CBD Oil for Cats: What You Need to Know
As cat owners look for ways to keep their kitties happy and healthy, they’re starting to explore alternative treatments not previously considered by Western medicine. Among these alternative treatments is cannabis oil.
This isn’t much of a surprise, considering that more people are turning to cannabis as a natural treatment for their health issues and research studies have consistently shown the plant’s positive impact on inflammation and other ailments. However, as studied as cannabis’s effect on humans may be, there have been no official major scientific studies into its impact on pets.
So, is cannabis safe for cats? And what sorts of ailments might it treat?
What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabis plants contain more than 100 active compounds, but the one most often used for medicinal purposes is cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD differs from cannabis’s major active compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in that it does not have a psychoactive affect, meaning it will not get users “high.” CBD oils contain a high concentration of CBD and can be used for therapeutic purposes.
“There are not many classical medical studies that explore the effects of CBD oil in cats,” says Dr. Daniel Inman, a veterinarian at Burlington Emergency Veterinary Specialists in Williston, Vermont. “While we don’t recommend CBD oil for our patients, holistic veterinarians are using it to treat a variety of ailments, including inflammation, anxiety and pain.”
Inman is careful to specify that CBD oil is often used to subjectively increase comfort and improve quality of life in pets, not necessarily cure ailments. This type of treatment should be advised by your veterinarian and not initiated without their consent.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
Although there have been no scientific studies that specifically investigate the impact of cannabis on pets, Dr. Gary Richter, a holistic veterinarian and owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland, California, says that CBD oil is generally safe for cats. However, there can be some adverse effects to giving your cat CBD oil, including gastrointestinal upset and some sedation, both of which can be relieved by discontinuing the use of the oil.
“I think the bigger issue, from a medical perspective, is making sure that animals are dosed appropriately. This means that the CBD oil is having the affect you want it to have, and that you’re not accidentally overdosing,” he says.
Dr. Liza Guess, a clinical assistant professor at the Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Medicine in Columbus, Ohio, says that the lack of official, documented research into the affects of cannabis products for cats would make her hesitant to recommend them.
“I have heard that, in humans, marijuana products can be used for neuropathic pain, intractable seizures, anxiety, and appetite stimulation. I have plenty of medications in each of those categories [that are not cannabis] that have been safely used in cats for years that I am very comfortable using and understand well,” she says. “These medications have gone through rigorous studies and are approved by the FDA. Why would I want to use a poorly understood treatment that I can’t guarantee is safe or even effective?”
She adds that the FDA does not regulate the CBD products that are available on the market, so consumers can’t be sure that they’re giving their pets the dosage that they think they are.
“Pet owners looking to give their animals CBD oil should do their due diligence before purchasing anything online,” Richter says. “The marketplace is very much a ‘buyer beware’ environment, and people should be sure that the product they’re buying has been laboratory tested for both content, as well as contaminants like bacteria, fungus, and heavy metals.”
Also, it’s worth nothing that while CBD oil is typically quite safe for cats and dogs, cannabis plants are not. “There is plenty of documentation of marijuana toxicity in cats, for those that nibble on the plants,” Guess says.
Inman adds that as an ER veterinarian, he often sees marijuana toxicity in the animals that come into his practice. “You can usually tell if a pet has gotten into someone’s marijuana. And, in more severe instances, I have had to hospitalize animals until the affects have worn off.”
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Regardless of how well CBD products work for cats, there is also the issue of legality. If a cannabis product contains less than 0.3 percent THC, it’s classified as “hemp,” which is not a restricted substance. Most, if not all, CBD oil fits this description. The bigger issue is discussing this course of treatment with your veterinarian.
“In a perfect world, your veterinarian would be able to discuss this treatment as an option for your pet, but depending on where you live, your veterinarian may or may not be legally at liberty to have this conversation with you,” Richter says. “Even if you live in a state where cannabis is legal, it can be illegal for a veterinarian to tell a pet owner how to appropriately use these products.”
There are activists looking to change these laws, Richter among them.
“For example, there’s a bill being brought to the California State Legislature to debate the use of medical cannabis for animals and veterinarian involvement,” he says. “There’s a very robust conversation going on right now about it whether or not veterinarians should be able to discuss and recommend cannabis for their patients, and, if so, exactly what that looks like.”
Being able to discuss all types of treatments with your veterinarian is key, and Richter advises checking in with your vet before giving your pet any sort of cannabis. “There’s no reason to ever start giving any kind of medication or supplement without having a conversation with your veterinarian first,” he says.
