Ring-Ex for Cats

by Chris Martín
(Albuquerque, NM,USA)

Thank you for your informative article about feline ringworm.

I noticed your recommendation of Ring-ex. This product contains tea-tree oil (melaleuca alternifolia). Tea tree oil is highly toxic to cats. It can cause everything from nausea, vomiting, and lethargy, to CNS damage, seizures, and death.

Essential oils, categorically, should be avoided for cats. Cats do not tolerate EOs the way humans do, because their livers are "wired" differently and don't have the biochemical capability to metabolize EOs. I am constantly amazed that "natural health" companies produce and sell things for cats that are based on human benefit. Chocolate and garlic and Tylenol are all beneficial and safe for humans, but can be lethal for our feline friends.

Toxicity of Melaleuca is well-documented in vet-med literature. I hope you will investigate it and EOs in general, and all "natural" (and chemical!) things you recommend to your readers. Natural doesn't always mean safe or beneficial. Hemlock, belladonna, and poison ivy are natural; that doesnt mean I'd want to use them in or on my body!

Thank you for putting this website online. I hope you will accept my comments in the spirit I intend them, as polite and informational.

Yours truly,
(Ms) Chris Martín
Owner, The Cat Diva
Feline Behavior Consultant
Geriatric and Special-needs Care

Editor Comment

Hi Chris,

You are absolutely right that essential oils, including tea tree oil or Melaleuca, can be toxic to cats especially at high concentrations. I do not know what the concentration of the tea tree oil in Ring-ex is, so I can’t comment on that product in particular, but in the spirit of “better safe than sorry” I would avoid the use of all essential oils in cats.

Thanks for bringing to everyone’s attention the unique nature of feline physiology!

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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