CBD oil for cats: is it safe? What are the benefits? How do you give CBD to cats, anyway? We answer all these questions and more. “Learn why CBD oil for cats is a safe, natural way to treat seizures, asthma, urinary issues, pain, and more. Could CBD help your cat live a better life?” As you embrace the benefits of CBD you may be wondering if CBD for cats is safe? Here’s what you need to know about Holmes Organics for your cat.
CBD Oil for Cats: A Marvelous Plant-based Tool
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CBD oil for cats? Sounds strange, but many pet owners are pulling out the oil for their furry friends. Cannabinidol is a naturally-derived substance, and humans are using it for everything from muscle aches to headaches, anxiety to insomnia. Can this popular plant compound benefit our pets?
What is cBD?
CBD is a shorthand abbreviation for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is one of a group of over 100 phytochemicals found in the hemp family of plants. For a long time there was stigma against the use of any chemical derived from hemp plants due to the criminalization of the use of marijuana, a plant related to hemp. The Agricultural Act of 2014 began the process of changing the legal status of this family of plants, and research has progressed significantly since then. CBD is also sometimes called hemp oil, to differentiate it from THC-containing extracts associated with marijuana.
Can Cats have CBD oil?
Research so far indicates that CBD oil is generally safe for cats. Dosages should be followed carefully and cats should be monitored for adverse effects. However, the benefits of CBD may outweigh the risks given potential downsides of alternative therapies. Though the scientific evidence is still developing, many use CBD to assist their feline companions with symptoms of ailments such as cancer, epilepsy, and osteoarthritis. In these cases, the risks of CBD may be less than those of alternative treatments. There are many reasons to be curious about CBD oil for cats
Do Cats Have Cannabinoid Receptors?
All mammals have something called an endocannabinoid system. This means that mammals have naturally occurring cannabidiol chemicals in our bodies, and receptors for them in various organ systems. Some systems that have receptors for endocannabinoids include
When a cannabinoid chemical comes from a plant rather than inside a mammal’s own body, it is called a phytocannabinoid. Both the endocannabinoid system and the way phytocannabinoids interact with it are still being researched.
Will CBD get my cat high?
Vets and pet owners use CBD to reportedly improve the quality of life of their animals. Some ailments that have anecdotally improved include inflammation, anxiety, and pain. A few pet owners report that it has assisted in lessening seizures and mitigating aggression. CBD has been reported to help speed bone healings in cats with fractures. Cats display symptoms of disease through behavior. As such, CBD has been said to help with such unwanted behaviors. Cat owners might reach for CBD when struggling to address behaviors such as peeing outside the litter box, adjusting to new situations, scratching furniture, over- or under-eating, pacing, or obsessive grooming.
The Ultimate Guide To CBD Oil For Cats
CBD Oil For Cats Peeing, Urinary Tract Infections, Appetite & More
Table of Contents:
- Gastrointestinal Issues
- Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections
- Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
- Appetite Stimulation/Nausea Reduction
- Calming effects
Introduction To CBD Oil For Cats
CBD oil for cats has become the go-to option for pet parents searching for natural support for healthy mobility, calmness, immune support, and more. Unlike many pharmaceutical drugs, CBD is relatively free of side effects and causes no long-term damage to the body.
CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It is one of more than 60 compounds known as cannabinoids found within cannabis plants. There are many strains of cannabis, but marijuana and hemp are the two most commonly utilized by humans. Marijuana is known for its psychoactive properties and ability to give users a “high.” Hemp, on the other hand, is most commonly used for industrial and therapeutic purposes. CBD oil is derived from this safer, more medicinal strain.
Most cannabis plants contain both CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the high-inducing compound in marijuana. The difference is that while marijuana typically contains anywhere from 2.5% to 25% THC, most commercial CBD products contain less than 0.3%. THC amounts this low is merely considered trace quantities. They are entirely benign and incapable of producing a high.
