CBD is becoming increasingly popular among consumers, not only for themselves but also for their pets. As consumers turn to CBD seeking relief from insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain, and other symptoms, they may wonder if CBD could offer the same potential benefits for their cats. There are a growing number of CBD infused products in the market today, from CBD dog treats to CBD shampoos, CBD coffees, and more. But what about CBD for cats?
To learn more about the potential benefits of CBD for cats and what cat owners should know before making the decision to give your cat CBD, we reached out to a panel of veterinary professionals, cat lovers, and CBD enthusiasts and asked them to answer this question:
“What should cat owners know about CBD for cats?”
Meet Our Panel of Veterinary Professionals, Cat Lovers & CBD Enthusiasts:
● Andy Ha
Keep reading to learn what our panel had to say about what you should know before giving CBD to your feline companions.
NOTE: The information and opinions expressed below represent the opinions of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Incredible Edibles.
Dr. Theresa Fossum is a world-renowned veterinary surgeon. With 30+ years of practice, research, teaching, entrepreneurship, and five editions of her textbook Small Animal Surgery, Dr. Fossum recently turned to natural health. Now CEO of Dr. Fossum’s Pet Care, she is creating remedies for cats, dogs, and horses that are efficacious without the side effects of many pharmaceutical products.
“We have had a lot of success in helping cats feel like themselves again…”
With that said, every cat is different, and CBD will not cure all of your cat’s issues. CBD has been reported to help:
- Keep cats calm
- Improve mobility issues
- Relieve discomfort
- Reduce restlessness and improve sleep
Palatability is Important (Especially in Cats)
It is important that you find a product that is palatable as cats can be quite picky. Make sure that you are buying a product that is feline specific from a company that specializes in pet products.
Buy Cat Specific Products
Don’t buy a brand that sells mainly human products and has a pet tincture side hustle. Generally, there is very little consideration given to ingredients and flavoring, and they haven’t properly considered how to properly administer CBD to pets.
Choose THC Free Products
We recommend a product that is THC free.
Choose Products with the Proper Credentials
The most important thing about purchasing CBD is buying it from a reputable source. It is tough to tell who makes a quality product and who is just good at marketing their product. Here are a few tips (these should be on the packaging and/or website):
- Look for third party certifications. Some companies do their own testing—be sure that they have had an outside laboratory certify that their product contains what is on the label. You are paying for the CBD and other cannabinoids (CBG, CBN) in the product, so make sure that you are not getting cheated.
- We recommend products that are National Animal Council Certified (NASC). NASC ensures that companies are not making false claims of what their product can do for your pet. NASC also reviews the company’s manufacturing processes and makes sure that they are appropriate for the product.
- Look for a certificate of analysis (COA). You want to make sure that there are no heavy metals, pesticides or herbicides in the product that you are giving your cat. They can be harmful when ingested.
- Make sure that the company has performed shelf life and stability tests. This information should be on the package or readily available on their website. Otherwise, you could be purchasing a product where the CBD is no longer active and won’t benefit your cat. What a waste of money!
- Do not purchase products called a treat. CBD is not approved as a food additive. CBD can be sold as a chew but not as a treat.
Dr. Sabrina Kong DVM, is a veterinary writer at WeLoveDoodles. She graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in England in 2016 and has been working at a small animal clinic in Northern California since then.
“The first thing to know when looking for CBD for cats is the fact there is limited information about the impact of CBD on cats…”
The safest thing to know is that it’s not harmful and that cats could take it; however, its full potential and benefits are yet to be proven.
Some research says that CBD might help in boosting immune support, help in relieving chronic pain and improving joint mobility. However, I still find too few of my coworkers who actually recommend it. It’s something used as a last resort or support, as a natural medicine in humans.
But I’d totally agree with trying it if your pet has joint pain or expresses anxiety; however, first you should consult with your veterinarian about the right dosage and use it to administer it as safely as possible.
Dr. James Lowder is the chief medical officer of Impact Naturals, the winner of CBD Expo West’s Scientific Advancement Award.
“Dosage of all supplements, including CBD, should be determined by the weight, adjusted for metabolism, of the recipient…”
Dogs and cats have faster metabolisms than humans, but much less mass. They need a smaller dose based on their smaller size, but more than you might think because of their faster metabolism.
There is not yet a recommended dosage of CBD approved by the FDA for humans OR animals, but if we say that ‘typical human’ doses of CBD range between 5-40 mg, that converts to an approximate range of 0.1-0.6 mg/kg in an ‘average’ person. This is increased by a factor of 3.1 (0.31-1.86) for a cat and 1.8 (0.18-1.08) for a dog, due to that faster metabolism. So a 2 kg cat would receive between 0.6 mg and 3.7 mg, and a 10 kg dog would get a 1.8- 10.8 mg dose. Of course, your individual pet’s concerns and health may vary, so I’d encourage anyone to talk to their vet to get the best guidance for their needs.
