Everything you need to know about CBD for cats


You’ve heard of CBD for dogs, but what about CBD for cats? Our feline friends can benefit from the healing powers of CBD just as much as humans and dogs, but how?

What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of over 80 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. It’s the second most famous after THC. However, unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects, and so won’t get you or your pet high.

CBD-only products are popping up all over the U.S. because unlike goods high in THC, CBD products, like oils, capsules, and dog treats can be shipped to all 50 states. That’s because CBD-only products come for the hemp plant, not the marijuana plant. According to the 2014 Farm Bill, any Cannabis Sativa L. plant with 0.3% THC or less is considered hemp and therefore legal.

CBD for Cats: How does it work?

Like humans, cats have endocannabinoid systems (ECS) that regulate bodily functions like sleep, mood, pain, appetite, and immunity.

Our bodies and cats’ bodies have cannabis receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, and we also produce our own natural cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids, that bind to these receptors. Therefore, when you or Mr. Whiskers consume cannabis, like CBD oil, it’s basically supplementing your endocannabinoid system, much like taking vitamin C supplements your immune system.

CBD for Cats: What Conditions Can it Help?

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Although there isn’t a ton of scientific research to back it up, there are countless shared anecdotes of how CBD for cats drastically improved pets’ lives and even saved on veterinary expenses.

For starters, CBD for cats has been known to help make cats more comfortable toward the end of their lives. Cats with cancer or other terminal illness have been known to live longer than expected in less pain and discomfort. CBD for cats can also help cats who suffer from:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression or grumpiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Asthma
  • Constant hiding and fear of strangers, fireworks, and lightning
  • Crying without a cause
  • Lack of energy

Some more serious medical issues CBD for cats can help include:

  • Arthritis: Because of CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects, many cats benefit from CBD for managing arthritis People report their cats being more agile and playful after taking CBD.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): IBD is also caused by inflammation and so CBD has been known to improve symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss.
  • Pancreatitis: Again, pancreatitis is caused by inflammation. Plus, it’s common among cats with IDB. CBD along with a low-fat diet can greatly improve a cat with pancreatitis’ quality of life.
  • Asthma: Another inflammatory disease, CBD for cats can help kitties have fewer asthma attacks by decreasing inflammation.
  • Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections: Because CBD is involved in the body’s immune function, it can help cats with chronic viral infections
  • Seizures: One of the main reasons CBD is used in humans, especially children, can also benefit our feline friends. CBD can drastically decrease the frequency of seizures in humans, especially in intractable forms of epilepsy, and it seems to work the same way in cats.
  • Skin Conditions: Rubbing CBD oil on cat’s itchy patches or fur can greatly improve irritation for cats because they have cannabis receptors on the skin.

All of these CBD for cats anecdotes may seem too good to be true, but we’re not making this stuff up. Of course, it’s always important to consult your veterinarian first or have a consultation with a holistic vet if yours is a bit old-fashioned. Also, never stop your cat’s current medications and replace them with CBD without consulting a vet first.

Dosing CBD for Cats

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Photo courtesy of boulderholisticvet.com

Like in humans, the correct dose of cannabis and CBD can make all the difference. A good rule of thumb is “less is more,” but we’ve also found some great advice from holistic vet, Dr. Angie Krause, DVM, on her website. Dr. Krause has specific dosing recommendations for different diseases:

  • Arthritis: 0.5 milligrams (mg) of CBD per kilogram of your pet’s weight (0.5 mg/kg) twice a day
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: 0.2mg/kg twice daily
  • Pancreatitis: 0.1mg/kg twice daily and gradually increase to 0.5mg/kg twice daily
  • Asthma: 0.5mg/kg twice daily
  • Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections:5mg/kg twice daily
  • Seizures: 0.5mg/kg twice daily and gradually increase. Dr. Krause notes it takes up to 3mg/kg for CBD to help cats with seizures

CBD for cats can take two weeks to a month to take effect, so don’t expect an overnight cure. Plus, with dosing, it may take a little time to find your cat’s “sweet spot,” so patience is always the best course of action.

As far as which CBD oil to buy, you can use CBD oil meant for humans, but there are also brands making CBD oil specifically for pets. The important thing to consider when shopping for CBD for cats is to make sure the product was tested by a third party lab. Also, check out Herb’s guide on how to buy quality CBD oil online here.

Are There Side Effects?

The main side effect CBD for cats is making them a bit sedated. If that happens, it’s best to lower your cat’s dose. Like humans, all cats react to cannabis differently. One of the best side effects many pet owners and vets commonly report is giving CBD to cats for one reason, like arthritis, and it ends up helping with other issues as well.

One important thing to note is you should never feed your cat weed, products high in THC, or blow smoke in their face. THC affects cats differently than human because they have more CB-1 receptors in their brains than us, and so THC can make them paranoid and uncomfortable. Plus, cats can’t communicate how they feel.

However, CBD for cats has proved to be effective and virtually harmless in so many kitties, it’s worth a shot if your cat suffers from one of the aforementioned conditions.