CBD has become a household name these days. Humans take it to help with health issues like anxiety and chronic pain.1 And now, it’s being explored as a way to help our furry friends, too.
According to most veterinarians and anecdotal evidence from other pet owners, CBD for cats is generally tolerated well. Cats can take CBD for various health and behavioral reasons if approved by a veterinarian.2
Keep reading to learn more about CBD for cats and how it may benefit your cat’s health.
Let’s start with what CBD is not. It’s not marijuana. CBD — short for cannabidiol — is an oil extracted from hemp plants (cannabis). It doesn’t contain a significant amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component found in marijuana.3
So cat owners don’t need to worry about a CBD oil product they get for their kitty having the same psychoactive effects as some of the marijuana products humans use.
CBD is typically regarded as safe for cats, according to existing research, veterinarians, and pet owners who’ve used it.2
However, there currently isn’t a ton of research proving (or disproving) the efficacy of CBD for cats, and CBD oil isn’t FDA-approved or regulated. So many veterinary experts turn to research on how CBD interacts in dogs and humans to gain insight and make predictions on how it will interact with cats.
In dogs, high-quality CBD oil has shown to help with numerous physical health issues, as well as aid with stress and anxiety.3 Because there are so many CBD oil products for pets on the shelves these days, it’s best to consult your vet first to ensure you’re using quality products and know the correct dosage.
In addition to the lack of research on CBD for cats, there are other issues to consider, like quality control. Available products may have different ingredients in them, like cannabinoids and terpenes, which can affect your pet differently than pure CBD oil.4 Plus, the amount of CBD oil in products will vary, making dosage tricky to figure out without a vet’s help.
As mentioned above, the lack of research explicitly targeting CBD oil for cats means we have to go off of studies conducted on dogs, as well as anecdotes from pet owners for now.
That being said, based on what we do know, the potential benefits of CBD for cats include:2
- Pain relief: CBD has shown promise for helping with pain management for conditions like osteoarthritis.
- Improved mobility: This benefit is usually a result of the previous one. When your kitty is in less pain, they can move around more comfortably.
- Fewer seizures: Some research indicates CBD can be successful in lessening seizures in conditions like epilepsy.
- Reduced anxiety: In one Cornell study, dogs were given CBD before a “stressful event,” and most exhibited decreased stress and anxiety.3
- Cancer treatment: Evidence on CBD’s role as a potentially beneficial addition to cat cancer treatment, like radiation and chemotherapy, is ongoing. CBD may also help slow cancer cell growth.
Even with these promising benefits of CBD for cats and other pets, more research is needed to fully understand CBD oil’s role in pet health. A conversation with your veterinarian is a good place to start.
Some research indicates CBD oil has safely been administered to cats, and any adverse effects were mild.5 That doesn’t mean cats can’t experience some side effects, which may include:
- Behavioral changes
- Gastrointestinal issues (upset stomach)
It’s important to note that these side effects were reportedly mild and typically resolved with a decrease in CBD oil dosage.
While dogs may take CBD in soft chews, it’s recommended cats take it in its oil form through the use of a dropper.6 CBD oil can be rubbed onto your kitty’s skin that’s not covered in fur (think paws or the inside of the ears) or mixed with their cat food.
Before buying CBD for cats, consult your veterinarian to develop a plan for which products to use and for dosage guidance. Cat CBD dosage will vary depending on factors like your cat’s body size, weight, and the specific issue or condition you’re seeking treatment for.
After determining which CBD type you’ll use, how you’ll give it to your kitty, and how much CBD your cat can have, you may begin administering it.
In addition to traditional prescriptions and medical treatments, depending on the level of coverage in your policy, MetLife Pet Insurance may be able to help cover holistic and alternative therapies like CBD oil. So if your vet recommends CBD for your cat, a cat insurance policy from MetLife Pet could help cover associated costs.
Whether you need CBD for cat anxiety or pain relief for your aging feline friend, protect your pet’s wellness by getting a free quote today.