Is cannabis oil safe for cats? And what sorts of ailments might it treat?
Best CBD Oil for Cats – Top Brands of 2021
While cats are generally easygoing, requiring food, water, and cuddles (on their own time, of course), they, like their human counterparts, also benefit from the many benefits of CBD. Cats go through different stages in their development and may sometimes exhibit signs of stress-related anxiety. This can show up as hyperactivity, excessive self-grooming, loss of appetite, and even destruction of household furniture and other items.These behavioral changes can sprout as a result of changes in the home (like a recent move, new roommates, or even a new baby or pet). CBD can help regulate your pet’s mood and create a calmer disposition, despite environmental changes. This allows your kitty to enjoy a harmonious shift as changes happen around her and will prevent her from exhibiting worse behaviors, as seen with excessive grooming, which can damage her skin and coat.
It’s important to note, CBD is used for much more than just enhancing mood. It has the potential to boost immune support, provide relief from chronic pain, assist with joint mobility, and provide anti-inflammatory support. Plenty of anecdotal evidence demonstrates that cats benefit from CBD when regularly provided with the right dose. While there are pharmaceuticals which aid in cat health support, often they cause several negative side effects, which in turn, leads pet parents on a well-intentioned search for natural support. If that’s you, you’ve come to the right place. We have compiled a list of the top CBD brands for cats to help you make a well-informed CBD oil buying decision.
Top 3 Summary
- HonestPaws – #1 Pet CBD Brand in US
- Nuleaf Naturals – Very Potent Products
- cbdMD – Runner-Up
CBD for Cats: How Did We Compile This List?
We created this list based on four main factors to ensure we provide an accurate and objective analysis. Our only desire is to provide an unbiased breakdown of our top three recommendations.
We look at the ingredient list to ensure CBD products are clear of low-quality and artificial fillers. Unfortunately, some CBD brands include ingredients which may be harmful to pets, so we consider this a high-priority factor when reviewing CBD oils for cats.
Third-Party Lab Testing
A reputable CBD brand always offers transparency, listing their lab results or clearly directing customers to third-party test outcomes. Independent testing ensures CBD claims are confirmed, which provides you, as a consumer, the peace of mind you need when purchasing a product for your four-legged rascal.
Product Description, Including Potency
We look at the type of extract, ensuring it falls under one of three categories: full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate. We also confirm the potency in milligrams is clearly listed on the product, so customers can provide accurate dosages for their fur babies.
Unbiased reviews provide information on the ordering process, shipping speed, and product efficacy. While the products themselves are of high importance, we also consider the customer experience, as this provides a well-rounded view of how well the brand functions.
Best CBD Oil for Cats – Our Breakdown
1. HonestPaws – #1 Pet CBD Brand in US
- “2020 Industry Recognition Award” from Pet Business
- NASC seal – Incredibly strict quality standards have been met
- Certificate of analysis – third party tested
- Human grade, USDA organic, vegan, non-GMO and gluten free
- Very palatable
- Made in the US
- Occasional low stock due to high demand
Honest Paws CBD products are full spectrum, lab tested, and 100% organic. They keep their products free from herbicides and pesticides, as these carry the potential to cause harm in your beloved kitty’s body. Honest Paws operates with the understanding that your cat is not just a pet, but a loving member of your family and they support you in being able to provide relief and improved health for your fluffy cuddle buddy.
The founder of Honest Paws recognized the powerful benefits of CBD when her own floof, who she adorably calls “Baby Rose,” struggled with an incapacitating condition. Although her veterinarian provided a prescription, it wasn’t guaranteed to work and had multiple unfavorable side effects. Instead, she sought a natural remedy and was floored by the results. It was this experience that led her to provide other pet parents with organic CBD that’s guaranteed soy-free and non-GMO, so they can keep their kitties healthy and purring with contentment.
Honest Paws’ CBD oil for cats contains several wellness terpenes to support your kitty’s overall health, including:
- Linalool to assist with the management of regular, day to day stressors.
- Limonene to encourage a relaxed state.
- Beta Pinene to assist in the fight against free radicals.
- Eucalyptol to provide support for the immune system.
- Humulene to promote health throughout your kitty’s life.
- Camphene to provide relief from occasional discomfort and keep your cat relaxed.
- Beta Caryophyllene to support a healthy inflammatory response.
- Myrcene to support joint mobility and flexibility and also to calm nerves.
