As the popularity of using CBD rises, pet owners consider CBD products for their cats. This article will explain everything you need to know about this natural yet often misunderstood supplement – from the concept behind its benefits through its different forms to choosing the right product for your cat.
Understanding CBD: How Does it Work in Cats?
To understand how CBD works in cats, we must start by explaining what it is. CBD or cannabidiol is a naturally occurring compound found in the hemp plant. Hemp is rich in many different chemical compounds, but CBD is linked with most beneficiary properties.
Cat owners are often reluctant to use CBD products in their cats because of the widespread misconception that CBD may make their cats feel high.
To be more accurate, the confusion stems from the fact that we use the words cannabis, hemp, and marijuana interchangeably. In fact, they are different plants containing different compounds with different properties.
Cannabis is an umbrella term that covers various strains, including both hemp and marijuana. Hemp is packed with cannabinoids (CBDs) and low in THC. The opposite is true for the marijuana plants – it is loaded with THC and contains low CBD levels.
THC is the chemical compound with psychoactive properties. In other terms, THC has the power to make one feel “high.”
Because hemp has less than 0.3% THC content, an amount that is not nearly enough to trigger the “high” feeling, CBD oils and products for pets are made exclusively from hemp. The extremely low THC levels in hemp CBD makes it possible for these oils to be labeled as THC free.
So, how does CBD work in cats? Cats, just like dogs, humans, and other mammals have a so-called endocannabinoid system (ECS). ECS is an internal system responsible for keeping homeostasis – a condition of optimum body functioning.
The ECS is responsible for regulating vital functions like appetite, metabolism, mood, sleeping patterns, thermoregulation, senses, stress, immunity, pain, inflammation, swelling, discomfort, memory, and many more.
The ECS in spite of its complex roles, it is made of thee simple components:
Cannabinoid receptors – there are different types of receptors, scattered in different tissues and organs.
Endocannabinoids – compounds the body naturally produces that bind with the receptors to maintain homeostasis.
Enzymes – responsible for breaking down the endocannabinoids once they have fulfilled their jobs.
Cannabidiol (CBD) works by replacing the endocannabinoids and binding with the cannabinoid receptors. Simply put, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system thus helping maintain homeostasis, or a state of health and balance.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
Yes, when used adequately and as recommended CBD oil is perfectly safe for cats.
CBD Treats vs CBD Oil
When giving CBD to your cat you can choose between two products – CBD treats and oil.
CBD treats are simpler to use as they do not make you feel like treating your cat – you are simply rewarding them. CBD treats are tasty and often infused with other healthy nutrients, like coconut oil. They come with fixed CBD oil doses making human dosing errors impossible.
On the other hand, CBD oil is harder to administer, especially if your cat does not like additions to their regular meals. However, CBD oils have faster effect onset and are more practical if your cat needs precise dosing.
Basically, both products have their pros and cons. It is good to know that you can combine them based on what you and your cat need at the moment.
What are the Benefits of CBD for Cats
There are several benefits of CBD oil for cats. Anecdotal evidence supports the claims that CBD oil can help in the following situations:
Separation anxiety, hyperactivity, and reactions to environmentally-induced stress.
Skin-related issues linked with occasional or seasonal allergies.
Arthritis-related stiffness, and inflammations.
Appetite changes due to standard cancer treatments.
Common CBD Side Effects in Cats
Every drug, chemical, and supplement has the potential to trigger some side effects. The same concept applies to CBD oils for cats.
The use of CBD oil for cats is associated with several potential side effects, including:
Decreased saliva production, licking, and dry mouth – these signs are mutually linked. CBD for cats reduces saliva production, which results in dry mouth. As a response, to compensate for the dryness, the cat continuously licks her lips.
Increased water intake and urination frequency – this is linked with the signs explained above. If the mouth dryness is severe, the cat will drink more water to keep the moisture levels adequate, and as a result, she will urinate more substantially and more frequently.
Drowsiness – cats can manifest different drowsiness levels, from increased sleepiness to impaired paw to eye coordination.
Low blood pressure and heart rate – the overall calming effect of CBD results in decreased blood pressure and heart rate, which contribute to the aforementioned drowsiness and lightheadedness.
Increased appetite – depends on what you are aiming for, this can be seen as either a benefit or an unwanted effect.
Allergic reactions – rarely, cats can develop an allergic reaction to CBD. The culprit can be some of the CBD compounds or the added ingredients, for example, coconut oil.
Fluctuations in the complete blood count – some blood count parameters can be slightly up or down.
Decreased drug metabolism – this is among the more critical side effects of CBD for cats. Namely, almost all drugs are metabolized in the liver via its enzymes. CBD inhibits the liver enzymes, which results in a delayed breakdown of certain medications. This is why it is highly unadvisable to give your cat CBD oil without discussing it with your vet, especially if your cat is already on some medications.
It should be emphasized that:
The above-listed effects occur rarely and are usually due to irregular use of the CBD cat product (wrong dose or administration frequency).
Some cats may exhibit only one or two of these effects, while others can experience more.
In most cases, the side effects subside after two days of use or after a slight dose modification.
