Are you considering CBD oil for your cat? While marijuana has been hyped for years as a potentially medicinal plant, hemp deserves attention too. These plants are primarily different from the familiar bud by featuring a very low THC content, with as close to 0% THC as possible in most varieties.
Instead, hemp is used for the extraction of CBD, or cannabidiol. CBD is one of the many cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp, as is THC. Yet unlike THC, CBD appears to be safe for cats to consume as a supplement. If you are a fan of trying alternative treatments to improve your pet’s life, you should definitely explore what is known and what is still a mystery about CBD for cats.
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CBD Calculator for Cats
Try our CBD dosage calculator for cats. This will help you figure out how much CBD to give your cat.
Please consult your doctor before taking CBD or a vet before giving CBD to your pets. CBD is not approved by the FDA as a dietary supplement. Our articles and calculator on CBD are for information purposes only. Learn more about the FDA's stance on CBD.
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The Confusing Legality of CBD
While it is true that CBD has been legal to purchase on a federal level since 2018, the truth about its legality is a little more complicated than just that. First, each state has its right to establish its own rules for CBD sales.
You may live somewhere that has legalized recreational marijuana but still requires a license or vet’s approval to legally purchase CBD products. Only checking local regulations on CBD sales, even for projects designated only for pet use, will determine if you are safe to make a purchase or not.
THC and CBD: Not the Same
Don’t confuse THC for CBD, especially if you live in a state where marijuana is legal for medicinal or recreational use. It is all too easy to confuse the two since they are both present in marijuana, and to some extent in hemp as well. Hemp is generally bred to have as low a THC content as possible and higher CBD levels.
THC is responsible for the intoxicating effect of marijuana, while CBD doesn’t. CBD is also considered generally safe for pets like cats, while THC has a toxicity level that makes it unsafe to administer to pets.
Safety of CBD for Cats
Despite the relative lack of testing on the safety of CBD oil for cats, it is assumed to be safe as a supplement. This is primarily due to a lack of complaints from pet owners or vets reporting negative side effects from routine use. Companies selling treats or oils made for pets shouldn’t be making any specific claims for its health benefits.
However, do verify you’re buying a zero THC product since pets can react negatively to THC, even in very small doses. Stick to CBD treats for cats and similar products that are tested by a third party as well.
Best Ways to Administer CBD Oil for Cats
Cats are known for their resistance to taking any kind of medication or supplement. Getting a pill in a cat’s mouth or even trying to administer liquid-like CBD drops for cats can leave you covered in scratches. Treats are generally the best choice for cats.
It may take you a while to find a treat your cat will willingly take multiple times a day to achieve the correct dose. Adding a flavored liquid like an oil or drops to your cat’s favorite wet food is another good option.
CBD for Cat Pain
Since there is no real scientific evidence on how CBD affects cats, most pet owners follow the advice given for dogs based on a handful of studies. The most supported use of CBD for pets in general is for pain, specifically joint pain related to arthritis.
At least one study of dogs showed a marked reduction in pain and increase in energy levels when arthritic animals were treated with CBD. Cats are likely to benefit in some way too, especially if they are suffering from fatigue related to arthritis. Owners of cats with other chronic pain conditions may want to give CBD a try to see what kind of effects they see in their pets.
CBD for Cat Anxiety
One of the most popular uses for CBD for cats is for anxiety. Whether pet owners are trying to help their cats deal with the sounds of fireworks or thunder, new cats joining the house, or the stress of a move, it is a commonly reported use. Yet among the many potential CBD for cats benefits, anxiety relief is one of the less-supported uses.
This is because the only study on dogs and how CBD affected their anxiety did not find any evidence to support its use. However, anecdotal reports from cats owners indicate it may be possible that cats respond differently and do receive a calming effect from it.
CBD Oil Dosage for Cats
In general, most sources report a higher dose per lb for cats than dogs. This is due to the fact that some veterinarians believe that cats absorb less of the CBD from any oil or other product used to treat them. Always start out with the lowest range of the recommended CBD dosage for cats and only increase the daily amount if they respond well to it.
Try to break up the total daily dose, listed below by weight, into at least two or more administrations per day. Trying to give your pet the whole dose at once can lead to an upset stomach.
- 5 lbs — 1.25 mg to 2.5 mg
- 6 lbs — 1.5 mg to 3 mg
- 7 lbs — 1.75 mg to 3.5 mg
- 8 lbs — 2 mg to 4 mg
- 9 lbs — 2.25 mg to 4.5 mg
- 10 lbs — 2.5 mg to 5 mg
- 11 lbs — 2.75 mg to 5.5 mg
- 12 lbs — 3 mg to 6 mg
- Above 12 lbs — .25 to .5 mg per lb of body weight
With so little research available on the effects of CBD on cats, it’s important to do your own firsthand research before giving it a try.
Veterinarians aren’t allowed to recommend its use in general since it hasn’t received FDA approval, with the exception of a single CBD-based treatment for epilepsy. If you’re dealing with a cat with chronic pain or anxiety, CBD treats or drops may be just what you need to help them.
CBD Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor before taking CBD or a vet before giving CBD to your pets. Not all CBD products are approved by the FDA. Our articles and calculator on CBD are for information purposes only. Learn more about the FDA’s stance on CBD.