If you’re a pet lover—and especially if you’re familiar with cats—you know you have to be careful with what you give them. Foods, supplements, and medications that are perfectly safe for humans or dogs can be damaging and even fatal for cats. So, it pays to ask a lot of questions about what you give these curious fur friends. To answer the question “Is CBD Good for Cats?” let’s first examine what CBD is…
What Is CBD?
The acronym CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s one of the two most talked about compounds or active ingredients found in the cannabis plant. CBD is found in all cannabis, but it’s most often derived from the hemp plant or a Cannabis sativa plant that contains no more than .3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the compound that provides the cannabis plant’s infamous “high.”
Hemp, however, cannot legally contain more than 0.3% of THC to prevent it from being a controlled substance. As such, it also doesn’t cause the user—human, dog, or cat—to experience psychoactive symptoms, such as feeling “stoned.” Instead, some versions or brands may help some users (again, animal or human) feel calmer and more relaxed.
Animal Research on CBD
For many years, research on CBD lagged due to the precarious legal status of the compound. Now, though, some cutting-edge research is being performed with CBD. In fact, ABSC Organics has sponsored three clinical trials at major veterinary research facilities in Colorado to see how safe and effective CBD products are for pets.
The first phase found that CBD could be effectively and safely delivered orally and was well tolerated in healthy dogs. 1 The second phase found that dogs with idiopathic epilepsy experienced a reduction in the number of seizures (by 89%). 2 Another osteoarthritis study is currently pending until publication. You can learn more about these studies here: CBD Clinical Trials.
Other research has found that CBD oil can help dogs with osteoarthritis feel more comfortable. 3 And other research indicates that humans may experience mood support, relaxation, and help with some health conditions.
Unfortunately, there is significantly less research on cats than dogs in general. And this is true for CBD as well. So, to determine the safety of CBD for cats, we tend to rely on reports from experienced holistic veterinarians and pet parents.
Is CBD Good for Cats: Anecdotal Reports
There’s a great deal of evidence from holistic vets who have observed the use of CBD products for pets as well as the cat owners who use them. For instance, holistic veterinarian Dr. Gary Richter, in Oakland California, has found CBD oils to be safe for cats.
The most often reported side effects are sleepiness or upset stomachs if given a dose that’s too high. Fortunately, these conditions tend to be simple to resolve by either lowering the amount or discontinuing use of the product.
That said, there are a lot of CBD products made for pets on the market, and not all of them are created equal. Some CBD products contain no CBD, others contain low-quality CBD, and some may even contain contaminants that can be harmful to pets, especially kitties, who are highly sensitive to toxins.
That’s why it’s so important to seek out high-quality CBD products from a reputable company. To help find the right CBD product for your cat, it can help to:
- Ask a veterinarian experienced with CBD and hemp products.
- Look for third-party testing to ensure the product contains what’s on the label and is free from GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, or other contaminants.
- Use only CBD products that are designed for animals and contain only CBD within a safe-for-cats carrier oil like hemp oil and perhaps an enticing natural flavor.
- Look for brand transparency—are you able to reach the company? Do they list their contact information and address on the website? Do they provide real testimonials from actual product users?
What Is CBD Oil Good for Cats?
Anyone—whether human, dog, cat, or another mammal—with an endocannabinoid system may experience positive benefits from a CBD oil. CBD oils are often used to help:
- Regulate mood
- Help calm anxiety, stress, or hyperactivity
- Reduce fear or timid behavior
- Promote healthy sleep cycles
- Decrease discomfort due to chronic pain, swelling, or infection
- Decrease frequency or intensity of some seizures
- Help promote healthy levels of inflammation
- Promote healthy skin and coat
- Support general health and potentially help decrease the risk of some disease
- Increase health and happiness
How Much CBD Oil Is Good for Cats?
The dosage for cats is even more important than for dogs as cats tend to be more sensitive. Ensure you’re getting a CBD product that has been designed for cats and that you’re using the appropriate amounts.
Providing the proper, effective dose of a quality CBD for cats is essential. How much CBD oil is good for cats depends on their size. It may also take some experimentation to find what works best. Start with a lower amount and gradually work up to the full amount. Remember to carefully watch your cat to see how they respond.