The last piece of advice I would offer pet-lovers with CBD is that consistency is important. Using CBD on a regular basis (for most cases, that would mean daily) is key to unlocking its best benefits and keeping your pet’s endocannabinoid system in it’s best condition—contributing to their long-term health and happiness.
Pedro M. Aponte (PM Aponte) is a DVM, Ph.D., and veterinary college professor. Outside of the academic world, he runs the blog Animal Hackers, where he writes about pets, emphasizing the solutions to dogs’ and cats’ problems.
“Although there is still research going on studying the effects of CBD on cats, scientific evidence so far says it is safe enough…”
However, no CBD product is allowed by law to claim therapeutic effects. Veterinarians may prescribe them off-label because the evidence is piling up, suggesting many exciting possibilities for the treatment of disease in cats and other animals.
What is CBD used in cats for? Basically, CBD is used in cats for:
- Stress and anxiety
- Painful conditions (like cancer)
- Chronic inflammation conditions (like arthritis)
Although not tested, CBD oil is potentially helpful for non-responsive seizures (as in epilepsy, sometimes diagnosed in cats), to relieve itching conditions (from allergies or flea infestations, for instance).
How does CBD oil work?
There are specific receptors for CBD in neurons (brain and nerves) that will trigger the production of pain-killing and nerve-calming neurotransmitters. In addition, several immune cells also have CBD receptors and respond by producing anti-inflammatory molecules (cytokines).
I am sold. How do I give my cats CBD? What is the best dose?
Most manufacturers recommend 1 to 5 mg for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily (this dose will work for cats and dogs). This is equivalent to 0.22 to 1.1 mg per kg of body weight, which is much lower than tested in scientific experiments. For example, in one very recent study (2021), cats were given 30.5 mg/kg (a massive dose, more than 30 times higher than doses advised by commercial CBD manufacturers), with no side effects. In another study (2019), some of the participating cats had excessive licking and head shaking with a dose near ten times what commercial CBD products suggest. However, most animals were all right after the experiments.
CBD is best administered orally with a dropper, and it can be mixed with food as well.
What about the safety of CBD for cats?
Cats are sensitive creatures when it comes to medications like aspirin and derivatives (NSAIDs), antidepressants, and tranquilizers, among others. These drugs can wreak havoc on the cat’s body. However, these prescribed-for-cats drugs are exactly what CBD can replace naturally when treating feline conditions like anxiety or chronic pain.
As seen when discussing CBD doses, it is very difficult to overdose a cat with CBD accidentally.
Additionally, cats are very selective about food intake and tend not to like the treats that dogs usually love. Therefore, overconsumption of CBD (for example, through treats) is more likely in dogs, who are scavengers by nature and may eat a wide variety of foods, including garbage if given the chance.
Low-quality CBD oil products may contain other substances different from CBD. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another primary psychoactive cannabinoid, may be present in a higher percentage than allowed by law (more than 0.2%). When a cat is overdosed with one of these defective products, they may show the following adverse effects:
- A severe drop in blood pressure
- Slow heart rate (bradycardia)
- Breathing depression
This situation should be considered a medical emergency and might require intensive care at a veterinary hospital.
Also, low-quality CBD oil products may contain heavy metals, pesticides, and other chemicals or fillers that could seriously affect a cat.
Are there any additional side effects I should worry about?
Not really, if the recommended doses are respected, and a good quality product (ideally organic) is given to your cat.
Dr. Michelle Burch is a 2010 graduate of Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation she has practiced small animal medicine in South Carolina and Washington State. Her passions in small animal medicine include preventative medicine and nutrition.
“There is no difference between the cannabidiol (CBD) used in human products and pet products…”
CBD can be extracted from both the cannabis plant or hemp plant and made into oils, treats, or gel tablets. The most significant difference between pet and human CBD products is the legality of recommendations from veterinarians.
Unfortunately, state and federal law concerning veterinarians counseling, recommending, or prescribing the use of CBD is murky at best. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp and its derivatives, including CBD with less than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), from the Controlled Substances Act, while cannabis and its byproducts remain a Schedule 1 Class drug (only intended for use in research and requires unique licensing to handle).
If state law legalizes marijuana and byproducts for recreational consumption, this law only applies to humans and not animals, thus making it illegal for veterinarians to support or discuss the use of certain products. Additionally, at this time, the FDA has not approved any veterinarian product with CBD for use in animals.
