The number of cats with cancer is continuously growing. Considering that most cancers in cats are malignant in nature, finding ways of prolonging the cat’s life and increasing its quality are of paramount importance.

Luckily, more and more studies support the claim that CBD products can fight the spread of tumors by inhibiting cancer cells' growth and, very likely, even killing cancer cells. Plus, CBD oil products for cats help alleviate the side effects associated with standard tumor treatments. 

Although these studies are still in their infant phase, it is comforting to know that there is hope for the one-fifth of the cat population that will imminently develop cancer. The use of CBD oil for cats with cancer is linked with an array of health benefits. 

Signs Your Cat Might Have Cancer 

Some symptoms of cancer are subtle, and others are non-specific, which means other conditions can cause them. Additionally, cats are notorious for hiding the signs and symptoms of their ailments. 

Because of that, by the time the symptoms of cancer become apparent, the cancer is already in its advanced stages. The cancer’s advanced stage has a negative impact on the treatment outcome. For that reason, early diagnosis can be life-saving. 

As a cat owner, you need to monitor your cat closely and make sure your trusted vet examines your cat at least twice per year. If there is anything unusual going on, you need to alert your vet as soon as possible. 

Although not specific, the following signs and symptoms can be considered as cancer warnings: 

  • Emergence of new lumps and bumps 

  • Weight loss

  • Appetite fluctuations (ravenous appetite to loss of appetite)

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

  • Difficulty urinating and/or defecating 

  • Changes in the mouth (excessive drooling, bleeding, foul breath, difficulty swallowing, gum discolorations)

  • Nosebleeds 

  • Discharge (from the nose and/or eyes)

  • Difficulty breathing 

  • Persistent sores and delayed wound healing 

  • Lameness and/or stiffness 

  • Swelling 

  • Lethargy and loss of stamina 

  • Dehydration or excessive thirst 

  • Anemia 

  • Fever 

  • Seizures

If your cat exhibits one or more of the above-listed signs and symptoms, schedule an appointment with your trusted vet.  

It goes without saying that different cancer types have different clinical manifestations. Additionally, the severity of the symptoms of cancer vary significantly between different cats. 

Most Common Cancer in Cats

According to the ACF (American Cancer Foundation) one in five cats will develop some type of cancer at a certain point in its life. Just like in humans and dogs, in cats, certain types of cancer are more common. 

The cat’s age and exposure to carcinogens (tobacco smoke, asbestos, pesticides, x-rays, benzene, food additives) are important factors in the development of feline cancers. 

Lymphoma in Cats

Lymphoma is the most common type of feline cancer. Lymphoma is a blood cancer that affects the white blood cells and lymphoid tissue (scattered within different parts of the body, including lymph nodes, bone marrow, liver, spleen, and gastrointestinal tract). 

The Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) are associated with increased risks of developing lymphoma.

Based on the location, there are several different lymphoma types. Digestive tract lymphoma is the most prevalent type.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) in Cats

Squamous cell carcinoma is a skin cancer that generally develops on exposed skin areas (ears, nose, and eyelids) and in cats living in sunny climates. This form is known as solar-induced SCC, and its development is linked with exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Oral squamous cell carcinoma is another widespread type of feline cancer. In fact, oral SCC accounts for over 10% of all cat tumors. Oral SCCs affect the soft tissues within the mouth.

Fibrosarcoma in Cats

Fibrosarcoma is an aggressive type of tumor that arises from the connective fibrous tissue. Because it usually develops at injection sites, it is popularly known as feline injection-site sarcoma (FISS).

FISS is associated with different injections, including vaccines, antibiotics, insulin, corticosteroids, and subcutaneous fluids. The amount or injection dosage also affects the frequency of FISS occurrence.

When it comes to FISS, genetics is a significant risk factor.

Mammary Tumors (Breast Cancer) in Cats

Unlike dogs that usually develop benign mammary tumors, in cats, almost 90% of the mammary tumors are malignant. The fact that they are malignant means that the breast cancer cells can spread to other organs and tissues, primarily the lungs and local lymph nodes. The remaining 10% that are benign do not have spreading abilities. In such cases, the breast cancer cells grow only locally.   

CBD Oil for Cats with Cancer

The benefits of CBD are linked with its ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system regulates an array of bodily functions whose end goal is maintaining a state of health and balance. Cannabidiol helps the endocannabinoid system achieve the state of balance. 

Health Benefits of CBD Oil for Cats with Cancer 

Using full spectrum CBD oil is good for cats with cancer because it works on two levels.

CBD can help fight the tumor

  • Supports cellular health and normal cell function

  • Inhibits the growth of tumor cells

  • Anecdotally kills tumor cells

CBD can help with the tumor’s symptoms

  • Promotes relaxation

  • Increases the appetite

  • Helps relieve stiffness

  • Relieves occasional discomfort

  • Supports skin health and helps soothe skin issues. 

Are there Any Negative Side Effects of CBD Oil for Cats?

As cat owners, you need to be aware that every drug, treatment, and supplement can cause side effects. These effects are not likely to occur in all cats and what is more, their intensity and frequency can be successfully decreased through adequate CBD dosage modification. 

In cats using full spectrum CBD oil supplements, it should be noted that the occurrence of side effects is linked primarily with inadequate CBD oil usage (wrong dose and frequency).

