The use of CBD products in cats is a trendy topic in the cat parents community. Well, honestly, trendy is an understatement. CBD products are a hot topic, controversial enough to raise questions and fuel some serious exchange of views among the scientific circles.  

While the scientific circles discuss and exchange their different views on the topic, the CBD market marks a constant and surprising growth. Statistics show that in 2018, CBD product sales for pets totaled $32 million – a number four times higher than last year’s. Estimations suggest that by 2022 the CBD market will top $1 billion. 

Full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, hemp seed oil, hemp oil, grain-free CBD soft chews, CBD treats, salmon flavored CBD soft chews, non-GMO CBD hemp oil – there has been an explosion of new CBD products and brands.  

With so many brands and choices, making the right one can be a challenge. This article will explain everything you need to know about CBD products for cats – from benefits and side-effects to dosage and features to look for when buying the right CBD soft chews. 

What is CBD for Cats? 

What is CBD for Cats

The abbreviation CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of the naturally occurring and active compounds in the Cannabis sativa plant. The plant has 113 different cannabinoids, but cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most popular. 

CBD and THC are procured from the same plant but have unique properties. To be more accurate, CBD is a therapeutic, non-psychoactive, and non-addictive compound. THC is the psychoactive and addictive compound that provides limited feelings of relaxation and euphoria, or as the slang states – “high”. 

CBD oil can be derived from the hemp plant and from marijuana. The CBD oil derived from hemp is high in CBD and low in THC (less than 0.3%). The CBD derived from marijuana is low in CBD and high in THC. 

CBD oil and products formulated for pets are always derived from hemp and should contain full spectrum CBD. Since their THC level is reasonably low, CBD products cannot make pets “high”.  

Why Give CBD Treats to Your Cat?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an essential and rather complex system. In spite of its complexity, the ECS has only three components:

Endocannabinoids

Natural chemical compounds responsible for different bodily functions and processes.

Cannabinoid Receptors

Points where the endocannabinoids bind and express their effects. Compared to humans, our furry friends, including cats, have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors. Theoretically speaking, there are five different receptors, but CB-1 and CB-2 are the most prevalent. 

  • The CB-1 receptors are distributed in the gastrointestinal tract, brain, muscles, lungs, vascular system, and reproductive system. 

  • The CB-2 receptors are distributed in the spleen, skin, bones, glial cells, and lungs. 

  • The liver, pancreas, gallbladder, bone marrow, and brain stem have equally present CB-1 and CB-2 receptors. 

Enzymes

For breaking down and eliminating the endocannabinoids and cannabinoids once they have completed their purpose. 

The ECS is responsible for an array of bodily functions necessary for keeping the body in a state of balance and health. Namely, the ECS regulates energy, mood, metabolism, pain, thermoregulation, appetite, stress, memory, immunity, sleep, motivation, and sensation. 

So, to answer the question why give CBD treats to your cat – because CBD stimulates the cat’s ECS thus promoting homeostasis and overall well-being.

To be more accurate, CBD can be used in cats to help with plenty of ailments such as anxiety, skin allergies, pain, mobility issues, inflammations, kidney issues, and seizures.

How CBD in Cat Treats Work for Cats

CBD works by replacing the endocannabinoids and binding with their receptors which results in homeostasis, balance and health benefits.  

Benefits of CBD Oil Cat Treat

Benefits of CBD Oil Cat Treats

Anxiety

Cats manifest two forms of anxiety – situational anxiety and behavioral anxiety. Situational anxiety is triggered by short-lasting events, including fireworks, travelling, thunderstorms, car rides, and guests.

Behavioral anxiety is a more on-going issue that includes unwanted behaviors, such as aggression, separation anxiety, or anxiety due to previous trauma. CBD can help with both forms of anxiety by stimulating the secretion of the happiness hormone – serotonin. 

Reduced Discomfort

It is suggested that CBD can reduce the discomfort associated with certain painful conditions. This is because CBD oil can inhibit the so-called vanilloid receptor's function in the brain.