We are not the first human civilization to recognize and utilize hemp for medicinal purposes. In fact, it has been used to soothe a variety of ailments for nearly 1,000 years. Holistic doctors and veterinarians are still exploring the many ways CBD hemp oil can benefit humans and animals alike. While most of the research has focused on humans, dogs, and laboratory animals, several organizations are beginning to explore clinical trials in cats.²
Despite the lack of scientific data, holistic veterinarians and cat parents are singing the praises of CBD hemp oil as a natural and effective treatment for a growing list of issues in cats.
The Endocannabinoid System and Your Cat
All mammals and many other animal species have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is an interconnected chain of receptors found in the brain, nervous system, glands, and organs. This system controls health and healing by acting as a command center and maintaining balance within the body.³
CBD oil produces therapeutic effects in the body by stimulating the endocannabinoid system to promote overall healing and wellness. It helps naturally regulate the system to maintain ideal balance and influence many internal processes related to pain, mood, sleep, and immune function.
Why Do Cat Owners Use CBD Oil?
Studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD as well as its ability to promote calmness, lessen seizure activity, and improve overall well-being. In addition to its many medicinal benefits, CBD is also quite safe for cats as long as it contains little to no THC. It may even help improve your cat’s mood, skin, coat, and energy levels.
According to Dr. Gary Richter, a veterinarian based in Oakland, CA:
“Almost anything that cannabis would be used for in a human, from a medical standpoint, has the potential to be equally as valuable in dogs or cats. Pain, inflammation, joint pain, gastro-intestinal related things, stress, anxiety, seizures, you name it. We’ve seen the benefits in all of these areas. “ 4
Below we will discuss some of the most common cat conditions treated with CBD oil by veterinarians and feline caregivers.
CBD Oil for Pain in Cats
While there are several anti-inflammatory medications for the treatment of pain in dogs, there are only a few approved for the delicate systems of cats. This is one of the reasons veterinarians and cat parents are so enthusiastic about CBD oil. Rather than using steroids or NSAIDs that carry severe side effects, they are turning to all-natural CBD for relief of pain associated with joint pain, nerve conditions, injuries, and illnesses.
A group of researchers from the University of London even believe CBD is powerful enough to qualify as a new class of drug for pain relief. 5
Joint inflammation is one of the most common causes of pain in cats. It occurs when the cartilage in a joint wears away, allowing the bones to rub together painfully. Although diagnosed more frequently in dogs, our feline friends can definitely suffer from sore, inflamed joints. Not only do cats visit the vet less often than dogs, but they are also experts at hiding their pain.
Our pets should never have to suffer in silence. Using CBD oil in cats that are older, overweight, or have symptoms of joint pain can help reduce painful inflammation and allows them to move pain-free.
CDB Oil for Gastrointestinal Issues in Cats
Many cats suffer from gastrointestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and pancreatitis. Since it is a natural anti-inflammatory, many holistic vets recommend CBD oil for their feline IBD patients. By reducing irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract, CBD may reduce IBD symptoms such as pain, discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, poor appetite and weight loss. 6
Many cats with IBD, diabetes, and certain infections also develop pancreatitis. This condition is considered extremely painful and is often life-threatening without treatment. According to Dr. Angie Kraus, DVM of Boulder Holistic Vet:
“It occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed, disrupting digestion. Once again, CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory, potentially aiding a cat dealing with pancreatitis.”²
CDB Oil for Seizures in Cats
Cats with epilepsy can suffer from multiple seizures a day, and according to the Epilepsy Foundation, pharmaceutical medications prove ineffective for some patients. Even cats that respond well to anti-convulsive drugs may find them too harsh to tolerate long-term. These medications have been known to cause serious side effects such as kidney or liver damage.
In a 2014 study on drug-resistant epilepsy in humans, CBD oil reduced the number of seizures by at least 50% in 39% of participants. 7 Since the feline endocannabinoid system is similar to that of humans and CBD acts as a neuroprotective agent, it may also aid in reducing the frequency and intensity of seizures in cats.
