These photos from a feline session won't tell the whole story, but are just to illustrate a few of the body-language indicators that might be seen when offering a cat essential oils to inhale**
Animals' body positions during a session are not random or accidental, they will alter their position very deliberately, to get closer to (or further away from) one or more of the extracts that they have already selected.
It's very important that they have already selected them, otherwise being surrounded with loads of aromatics could be overwhelming, and cats in particular are likely to (sensibly) walk away immediately to avoid inhaling medicinal plant compounds that they don't need.
**please NEVER apply essential oils topically to cats
"Processing" - give your cat space
Animals often need to spend 5-10 minutes processing the affects of inhaling an essential oil, and they MUST be given the space and privacy to do so. They may turn their backs to you (as shown below), move several feet away from you or find a hidden spot to settle down in to "process". Don't worry, they will come back, indicating re-engagement, when they are ready.
This was taken quite early in the session. After inhaling Linden Blossom - a beautiful and often profoundly-working essential oil - B need some time to “process” the affects of the aromatic molecules.
Whilst remaining in the same spot, he carefully turned around and presented his back to me - indicating continued engagement in the session, yet clearly asking to be left in peace for a little while.
Which Essential Oil is the Cat's Nose Pointing To?
B is fully engaged in the session, and from a range of essential oils offered, has "selected" (indicated via involuntary physical signals) to work with Mimosa and Jasmine.
His posture is comfortable and tactile, eyes closed with head clearly aligned towards Mimosa. If he needs more Jasmine aromatics, he will adjust the angle of his head slightly
Essential Oils Can Really Help Anxious Cats Relax Deeply
... and deeper
During the course of the session, B has selected each of these single essential oils (and ignored many others). Now he can utilise them together, which takes him deeper into the process. Note: even though the Mimosa bottle has moved, his nose is still pointed straight at it.
His posture is still open and trusting, but now also totally soft, sprawled, leaning heavily into the sofa. For anxious animals, the opportunity to relax so deeply is incredibly therapeutic.
Supporting A Frightened Cat With Essential Oils
Back in the zone
B had been relaxing deeply with the oils for some time when someone entered the house noisily, and momentarily frightened, he jumped off the sofa and ran across the room to hide briefly.
Within minutes he ran back to the sofa and immediately and deliberately positioned himself so that his nose was only inches from the re-offered Linden Blossom bottle, desperate to deeply inhale it again.
I hope you have found the above photos interesting, I have promised myself I'm going to blog more often, so hopefully soon there will be much more information up here, answering some of the questions you may now have, such as "but why Linden Blossom?", or "but how did the session actually start / end?"
Please feel free to post any questions below, it may help shape my future blogging topics!