I give a buyer beware statement if you decide to give your pet CBD oil of any brand or variety. CBD oils are not regulated and can contain impurities and not have the claimed potency as stated on the label. Without knowing the contaminants present in the product, you run the risk of giving your pet a potential toxin.
Also, since the product’s concentration may vary, you may be overdosing or under-dosing your pet, resulting in various clinical responses. Veterinary medicine is only starting to publish peer-reviewed journals establishing dosing ranges, toxic doses, and long-term effects of using CBD oil.
CBD use in pets does show promise in helping with a large range of diseases including pain management, seizure control, reduction of anxiety, and improving appetite with decreasing nausea. Unfortunately, in veterinary medicine, we have to wait until federal law and peer-reviewed research catch up with state law.
Amy is a cat expert and the founder of My Cat Needs This.
“CBD is a non-psychotropic compound of cannabis that has medical powers for cats…”
Cannabidiol (CBD) in pets has been seen to improve health and enrich their lives. The chemical compound has shown beneficial effects mainly in four areas: fighting cancer, calming anxiety, relieving pain, and suppressing diarrhea.
The addition of the natural plant to a pet’s diet also reduces chronic inflammation in tissues and prevents bone fractures. These are ailments common to old age in cats, so that it would be beneficial for senior pussies and kitties with severe conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
In general, when taken orally from oil droplets on food or from water bottles explicitly meant for animals, the cannabidiol is processed in the liver. It works through receptors found on cells throughout the body. It can also be applied topically to pets’ gums, ears, or affected areas.
Treatment with CBD has seen significant improvements in several diseases such as glaucoma, epilepsy, anxiety disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis in cats.
Amber LaRock is a licensed vet tech with 10 years of experience in the field and writes on her blog, Pet Worshiper.
“CBD is a new tool that many veterinarians are using to target chronic pain in our feline friends…”
The most common use of CBD in cats is for those with arthritis, as CBD is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Not only can inflammatory relief target pain in cats affected, but it also can help them regain some of their lost mobility. CBD may not cure your cat of their medical condition, but it can make the pain much easier to manage.
When choosing the best CBD product for your cat, be sure to always run it by your veterinarian for approval. CBD products for pets are not closely regulated, making it easy to stumble upon a product that can cause your pet harm. Once you get your vet’s stamp of approval, your cat can soak in the many potential benefits of CBD use going forward.
Thomas Zheng is a Veterinary Advisor at GrubbyCat.com.
“The most important thing that cat owners who are considering the use of CBD should know is…”
To seriously take care of your pet’s hydration while administering any dosage of CBD or oils with your cat.
I am no longer practicing and am serving as a veterinary advisor for a few pet food companies and some websites, but I have colleagues who have seen more than they would like to admit in terms of dehydrated pets. It’s not very common to see a pet have a dehydration problem if you are making sure as an owner to supply water and do your part, but when a cat or a dog is still getting what seems like the fluids they need while consuming CBD, you also have to consider the risk for two very important side effects: vomiting and diarrhea. Both of which can quickly cause dehydration if not closely monitored and taken care of.
Dace Lace is the Editor & Co-founder of PetFoodSite.com.
“I have lived with cats all my life…”
But the first thing I noticed about our feline friends is that they are all different from each other. Some experienced anxiety more than others when their routine was disturbed.
One thing I noticed with CBD products is that my female cats never cared for it, whereas my male cat would almost instantly be happy with the environment. This was also brought to my attention by a few clients of mine.
I would not want to say that there is no calming effect from CBD products in the female feline community, rather that cat owners might need to try different CBD products to find the most suitable for their cat’s personality and needs.
Andrea has used cannabis on and off for the last seven years. She recently shifted away from high THC strains towards more balanced cannabinoid profiles. As a marketing manager at Nature and Bloom, Andrea heads up connecting with other blogs in the space and improving organic site visibility.
“CBD products provide a lot of benefits for cats, including…”
Help with anxiety, infections, inflammation, loss of appetite, and aggression.
High levels of THC is toxic to cats, though, so make sure you’re getting CBD products that are hemp-derived, not cannabis-derived.
Here are three things I consider important for cat owners to know about CBD:
- When buying CBD products, check third-party test results. Doing your research is a must to ensure the quality of the CBD products you’re going to administer to your cat. Before you buy from a company, make sure they have results from a third-party test. These tests are conducted by a professional team who analyzes the product ingredients and reports if it’s safe or not. Do a little digging and make sure the results come from a credible source.
