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Cat Hemp Treats – Can My Cat Have Them? Effectiveness & Safety Explored

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

woman hang giving treat to a cat

Hemp is a popular, natural alternative to traditional pharmaceutical products. It is often marketed to treat a range of conditions, such as anxiety, pain, inflammation, nausea, and even seizures. Pet owners interested in using natural methods to treat medical conditions may wonder if cat hemp treats are okay to feed. The simple answer is, yes. But keep reading to learn more about cat hemp treats, how they work, and whether it’s okay for your cat to have them. We’ll also cover the advantages and disadvantages of giving your cat hemp treats.

How Does It Work?

Cat hemp treats work in one of two ways, depending on whether they contain CBD or hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil doesn’t contain CBD and is extracted from hemp plant seeds. It is helpful as a source of fatty acids but doesn’t have the same impact as hemp CBD. If your cat’s hemp treats only contain hemp seed oil, they’re probably intended to support skin, coat, and joint health.

CBD works on a cat’s brain activity through the endocannabinoid system (ECS.) The ECS is a communication method within your cat’s brain and body that controls things like how your cat feels and reacts. CBD hemp treats influence how the brain functions and responds in certain situations.

Giving treat to Siamese cat
Image Credit: PxHere

Will Cat Hemp Treats Get My Cat High?

Both hemp and marijuana belong to the cannabis family and contain CBD. However, hemp plants can’t legally have more than 0.3% THC, the substance in marijuana that gets you high. Because they’re made with hemp, cat hemp treats shouldn’t contain enough THC to get your cat high.

Hemp CBD is not an intoxicating or addicting product. However, the CBD product industry is not well-regulated in this country. No one is monitoring the growing and manufacturing process to ensure that only the right Cannabis plant is used in cat hemp treats.

In addition, there are no regulations requiring CBD companies to test their products to ensure that what’s on the label is actually in the hemp treats you purchase. A study from 2017 found that many CBD products sold online either over or understated the amount of CBD they contained.1

Where Is It Used?

Most hemp treats for cats are marketed for calming or soothing. They’re designed to reduce anxiety and relax your cat during stressful situations like storms, vet visits, and car rides. Many also contain other soothing ingredients like melatonin and chamomile. Other potential uses for hemp CBD treats are to relieve pain from such conditions as arthritis. They may also help improve nausea. Hemp treats may also reduce overall chronic inflammation in the body.

Most uses of hemp treats in cats are based on cat owners’ experience with these products and how they helped their kitties. Researchers are still building scientific support for what owners and holistic vets observe when they use hemp CBD products like treats.

So far, hemp CBD has not been studied much in cats. In humans, research indicates that hemp CBD is useful in treating seizures, and the same may be true for dogs.2 Another study supports the idea that hemp CBD helps relieve pain in dogs with arthritis. Using hemp treats to decrease inflammation, nausea, and anxiety has at least some research evidence to support it, although not specifically in cats.

maine coon cat having treat
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Advantages of Hemp Cat Treats

One advantage of using hemp cat treats is that their primary ingredient is derived from natural plant material. Some cat owners may prefer herbal and natural remedies like hemp cat treats instead of giving their anxious cat pharmaceutical drugs.

Disadvantages of Hemp Cat Treats

A significant disadvantage of all hemp CBD products is the lack of regulation and oversight of sourcing, production, and labeling. Not all hemp CBD companies are created equal regarding the quality of their products. You might be paying for hemp CBD treats that don’t contain much hemp at all, and there’s no real way to tell for sure.

Another disadvantage of hemp cat treats (which applies to oil as well) is that research already shows that pets don’t absorb CBD effectively by mouth.3 Much of the CBD is quickly scrubbed from the blood by the cat’s liver. Unfortunately, there’s also been some evidence that hemp CBD may impact liver function.

cat eating treats with its tongue sticking out
Image Credit: Daria Bondina, Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Hemp Treats Safe for Cats?

Based on the evidence we have available, hemp CBD, including treats, is safe for cats overall. Some cats may experience an upset stomach and behavioral changes. If your cat takes any other medication or has liver issues, check with your vet before offering hemp treats.

And again, be aware that there’s always going to be at least a small safety concern with hemp CBD products until there are better systems in place to regulate their production.

Are Hemp Treats Legal?

Hemp CBD treats and other products are legal to buy as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC, as we discussed earlier. However, it may not be legal for your vet to recommend or discuss hemp CBD products with you. There are no standardized rules for vets in this scenario, so each state tends to have different regulations.

As the use of hemp CBD products becomes more widespread, states and veterinary medical boards are starting to take steps to clarify how and when vets can recommend them.

How Do I Find a Good Hemp Treat Brand?

The best way to find a good hemp treat brand is to talk to other pet owners who use these products and research the companies themselves. Other pet owners can tell you which products seem to help their cat, although every pet reacts to hemp products differently.

When researching brands, the more information the company offers up-front, the better. Where do they get their ingredients? Do they perform third-party testing or quality control checks?

Will Hemp Treats Work For My Cat?

Because of the lack of scientific knowledge about whether hemp CBD works in cats, usually, the only way for you to know if they’ll help your cat is to try them. Again, you can choose products that other cat owners have had success with, but your cat’s ECS system is its own, and it will respond to hemp CBD in its own way.

CBD Treats
Image Credit: PRO Stock Professional, Shutterstock


Hemp treats can be a simple, tasty way to get CBD into your cat in hopes of realizing the potential health benefits of this substance. However, you must take some time to find a trustworthy product due to the lack of consistent production standards for hemp CBD items. If you prefer alternative medicine to heal your cat, consider finding a holistic veterinarian. They can recommend hemp CBD treats and guide you in finding other CBD products that may help your cat if needed.

Featured Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

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