Reading Time: 10 Minutes
CBD oil for cats is becoming so popular that some retailers struggled to keep it in stock over the 4th of July weekend this year!
Many pet owners turned to CBD to help calm their pets during the fireworks. Even though selling and buying CBD for cats is now legal, opinions still vary massively.
First of all, it's still largely unregulated, which causes issues. To make matters worse, the internet is full of misinformation.
Some say you’re drugging your pets. Others claim it’s a magical elixir that cures anything and everything.
Obviously, these are both wild claims. So is CBD actually good for your pets?
The short answer is yes. It can help with many ailments, including physical and mental health issues.
But you have to buy the right products - ones that are safe for your pets. And you need to give them the correct dosage.
To help you navigate all the information out there, we created this Ultimate Guide on CBD for cats! We’ve got all the benefits and the cautions in one place so that you can make the best decision for your feline.
1.What Is CBD Oil?
CBD is the shortened name for cannabidiol. It is one of over 118 cannabinoids, or compounds, found in the cannabis plant. The plant is also known as marijuana or hemp.
There are several ways to extract CBD from hemp plants. We use the designation hemp rather than cannabis or marijuana, because it has a stricter definition.
Hemp is a type of cannabis plant that contains a very low amount of THC, another cannabinoid. THC causes the psychoactive effects that cannabis is notorious for. Therefore, extracting CBD from hemp rather than other cannabis plants is better for medicinal use.
Extracting CBD from hemp involves either alcohol extraction or CO2 extraction. These methods are common across different industries. For example, CO2 extraction is used to extract essential oils and make food additives.
These compounds are then added to a carrier oil to make it easy to administer to your pet. These can be coconut, avocado, salmon, or palm oil. These oils each offer their own individual health benefits for your cat.
Other cannabinoids may then be added back into the oil for the “entourage effect.” This is when multiple compounds have a stronger effect together than individually. They become more than the sum of their parts.
Together, these ingredients are sold as CBD oil.
2. Are All Hemp Products the Same?
Several products are now emerging that come from hemp. But they are used for different purposes. That means they are not interchangeable with CBD.
Here are some common hemp products, and why they are different to CBD products.
CBG is the mother of all cannabinoids. Compounds in hemp all begin as CBG, before they eventually transform into others, like CBD.
Some CBD oil for cats has CBG added back into the oil in small quantities for the entourage effect. You don’t need to worry, this is a good thing. It is a more potent compound that has similar health benefits to that of CBD.
But because it is less abundant within the plant, it is a more expensive compound. Whether your CBD oil
has CBG in it or not, it can be effective for your cat.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil also comes from the hemp plant. It is a naturally occurring oil that does have some health benefits for cats, such as a healthy coat. However, hemp seed oil doesn’t contain CBD!
So while there are health benefits, they are nowhere near as effective as the ones we’ll discuss in this article.
THC is not good for your cat. As we said, THC is the compound that causes the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
It has no health benefits for cats. It can even be dangerous, changing appetites and blood pressure in your cat.
CBD oil should not have any THC in it, because the CBD is extracted which separates it from any THC in the hemp. But always check your product’s ingredient list just in case. Never use CBD oil for your cat that has any THC!
3. How Does CBD for Cats Work
How and why is CBD effective? It’s all because of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The system has receptors spread throughout the body. They are mostly in the brain, nervous system, immune cells, and organs. Their distribution differs in each animal, but they work the same either way.
The health of this system affects everything in the body from temperature and moods to pain and digestion. CBD can support and improve the health of this system, which is why it is so good for overall wellbeing.
But which conditions is CBD best for treating?
4. Benefits of CBD Oil for Cats
CBD is so good for health and wellbeing that it can even benefit cats who aren’t sick. It’s high in antioxidants, which maintain health by dealing with free radical cells in the body.
But it is most commonly used to treat specific conditions. Here are some common cat health problems and how CBD can help.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is an umbrella term for several issues. They can occur because of inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
This inflammation is sometimes due to an imbalance in the body that stops the inflammation from being
regulated. The ECS regulates the immune system and central nervous system. So by supporting the ECS
with CBD oil, the inflammation can be reduced, along with its symptoms.
Pain and Arthritis
CBD is very effective for pain relief. As we said, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. And inflammation
is often the cause of long-term pain.
Additionally, CBD oil isn't addictive, unlike much other pain medication. That makes it a safer alternative.
Further, as cats age, joint pain and stiffness or conditions like arthritis make it difficult to stay active. With CBD relieving their pain, they can maintain an active lifestyle for longer. That can increase their day-to-day
wellness as well as improve their lifespan.
Anti-inflammatory properties once again save the day for cats with asthma. By reducing inflammation, discomfort caused by asthma can be drastically reduced.
