CBD for Cats: What To Know Before You Dose

Four Minutes
Dec 18, 2023

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.

What Exactly Is CBD?

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.

Is CBD Safe For Cats?

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.

Potential Benefits of CBD for Cats

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.

Potential Side Effects of CBD Products

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:

  • Drowsiness
  • 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.

How Is Cat CBD Administered?

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.

Pet Insurance Can Cover CBD for Cats

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.

Help Keep Your Cat Healthy and Happy

**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

[1] “Cannabidiol (CBD): What we know and what we don’t,” Harvard Medical School

2 “CBD Oil For Cats: What You Need to Know,” PetMD, 2023

3 “CBD: What you need to know about its uses and efficacy,” Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

4 “Cannabinoid, Terpene, and Heavy Metal Analysis of 29 Over-the-Counter Commercial Veterinary Hemp Supplements,” National Center for Biotechnology Information

5 “Safety and tolerability of escalating cannabinoid doses in healthy cats,” National Center for Biotechnology Information

6 “Can CBD Help My Cat?,” WebMD

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