The short answer is yes, you cannot use citronella products around your kitty. Although citronella candles, insect coils are labeled as natural products, it is not safe for your feline pal as it contains fumes that can damage your kitty’s respiratory system and lead to severe health issues. In addition, if you consult the vet or any pet clinic, they will simply recommend you to never use it around your feline.

Is Citronella Dangerous for Your Kitty

If in case, she inhales those thick smoke smell or ingests citronella, it can cause her respiratory issue and damage her nervous system.

Types of Citronella Products

Citronella products come in various forms. Let’s have an insight look about each product, and whether you can use it around your kitty or not.

1. Citronella Essential Oil

Well, if you are thinking to apply some citronella oil to your kitty’s body and prevent her from mosquito bites.

Then, my friend, drop this idea, because all essential oils even including citronella essential oil are toxic for your kitty.

Cat Near Citronella Essential Oils

Suppose you applied citronella essential oil to your kitty’s skin and thought that she is getting relief from mosquitoes.

Then, my friend, you are wrong!

You are actually creating problems for her. Firstly, those essential oil fragrances will cause breathing issues. Secondly, it can cause skin irritation and damage her fur.

In addition, oil can easily absorb in her skin, and it can lead to the nervous system or liver damage.

2. Citronella Candles

During, summer times, who doesn’t want to sit in their lawn area? Enjoy food with that open, fresh air surrounding?

Using citronella candles[1] in the garden or outdoor area will help you to enjoy your summer, and don’t have to worry about mosquitoes attacking you.

Citronella Candles Toxic to Cats

However, wondering is citronella safe for cats?

Well, my friend, if you have a kitty at home, then avoid burning citronella candles when she is around you.

Yet, you can do one thing, lit candles in the lawn area. As in open surroundings, the smell will not remain intact, and it will not bother your kitty.

Note:- Using citronella candles indoors is not a good idea because its thick smoke smell will bother your kitty, and she won’t be able to breathe properly.

Moreover, fumes will remain intact in indoor areas, and it will make it difficult for felines to breathe. Especially for those who are suffering from respiratory health issues.

3. Repellent Sprays

As we know, citronella comes in various forms, repellent spray is one of them. It is used in preventing mosquito-borne diseases.

Citronella Repellent Sprays Toxic to Cat

However, we cannot overlook the fact, that felines don’t like the smell of citronella repellent spray. They get irritated, and obviously, we should not keep such products around her while knowing that they bother her.

Here’s a suggestion for you, if you want to prevent your kitty from mosquito-borne disease, then use some other alternatives. Don’t ever use strong smell products which trouble her.

4. Insect Coils

Citronella insect coils are formulated for human usage, it is popular for warding off mosquitoes. However, it cannot be used if you are parenting a cat.

Citronella Insect Coils Toxic to Cat

As we discussed earlier, citronella candles are harmful to your kitty. Similarly, coils cannot be used in your kitty’s presence.

For instance, to protect your kitty from mosquitoes, you just lit a citronella coil around her. According, to you, it’s one of the most effective coils that work to get rid of mosquitoes.

However, you are right from your point of view, but my friend, it’s not safe for your kitty’s health.

As we know, felines are very sensitive creatures, as compared to other pet animals. They cannot stand the smoke of citronella, it is not made for their usage.

Especially if your kitty has a breathing issue, then it can be dangerous for her life.

Even, qualified vet’s also don’t recommend using citronella coils around your kitty.

What to Do if Your Feline Ingested a Citronella Product?

If you notice that your kitty is having breathing issues due to the smoke of a citronella candle, or she has ingested a part of citronella product. In that scenario, immediately consult the vet or bring your kitty to the emergency pet clinic for speedy treatment.

What to Do If Your Feline Ingested a Citronella Product

Note:- Without consulting the vet, never try your home techniques on your kitty. Like, forcefully making her vomit, or providing any medicine to her without prescription.

Always consult a qualified vet for your kitty’s treatment. Even if you, want to change her diet, first have a word with the vet and then proceed with the necessary changes.

How to Keep Your Kitty Safe From Harmful Citronella Products?

Parenting a cat, not only sum-up your responsibilities around taking care of her food, playtime, litter box, etc. You also need to be very cautious regarding what type of plants, household items you are keeping around your kitty.

So, it’s always a good idea if you keep yourself beforehand ready, like have the emergency contact number of the pet clinic which operates 24*7.

How to Keep Your Kitty Safe From Harmful Citronella Products

Here, are some safety measures that you can take to keep your kitty safe:

  • Before, using citronella products, always read the instructions carefully.
  • Try to keep citronella products away from your kitty’s eyesight.
  • Never lit a citronella candles when your kitty is in the same room, because its smoke will cause her breathing issues.
  • If you have kittens at home, then avoid keeping citronella shampoo around her because it might be safe for adult cats but not for your little kitty.
  • Citronella oil is not safe for your feline pal skin, so never try to apply it.

Note:- If your kitty has a breathing issue/ asthma. Then, my friend, you should never use citronella candles around her or don’t keep those candles at home. It can be poisonous for her.


Let’s have a quick recap regarding, is citronella safe for cats?

Well, citronella plants can be used by the pet parents but should be kept in the backyard, lawn area. Where your feline pal doesn’t spend her time on regular routine.

If we talk about the citronella products like candles, essential oil, inspect coil, spray, etc. These are safe for human usage but not for your kitty’s health.

The thick smoke smell from candles, coils can cause breathing issues to your kitty. Essential oil is also toxic for your kitty’s health.

Symptoms like vomiting, liver failure, drooling, fluctuation of body temperature, etc.

So, if you observe any severe symptoms, or you think that your kitty is suffering from an underlying health issue, then without wasting time consult the vet and start her medication.


  1. Schindler, M. (2022, August 26). Is Burning Citronella Candles Harmful to Cats? Pets – The Nest. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from
  2. Mosquito Borne Illnesses. (2022b, March 11). VMBS News. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from
  3. Insect Repellents – Cooperative Extension: Insect Pests, Ticks and Plant Diseases – University of Maine Cooperative Extension. (2021, August 31).
  4. The use of essential oils in veterinary ectoparasite control. (2013, October 22).

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