When the vanilloid receptor is turned off and does not function, the cat cannot feel with occasional discomfort. The occasional discomfort associated with age-related arthritis is one example.

Cancer

Anecdotal reports suggest that CBD oil can help cats with cancer on several levels – by potentially slowing down the cancer’s growth, promoting healthy appetite and positively impacting the overall well-being.  

Kidney Problems 

The exact mechanism behind the CBD oil’s beneficial effect for cats with kidney diseases is not determined. Theories suggest it is because it can decrease the occasional discomfort and nausea associated with kidney issues thus improving the cat’s overall status.  

Seizures 

Seizures are a more common issue among dogs than in cats. Based on those studies, it can be deducted that CBD oil can have the same anti-seizure effect in cats as in dogs. Namely, CBD oil can decrease the intensity and frequency of seizure episodes.

Skin Allergies 

Skin allergies are an extremely common problem in cats. CBD oil may help with occasional and seasonal allergies in cats with allergies. CBD oil supports skin health and soothes skin related issues associated with allergies.

Most Common Side Effects

As with any other medication or supplement, the use of CBD oil products can be accompanied by certain unwanted effects. Although there are not many studies on the potential adverse effects caused by CBD products in cats, based on current knowledge, the following are worth mentioning:  

Dry Mouth 

CBD often decreases saliva production, which results in increased thirst and more substantial water consummation. Consequently, there will be an expected increase in the urination frequency. 

Increased Appetite 

CBD oil promotes a healthy appetite. This is considered a benefit in some cats, while in a obese kitty on strict feeding regimens, the increased appetite is labeled as an adverse effect.

Licking 

Probably the increased licking is linked with the unusual sensation caused by the overly dry mouth. 

Drowsiness 

Sudden tiredness and increased sleepiness are common yet benign. Some cats may also exhibit decreased paw to eye coordination.  

Lowered Blood Pressure 

Due to the CBD’s calming effect, higher CBD doses are associated with temporary drops in the heart rate and blood pressure, which ultimately may result in light-headedness. 

CBD Oil for Cats vs. CBD Oil Cat Treats

CBD Oil for Cats vs. CBD Oil Cat Treats

Liquid CBD for cats comes with a marked dropper that makes the dosing easy and precise. Plus, the CBD found in liquid versions enters the bloodstream faster, which ensures quicker effects. However, tincture forms are harder to use in cats.

Because of their delicate palate cats are fussy eaters and can taste the difference when the meal has something that is not a regular part. Applying the oil directly in the mouth is even more challenging than sneaking a drop or two into the meal.

CBD treats in the form of soft chews are simpler to use – your kitty will feel like you are rewarding them with treats for cats because of her excellent behavior. Plus, the treats are more practical as you can use them on the go.

Treats come in various flavors (salmon flavor, bacon flavor), so basically, there is a perfect fit for every cat’s taste. On the other hand, cat CBD treats come with a fixed amount of CBD, making the dosing a rough estimation rather than precise math.

All in all, both products have their pros and cons. The good news is, you can use them both – liquid when you need precise dosing and faster effect and cat CBD treats or chews when you are on the go and prefer a more straightforward mode of use. 

The goal is to use full spectrum CBD products that ensure health benefits. The form is a matter of preference. You know your cat best and you are best suited to choose the CBD product for your kitty. 

How Many CBD Oil Treats Should You Give Your Cat

CBD Oil for Cats

As mentioned, coming in a fixed-dose, a CBD treat is harder to dose. On the bright side, since there are no detrimental effects when using slightly more significant amounts of CBD, the process of finding the correct dose is often described as trial-and-error.

To make the use easier, one CBD treat usually contains a one-time dose. Cats can have two to three treats per day, twelve to eight hours apart. If dealing with a momentary stress, an occasional CBD treat can be enough. 

However, the exact dosing should be discussed with your vet as the amount of CBD your kitty needs depends not only on its weight but also on the condition for which the CBD is recommended. The presence of co-existing health issues also influences the CBD dose for your kitty. 