That said, using too little as well as too much CBD may make the product less effective. 4 Here’s the recommended dosage:
Cats typically require a larger dosage than dogs per pound (approximately two times). However, to date, no clinical trials have been completed specifically for felines.
- mL = 2 drop
300 mg in a 15 mL bottle
CBD density is 20 mg/mL
Observe your cat’s response to the CBD and then adjust slightly if needed. Take your time as you introduce your cat to the CBD product. Remember that slower is better as they adjust to the CBD.
Finally, work with your veterinarian on the right dosage for your cat and their condition. Acute conditions like an upper respiratory infection may respond better to higher levels (e.g., 5 mg/kg twice daily). While chronic conditions like arthritis may respond better to a smaller amount of .1 mg/kg twice daily, working up to .5 mg/kg twice per day.
If you have any questions on dosage, feel free to contact us with questions. We’re here to help!
How to Give CBD Oil to Pets
Making any changes to your cat’s diet can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are different methods to give CBD oil to pets. Perhaps the easiest is to just provide it using a pet-friendly flavored CBD oil orally. Some favorite flavors include bacon, salmon, and chicken. If your pet isn’t interested in the oil, though, it can also be mixed into their food or baked into cat-friendly treats.
CBD Side Effects in Cats
The most common side effect for cats is drowsiness. This isn’t always easy to observe with a cat’s tendency to catnap. But you can observe if your cat seems to be sleeping more once you’ve added CBD oil to their diets. If they do appear less active than previously, reduce the amount.
Other side effects to watch for include tummy troubles. That is, some cats experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or a change in appetite. Others may begin licking more than usual or start shaking their heads, or show signs of decreased coordination or light-headedness. 5 Again, if you notice any changes, decrease the dosage, and reach out to your veterinarian who’s experienced with using CBD for pets.
Never use CBD from marijuana or a CBD product made for human consumption with your pets as it may contain THC (especially if purchased from a dispensary). Other compounds in marijuana can be harmful or even toxic to pets. Instead, make sure your CBD products are only sourced from hemp and are made for our furry friends.
Also, make sure your cat always has access to clean water as CBD oil may increase their thirst and water intake.
Is CBD Oil Good for Cats: The Bottom Line
CBD has grown in popularity with both people and pets—for good reason. It has been shown to have powerful, positive effects when used appropriately.
Both professional veterinarians and pet parents have given their cats CBD oils for a wide range of conditions. They’ve found quality CBD oils are well-received, typically cause no harm or side effects, and provide benefits.
That said, all cats are different. So, it’s important to watch for any adverse effects, and talk with your veterinarian if you have any questions about your cat’s response.
Ready to see how the best CBD for pets—ABSC Organics—can help your pet live a more vibrant, healthy life? Get started here.
- CBD Oil for Small Dogs
- CBD Oil for Medium Pets
- CBD Oil for Large Dogs
- CBD Oil for Dogs
- Why ABSC Organics CBD Oil?
1. McGrath S, Bartner LR, Rao S, Kogan LR, Hellyer PW. A report of adverse effects associated with the administration of cannabidiol in healthy dogs. Vet Med. 2018;1:6-8. https://www.ahvma.org/wp-content/uploads/AHVMA-2018-V52-CannabisAdverseEffects.pdf
2. McGrath S, Bartner LR, Rao S, Packer RA, Gustafson DL. Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 2019 Jun 1;254(11):1301-8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31067185/
3. Gamble LJ, Boesch JM, Frye CW, Schwark WS, Mann S, Wolfe L, Brown H, Berthelsen ES, Wakshlag JJ. Pharmacokinetics, safety, and clinical efficacy of cannabidiol treatment in osteoarthritic dogs. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 2018:165. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30083539/
4. Cindy HJ, Rupasinghe HV. Cannabidiol-based natural health products for companion animals: Recent advances in the management of anxiety, pain, and inflammation. Research in Veterinary Science. 2021 Nov 1;140:38-46. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034528821002538#bb04405. Deabold KA, Schwark WS, Wolf L, Wakshlag JJ. Single-dose pharmacokinetics and preliminary safety assessment with use of CBD-rich hemp nutraceutical in healthy dogs and cats. Animals. 2019 Oct 19;9(10):832. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826847/