Peppermint, an essential oil, is a deterrent to skunks, raccoons, some rodents and squirrels but it is toxic and dangerous to domestic cats. If it is absorbed or ingested by a cat it is metabolised by the liver. Domestic cats lack some liver enzymes which could process peppermint oil. The cat’s liver and central nervous system can be adversely affected.
Symptoms may include drooling, lack of appetite and lethargy. A veterinarian should see your cat as soon as possible. Inhaling peppermint oil can cause a cat to develop aspiration pneumonia.
Interestingly, peppermint oil can be used as a flea treatment but clearly is not safe to be anywhere near a domestic cat. It’s a natural flea killer and attacks the flea’s nervous system.
It’s been suggested that if you want to use this oil as a deterrent to skunks it can be applied to cotton balls which are placed in containers. This would allow the smell to defuse but prevent contact with your cat. However, I wouldn’t recommend it. It is as simple as that.