CBD oil is one of the hottest products in the world right now, as people are using it for all sorts of things, including calming anxiety, treating aches and pains, and even fighting acne. But did you know that you can also give CBD oil to your cat?
It’s true — CBD oil for pets is quickly becoming a big business. If you’ve been curious about what the stuff could do for your feline friend but you’re concerned about what might happen if things go wrong, this guide can help you make an informed choice that’s in the best interests of your cat.
What Is CBD Oil? Is It Legal?
Most people instinctively associate CBD oil with marijuana, causing them to assume that they’d be giving their cat an illegal drug. However, that’s not the case at all.
CBD stands for “cannabidiol,” which is a compound found in cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. However, CBD affects the body much differently than THC does, which is the compound in marijuana responsible for making you feel high.
CBD doesn’t get you (or your cat) high. Instead, it can work as a neurotransmitter, causing your brain to release feel-good chemicals like dopamine.
Most commercially sold CBD oil is actually extracted from hemp, which has no psychoactive effects. In fact, in many states where CBD oil is legal, manufacturers are required by law to only use hemp-derived oil for this very reason.
CBD oil is usually legal in most places because it doesn’t meet any of the definitions of a controlled substance. Still, we urge you to check your local laws before making a purchase.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
As best we can tell, yes, CBD oil is safe for cats.
There hasn’t been much research done on the subject. Most large-scale studies have been performed on humans, and there have been a handful done on dogs, but virtually nothing on kitties.
However, given how popular CBD oil is becoming, we’re not seeing a sudden influx of CBD-related vet visits either. While this isn’t as conclusive as a peer-reviewed study, it does provide valuable circumstantial evidence in support of CBD oil’s safety.
That said, there are virtually no CBD oil products that have earned FDA approval, and the market is almost entirely unregulated. Even if CBD oil itself is safe, there could be all sorts of other things floating around in the oil that you bought from that shady site on the internet. Also, you’ll never really know if the bottle has the amount of CBD inside it that the manufacturer claims.
Your best bet is to stick to reputable sites with plenty of reviews and other social proof and follow the instructions that they provide to the letter. While it’s difficult for a cat to overdose on CBD oil, they can still suffer adverse health effects if they consume too much, so use it sparingly. It may also interfere with certain prescription medications, so discuss the matter with your vet before starting your cat on a CBD regimen. It’s also important to note that CBD oil for humans, though similar to those products for cats, is not the same and should not be used interchangeably.
What Are the Benefits of Giving CBD Oil to Cats?
We would like to reiterate that there are no studies backing any of this up. It’s based entirely on anecdotal data (albeit quite a bit of anecdotal data).
The biggest benefit that CBD oil offers is in treating anxiety. Cats that are given CBD oil are reportedly mellower and better able to deal with stressful situations. Some people give their cats CBD oil daily, which may be appropriate if you have a cat that’s generally anxious, while others only give it to their cats before a stressful situation, such as a vet visit.
It may also help with pain relief, especially arthritis pain. This may be due to the fact that it causes the cat’s brain to release feel-good neurochemicals, or it may be due to CBD oil’s reputation for fighting inflammation (or both). Whatever the cause, if you have a cat that’s chronically in pain, it may be worth looking into getting CBD oil for them.
CBD oil can also be used as an appetite stimulant. This is especially powerful for cats suffering through chemotherapy or similar treatments. The CBD oil may help reduce your kitty’s anxiety about the treatment while reducing their pain and bringing back their appetite — not bad for a single supplement.
There are other supposed benefits, like boosted immune support and seizure reduction. However, we urge you to not replace or supplement any of your cat’s existing medications with CBD oil without first discussing the matter with your vet.
How Do I Give My Cat CBD Oil?
CBD oil comes in various forms, including oils, chews, and even food toppers. The correct way to give it to your cat will vary depending on the form that you use.
Oil tends to be the most potent form of the stuff, but it’s also the messiest and hardest to dose. Many CBD oils are mixed with some sort of fish oil (such as sardine oil) to make it more palatable to your cat; if your kitty likes the taste, you may be able to just squirt some on their food. Otherwise, you’ll need to squirt it underneath their tongue, which is not an easy proposition.
There are also flavored chews available. Cats usually find these to be delicious, so you may be able to get them to actually thank you for giving them their supplement. However, given all the other ingredients that go into making a chew, this is usually the most diluted and least effective way to dose them.
Some manufacturers also make toppers that you can sprinkle on your cat’s food. This makes it easy to give them their oil, but as with the chews, you’ll be giving them a fairly diluted version of the stuff.
How Much CBD Oil Do I Give My Cat?
As a general rule, you should give your cat 1 to 5 mg of CBD oil per 10 pounds of body weight.
We’d recommend starting light, just to see how your cat responds to it. You can always increase to the maximum dosage later if need be, but you don’t want to overwhelm your cat right off the bat.
Keep in mind that the oil builds up in your pet’s system over time. That means it has a cumulative effect, so you might not see a big difference right away, but after a few weeks, the improvement can be profound. It’s all the more reason to start slowly and titrate up as needed.
If you’re giving CBD oil for your cat’s anxiety, though, the dosage may be different, especially if it’s going to be provided on an as-needed basis. In that case, it may make sense to give the maximum dose every time to be certain that your cat won’t be overwhelmed by a stressful situation.
You might also be interested in: 6 Home Remedies for Treating Ear Mites in Cats
Will You Give CBD Oil to Your Cat?
CBD oil is an exciting new product that may well have myriad benefits for cats, but as of now, the jury is still out. There simply isn’t enough concrete evidence to support all the claims that are made on its behalf, and it’s unlikely to be the wonder supplement that its proponents make it out to be.
On the other hand, it’s generally safe for cats, and there are thousands of pet owners who swear by the stuff, so you’re not risking much by trying it. It may just be the thing that your cat needs to live a happy, pain-free life.
There’s no right or wrong answer at this point, so weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself. We can’t blame you for waiting for more science to roll in on the matter, but neither will we judge you for doing any and everything that you can to make sure your cat is happy and feels great all the time.
You might also be interested in:
- 8 Home Remedies to Stop Your Cat from Licking Too Much
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Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock