CBD oil is growing in use among cat owners, but there is confusion among similar products and whether or not it is safe to use in cats. Is CBD safe for cats? Many owners swear by CBD for their dogs, but we don't hear much about CBD for cats. This article takes a look at what you need to know. Our feline companions are pretty self-sufficient. In fact, sometimes our cats may even come across as moody, aloof, or skittish. It’s easy to stereotype cats into a group that has one particular type of personality. A particular orange-furred, cartoon cat that exhibits constant dominance over his owner and terror
Is CBD Oil Good for Cats?
Adrienne Kruzer is a veterinary technician with more than 15 years of experience providing healthcare to domestic and exotic animals. She is trained as a Fear Free Certified Professional to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets.
Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, is an accomplished veterinarian and writer with more than 25 years of experience in veterinary medicine, animal welfare, and conservation. She participates in The Spruce Pets’ veterinary review board and is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
CBD has grown in popularity for use in humans, dogs, and even cats, but there are still a lot of questions surrounding its use. Pet owners need to know what it might be useful for, whether or not it is legal, and the difference between hemp, CBD, Cannabis, marijuana, and THC. Knowing whether or not a product is safe, effective, and legal for a pet cat to use is of utmost importance in order to avoid harming your pet or breaking the law.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
There is unfortunately little research that has been done on the effects of CBD in cats. Based on anecdotal reports and limited study, CBD does appear to be safe for cats, but its effectivenss for the treatment of any condition has not yet been proven. Until more research has been done showing that CBD is in fact safe and effective, it is only prudent to use it under veterinary supervision.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD is actually an abbreviation for cannabidiol, and cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid, or specific type of molecule, that is made by and extracted from Cannabis plants. When extracted, CBD can be included in an oil that can be given orally to cats. It often contains coconut, hempseed, olive, avocado, or palm oil that acts as a carrier oil, similar to how many essential oils are made.
What Is the Difference Between CBD and Hemp Oil?
CBD and hemp oil are often confused with one another because both are sourced from Cannabis plants. Hemp oil may or may not contain significant amounts of CBD, but it is always extracted from a specific strain of Cannabis sativa called hemp that contains less than 0.3% THC, the phytocannabinoid that is responsible for the high of marijuana. CBD, on the other hand, can be extracted from either marijuana or hemp, although hemp-derived CBD is far more common.
Does CBD Oil Contain THC?
THC is the abbreviation for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and is the psychoactive component of marijuana. Marijuana plants contain significant amounts of THC; hemp plants do not. Many people who want to use CBD oil specifically look for THC-free or low THC CBD oils, which is why they are usually purchasing hemp-derived CBD. Any product containing significant levels of THC (higher than 0.3%) should not be administered to cats and may pose safety concerns.
Is CBD Found in Marijuana?
CBD can be derived from marijuana plants, but most growers are more concerned about the THC content. Marijuana should never be administered to cats regardless of how much CBD is in it. Hemp-derived CBD is legal and safer for cats than marijuana-derived CBD.
Why Is CBD Oil Popular for Cats?
Cat owners want to give their pets safe and effective treatment options, and some medications may have negative side effects or not work well enough to help their cat’s specific issues. The anecdotal, media, and early scientific success of CBD oil in people and dogs has caused it to grow in popularity for use in cats, too. Some owners report major successes in treating a variety of ailments in their dogs that were taking CBD oil after being unable to achieve it using other products. However, it’s important to remember that cats and dogs process medications and supplements very differently, and the safety and effectiveness of CBD is still being researched in cats.
Risks and Concerns in Using CBD Oil in Cats
Since there really isn’t any research that has been done supporting the safe use of CBD in cats, there is a lot still unknown. Whether or not there are side effects, especially with long-term use, the efficacy for use in supporting a variety of bodily systems, contraindications with medications, and administration amounts for specific uses in cats still need to be studied.
In addition to the lack of research, another concern with CBD oil is finding a consistent and pure source. There is almost no regulation over the manufacture of CBD so widely-available products may contain little to no active ingredient and/or be contaminated with potentially harmful substances. Consumers should talk to their veterinarian and look for a company with strict quality control measure to ensure products meet label claims before giving CBD to their cats.
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet’s health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.
The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
Hilderbrand, R L. Hemp & Cannabidiol: What is a Medicine?. Missouri Medicine vol. 115,4 (2018): 306-309
CBD Oil for Cats: Uses, Side Effects & More
Many people in the dog world have been using CBD for years. But what about cats? This article will help you learn more about CBD oil for cats so that you can make informed decisions for your feline friend.
Here are the most frequently asked questions cat owners often ask about CBD oil. Click the link below to jump to the answers you are most interested in learning about:
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, one of the many cannabinoids found in plants from the cannabis family.
As one of the two most-researched compounds found in hemp, cannabidiol has been the subject of hundreds of research studies over the last three decades. These studies include medical research on anxiety, inflammation, pain, sleep, appetite, mood, metabolism, a wide variety of skin problems, immunity, gut health, and more.
Unlike THC, the compound found in marijuana that creates the psychological effect known as a “high,” CBD is not psychoactive . And, because the hemp strains of cannabis plants are legally required to have less than .3% of THC, CBD oil made from hemp is safe for pets, including cats.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD and the other natural compounds found in hemp interact with the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS) . This system was discovered in the 1980s, and scientists have learned that the ECS acts as a regulator for balance or “homeostasis” in a variety of bodily functions.
The ECS works with the central and peripheral nervous systems to regulate processes including pain, inflammation, appetite, mood, memory, the immune system, digestion, sleep, skin health, and more.
It’s important to understand that the ECS includes special receptors, transmitters, as well as chemicals called endocannabinoids which are produced by the body itself.
Evolutionary scientists have argued that the Endocannabinoid System and the diets of early hunter-gatherers may have coevolved. They suggest that adding cannabinoids back into the diet may help mitigate some of the issues caused by modern diets packed with processed grains and carbohydrates.
And yes, your cat has an endocannabinoid system . In fact, all mammals on the planet have one!
Are CBD Oil and Hemp Oil The Same Thing?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions from cat owners. The answer is a little bit complicated because the hemp and CBD industries are rapidly evolving right now.
The short answer is that in many cases, hemp oil and CBD oil can refer to the same thing. In some cases, however, they don’t. That’s why it’s important to dig a little deeper and learn more about the quality of the product you’re purchasing for your pet.
Most hemp and CBD oils are made by refining the hemp plant. Both usually contain the compound CBD. However, given that CBD is the active ingredient in such oils, you should only purchase products that have the CBD dosage clearly labeled, from companies backed up by third-party lab tests .
On the other hand, beware of hemp seed oil for cats. Although it may be a healthy supplement for some cats, it does not contain appreciable amounts of the compound CBD since it is made from the seeds of the hemp plant. Many manufacturers on the market are misleading on this issue, so buyer beware!
What Does “Full-Spectrum Mean and Is It Good for My Cat?
If the products are labeled as “full-spectrum” they also have trace amounts of other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.
Many believe that full-spectrum oils are more effective because trace amounts of additional flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids found in these oils have a synergistic effect in healing processes, known by scientists as “The Entourage Effect.”
For example, Lolahemp’s CBD tinctures , topicals , and chews are all made using full-spectrum organic hemp oil that is slowly processed using low temperature and pressure, producing a robust full-spectrum CBD oil for your cat. See our batch lab results to learn more.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
Vets and pet owners alike have found that CBD is safe for cats. However, it’s worth mentioning that there have been no large-scale studies done on CBD for cats, and no CBD-based drugs have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of cat disorders or diseases.
We recommend that you work with your vet or consult with a holistic vet to make sure you give your cat CBD oil safely.
Does My Cat Need a CBD Oil Prescription?
CBD oil and hemp oil are now available for pets without a prescription. However, we recommend that you discuss using CBD oil for cats (as well as side effects from traditional medications) with your vet to determine appropriate dosing for his or her case as well as to avoid any potential drug interactions .
In addition, please be sure to do your research to make sure you are getting high-quality CBD products made to be safe for cats.
What’s The Right Dosage?
Again, we recommend working with your vet to work out a dose that is best for your cat’s condition. However, as a general guideline, you can start at 1mg per 10lbs of cat weight, twice daily.
Since different CBD products on the market can have very different concentrations of CBD, you need to be careful about the dose in the actual product you use.
For example, with Lolahemp tinctures , 2 drops = 1 mg of CBD. Note that this dropper guideline will not be the same with other brands so be careful when calculating dosing.
The general rule when using any hemp products is to start low and increase the dosage slowly until the desired effects are achieved. If you notice any side effects such as nausea, drooling, excess tiredness, or tremors of any kind, it is wise to stop giving CBD to your cat and consult with your vet.
What if My Vet Won’t Talk to Me About CBD?
Up until just recently, hemp-based products had a questionable legal standing. However, the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and hemp products legal in the U.S.
Further complicating matters is the fact that many veterinarians are restricted from discussing CBD with their clients due to restrictive or unclear state veterinary licensing requirements.