Not all cats receiving full spectrum CBD oils will develop side effects. However, some sensitive cats may exhibit the following signs:

  • Dry mouth

  • Diarrhea

  • Lowered blood pressure

  • Drowsiness

Using CBD Oil for Cats in a Cancer Treatment Plan 

Before adding CBD oil products to your cat’s cancer management strategy, consult with your trusted vet. The vet will explain whether CBD products are compatible with your cat’s current cancer treatment, explain what to expect in terms of benefits and adverse effects, and finally, help you choose the best CBD oil product for your cat.  

Can CBD Oil Treat Cancer in Cats?

Officially, cancer treatment is based on three approaches: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Adding CBD oil as part of the cancer treatment is associated with health benefits. 

There are no conclusive studies that CBD oil can treat cancer. However, there are studies supporting the claim that the use of CBD oil benefits cancer patients.

Experimental studies show that cannabidiol inhibits the growth of cancerous cells thus preventing their spread. Similar experimental studies demonstrated the CBD’s potential to kill those cancer cells. 

Side Effects of Cancer that CBD May Help Alleviate

Using CBD oil for cats with cancer is not an officially approved treatment of choice. However, CBD oil can be used to relieve the side effects associated with standard cancer treatments. 

More precisely, CBD oil can help with:

  • Nausea and vomiting – radiation and chemotherapy are frequently accompanied with nausea and vomiting. Cannabidiol manages these side effects and increases appetite thus improving the cat’s overall health. 

  • Chronic pain – pain management is vital when dealing with cancer patients. This is because pain decreases the overall quality of life and delays healing processes in the body. 

  • Inflammation – cannabidiol has potent anti-inflammatory properties which is particularly useful for cats with certain cancers. 

How to Use CBD Oil for Cats

Everything starts with choosing the best CBD oil product for your cat. Make sure you always use full spectrum hemp CBD oil for your cat. Full spectrum versions are the best option as they are rich not only in cannabidiol compounds but also in terpenes, flavonoids, and essential fatty acids.

CBD oil contains various cannabidiol compounds (the non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant). CBD oils for cats must contain less than 0.3 THC which is why they are made exclusively from hemp plants as hemp plants are rich in CBDs and low in THC, while the marijuana plant is low in CBDs and high in THC.

When choosing the right product, check the manufacturer’s credibility. A reputable manufacturer will have its products tested through a third party lab and the results of the analysis displayed on its official website. 

CBD Oil Dosage Calculator  

The exact CBD dose depends on your cat’s weight, age, and co-existing health issues. Luckily, there is the option to calculate the dosage for your cat online using the CBD oil dosage calculator. If in doubt, do not hesitate to discuss the CBD oil dosage with your trusted vet. 

How to Administer CBD Oil

As a cat owner you can choose between using CBD oil and CBD cat treats. The CBD oil is served during mealtime.

Considering the cat’s delicate palate, the administration of CBD oil may not be as simple as it sounds. Luckily, for finicky-eater cats, there is a possibility of administering CBD oil via CBD cat treats. 

When to Expect Results

CBD oil reaches effect in about an hour post administration and its effects last for four to six hours. However, these numbers are not set in stone as the CBD oil’s efficacy depends on many factors, including your cat’s overall health, chemistry, activity level and of course, the form in which the CBD oil was administered (oil, cat treats, capsules).

Our Final Thoughts

Unlike dogs and humans, in which cancer is a frequent diagnosis, cats are less prone to carcinogens and cancerous cell changes. In fact, compared to dogs, cats are 50% less likely to develop cancer.  

However, unlike dogs, in which most of the diagnosed cancers are benign, cats tend to develop malignant types of cancer. The cancer's malignancy combined with the cat's reluctance to exhibit any early cancer symptoms results in a guarded to poor prognosis for cats with cancer. 

CBD products are an important part of the multimodal treatment approach most cancers require. Fortunately, with so many different CBD products for cats, today, it is easier than ever to add this supplement to your cat's menu and enjoy its beneficial effects.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you overdose a cat on CBD oil?

Yes, it is possible for pet owners to overdose their cats with CBD oil. Hemp-based CBD oils are low in THC (less than 0.3%), which is not enough to trigger psychoactive effects.

However, if the cat ingests too much of a CBD product, it can develop THC toxicity. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines and CBD dosing instructions prevents CBD overdosing. 

How do you treat cancer in cats?

The treatment depends on the type of cancer, its malignancy, and stage. Standard cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. These treatments are often used together and sometimes combined with holistic treatment approaches, including CBD oil.  

Can you use human CBD oil on pets?

Pet owners are not advised to use human CBD oil for their pets. Luckily, many different brands are offering CBD oils formulated specifically for pets. Therefore, it is best advised to always give your cat CBD oil formulated for cats as this is the only option safe for cats. 

What are the side effects of CBD for cats? 

In cats, the most frequently reported adverse effects of CBD are licking and head shaking. Other unwanted effects include pacing, gagging, chomping, excessive drooling, and vomiting. 

How long do cats live after being diagnosed with cancer?

Sadly, cats are very good at hiding their symptoms, and by the time diagnosis is made, the cancer is already in its advanced stages. Therefore, the survival time for most cats is six months. Rarely, some cats may live for up to a year.