Is Palo Santo Safe For Cats?

Are you smitten with the scent of Palo Santo? While we are aware the substance may be used for human use, are you aware it is harmful to pets and should not be handled by cats?

Although I have been using Palo Santo in rotation with incense since college, it wasn’t until recently that I learned about the potential dangers it poses to cats.

In an article published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, two veterinarians from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, and two scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, state that Palo Santo can cause severe vomiting in cats.

They write that reports of this syndrome in cats are increasing as more people use it for therapeutic purposes.

What is Palo Santo?

Using the term “wood of the saints” may seem strange to most people who associate it with the Christian faith, but the tree has a spiritual significance for ancient peoples in South America.

According to legend, the indigenous people worshiped a tree named Yine, who was said to be the mother of all living things.

When the people’s prayers were answered, they burned incense made of Palo Santo to pay homage to Yine and her offspring.

The young tree has beautiful gray bark, which some people use to make musical instruments or surfboards. However, to burn the wood, you need to light a charcoal burner first.

The burning of charcoal releases the chemicals that make Palo Santo such a beautiful scent and also helps put out the fire.

Like myrrh and frankincense, they think it holds spiritual properties.

During rituals, lighted sticks from Palo Santo are placed on people’s heads or hands to heal them of illness.

The smoke is said to repel common insects and animals, as well as heal infections and protect against bites.

Bursela Graveolens is the scientific name for Palo Santo.

Alternatively, the tree’s fragrance may easily be captured in a bottle.

The oil has also been used for millennia to cleanse the body and spirit. Because the tree’s oil is very beneficial to human health, it can even be bought as a nutritional supplement in capsules.

Smoke is released into closed rooms to project a pleasant scent.

Is Palo Santo Safe For Cats?

If you have a pet cat, I would suggest keeping the cat away from the smoke. This way, your cat will be safe, and you won’t have to worry about him inhaling too much smoke.

D-limonene, a chemical found in Palo Santo, is toxic to cats. If you burn it or your cat inhales the smoke, he or she could get ill or even die.

Cats are not usually allowed to burn Palo Santo because of the chance of them inhaling the smoke.

As a result, if you light Palo Santo and burn it in your home, be aware of your cat’s whereabouts.

Chewing on the wood, on accident or on purpose, may harm your cat.

Palo Santo may be a nice incense, but it isn’t safe to burn around cats.

Even some folks like placing the wood in their bedrooms and living rooms to freshen the air.

In the case of a house cat, smoke inhalation can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide inside your cat’s lungs. This can cause severe breathing problems or even death.

Why Isn’t Palo Sant Safe For Cats?

Cats should not come into contact with this tree.

The oil in the wood is toxic to cats, and 20 minutes can be enough for them to die. This oil contains toxic components that transfer into the cat’s bloodstream.

If the cat ingests enough of this oil, it can build up in their blood and organs, leading to severe toxicity and organ failure. Remember, only a small amount of the oil can be deadly for your cat.

But when it comes to your cat’s health, you may want to know why.

So, let’s have a look at why Palo Santo isn’t suitable for cats. Since Palo Santo is a tree that grows in South America, it is considered a “natural” product.

The bark of the tree is used for medicinal purposes and contains lots of vitamins and anti-oxidants. The wood of the tree is used in the making of musical instruments and furniture.

However, since Palo Santo contains thujone, a chemical which is toxic to cats, it is advised not to give your cat any piñon resin. This chemical causes intoxication and can cause severe side effects in cats.

If the toxin is absorbed in your cat’s system, it could cause organ failure and tissue death.

Toxicity in cats is not caused by ingestion but inhalation and can absorb the toxin through the mucous membranes in the mouth, which may lead to serious health problems.

Palo Santo isn’t safe if your cat eats it.

The wood of Palo Santo is extremely toxic to cats. Just like it can be dangerous to people, it can be dangerous to animals as well.

The symptoms of consuming this wood include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and convulsions.

Health problems

We can’t always control our pets’ eating habits.

Although a pet owner can force her cat to eat only certain foods, the cat may choose to eat something else instead. This can lead to pet obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.

It’s possible that your cat may digest the wood and absorb some toxins.

Although various cat breeds can be affected by the same problems, it’s important to understand how your cat’s health affected.

Always consult a veterinarian if your cat has eaten something unhealthy or has develop any unusual symptoms.

This may cause both short-term and long-term health issues for your cat.

