The idea of using CBD oil for cats has gained a lot of traction lately. Many people are turning to cannabidiol as a natural treatment for health issues like anxiety, inflammation, and seizures. Research studies have consistently shown that cannabis-derived products like CBD oil have a positive impact on various ailments in humans. As it happens, many of the people who have made CBD part of their regular health regimen are pet parents. As a result, a lot of pet lovers out there have started to administer these products to their pets as well.
CBD oil for cats, what does the research say?
The truth is, the science is young and there hasn’t been all that much scientific research done on CBD’s efficacy for pets. Though a lot of research has been conducted using animal models, the vast majority of those have been conducted on rodents. Most of the evidence we have about the efficacy of CBD to treat pet ailments comes from pet owners themselves, in the form of testimonials online.
Though there have been limited studies conducted vis-a-vis CDB for dogs, studies of cannabidiol’s effects on cats are, to date, non-existent. In terms of studies conducted on canines, a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study at Cornell University showed that CBD oil was effective for dogs suffering from pain due to osteoarthritis.
Despite the dearth of research on the effects of CBD on cats, that are plenty of anecdotal reports from cat owners who have used cannabidiol to treat their feline’s health conditions with success. Symptoms like pain in old ages ease with the use of CBD which improves the quality of life for aging cats. Cat owners have also seen their feline friends experience relief from anxiety when they treat them with CBD.
As little research has been done on CBD for either cats or dogs, it can be a little bit daunting for pet parents looking to find out how much to use and what product to buy. Fortunately, it is possible for pet parents to find testimonials and stories from other pet owners about their experiences with CBD. In addition, although optimal CBD dosage has yet to be determined exactly, there are useful guidelines out there people can safely follow.
Can I use CBD for my cat?
The good news is, CBD can be tried with cats as there is little risk of side effects. Unfortunately, it isn’t clear exactly how much to use for various conditions, and finding the best dose for your pet will require a process of experimentation and observation. What is well-known it that cats do not metabolize medicines like dogs do. Cats react differently to CBD, and metabolize it more quickly.
Cats have a sensitive system and very few medications work for them. For instance, the drugs used for dogs in pain, are not effective for cats. Not only are they not effective, they are not safe for cats.
In terms of CBD for cats, Portland-based ElleVet has done a long-term study of products for cats and has found that cats require a higher dose per kg than dogs.
ElleVet Sciences published the first safety study on the use of hemp CBD/CBDA for dogs and cats. The 12-week study showed that the use of the products was effective and safe for dogs and cats at a dose of 2mg/kg twice a day.
The clinical trial showed “more than 80% of dogs showed significant or dramatic improvement.” They also found that there are differences in absorption between cats and dogs and that they may need different dosing, though how different remains to be seen.
What conditions can CBD for cats help with?
Pet owners have used CBD to relieve stiffness and pain due to arthritis and cancer. In the above-mentioned study, the researchers found that CBD significantly reduced arthritis pain once the best dosage was administered. All the dogs in the study experienced relief from severe pain.
The company also found that CBD was effective for anxiety in dogs. Dogs who usually go crazy during thunder storms, calmed down significantly. Researchers also found that CBD can safely be used to treat anxiety in cats. In fact, cats responded even more positively to CBD medications than dogs.
One aspect of CBD use for cats that research found was that cats metabolize CBD very quickly, so they need higher dosages and can take CBD more frequently.
CBD appears to help cats with joint stiffness, stress, pain, and seizures. It is also a great product to give to elderly cats to make them more comfortable as they age. Cat owners have noticed that CBD supplements help their elderly cats with their mobility issues, allowing them to get around more easily.
What are some tips when shopping for CBD?
CBD isn’t very strictly regulated and although most companies are selling quality products, there are some shady actors out there marketing sub-par products. Pet parents must do their due diligence when shopping for CBD for their cats. Cats are sensitive animals, it would be ill-advised to give them some random, cheap product you bought at a gas station. Here are a few things you should look out for when shopping for CBD oil for your cat:
- Make sure the product is derived from organically grown cannabis. Look for a product made from 100% natural ingredients and make sure the product doesn’t any pesticides, fungicides, allergens or solvents.
- Since CBD products for pets are not regulated, it’s up to you to make sure that any product you buy has a third-party lab test—also referred to as a COA (Certificate Of Analysis) certifying that the product doesn’t contain high levels of heavy metals, or other contaminants that could harm your cat.
- Read labels carefully. Some products marketed as CBD products contain no CBD. Hemp oil, for example, contains no CBD whatsoever. Also, make sure your products contain no THC, or at most 0.3% THC per volume. THC is psychoactive and animals are very sensitive to it. A “high” cat or dog could experience severe anxiety and discomfort, nausea or other ill effects.
- Don’t go for the cheapest product. Quality CBD isn’t cheap. If the price is much lower than most products, chances are it is too good to be true.
- Buy a reputable product, even if it is more expensive. Check a company’s Google or Facebook ratings to see what other people have experienced using the products. Don’t waste your money on a cheap product nobody has used or reviewed, chances are you won’t get the results you were hoping for.
What CBD dosage is best for my cat?
Though there are general guidelines out there about CBD use for pets, we don’t know enough about CBD yet to use it with the accuracy of a prescription medication. This means pet parents trying CBD for their cats for the first time will have to go through a process of experimentation and observation to find the dose that works best for their pet.
Also, since CBD isn’t yet recognized as a medication, many veterinarians are not allowed to discuss its use with their patients. If that is the case for you (call your vet and ask first), you may want to find a holistic veterinarian near you who is willing to advise you about dosage and act in a supervisory role to check how well it is working.
In general, it is safe to administer CBD in the amount of 1 to 5 mg per kilogram of body weight.
If you decide to treat your cat with a CBD product, start with a low dose and observe your cat daily. Keep a journal of your observations and the dosage amount. After a week, increase the dose by 1-2mg per kg. Keep observing your pet and take note of any and all behavior you notice. Does your cat seem happier? More playful? More sleepy? Less anxious? How is its appetite? How stressed does it seem? The more details the better. Keep going with this weekly dosage increase for 1-2 months. At the end of the process, look back in your notes to see which week/dosage your cat seemed to have the best responses and continue with that dosage amount.
One thing to remember are that more CBD isn’t necessarily better. CBD binds to the receptors it has most affinity for first. After those receptors are all engaged, excess CBD moves on to other receptors—triggering other effects. CBD, like alcohol, is biphasic. Alcohol is a stimulant in small amounts and a depressant in large amounts. This is why you would be ill-advised simply to try a large dose first.
Is there any reason not to try CBD for cats?
Although there isn’t much research out there proving CBD is effective for cats, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there indicating that your cat will likely benefit from a little CBD in their daily routine.
In addition, there is a growing awareness among veterinarians that pet owners are using CBD products for their pets with great success, so they are keen for scientific studies to go ahead.
At the end of the day, the risks that come from trying CBD for your cat are negligible as CBD is non-toxic and comes with very few, mild side-effects in the case of very large doses. The worst side-effects your cat might experience if they are administered too much CBD will be some nausea, sleepiness and change in appetite.
One of the biggest reasons CBD has become so popular is because it is so gentle on the body compared to most prescription medications while delivering comparable therapeutic benefits. For this reason, there are no serious reasons not to try as CBD is one of the safest therapeutic compounds out there.