- Be patient; it takes some time to see the effects. Always start with a low dosage and stick to that for a few days. Be patient, and if you haven’t seen changes in 5 days of giving the minimum recommended dose, you can increase the dosage by 1 or 2 mg, then observe again for a couple of days.
- CBD is not a substitute for veterinary care. The best way to incorporate CBD into your cat’s health is to work with a veterinarian. This is especially true if you’re using CBD as a form of treatment for an existing medical condition your cat has.
Tim is the CEO of The Healthy Place. He has extensive experience in the health and wellness industry in well-known industry brands, before opening his own company in 2010 and opening a chain of stores across Wisconsin.
“Your four-legged feline family members are good at hiding their emotions or aches and pains by putting on a brave face to keep us humans happy…”
And that’s exactly why you should consider a CBD supplement to help boost your pet’s mood, promote better rest, and help ease any physical discomfort.
CBD produces soothing, calming, and comforting effects for your kitty, you can expect your cat to finally chill out, calm down, or get the rest they need when you add a CBD supplement to their diet.
Nora is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, and a leading author at Catademy and an avid cat parent since her 6th birthday. Today she has over 29 years of cat care and training experience. She also specializes in sales and marketing. Nora’s main current goal is to open her own cat rescue center when she gets her feline veterinarian certificate.
“Cannabidiol in pet CBD oils is known for providing the approved therapeutic effects of the…”
Cannabis plant without any notable psychoactive effects of the average smoking hemp. Cats do have an endocannabinoid system that’s involved in a variety of processes, including mood regulation, various sensations, memory, and more.
CBD oils are generally recommended for cats that suffer from all kinds of mental and many kinds of physical conditions. Of course, it’s not a cure for any issue and sometimes more serious treatment is required. But CBD oil may help your cat relax, feel less pain, and feel happier during other kinds of treatment. In most cases, CBD oil is used as one of the most effective and least harmful anti-anxiety remedies for cats, who suffer from this issue even more often than people!
See your vet to figure out if there are any issues that should be treated with CBD oil and provide your cat with the right daily dosage to avoid oversaturation and rough withdrawal.
Dipak Hemraj is a published author, grower, product maker, and Leafwell’s resident cannabis expert. From botany and horticulture to culture and economics, he wishes to help educate the public on why cannabis is medicine (or a pharmacy in a plant) and how it can be used to treat a plethora of health problems. Dipak wants to unlock the power of the plant and see if there are specific cannabinoid-terpene-flavonoid profiles suitable for different conditions.
“Cannabidiol (CBD) has taken the world by storm…”
This constituent of cannabis is known for its mood-elevating and anti-inflammatory properties, without the intoxicating effects of THC. CBD also has a rather excellent safety profile, in that a) there are few side-effects and b) there has been no death associated with CBD use alone, even at high doses.
Due to its relative safety, many have started to use CBD for their pets! However, we don’t know nearly enough about CBD’s effects on humans, let alone our feline friends!
With that being said, many have successfully used CBD to help treat anxiety in their cats. There are also reports of CBD being helpful for dogs with epilepsy and osteoarthritis, and there’s good reason to believe that it may be just as beneficial in treating such conditions in cats as well.
There is a notorious lack of regulation of CBD products: Some contain plenty of CBD, others not much. People have reported that their pets become sedated or develop upset stomachs after ingesting high doses of CBD, so pet owners should also consider this.
The best way to ensure that you get a quality CBD product for your cat is to:
- Ensure that it’s a product designed specifically for cats.
- Use products that carry the Certified Seal of the U.S. Hemp Authority or the National Animal Supplements Council (NASC).
- Talk to a vet about utilizing CBD for your cat.
Shakir is the Founder and Editor of The Life Hype.
“Even though there are few scientific studies, veterinarians generally believe that CBD oil is safe for cats…”
As a pet owner for about a decade, I’ve noticed my cats’ drowsiness and upset stomachs when taking CBD. By discontinuing the use of the oil, both of these conditions can be alleviated.
Don’t underestimate the importance of correct dosage in combating side effects. The right dosage means that you won’t accidentally overdose on CBD oil because it is having the impact you intend it to have.
Cat owners interested in giving their pets CBD oil should do their research before making an online purchase. Be sure to check the product you are considering buying for both its ingredients and for contaminants, like bacteria, fungi, and heavy metals.
A word of caution: Although CBD oil is relatively safe for cats, cannabis plants are not, unfortunately. For cats that nibble on the plants, there is plenty of evidence that it is toxic.
The key is to consult your veterinarian before giving your pet any type of cannabis treatment, so you can discuss all of your options.
Alex Gould is the Co-Founder of Mr. Hemp Flower, one of the top CBD companies in the USA.
