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CBD Oil for Cats: Benefits, Risks, and Considerations

Genevieve Dugal

By Genevieve Dugal

Human giving CBD Oil to cat

If your cat has any disease, you may be attracted to an alternative treatment, more natural and less expensive than the means offered by your veterinarian. Cannabis oil may have caught your eye.

This is hardly surprising, given that some people are using cannabis as a natural treatment for their own health concerns. However, even though the effect of cannabis on humans is widely studied, there are not yet enough official scientific studies on its impact on pets.

So, is CBD oil safe for your dear feline companions? And what health benefits does it have?

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What Is CBD Oil?

Image Credit: Erin Stone, Pixabay

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the cannabinoids found in hemp. There are nearly 144 of them, including the now well-known tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But, unlike its cousin THC, CBD does not have psychotropic effects, so it does not alter consciousness or perception.

Like all cannabinoids, CBD influences the endocannabinoid system: it is made up of a set of receptors located throughout the human body, which regulate the body’s key factors: appetite, sleep, stress, temperature, acidity, etc. As a result, CBD is now widely studied for its actions on humans and also animals, including sleep, anxiety, inflammation, osteoarthritis, and more.

Moreover, CBD oil is made up of:

  • A vegetable oil (olive, coconut, hemp, etc.) to strengthen its assimilation (fatty substance) and provide healthy nutritional contributions
  • A hemp extract rich in CBD

The vegetable oil is used to strengthen the assimilation of CBD by the body: thanks to this fatty substance, CBD is much more easily metabolized by the body, which increases its action and its duration of presence in the blood.

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What Are the Health Benefits For Cats?

cat taking CBD oil
Image Credit: Erin Stone, Pixabay

As with humans, CBD oil is also said to be beneficial for pets, especially cats and dogs. However, there is not (yet) enough scientific evidence to support these theories. This is why you need to act cautiously if you decide to give your feline CBD oil. In any case, you must first refer to a veterinarian.

Reported beneficial effects by cat owners include:

  1. Pain relief
  2. Decreased stress and anxiety
  3. Sleep regulation
  4. Improved appetite
  5. Regulate digestion
  6. Better healing of minor wounds
  7. Better quality of the animal’s coat
  8. Strengthened immune system
  9. Helps treat seizures and epilepsy
  10. Helps with cancer treatment

Besides, according to a 2016 American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association study, between 61% and 95% of people who have used CBD oil for their pets were satisfied with the results. In addition, most cat and dog owners have reported that they use CBD to alleviate a disease or condition diagnosed by a veterinarian, the most common ailments being seizures, cancer, anxiety, and arthritis.

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Is CBD Oil for Cats Different Than CBD Oil for Humans?

CBD oil
Image Credit: Julia Teichmann, Pixabay

There are two essential differences between CBD oil for humans and CBD oil for pets:

  • The lack of terpenes:  The researchers of this study found that terpenes, a natural compound found in the flower or bud of the cannabis plant, could be toxic and even fatal to cats. While there hasn’t been much more research devoted to this topic, many manufacturers have decided to remove terpenes from their CBD oil designed for pets.
  • The aroma: CBD oil for cats can be enhanced with a specific aroma. This is meant to improve its scent, so your kitten will be more likely to ingest it.

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Are There Any Side Effects or Risks of CBD Oil for Cats?

woman giving CBD oil to her cat
Image Credit: Erin Hinterland, Pixabay

As with any other alternative method, there are potential side effects when administering CBD oil to your cat. In general, if you follow your veterinarian’s recommendations, this product is well tolerated by pets such as cats and dogs. However, some cat owners have noted abnormally lethargic behavior in their feline companions.

Gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea or vomiting, are other possible side effects resulting from CBD oil. Typically, cat owners notice these effects after brutally introducing the oil into their cat’s diet.

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How Much CBD Should I Give to My Cat?

cat given CBD oil drops
Image Credit: Erin Stone, Pixabay

When you introduce CBD oil for cats to your pet’s diet, you will need to go slowly. Do not rush this process by giving your pet large amounts of CBD oil from the start. Instead, it is recommended that you ease the oil into its diet. This helps ensure that the pet gets to reap the many benefits associated with using the oil without having to experience a bad reaction. You can find more dosage information here.

However, just because they are available over the counter does not mean that CBD products for animals are safe.

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What to Consider Before Offering CBD Oil to Your Cat

Step 1: Ask Your Veterinarian For Advice

To begin with, it is essential to pay a visit to the veterinarian. As a specialist in animal health, he will know how to analyze if your companion needs it, then adapt his prescription according to his metabolism and his body. In addition, if your cat is already taking treatment, your vet will be able to advise you on their compatibility with CBD oil.

Step 2: Deciding the Dosage

As with humans, it is advisable to start with small doses to see that your cat is coping well with the treatment at first. If this is the case and always in agreement with your veterinarian, it will be possible to increase the doses according to his needs gradually.

Plus, the dosage of CBD for pets depends mainly on your pet’s weight and the condition that needs to be relieved. As a general rule, the smaller your cat and the less severe her condition, the lower the effective starting dose should be. Most reputable pet CBD brands offer products based on weight or height categories, with dosage recommendations.

Step 3: How To Give CBD Oil To Your Cat

Depending on the product you have chosen for your pet, you should follow the recommendations on the instructions for use. The oil, in spray or in drops, can be administered in two ways:

  • Directly in the mouth of your animal
  • In his food or his bowl

If your pet is reluctant to take the oil directly as a spray or dropper, you can opt to mix CBD oil with their meal.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, CBD oil appears to be a source of benefit and comfort for cats and other pets, just as it is for humans. However, it is necessary to check with a veterinarian in order to find the right product and the proper dosage. In short, CBD and its effects on animals is a vast subject that continues to be studied, so new studies are likely to emerge that will reveal more secrets about this still intriguing alternative treatment.

Featured Image Credit: Lightcube, Shutterstock

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