In situations where your cat shows side effects for more than two days after initiating the CBD oil use, or if their intensity tends to increase, call your trusted vet as soon as possible and schedule an appointment.
CBD Dosage for Cats
The exact dosage of CBD oil for cats depends on the cat’s weight, overall health, and underlying issue that entails using a CBD oil product.
In general, since cats are all about the same weight, it's always the same dosage recommendation. 1 dropper a day, from a 125mg potency, which translates to 4mg of CBD a day.
Luckily, overdosing on CBD is practically impossible – giving your cat too much CBD oil will likely result in tiredness, meaning your cat will sleep the overdose off.
What Cat Problems Can CBD Oil Help With
CBD oil can help cats maintain healthy cellular activity and may help eliminate cancerous cells and inhibit their growth. Cancer is a life-threatening condition and a growing concern among cats. Even if not lethal, it significantly decreases the cat’s quality of life.
CBD oil may help cats with seizures by maintaining healthy nervous system function and supporting normal nerve conduction. Between 1 and 3% of the general cat population is affected by seizures.
CBD oil can help cats with urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is the medical term for uncontrolled peeing.
Common in older cats, Chronic Kidney Disease (CDK) causes nausea, appetite loss, pain, discomfort, frequent urination, and increased risk of urinary infections. CBD oil can help with all of the symptoms.
CBD oil helps maintain healthy skin and soothes skin-related issues associated with seasonal allergies. Allergies are a common issue in cats.
CBD Oil for Cats Buying Guide
Make sure you consider the following features when choosing the best CBD oil for your cat.
There are three main CBD oil options – full spectrum oil, broad-spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate. Always opt for the full spectrum variety as this CBD oil contains a wider specter of cannabinoids and other compounds (terpenes, flavonoids, essential fatty acids) that boost each other.
As mentioned CBD oil products for cats, and pets in general, are made of hemp. However, the terms hemp CBD oil and hemp seed oil should not be confused. Hemp CBD oil is made of different parts of the plant.
On the other hand, hemp seed oil is made solely from the hemp seeds. The hems seeds do not contain cannabinoids and consequently the oil extracted from them is not as beneficial as hemp CBD oil.
Made in the USA and Organic
The best CBD oil is made in the United States, not just manufactured but also sourced.
The hemp used for making the CBD oil should be organically grown because the plant can draw up toxins from the soil. Organic production does not use pesticides and ensures quality.
Another important thing is the extraction method used. CO2 extraction is preferred as this technique preserves the oil’s quality.
Non-GMO, and free of any soy, dairy, or corn
GMO plants are associated with health issues and are of questionable quality. The same applies for soy, dairy, and corn. The facility where the CBD oil is produced should not be used for processing some of these ingredients.
Company should be able to provide a Certificate of Analysis
The CBD oil manufacturer should provide a Certificate of Analysis – an official document generated by a third party lab which has tested the product in question for any contaminants such as heavy metals and microbes.
The lab test results will also provide a full breakdown of just how many cannabinoids are in your product as well as the richness of their concentration.
The final thing you need to check is the brand’s reputability. A high number of good reviews and a good standing with the Better Business Bureau are preferred.
Our Final Thoughts
As a responsible cat owner, you need to do everything to keep your cat as healthy as possible and keep her quality of life on the highest level possible. In those terms, it is important to remember that the use of CBD can be helpful.
In general, these are the takeaway messages from this article:
Using CBD oil for cats is not just safe but also beneficial for the cat’s health and well being.
Hemp plants are not the same as marijuana plants, they are both cannabis plants but the first one is safe and legal and the second one is illegal and can cause intoxication in cats.
CBD oil for cats is hemp oil which means it cannot make your cat “high.”
There are certain adverse effects but they are mostly mild and easily manageable.
When choosing the best CBD oil for cats, make sure the product contains the following terms – CBD hemp oil, full-spectrum CBD, THC-free, organic, and GMO-free.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you give CBD oil to cats?
Yes, CBD oil is a perfectly safe supplement for cats. When used correctly, following the CBD oil manufacturer's guidelines, CBD oil can help cats overcome or at least manage several health issues.
What are the benefits of CBD oil for cats?
There are many potential benefits associated with giving your cat CBD oils. Although most studies are still in progress, from what is already shown, CBD oil can help with separation anxiety, seizures, skin allergies, cancer, uncontrolled peeing, and kidney disease.
How much CBD oil can you give a cat?
Since cats are all about the same weight, it's always the same dosage recommendation. 1 dropper a day, from a 125mg potency, which translates to 4mg of CBD a day. It's best to start with a lower dosage and work your way up to reduce any side effects.
Will CBD oil make my cat "high"?
No. Pet CBD oil products are hemp sourced, meaning they are derived from the hemp plant. The hemp plant does not contain the psychoactive compound (THC) responsible for the so-called "high" feeling.
Which is better, CBD oil or CBD treats for cats?
Each CBD product has its pros and cons; which one you will give your cat depends on personal preferences and your cat's acceptance of the product. It is good to know that you can use CBD oil and treats together.