CDB Oil for Asthma in Cats
Asthma is yet another common inflammatory disease in cats. CBD may be a great option to reduce bronchial inflammation, lessening the number of asthma attacks. Asthma is a chronic inflammation of small airways in the lungs. During an asthma attack, those airways constrict and drastically reduce the amount of air that gets to the lungs. 8 Asthma attacks can be minor or may become life-threatening. Many asthmatic cats are reliant on inhalers and/or nebulizers.
With its inflammation-reducing properties, CBD may be a great option to help decreas e the number and severity of asthma attacks a cat experiences.
CDB Oil for Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections
Many cats suffer from life-long viral infections causing symptoms like chronic congestion, sneezing, and itchy, runny eyes. Veterinarians and pet parents have been delighted to discover that feline patients taking CBD oil for other ailments have had the wonderful “side effect” of reduced URI symptoms.²
CBD Oil For Cat Urinary Tract Infections & Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)
Feline Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) describes a variety of painful often chronic conditions that affect the bladder and urethra. FLUTD causes severe inflammation of the urinary tract and may lead to painful urination, difficulty urinating, or life-threatening urinary blockages. Many cats require frequent, painful “unblocking” procedures and some even require a major surgery known as a perineal urethrostomy to widen the urethra. 9
CBD may provide these poor kitties with some much-needed relief from pain and inflammation.
CBD Oil For Appetite Stimulation & Nausea Reduction
Cats are finicky eaters even when they are feeling their best, so it is no wonder they often stop eating when sick or stressed. Unfortunately, many can only go a few days without food before their liver becomes affected. Whether battling an illness, undergoing chemotherapy or dealing with a stressful life event, it is imperative that cats take in the nutrients they need to maintain their strength.
Cannabis is known to stimulate appetite and suppress nausea in humans. This is why it is often prescribed to people battling chronic illnesses. According to Dr. Stacy Kerr, MD, CBD interacts with the body’s serotonin receptors and can be more effective at relieving nausea than prescription pharmaceuticals. 10
CDB Oil for Calming Support in Cats
Some cats suffer from chronic anxiousness while others experience it only situationally. Either way, stress can cause behavioral issues like urinating or defecating outside the litterbox, aggression, or destructive scratching. Even worse, some cats become physically ill as a result of their stress, refusing to eat, or experiencing vomiting or diarrhea.
For these kitties, CBD may help supplement the endocannabinoid system by altering serotonin signals. Seratonin is a hormone that helps regulate mood. CBD is thought to affect how the brain reacts to serotonin, much like many prescription antidepressants. 11
Will CBD Oil Make My Cat High?
The short answer to this question is, no, CBD oil cannot and never will make your cat high. Only substances with a significant amount of THC can cause a psychoactive effect. Unlike marijuana, hemp contains only insignificant traces of THC. The quantity of THC varies widely in different strains of marijuana, but hemp-derived CBD oil contains less than 0.3%. Since cats are quite sensitive to THC, we recommend purchasing a CBD product where 100% of the THC has been removed.
Is CBD Oil for Cats Legal?
Yes, CBD oil derived from hemp is legal in all 50 states as long as it contains 0.3% THC or less. Since most CBD oil from hemp contains little to no THC, it is not regulated in the same way as marijuana. However, the complex legal status of marijuana often leads to confusion and frustration, deterring pet owners from taking advantage of CBD oil.
The important thing to remember is that as long as the CBD oil comes from hemp and contains no more than 0.3% THC, it is completely legal to purchase and possess in every US state.
What Scientific Studies Have Been Done on CBD Hemp Oil in Cats?
Unfortunately, there isn’t much data when it comes to cannabinoids and cats. 13
Only one company is known to have performed a long-term clinical and pharmacological study on cats, but another study is coming in 2021-22 by Cannanine and 3rd party partners. The existing study which used its own hemp-based products may have been falsified. Otherwise, the available data primarily focuses on the toxicity of accidental cannabis ingestion in cats.