Another factor that can make the dosing a challenge is that not all furry friends respond equally to the same dose. Namely, a cat with severe anxiety will experience a less calming effect than a mildly moody cat.

As with any other new supplement, make sure to start small and gradually increase the amount until it reaches the recommended dose. Keep in mind that CBD treats are not regular treats.

These chews may taste delicious, especially the ones with salmon flavor, but they are not treats - they are supplements and must be used in a responsible way. 

How to Choose the Right CBD Cat Treats

When choosing the best CBD cat treats for your cats, you must never settle for anything less than the best product. These are the features worth considering: 

High-quality Organic Ingredients

Ideally, the best CBD cat treats should come from organic, non-GMO hemp plants. When the plants are organically sourced, the end-product will be free from potentially harmful pesticides, chemicals, and other solvents.

The best CBD cat treats must be grain free and not contain animal by-products, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Independently Lab Tested

CBD cat treats made of high-quality ingredients will be lab tested by a third party and have declarations that confirm the third party’s results. Third party means the declaration is issued by someone other than the manufacturer and its results are objective.

Type of CBD Within the Treats

There are full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate CBD treats. The best CBD cat treats must contain full-spectrum CBD. The term full-spectrum means that in addition to CBD, the treats contain minor cannabinoids (such as cannabinol – CBN and cannabichromene - CBC), terpenes, and flavonoids.

These compounds, when used together, boost each other and result in more potent effects. Broad spectrum CBD is better than isolate CBD but less efficient than full spectrum.

Flavor

To increase their edibility the market offers flavored CBD chews that taste irresistibly. Popular tastes include salmon flavor, bacon flavor, and albacore tuna flavor. You know your cat best just choose the taste your cat will love.

Sourcing and Manufacturing

It is responsible to check whether the CBD oil treats' manufacturing process uses cruelty-free techniques and where it is sourced and manufactured. The best CBD cat treats are ideally both sourced and made in the USA. A reputable manufacturer will also have a fair return policy.

Price

Price is an important factor and is often a good indicator of the CBD oil treats' quality. It does not always mean that the best CBD cat treats are the most expensive, however, the price can give you an idea of what to expect from the CBD products - make sure you are getting your money’s worth. 

Our Final Thoughts

happy cat with pet owner

Hopefully, the explosion of new CBD products and the CBD market’s growth will be accompanied by extensive and thorough research proving CBD’s beneficial effects for our furry friends. 

Although such research is scarce, anecdotal reports and studies conducted in human patients are pretty promising. If we extrapolate the results from these studies, we can conclude that CBD products are good for the cat’s health. 

As new studies will emerge, the popularity of CBD products will skyrocket. Pending future approval, more and more cat parents will implement this highly beneficial yet still a bit misunderstood herbal medicine as part of their cats’ healthcare plans. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are CBD treats good for cats?

Yes, when used as directed, CBD treats are beneficial and perfectly safe for cats. They are health-promoting and highly-palatable. Cat treat chews are an easy to use cat CBD product. 

What does CBD oil treat in cats?

Although there are no firm studies on the subject, anecdotal reports suggest that CBD oil can be used for helping with an array of ailments in cats, including situational anxiety, behavioral anxiety, pain, inflammation, mobility issues, gastrointestinal issues, kidney diseases, seizures and skin allergies.

What are the best CBD cat treats?

The best CBD cat treats should be made of organic ingredients, non-GMO hemp plants and be labeled as full spectrum CBD treats. They should also be preservatives and grain-free. Last but not least, they need to be lab tested by a third party, and sourced and manufactured in the USA.  

Will a CBD cat treat make my kitty high?

No, CBD oil formulated for cats is derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC. This amount is insufficient to make a cat feel high. However, its CBD amount in the soft chews is enough to ensure health benefits.  

Can I share my CBD edibles with my kitty?

No. Do not give your cat CBD edibles formulated for humans as they are too strong likely cause excessive tiredness and sleepiness in your cat. Instead, give your cat special CBD treats for cats. In addition to having the right amount of CBD per treat, cat CBD chews have a taste cats cannot resist.