The short-term issues may include vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive drooling. Long term health problems are also possible.

Palo Santo wood’s high toxicity level means that it may cause serious damage to your cat’s liver, kidneys, and spleen.


The smoke from Palo Santo can cause irritation in the respiratory tract, and irritate the eyes.

The smoke can cause coughing and shortness of breath in cats. If your cat ingests the smoke, he or she may become drowsy and vomit.

Chemical poisoning may occur if the cat inhales smoke for a long time.

If your cat frequently spends time near the smoke, he or she may begin to have a serious or life-threatening reaction.

Also, keep in mind that smoke from burning Palo Santo has a foul odor.

Prolonged exposure to the smoke may cause someone to become sick or commit suicide.


Several citrus oils contain d-limonene. Among them is lemon oil, which is used as fragrance in many perfumes and cosmetics.

Cats are particularly prone to this substance because of the organs in their stomachs that allow them to break down and absorb it.

Although d-limonene is non-toxic to humans, it can cause serious damage to cats. Cats with fatty liver disease are the most at risk.

This chemical is found naturally in citronella products, but it is also used as a fragrance. If a cat breathes in enough d-limonene, it will build up in his system, and it could be fatal.

As a result, if a cat inhales the d-limonene molecule, he may inhale the d-limonene molecule, which is harmful to cats.

Symptoms Of Toxicity

Look out for these signs if your kitten eats palo santo.

A loss of appetite. Some kittens may try to eat the food, but they won’t eat as much as usual.

If your cat is vomiting, don’t give them more food. Monitor them closely.

Wobbliness or difficulty walking.

The eyes being cloudy or bloodshot. Fainting, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Licking or chewing the fur excessively. If your cat has these symptoms, take them to the veterinarian immediately.

Problems with the lungs and digestive system.

Additional symptoms include: diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and weight loss.

Treatment of toxicity usually involves either discontinuing the use of palo santo or administering a medication called activated charcoal.

Observe to see how long the symptoms last.

For example, they may last for a day or two, or as long as a week or two or more. The vet will typically conduct an electrocardiogram (ECG) to see how well the kitten’s heart beat.

The vet may want to monitor the electrical activity of the heart with a 12-lead ECG or echocardiography.

If not, make a quick phone appointment with the veterinarian so they can assist in making the right diagnosis.

Is Palo Santo toxic to cats?

D-limonene, a terpene found in citrus fruits, is dangerous to cats.

If your cat eats the tree, it will have an upset stomach, as well as drooling, tremors, lethargy, bodily weakness, mouth and gum inflammation, and death.

The substance in the tree, if consumed by your feline friend, causes inflammation of the intestinal wall.

Because of this, cats should never be given slices of orange or grapefruit.

The essential oil of Palo Santo may kill your cat if not handled or administered properly.

It’s just like any other tree that pets cannot eat.

When exposed to water, it also swells. Ingestion of the oil may cause your cat to vomit, make excessive salivation, and suffer from difficulty breathing and excessive thirst.

That implies that when it reaches the intestines, they it will start swelling.

Are cats allergic to Palo Santo?

If your pet is allergic to Palo Santo, home remedies are quite simple.

You can simply take a piece of cotton, dip it in water and rub it over the infected area to soothe the itching and inflammation.

In addition to this, you can also take antihistamine tablets or liquids, which might help you deal with the symptoms.

Incense sticks should not be used in meditation rooms, since cats can be very sensitive to the scent.

It’s best not to burn Palo Santo or expose your pet to any type of smoke or fumes before consulting your vet.

Also Read: Are Humidifiers Safe for Cats?

What should you do if your cat came in contact with Palo Santo?

Open the windows or take your cat outdoors for fresh air. If the symptoms don’t stop after an hour, you may want to take your cat to the emergency room.

Take your pet to the veterinarian clinic if it’s coughing and taking longer than usual to breath.

If you see your cat vomiting, hypersalivating, trembling or not being ablephysiognally alert, or has difficulty breathing, go to the veterinarian.


Not all animals are as sensitive as cats, but you should never use Palo Santo on them!

Cats, for example, may get into unintentional contact with the oil in their food or even lick surfaces still contaminated from the oil.

So, it’s best to avoid putting Palo Santo oil near pets.

When it comes to animals such as rabbits, dogs, and cats, avoid using the oil.

Keep essential oils and odors away in case of cats to prevent any possible consequences.