“Cats are absolutely not small dogs,” Amanda Howland, founder of ElleVet says, “and they metabolize things very differently. Cats can’t take any of the drugs that dogs take for pain. Their livers just don’t tolerate it.” If a human tries to help an ailing cat by giving it a canine pain reliever, “they can get very sick. There are very few pain options for cats that are safe. So we did a long-term safety study to determine that [our products] are safe for cats.”
The ElleVet researchers found that when it comes to promoting calmness, cats respond even better to cannabinoid medicine than dogs. They also saw decreases in pain from joint pain and other problems. They currently have a pain study involving solely cats in progress and plans to study whether lowering anxiousness levels with CBD helps improve chronic UTI symptoms. 13
Despite the lack of published date, Dr. Gary Richter notes that countless vets and cat owners have seen the benefits of CBD in pets firsthand.
“While I am certainly a person who’s a proponent of the research,” he says, “just because the research isn’t there doesn’t mean you can or should ignore something that’s completely obvious and right in front of your face.”
Dr. Richter recommends its use for his feline patients and suggests interested cat parents consult their own vets for advice. 13
Related: Which brand of CBD oil is endorsed by iHeartCats.com?
What Side Effects or Risks Are Involved with Giving CBD Hemp Oil to My Cat?
The most common side effect cat owners report is sedation. Nausea, vomiting, changes in appetite, or anxiousness could potentially occur if the cat has a bad reaction, but these cases are rare and usually very mild. 6
In fact, Dr. Krause of Boulder Holistic Vet says she often sees a reduction in anxiousness in her feline patients.
“The most common side effect I have seen in my patients is increased appetite and decreased anxiety. Some animals can become sedate on CBD products. CBD can promote relaxation and some animals are more sensitive than others.”
“If you notice your cat has become too sedate, stop giving the product and work with your veterinarian. Allergic reactions are always possible. Some cats that are allergic to grass can also be allergic to cannabis. This is rare but is a possibility.”²
In addition, many veterinarians and pet parents have actually reported positive side effects. For example, they begin using CBD to help their cat cope with joint pain and find that he or she also enjoys relief from asthma symptoms. 14
What Dosage of CBD Oil Should I Give My Cat?
It is not possible to overdose on CBD as your cat’s body will just release the excess in his or her waste. However, when first introducing CBD oil to your cat, it’s best to start out slow. This will help you pinpoint the perfect dose for your individual pet without shocking the system or causing adverse reactions.
While you should always consult with your veterinarian regarding dosage, a general rule of thumb for cats is 1mg to 5mg for every 10lbs of body weight. From there, you can increase the dosage until ideal effects are achieved. 6
The key to dosing is finding a balance where the cat reaps all the benefits without experiencing side effects. If you notice any adverse reactions after administering CBD to your cat, discontinue usage immediately and consult with your vet before continuing.
You may find it necessary to increase the dosage over time to maintain the same level of benefit. Be sure to make these changes slowly and gradually to give the cat’s body time to adjust.
How Long Before CBD Oil Starts Working for My Cat?
Every cat responds differently to CBD oil, but in general, you can expect the following response times:
- When giving CBD directly into your cat’s mouth (sublingually) – Allow 20-60 minutes
- When giving CBD in your cat’s food – Allow 45 – 90 minutes
Note: When treating chronic issues, you may not see optimal results until 2 to 4 weeks of steady use.
How Do I Choose a Quality CBD Oil Product for My Cat?
There are several factors to consider when choosing a CBD hemp oil product for your cat. Quality tinctures should include a certificate of analysis (COA) showing the results of laboratory analysis performed on the product. Ideally, the certificate should show high amounts of CBD and very low THC, if not none at all, as in Cannanine™ Organic Full Spectrum CBD Oil from Hemp.