CBD oil is available in two variations, either a tincture or a coconut oil. The wellness full spectrum hemp oil tincture is perfect for all cat sizes and has 125mg of CBD per bottle. Choosing to subscribe provides you with a discount on the total cost, so you can save and keep your kitty’s CBD orders coming regularly. Simply set it and forget it!
Coconut oil can be used in a variety of ways, either topically as an all-natural pest repellent, to support dental health, and to support the body’s natural inflammatory response. Since the wellness coconut oil is infused with CBD, it can be administered orally on a daily basis to provide your kitty with immune support, a calm mood, and a skin health boost.
What Customers Are Saying
Customers report good prices and fast delivery. One specific customer shares a sweet story about a rescue kitty who exhibited excessive grooming habits upon being brought home. After a vet visit, it was determined the behavior was stress related. After trying pheromone plugins, they tried Honest Paws CBD and within three weeks, their rescue stopped the stress-related grooming and has been able to settle into his new home.
2. Nuleaf Naturals – Very Potent Products
- Full spectrum hemp CBD
- CO2 extraction
- Made with organic hemp
- Colorado grown
- Lab verified
- Limited product variety
Nuleaf Naturals was founded by lovers of plant medicine who set out to pave the way for a string of CBD products that encourage physical and mental health for your kitty. They have created a whole plant, highly concentrated CBD extract that includes additional cannabinoids like CBC, CBG, and CBN. This combination ensures an effective, potent product that delivers on its promises. They also employ CO2 extraction, which allows them to attain the full range of cannabinoids along with terpenes, beneficial phytonutrients, and essential oils. This process eliminates the need for harsh chemical solvents and increases the potency of CBD.
Nuleaf Naturals grows their hemp in Colorado, where it is nourished with immaculate Rocky Mountain water and carefully harvested at the perfect moment. Nuleaf invests its time into the entire farming and production process, carefully overlooking their products from seed to shelf to present high-quality products they can guarantee. Keeping their eye on the entire process allows them to create consistently safe and effective products that are always free of herbicides, pesticides, mold, and fungi.
Want to check your batch reports? Simply enter your batch number directly on their website to generate third-party lab tested results. It’s this openness and transparency which makes brands like Nuleaf Naturals a top pick.
Their full spectrum hemp CBD oil for pets is available in three concentrations: 300mg, 900mg, and 1800mg. It contains the synergistic combination of naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes so your kitty’s endocannabinoid system can usher the benefits directly to where they’re needed the most. You can use the dropper to feed the plant medicine directly or combine it with food or treats to get a sneaky dose in.
What Customers Are Saying
Over 20,000 customers share positive experiences with customer service and speedy delivery, within two to three days within the United States. In addition, several reviews mention improved mobility and calmed anxiety in their four-legged pals.
3. cbdMD – Runner-Up
- Broad spectrum, organic CBD oil
- Ethically and locally sourced hemp
- Flash chromatography extraction
- Fast, free shipping
- Very affordable
- May take time for pet to notice effects
Founded by co-CEOs Martin Sumichrast and Scott Coffman and is based out of North Carolina, cbdMD knows full well that anxious pets create anxious households. cbdMD has formulated a distinct ethanol-based extraction method known as “flash chromatography” to make all of their broad-spectrum products. Their unique solutions are sourced from USA grown hemp and tested by third-party labs.
Looking to create products that provide secondary calming benefits to all humans in your household by addressing your kitty’s anxiety, cbdMD works hard to properly research and test each of their products. They move with intention throughout their process to ensure they can earn your trust by making your cat feel better.
cbdMD infuses their products with top notch ingredients, opting against artificial flavors, harsh chemicals, fillers, and other ingredients too difficult to pronounce. In keeping with their mission to assuage anxiety instead of creating more unease, they offer their customers a 30-day risk free guarantee. If you try their CBD oil for cats and your fur baby doesn’t like it or it doesn’t perform to your liking, they will give you your money back. Clearly, they trust in the quality of their products.
The organic hemp oil cbdMD has for cats is available in a dosage of 400mg in a 30ml bottle. They’ll ship it out to you for free the next business day following your purchase. They make dosing super easy with a clearly marked dropper so you can give your kitty just the right amount. After three days of dosing once per day, you can begin dosing twice per day at mealtimes. This CBD oil does a lot with just a little. For example, you’ll notice their CBD oil:
- Reduces anxiety and promotes calm behavior
- Supports brain function
- Boosts immune system health
- Works as an anti-inflammatory
- Promotes healthy skin
- Assists with reducing symptoms associated with seasonal allergies
What Customers Are Saying
Customers share positive results after providing their pets with CBD. From 1) reducing obsessive self-grooming to 2) making trips to the groomer easy as pie to 3) saving couches and shoes from nervous biting, AnxiousPet customers are satisfied with the way CBD has reduced anxiety in their pets and created a more harmonious, happy home.
