Merry Christmas, sorry I killed your cat. That is what I could see myself having to write in an apology letter to my sister-in-law as I sat at work reading a social media post. You see, dear readers, I gave my sister-in-law an essential oil diffuser for the holiday because the box said it was good for people who suffer from allergies and the like.

Well, I gave a diffuser to one sister-in-law and encouraged my brother to give one to the other sister-in-law. So, he did. Well, that sister has cats. Then several weeks later, I am looking at Facebook and see a post about essential oils almost killing some woman’s cat.

So I read it and it said the cat was lethargic, had to be taken to the vet and almost didn’t make it. So I immediately texted my family. I had to come clean that I had never even considered the pets when I picked out the gifts. The pets involved are all well trained and wouldn’t actually drink the oil, I figured, if I considered them at all. But most likely, I didn’t.

If I were giving out living plants, I would have checked to see if they were toxic to the pets. But I never thought about something that was going to be mixed into the air.

The website says the following oils are bad for cats and should never be diffused around them: cinnamon, clove, thyme, oregano, savory, cajuput, pine, petegrain, lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, bergamot, mandarin, tangerine, neroli, fir, cypress, juniper, spruce, tea tree, birch, bitter almond, boldo, calamus, camphor, cassia, chenopodium, garlic, horseradish, mustard, tansy, wintergreen, peppermint and sassafras rue.

That is a long list of things that could hurt a cat. Who knew? Not me, but that would have been little comfort if my darling niece had lost her beloved cats because Aunt Jerrie didn’t check to see whether the gift was dangerous.

Next year, I am sticking with gift certificates for places to eat. People know what they are allergic to and can usually tell you if they think they are getting sick.

Happy birthday to Sherrie Tew, Ashlund Ertel Carson, Nikyria Nichole Moore and Hannah Collum, all of Denison; Willa Pruitt of Sherman; Catelyn Armstrong of Howe; Lynnette Walters of Allen; and Tammy Cecil of Houston.