Again, CBD is not a diabetes cure. However, diabetes is often caused originally by inflammation. Using CBD can help cats avoid developing diabetes in the first place.
Diabetes also causes more issues for cats. These are usually gastrointestinal. As CBD can relieve those symptoms, it makes the life of a diabetic cat more comfortable.
CBD cannot cure kidney disease. However, its balancing properties help the kidneys to function better, and if the kidney problem is serious, it can keep nausea symptoms at bay. This along with its pain relieving properties can improve cats' daily lives.
While it's not a cancer cure, CBD can help. Vets have observed cats with cancer doing better if they regularly take CBD oil. This is due to the balancing effect of CBD on the ECS.
Keeping the body regulated and healthy can keep symptoms at bay from many diseases. That includes slowing cancer's development. CBD oil can help by slowing the growth of cancer cells.
Other health benefits can help cats through cancer. This includes an increased appetite that maintains their energy. Its pain relieving properties also help them stay active.
Its balancing effect can further help cats undergoing chemotherapy. CBD can reduce their pain and nausea, helping them to cope.
Several studies have investigated the effects of CBD oil on dogs with epilepsy. 89% of dogs had less frequent seizures because of the CBD oil. While there have been no studies on cats, it is likely to be just as beneficial for them.
CBD is anxiolytic, which means it reduces anxiety. Several studies have found it to be very effective in humans.
There are no studies on CBD's effect on cat anxiety. But there is much anecdotal evidence, as well as its
clear effects on humans.
Aggression in cats is often attributed either to hormones or anxiety. As well as reducing anxiety, CBD can have a balancing effect on brain chemistry. Bringing serotonin and dopamine levels back into balance can reduce aggression in cats.
For similar reasons, cats with depression can also benefit. CBD oil can bring their brain chemistry back into balance. This can help reduce their depressive symptoms.
5. Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats
CBD oil is very safe! It works just like any other herbal medicine to naturally relieve symptoms of illness.
As we've explained, this includes both physiological and psychological symptoms. And don’t worry, it isn’t addictive. While THC causes psychoactive reactions and can be addictive, CBD is completely different.
Just as with any medicine, though, it still needs to be given in the right way. There is such a problem as too much of a good thing! So let’s look at how to give your cat CBD, the correct dosages, and how to choose the right product.
6. CBD Oil Delivery Methods
While all these benefits are fantastic, how do you actually get your cat to consume CBD? There are generally two methods, oil or treats.
The Best Way to Administer CBD to your Cat
Several studies in dogs, horses, humans and rats have shown us that for all species, including your cat, the best absorption, blood levels and effectiveness of CBD happens when the CBD drops are mixed with a small amount of tasty food, such as canned cat food, or canned chicken or tuna. Baby food or Churu also work great for our feline friends. It is best to give your cat’s CBD this way, in some of their favorite foods, twice daily, for the best effect.
CBD Treats and Chewables
Cat treats that contain CBD are another good way to administer CBD to your cat. The treat is the food you would be giving with the liquid CBD tincture, so you don’t have to worry about using any food. There are two potential downsides to giving CBD to your cat by means of treats:
- Your cat may not like to eat the treat. We know cats can be quick picky about what they eat. You
should try and get a small sample of the treat before purchasing a larger amount in case your cat
does not like them.
- If you need to increase the dosage of CBD so your cats problem is better controlled, you will have
to give more treats, which means your cat needs to eat not just one treat but two! For some cats
that could be the impossible dream, even if they were OK about eating the first treat.
But how much CBD should you be giving your cats?
7. CBD Dosage for Cats
The correct dosage of CBD oil for your cat is determined by two factors. These are:
● Your cat’s weight in pounds
● The severity of the issue you’re treating
First, how severe is the issue? For example, anxiety may be treated well enough by a low dosage. Whereas something like joint pain may need a much higher dosage to be effective.
It’s always best to start with a low dosage. This helps you to avoid any negative reactions to the CBD, which are rare, but do happen. After 10-14 days of a low dose, your cat’s condition may have improved. In that case, there is no need to increase the dosage.
But, if after a couple of weeks, a low dose seems to have made no difference, you may then consider increasing it. But be sure to do this very slowly to allow time for it to work. It is suggested by veterinarians who are knowledgeable about CBD, that it is safe to double the dose, if the observed results are not satisfactory.
But how do we calculate the appropriate starting amount to give your cat?
According to veterinary experts, its best to start by giving 0.25 mg of CBD for each pound of body weight twice daily. An average cat weighs about 10 pounds, although some are heavier and some are lighter than that. Here’s an example of this math:
10 pounds X 0.25 mg = 2.5 mg of CBD which should be given twice daily with some food as described
Many folks get confused about milligrams (mg) and milliliters (mL). Milligrams are weight and milliliters are volume. Its most common to dose by the amount of liquid you need to reach that milligram dose. So, for instance, Perhaps your CBD product contains X mg of CBD in each 1 mL. In order to give 2.5 mg of CBD, you would need to draw up 2.5/X = Y mL.