“I’m sure that you know that CBD is available for animals now, and yes, that includes cats as well…”
This is absolutely great for cat owners to have as an option to purchase for their adorable fur babies.
There are some things that you should know about CBD for cats, though. You need to make sure that the CBD for your feline friends is THC free. Next you’re going to want to check that it’s made from premium grade hemp. You want to make sure that it’s made from the best CBD that’s available for your kitty friends. You only want the best for them and want to make sure that it contains nothing that could hurt them.
There are many reasons why cat owners would want to give their cats CBD. CBD works just as amazing for cats as it does for humans. CBD for cats can help with so many things—maybe more than you even realize:
- Stress or anxiety
- Stomach issues
And honestly so much more than what’s listed above.
CBD for cats works quite a bit like it does with humans. It can help ease their nausea. It can reduce any of your kitty’s stress or anxiety that they might be feeling. Nobody likes these feelings, cats included.
CBD can help with the amount of seizures that your cat might be having. How great is that? You need to give it a try if your fur baby suffers from seizures.
If your cat has any pain, stomach issues, or asthma issues going on in their life, then you should definitely give CBD a try for them as well.
Lindsey Holthaus is the Co-Founder of Plain Jane Hemp.
“CBD has many benefits for cats…”
CBD is not psychoactive, but acts on the endocannabinoid (ECS) system of cell membranes in the body to regulate metabolism, inflammation and pain. CBD will make your kitty feel relaxed without overtaking his or her sensory system. Treatments may help with cellular inflammation, bone healing after fractures or trauma, diarrhea, hypertension or high blood pressure; it can also be used as a natural appetite stimulant if needed!
Numerous people report good results with their pets when using CBD. Ask your vet about this innovative non-prescription treatment for chronic conditions in cats and dogs alike! Some pet owners who already use CBD for themselves claim they see an improvement when giving it to their cats too—the formerly scaredy-cat turns into a calm lounge chair extraordinaire! The trickiest part about this remedy is finding out how much to give them. Cats also have a much lower tolerance for THC since it is metabolized at different rates in cats versus people, which means exceeding the threshold could kill them. CBD oil can be given to cats if they are suffering from seizures, but should never contain any psychotropic agents.
Paul is a CBD expert and founder of CBD4Beginners.
“CBD typically comes in oil form, and it’s important to know that cats could become sick or even die if they eat it…”
You should always talk to your vet for advice on dosage if you’re using CBD oil to help your cat with chronic pain.
CBD can be used at any point in life, but it’s most commonly used when a senior starts slowing down. Your veterinarian can help you determine if CBD is the right choice for your old kitty!
Andy is the Head of Marketing at Cloom.
“CBD treats cat skin allergies…”
Dermatitis is a common skin allergy symptom with inflammatory characteristics. When the cat keeps scratching, it often causes inflammation and open ulcers, leading to infection.
CBD has many applications, not only in human health but also in pet medical treatment.
The effects of CBD on dogs, cats and other pets are very similar to the effects on humans. Most mammals and humans have an endocannabinoid system whose function is roughly the same as that of the human ECS.
Yannis Giantzides is the Managing Director at Harley Street Hair Transplant Clinics.
“CBD has the ability to…”
Improve immunological function, relieve chronic pain, improve joint mobility, and give anti-inflammatory support. Anecdotal data suggests that cats benefit from CBD when given the proper dose on a regular basis.
Robert Banks is the Founder of MrStocks.
“Over the years, I’ve learned that CBD is not just beneficial for dogs but also for cats…”
And the best way to give them CBD is orally. You can either choose to give them oil placed right in their mouth or tinctures mixed in with their food or water. Oil dropped into their mouth with the dropper is the most effective way to control the dosage.
It’s a good thing that my cat likes taking his meds, or it would be really tricky. CBD is really good and beneficial for painful arthritic cats, it’s anti-inflammatory, and it’s safe to give for a long period with no real serious secondary side effects.
But before anything else, always ask your vet before giving your cat anything. That’s the first thing a pet owner should do.
Kristin is a marketing manager of My Enamel Pins.
“CBD may cause lethargy and or reduced activity in some cats…”
CBD is not a substitute for veterinary care, diagnosis, medical treatment and prescription drugs.
CBD can help cats cope with chronic pain or inflammation as an analgesic, antiinflammatory agent if it can be tolerated by the body without causing too many side-effects, such as drowsiness or reduced appetite.
More consumers are turning to CBD in search of relief for their feline friends from a variety of symptoms, such as anxiety and pain. If you’re considering trying CBD for your cat, be sure to consult with your veterinarian first to ensure that it’s a safe option for your cat and to provide the appropriate dosage.