Updated on March 14, 2024

CBD for Cats

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Key takeaways

  • CBD products for cats are available as treats, oils and tinctures.
  • Cats have an active endocannabinoid system which helps in controlling internal balance.
  • Just like in humans the ECS in cats plays a crucial role in maintaining the balance of internal functions and is involved in regulating many bodily responses.
  • Opt for CBD products specifically formulated for cats, as they may contain appropriate concentrations and flavors for feline consumption.
  • Research shows that CBD may play active roles in cancer support in cats.
  • CBD dosage for cats depends on the cat’s size. The larger the cat, the larger the dosage.
  • CBD can have a calming effect, which may cause cats to become drowsy or lethargic, especially at higher doses.
  • Some cats may experience an increase in appetite after taking CBD.
  • THC is not safe for cats. It can cause toxicity, leading to symptoms like lethargy, disorientation, vomiting, and even seizures.

CBD oil, derived from the cannabis plant, has gained popularity as a potential therapeutic option for various ailments in pets, including cats. While research on the specific effects of CBD oil on cats is still limited, some anecdotal evidence and preliminary studies suggest potential benefits.

Do cats have an endocannabinoid system?

Yes, cats, like many other mammals, including humans, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system is a complex network of receptors, endocannabinoids (chemical compounds produced naturally by the body), and enzymes involved in various physiological processes, such as mood regulation, pain perception, appetite, immune function, and more.

The ECS consists of two primary types of receptors: cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2). These receptors are found throughout the body, including in the brain, nervous system, organs, tissues, and immune cells.

In cats, as in other mammals, the endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in maintaining homeostasis, or the balance of internal functions, and is involved in regulating various bodily processes. The presence of the endocannabinoid system in cats suggests that they may respond to cannabinoids like CBD and THC similarly to humans, although research specific to cats is still limited.

What are the benefits of CBD oil for cats?

Since cats possess an endocannabinoid system, they are most likely to experience the following benefits of CBD oils.

  1. Pain Relief: CBD oil may help alleviate pain in cats, whether it's due to arthritis, injuries, or other conditions. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in pain perception.
  2. Anti-inflammatory Effects: CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation associated with conditions like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, or skin allergies in cats.
  3. Anxiety and Stress Reduction: CBD oil may have calming effects on cats and help reduce anxiety or stress-related behaviors, such as hiding, excessive grooming, or aggression. It interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain, which are involved in mood regulation.
  4. Management of Seizures: Some studies suggest that CBD oil may help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in cats with epilepsy or other seizure disorders. However, more research is needed in this area.
  5. Nausea and Appetite Stimulation: CBD oil may help alleviate nausea and stimulate appetite in cats, especially those undergoing chemotherapy or suffering from gastrointestinal issues.
  6. Support for Aging Cats: CBD oil may provide support for aging cats by promoting overall wellness, improving mobility, and enhancing quality of life.
  7. Management of Skin Conditions: CBD oil's anti-inflammatory and soothing properties may benefit cats with skin conditions such as dermatitis or allergies.
  8. Cancer Support: While research is still in its early stages, some studies suggest that CBD oil may have anti-cancer properties and could potentially help manage symptoms associated with cancer in cats, such as pain and inflammation.

How does CBD oil work in cats?

CBD oil interacts with cats' endocannabinoid systems, affecting various physiological processes by binding to cannabinoid receptors. It modulates neurotransmitter release, potentially reducing anxiety, stress, and pain. CBD's anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for cats with conditions like arthritis or skin allergies. By influencing pain receptors, it may alleviate discomfort associated with injuries or chronic ailments. Additionally, CBD's calming effects can reduce anxiety-related behaviors. Its ability to promote homeostasis supports overall wellness in cats. While promising, research on CBD oil's effects in felines is ongoing, and individual responses may vary.