And of course, consult with your vet before you start or change these amounts.
8. Choosing the Right CBD Products
Now that you know all the benefits of CBD oil for cats, you're probably raring to buy some for your favorite feline! But not every CBD oil will cut it. When buying CBD oil, how can you know which one is right for your cat?
First of all, it's important to note that legal use of CBD is only a few years old, so it's still fairly unregulated. How can you make sure that your product is safe for your cat?
In-house testing makes it easier to skew results. Therefore, it's best to choose a product tested by a third party. That means that the manufacturer has sent their products to an independent laboratory for unbiased testing.
These products should also come with a certificate of analysis. That shows that they are safe, good quality, and legally compliant.
An extra precaution is to choose a vet-formulated product. Vet-formulated CBD oil has not only been approved by an animal care professional, they've also had a hand in its design. So vet-formulated CBD oil is by far the best option.
9. CBD Side Effects
Can CBD have any negative side effects on cats? Negative side effects are very unusual and often come down to improper dosage. Meaning that if your cat has the correct amount of CBD for their size and conditions, they shouldn’t occur.
However, if you do notice any of the following symptoms, stop using the product and meet with your vet:
- Increased salivation
- Increased anxiety
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of coordination
- Allergic reactions
A consultation with your vet can help you determine the problem. They may advise you that the side effect was caused by an incorrect dosage that can be remedied.
Or your cat may have an underlying condition that means it doesn't react well to the oil. In that case, they should stop taking it permanently.
10. Is CBD for Cats Legal?
Of course! We wouldn't sell it if it wasn't.
But we understand people's concerns because of its association with cannabis. Here's what you need to know.
In 2018, a law was passed to allow the legal growing of hemp and the marketing of CBD products that come from it. But sellers have to follow strict guidelines.
CBD products are federally legal if their THC content is below a certain threshold. That is so the product doesn’t have any psychoactive effects on users.
In the US, hemp grown legally will sit below that threshold, at 0.3% THC. That means it is safe and legal to administer to your feline.
To be sure that your product falls within these standards, follow our buying guidelines from earlier. Make sure that your CBD oil has been tested by a third party and has a certificate of analysis. That way, you can trust that the product’s claim of less than 0.3% THC is trustworthy.
11. Is CBD Oil Good for Other Pets?
Yes, it is! As we explained, CBD works by interacting with the ECS. All animals have the ECS and thus all animals can benefit from the benefits of CBD oil.
Since the ECS is found in all animals, except insects, cats, humans, and every other animals will also benefit from CBD. For example, we offer products for dogs and horses, as well as cats, and humans, of course.
The dosage and delivery methods for each animal are very different. So if you’re interested in investing in some CBD oil for a pet other than your cat, please read our specific dog or horse articles. That way, you’ll have the best information to take care of your pet’s individual needs.
12. Is CBD Oil Good for My Cat?
CBD oil’s positive effects seem to be endless. Whether it’s taking the edge off chronic pain or calming their anxiety, all cats can reap the benefits of CBD.
But how do you know if it’s right for your cat?
While the product can help all cats, some may have preexisting conditions that don’t go well with CBD. For example, some cats may be allergic to CBD.
Also, some medications or steroids may have negative side effects if combined with CBD.
Therefore, the best course of action is to consult your vet. They will be able to advise you on whether CBD oil will be good for your pet, or if there is an underlying condition that should be considered first.
13. Buy CBD Products You Can Trust
CBD oil has incredible health benefits, but it's crucial that you choose the right product.
To ensure your product is safe for your pet, buy vet-formulated CBD for cats. That means that from the outset, manufacturers have had your cat's welfare in mind.
At Bailey's, our CBD comes from a small family farm in Colorado that grows and hand-harvests medicinal quality hemp.
And we partner with veterinarian Dr. Robert Silver, DVM, MS, one of the leading experts in the use of Pet CBD products. All of our products are made under his strict scrutiny to ensure they're just what your pets need.
Take a look at our vet-formulated CBD oil for cats and other pets today!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. Please consult a licensed veterinarian before giving your pet supplements or starting new routines.
Jay O'Keefe III
Founder | CEO
For five years, Jay worked at a hemp extraction lab in North San Diego. One day he decided to formulate a hemp oil tincture for pets, and the feedback was overwhelming. In October 2017, Bailey’s was incorporated with the adorable face of Jay’s pug Bailey as the logo.
Dr. Robert J. Silver DVM
Dr. Silver’s integrative and holistic practice in Boulder, Colorado, during the legalization of medical and adult-use cannabis in Colorado gave him a first-hand understanding of how this herb works in animals.