Cannanine is non-GMO and made from human-grade ingredients including organic Colorado hemp. It contains absolutely no THC, so it will never give your cat an uncomfortable “high.” Laboratory test results show Cannanine is also free of heavy metals, harmful bacteria, yeast, mold, and other toxins.
All Cannanine products are maximized for bioavailability and absorbability by utilizing a patented nano-sized microemulsion with particles four times smaller than liposomal emulsions.
To learn more about choosing a high-quality, therapeutic CBD hemp oil product, view our Buyer’s Guide.
Which CBD Product Does iHeartCats Recommend?
We worked hard to create the Cannanine brand of CBD Oil. In addition to containing nano-sized emulsion (best for absorption), the formula is 100% THC free, which is relatively rare but very important for animal use. In addition, each and every purchase provides healthy meals for shelter pets through our partners at GreaterGood.org!
A Real Cat Owner Shares Her Experience with CBD Oil
Zaphod was a 14-year-old kitty suffering from many of the common problems that plague senior cats. According to his owner, Kiki Kane:
“In the last two years, he has lost his purr, his eyesight, and his ability to comfortably jump, pounce, play, and recently, even cuddle.”
Kane also describes increased irritability, circling, nighttime wandering, and other symptoms of age-related cognitive dysfunction. She added CBD oil to Zaphod’s medication protocol and noted that it “relaxed his facial expression and let him feel comfortable being picked up, held, or petted.”
While CBD did not completely resolve Zaphod’s night restlessness, it did allow Kane to carry him to bed with her, where he would fall asleep on her chest.
Sadly, Zaphod passed away, but Kane wrote that CBD oil allowed her to “offer a little more comfort as the light continued to fade.” 15
More Testimonials of CBD for Cats from iHeartCats.com
iHeartCats.com polled their Facebook page with the following question: Have you given CBD oil to your cat? What was your experience? The following are some of the responses received:
“My eldest cat suffers from Feline Hyperesthesia. She chews on herself and is very hyper sensitive, doesn’t like to be bothered by the other cats. I started giving CBD oil in her milk every day, 2 drops. I’ve noticed significant changes within the first week. She doesn’t chew on her legs to the point of creating sores anymore and her fur is slowly growing back. She’s still her ornery self, but tolerates being around the other cats now.” – Tiana Carrigan
“I have been giving my senior cat the CBD drops since November. Huge improvement in his mobility, appetite and bathroom habits.” – Althea AJ Davis
“My 18 year old male cat had arthritis pretty bad. I started him on 250 4 drops a day and within a few days, we noticed he stopped limping, which is what he has been doing the last 2 years during the fall and winter months. I am pleased to announce that Junior now chases his other cat sibs and sleeps much better. He won’t live forever, but this old fella is sure feeling better!” – Carol Baize
“My 10 year old Australian Cattle Dog is a different dog since Cannanine… everyone noticed the difference in her. More energetic and personable.” – Peter Wentz
“One month in and I have seen nothing but improvement in my cat. Her fur is softer and shinier. She is coughing up less fur balls overall. Her anxiety has gone down noticeably. I’m excited to see what continued use does for my cat!” – Jane McGavin
CBD For Cats—Is It Safe?
Your cat is a beloved member of your family, so in addition to feeding them high-quality cat food—you may be considering CBD as a nutritional supplement. CBD for cats is something you should discuss with your veterinarian but is an option many pet parents turn to for their cats, dogs, and other pets.
Is CBD Safe For Cats?
Many veterinarians and pet practitioners agree that CBD, not marijuana, is safe for cats. Unlike marijuana, CBD is farmed to contain 0.3% THC or less—so it won’t get your cat high. Not that cats don’t enjoy a good catnip high, but even a small amount of marijuana can be toxic to your cat. So, if anxiety or calming your cat down isn’t your objective consider making your own CBD catnip treats.
How To Turn Any Pet Treat Into A CBD Treat?
If baking’s not your thing or your cat has never enjoyed homemade cat treats, you can easily add CBD to their favorite treats. Simply:
- Purchase a bag or two of their preferred cat treats.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the treats out evenly.