How to select the right CBD product for cats

When selecting a CBD product for your cat, consider the following factors to ensure safety and effectiveness:

  1. Quality and Purity: Choose products made from high-quality, organic hemp plants grown without pesticides or herbicides. Look for CBD oils that have undergone third-party testing to verify purity and potency.
  2. Type of CBD: Opt for CBD products specifically formulated for cats, as they may contain appropriate concentrations and flavors for feline consumption. Avoid products containing THC, as it can be harmful to cats.
  3. CBD Concentration: Check the concentration of CBD in the product and consider your cat's size and needs. Start with a lower concentration and gradually increase as needed while monitoring your cat's response.
  4. Ingredients: Review the product's ingredients list to ensure it contains natural and safe ingredients. Avoid products with artificial additives, preservatives, or flavors that could be harmful to your cat.
  5. Formulation: Consider the product's formulation, such as oil tinctures, treats, or capsules. Choose a formulation that is convenient for you to administer and that your cat is likely to accept.
  6. Manufacturer Reputation: Research the manufacturer's reputation and look for reviews or testimonials from other cat owners. Choose reputable companies with a track record of producing high-quality CBD products for pets.
  7. Consult with a Veterinarian: Before giving your cat any CBD product, consult with your veterinarian. They can provide guidance on dosage, potential interactions with medications, and any specific considerations based on your cat's health status.

Side effects of CBD for cats

Potential side effects of CBD for cats are generally mild and may include:

  1. Drowsiness: CBD can have a calming effect, which may cause cats to become drowsy or lethargic, especially at higher doses.
  2. Dry Mouth: CBD may decrease saliva production, leading to temporary dryness in the mouth.
  3. Lowered Blood Pressure: In some cases, CBD may cause a temporary drop in blood pressure, which could result in lightheadedness or weakness.
  4. Increased Appetite: While not necessarily a negative side effect, some cats may experience an increase in appetite after taking CBD.
  5. Gastrointestinal Upset: CBD (especially, contaminated products) could potentially cause digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting in sensitive cats, though this is relatively rare.
  6. Allergic Reactions: In rare cases, cats may be allergic to CBD or other ingredients in CBD products, leading to allergic reactions such as itching, swelling, or hives.

Frequently asked questions

Do vets recommend CBD for cats?

Vets face legal restrictions on recommending CBD. While CBD for pets is generally recognized as a beneficial and safe option for both dogs and cats, it's relatively new, and ongoing research is examining its advantages and potential side effects as a wellness aid.

Can CBD calm an aggressive cat?

Yes, CBD’ calming effect holds potential for addressing such behaviors. Though scientific investigations are preliminary, reports from cat owners suggest that giving CBD drops to cats can result in a noticeable reduction in aggressive tendencies.

Can cats use THC?

No, THC is not safe for cats. It can cause toxicity, leading to symptoms like lethargy, disorientation, vomiting, and even seizures. Cats lack the ability to metabolize THC effectively, making it dangerous for them to consume.

What is the best CBD product for cats?

The best CBD product for cats depends on factors such as the cat's preferences, health needs, and the owner's convenience. CBD oil tinctures designed specifically for cats are popular choices, as they allow for easy dosing and can be mixed with food or administered directly into the mouth. Additionally, CBD treats formulated for cats can be a convenient option for pets who enjoy treats.

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Coelho, J. C., Duarte, N., Bronze, R., & Mestrinho, L. A. (2023). Placebo-Controlled Trial of Daily Oral Cannabidiol as Adjunctive Treatment for Cats with Chronic Gingivostomatitis. Animals : An Open Access Journal From MDPI, 13(17). https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13172716

Kulpa JE, Paulionis LJ, Eglit GM, Vaughn DM. Safety and tolerability of escalating cannabinoid doses in healthy cats. J Feline Med Surg. 2021 Dec;23(12):1162-1175. doi: 10.1177/1098612X211004215. Epub 2021 Mar 26. PMID: 33769105; PMCID: PMC8637357.

Yu, C. H., & Rupasinghe, H. V. (2021). Cannabidiol-based natural health products for companion animals: Recent advances in the management of anxiety, pain, and inflammation. Research in Veterinary Science, 140, 38-46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2021.08.001

Coltherd, J. C., Bednall, R., Bakke, A. M., Ellerby, Z., Newman, C., Watson, P., Logan, D. W., & Holcombe, L. J. (2024). Healthy cats tolerate long-term daily feeding of Cannabidiol. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 10, 1324622. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2023.1324622

Kulpa, J. E., Paulionis, L. J., Eglit, G. M., & Vaughn, D. M. (2021). Safety and tolerability of escalating cannabinoid doses in healthy cats. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098612X211004215

The content on Nesa's Hemp blog is for educational purposes only. We meticulously research and cite our sources, but advise consulting a professional before making decisions based on our information. We derive our content from reputable studies and publications, but individual circumstances may vary. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of our content to every situation. Nesa's Hemp blog and its authors are not liable for any loss or inconvenience resulting from reliance on our information. By using our blog, you waive any claims against us regarding the accuracy or completeness of our content.

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