Some veterinarians, such as those in California , have even had to resort to legislative action to gain protection when discussing the potential therapeutic values of cannabis-based medicine with their clients.
If your vet is unwilling to discuss using CBD for your cat, you may want to consult with a holistic veterinarian. These vets have additional training that includes the use of natural products, known as nutraceuticals, in their clinical practices. Because these vets are often more experienced in the use of CBD with pets, they can be a better resource for informed cat owners.
How Do I Make Sure I’m Using High-Quality CBD Oil?
One of the most important things you can do to help your cat is to do your research before buying any CBD or hemp product for them.
The reason for this is that the demand for CBD pet products is exploding right now as word of mouth spreads. And, unfortunately, some companies are taking advantage of that by selling low-quality or even harmful products.
Here at Lolahemp, quality is our number one priority. Here are some of the key features that make Lolahemp CBD the right choice for your cat:
- We start with hand-harvested organic hemp grown at a family farm in Colorado.
- We test our products three times from seed to bottle.
- We offer third-party lab testing for every single batch of our oil, tied to a QR code on every product we sell.
- We offer a robust full-spectrum CBD oil made just for pets.
- Our products contain no harmful additives like artificial flavors or sweeteners that can be toxic to pets.
- We include accurate and veterinarian-recommended dosing guidelines for our products.
- We use MCT coconut oil for our carrier oils, considered ideal for optimal cannabinoid absorption.
- We are a Pets Before Profits company with a strong commitment to animal welfare.
Is There Any Scientific Research on CBD Oil?
It is no surprise that veterinary medical research is often several years behind the human-based iterations of various supplements and drugs. However, research on CBD and hemp has been going on for decades.
Below, you can find a list of links to helpful research studies on CBD. Each link goes to a primary scientific paper published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
CBD and Anxiety
Jurkus R, Day HLL, Guimarães FS, Lee JLC, Bertoglio LJ, Stevenson CW. Cannabidiol Regulation of Learned Fear: Implications for Treating Anxiety-Related Disorders. Front Pharmacol. 2016;7:454.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
Our feline companions are pretty self-sufficient. In fact, sometimes our cats may even come across as moody, aloof, or skittish. It’s easy to stereotype cats into a group that has one particular type of personality.
A particular orange-furred, cartoon cat that exhibits constant dominance over his owner and terrorizes his yellow dog “brother” comes to mind. However, cat personalities vary greatly. In fact, a study from 2017 assessed the personalities of over 2,000 cats and developed a categorical system for feline personalities now dubbed “the feline five.”
Feline personality types can sometimes make it difficult for their human owners to understand when they aren’t feeling well. Cats that are sick or experiencing discomfort may not appear to act much different than they normally do, depending on their personality.
For instance, it isn’t uncommon for cats who aren’t very social to hide or seek out a spot under a bed to sleep, this can be their normal behavior. However, it can also be a sign they are not feeling well or have been injured. If your cat normally sleeps under a bed or hides the majority of the day, you will have to look for other indications your cat is ill to determine if there is something wrong.
If your cat is not feeling well, has been injured, or is otherwise not herself, you can look for signs.
Here are some of the most common behaviors of cats who aren’t feeling well.
- Hiding . Again, this can be hard to spot if your cat typically hides the better part of the day. Look for cues that the hiding is lasting longer than normal. For instance, a cat that doesn’t remove herself from hiding when she hears food being poured into her dish may be in discomfort or not feeling well.
- Sitting very still and hunching. If your cat is consistently in a “crouched” or hunched position, with her legs tucked neatly under her body, it could be a symptom she is experiencing some type of discomfort.
- Grooming issues. Cats who are normally meticulous groomers may stop grooming if they are ill, or over-groom to the point of self-harm like gnawing off fur or creating open sores on their skin.
- Unusual or excessive meowing. Is your normally quiet kitty suddenly meowing non-stop? This could be an indication she is in discomfort.
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea. A tell-tale sign of gastric discomfort is vomiting and diarrhea. In either case, this requires an immediate visit to her veterinarian, as she can become dehydrated very quickly.
- Restlessness. When your cat can no longer catch a cat-nap, she may be experiencing environmental stress. Environmental stress can come from many factors, and it’s important to see her veterinarian to determine the root of the behavior.
- Refusal to use her litter box . It’s understandable this will make a cat owner upset, but it is not an indication that your cat is “naughty,” it’s likely an indication she isn’t well.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, you should make an appointment to see her veterinarian right away. Her vet can help determine what’s wrong and develop a treatment plan for her.