- Add 1 to 2 drops of Holmes Organics CBD oil to each treat, manually rubbing it on all sides.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes so that the oil gets absorbed.
- Cool and serve to your cat, keeping in mind that the serving will be a bit diluted with the baking process.
Can You Give A Cat Too Much CBD?
While we provide a suggested serving size of CBD for adults, how much CBD you give your cat is something you should discuss with your vet. Cats weigh much less than we do, so they don’t need as much per serving. Veterinarians and pet practitioners often suggest somewhere between 1 to 4 milligrams per 10 pounds every 8 hours or so.
Giving your cat too much CBD can result in vomiting, lethargy, inappetence, and diarrhea Ataxia can occasionally occur with large ingestions.
Why Use CBD Oil for Cats?
When the Farm Bill of 2018 made CBD legal to farm, sell, and consume, CBD cat treats were a popular option. However, the serving size of pet treats is challenging to adjust, which is why many pet parents made the transition to oil. Not only is oil easier to control the serving size, but if your finicky kitty won’t eat the CBD treats you’ve purchased, you can mix CBD oil into their wet food or tuna juice.
Oil is also more versatile as you can give it to them orally or apply it topically to areas you know are inflamed. That is if you can apply it under the fluff of their fur.
How Can CBD Help My Cat?
Now that you understand why CBD for cats is a popular option, you may be wondering why or when to consider giving it to them. Discuss CBD as an option with your veterinarian for the following:
Stress and Anxiety
Consider CBD for cats with anxiety as a way to bring their nerves down a notch or two. For example, if your cat is stressed or aggressive while you are moving to a new home, at the veterinarian, during thunderstorms, or when you are out of town. Maybe even when there’s a lot of company over or when a new baby comes home.
Pain And Aging
If your cat is aging or has been in a cat fight, accident, or injury they are likely to be experiencing inflammation, sore muscles, arthritis, or pain. They won’t be able to tell you they are hurting so keep your eyes open for any behavioral changes or changes in how they walk, move, or play. CBD for your cat’s joint pain may help to soothe their symptoms, as CBD activates the pain and inflammation receptors, helping their body to naturally soothe their symptoms
CBD Oil For Cats Peeing
Inappropriate urination is either behavioral or medical. See your vet to ensure what the cause is. If it’s behavioral, CBD may help to minimize their stress and anxiety. Top behavioral reasons include moving to a new home, switching their litter or litter box, moving their litter box, bringing a new person or pet into the house, and territorial marking—which your cat may not do until you introduce a second cat to your home.
The Side Effects Of Cancer
Cannabis can be used to help alleviate the pain of cancer treatments, stimulate appetite, suppress nausea, and reduce the rate at which cancer metastasizes. Since THC is not pet-safe without strict veterinarian oversight (and may not be legal in your state), hemp CBD products are an easy alternative. Just order your products online as CBD is legal in all 50 states.
What Are the Benefits of CBD Oil for Cats?
As you can see in the section above, the benefits of CBD for cats are in line with the benefits of CBD for humans. It’s a safe and effective way to optimize your cat’s well-being. Your cat can’t tell you exactly what is troubling them, but you know when they aren’t behaving like themselves.
Pet owners who choose CBD for their cats typically do so because it is a natural alternative to prescription medications. It’s also easy to administer, can be purchased without a prescription, and provides you with a versatile way to calm and soothe your sick, stressed, or anxious cat.
The Quality Of Your CBD Matters
Your final consideration is which CBD brand to choose for your cat. Ignore the bells and whistles of cute and creative marketing when shopping for CBD and focus on quality and transparency. Holmes Organics Oil Tincture is USDA-Certified Organic. Our tincture contains just two ingredients, organic olive oil as a carrier oil and CBD extracted from US-grown hemp flowers. We are fully transparent about our processing, sharing our third-party lab results for every batch, because you deserve to know what you are purchasing for yourself or your precious pet.