How Does CBD Oil Help Cats?
CBD functions similarly to other vitamin supplements. It is processed by your kitty’s endocannabinoid system, which activates different receptors to provide various benefits, including:
- A calmer, better regulated mood – perfect for anxious kitties and depressed cats that need support to feel better and more contented
- More restful sleep – especially if your kitty suffers from chronic health issues that take a toll
- Improved joint mobility – particularly important for elderly cats or cats recovering from injury
- Immune system support – ideal following specific events like surgery and for overall, long-term health
- Boosted appetite – helpful when kitties go through different life stages and need extra support
- Anti-inflammatory benefits – for kitties suffering with arthritic pain and any pain or swelling following injuries
- Support for seizure disorders – cats, like humans, can benefit from CBD, which counteracts these episodes through the reduction of electrical disruptions in the brain
- Skin and coat support – CBD can be given orally or applied topically to assist with feline acne, improve coat texture, and alleviate any symptoms associated with allergies
Overall, CBD works in a variety of ways to help your kitty live a more comfortable, relaxed, and healthful life.
Is CBD Oil Safe For Cats?
While there are not many studies around the use of CBD specifically for cats, many pet parents have reported CBD is a safe medicinal supplement that has helped their feline babies in a variety of ways. When searching for a CBD product, be sure you are only shopping from reputable brands who offer transparency about their ingredients and who readily provide third-party lab test results.
Just as your kitty has a personality all her own, her physical body will have its own way of responding to ingested CBD. The greatest cause for concern when administering CBD to your cat is dosage.
Whenever you introduce your kitty to a new supplement, start with the smallest dose and keep a close eye to check for any side effects. If you notice your cat getting drowsy, you should try to reduce the dose next time. Ultimately, your cat should feel CBD’s calming effects, but it should not work as a sedative.
If you have any doubts about a product, speak directly with your holistic veterinarian. A professional opinion is a great benefit when you’re working to bring relief and relaxation to your little fur babe.
What Is The Right CBD Oil Dosage For Cats?
Since each brand is different, you should follow the guidelines written on the product’s packaging. Every cat’s body is distinct, and they may respond differently to a standard CBD dose. Always start with the smallest dose advised by the manufacturer and wait to see how your cat reacts. If they react positively, you know you’ve got the right dose.
As a rule of thumb, a CBD dose for a cat should be between 1mg – 5mg per 10 lbs of bodyweight. 1mg is a low dose, 3mg is a medium dose, and 5mg is a strong dose.
You may not notice effects right away but don’t let that disappoint you. Most brands recommend you try the product for a minimum of thirty days before trying to adjust the dose. You know your kitty better than anyone so just keep an eye out and watch for subtle changes before offering an increased dose.
Can My Cat Ingest Too Much CBD?
The short answer is no.
If your cat ingests more than the recommended dosage, she will likely experience some discomfort side effects, including stomach discomfort, diarrhea, lethargy, and some disorientation. However, within a few hours, these symptoms subside. The stomach upset and diarrhea may occur because CBD uses a carrier oil, in most cases MCT oil, which can function as a laxative in high doses. And since CBD oil has a calming effect, in high doses, your kitty may appear sedated and may need to sleep it off. Despite these relatively mild side effects, there are no known long-term effects from an accidental overdose on hemp-derived CBD products.
If My Cat Is On Medication, Can I Still Give Her CBD?
Hemp-derived CBD oil is not known to cause issues when used alongside existing medications; however, you should always consult with your veterinarian, providing a full list of medications and supplements, so you can be professionally advised on how to proceed.
While CBD can work in conjunction with medications, your vet’s knowledge along with your kitty’s personal history will ultimately help you determine whether it’s the right time to begin incorporating CBD into your cat’s regimen.
Whether you’re seeking out CBD oil for your cat because of a pressing health concern or you want to provide a supplement that supports overall health, you can rest assured that each of the above brands works hard to provide you with a product your cat benefits from. From infusing CBD oil with organic superfoods like Honestpaws to working tirelessly with veterinarians like cbdMD, these brands each have an edge that shows their commitment to providing superior CBD products for your pet’s health.
While cats are generally easygoing, requiring food, water, and cuddles (on their own time, of course), they, like their human counterparts, also benefit