In addition to seeing her vet, you can also look for ways to help promote your cat’s overall health and wellness, and care for her body through the use of all-natural, plant-based supplements. One supplement that carries a vast array of benefits for felines is cannabidiol, or “CBD” oil.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is one of over one hundred chemical compounds found in the leaves, flowers, and stems of the cannabis-sativa plant. The cannabis-sativa plant has many varieties and cannabinoid profiles with varying degrees levels of each compound, however, the variety used predominantly for CBD-focused products is an industrial hemp plant containing mostly CBD and other cannabinoids and less than 0.03% of tetrahydrocannabinol, or “THC,” which is the compound associated with producing intoxicating effects.
CBD oil can be extracted from the hemp plant in three different ways that are available for pets.
- Isolate. CBD isolate is CBD oil that contains only cannabidiol, or CBD. No other plant parts, i.e. phytonutrients, are included in this formula. CBD isolate is inexpensive to manufacture and mass-produce, though the quality of the CBD is very low and doesn’t offer as many health benefits.
- Full-spectrum. Full-spectrum refers to the cannabinoid extract from the hemp plant containing CBD along with all other usable phytonutrients, as well as a trace amount of THC (don’t worry, it’s always less than 0.03% and does not intoxicate your animal!). This blend includes flavonoids, terpenes, other cannabinoids, vitamins, minerals, and proteins, which are vital in allowing CBD to deliver maximum benefits to your cat when administered. This benefit is often referred to as the “entourage effect,” and it refers to all portions of the hemp plant working together synergistically to provide the highest benefit level available to your animal.
- Broad-spectrum. This refers to CBD oil that has been extracted with most phytonutrients, but not THC, which makes its ability to produce the entourage effect less impactful.
When looking for a CBD oil for your cat, always seek out a full-spectrum product, like our CBD oil tincture here at VETCBD . It’s also a great idea to find a CBD oil tincture that uses a healthy fat as the carrier oil, (the oil which CBD is dissolved into to create the tincture) like organic extra virgin olive oil. Research shows that the bioavailability of CBD is higher when taken along with a healthy fat, as it helps the CBD avoid first pass metabolization in the liver.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
Because CBD oil is relatively new for approved use even in humans, studies of its effects on cats are rapidly developing. CBD oil is generally well tolerated by cats, with very few incidents of negative side effects reported. Side effects of cats who have been improperly dosed (i.e. given too much CBD oil) may have side effects like gastrointestinal upset or tiredness.
Additionally, as we mentioned earlier, full-spectrum CBD oil contains less than .03% THC so there are no possible intoxicating effects to your cat.
It is essential, however, that your CBD oil contain this trace amount of THC, so that the oil can properly deliver the entourage effect in terms of CBD benefit. Remember, that without all the necessary parts of the plant, your CBD oil is not as effective.
What Can CBD Oil Help With?
- Support healthy bone and cartilage function. As our cats age, they experience a decline in cartilage between their joints just like humans do. This can create discomfort that can limit your cat’s mobility. CBD oil is packed with cannabinoids that work to lubricate and support your cat’s joints and cartilage, bringing her comfort and helping her maintain her mobility.
- Provide temporary soothing for occasional gastric distress. Cats who experience digestive issues can get temporary soothing from occasional gastric distress with CBD oil. CBD oil soothes your cat’s tummy and helps her feel better, faster.
- Support normal brain function . We all want our cats to live the longest, healthiest lives possible, and part of giving them the best care we can is helping ensure their brain function is supported in the best manner possible. Research shows that CBD helps support healthy brain function in all mammals, which means your cat can benefit from supplementation, too!
- Calms and relaxes. All pets deserve to relax every now and again, and CBD oil can promote relaxation and overall emotional balance in your furry companion.
CBD oil is a great supplement for cats, and can best be administered in the form of a CBD oil tincture. Many cats will take this administration of CBD oil directly from the tincture’s syringe.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
The commercial growth, manufacture, and distribution of CBD was federally legalized with the passing of The Farm Bill of 2018. It should be noted that commercially grown hemp plants and the resulting CBD oil products must contain less than .03% THC to be considered legal.
Additionally, each state has differing laws regarding the legality of CBD oil growth and distribution, so it is important to check your state’s laws to ensure you can legally use CBD oil as a supplement for your cat.
CBD oil has a collection of helpful benefits for your cat, and it can be safely administered to her through the use of a high-quality, full-spectrum CBD oil.
CBD oil can support joint mobility, support gastrointestinal health, promote emotional balance, and even aid healthy brain function.
CBD is a great choice to add to your cat’s current health and wellness stack, but if you ever have any questions about adding anything to your pet’s regular regimen, don’t be shy to reach out to your veterinarian!