Can Cats Benefit from CBD?

CBD 101
Can Cats Benefit from CBD?

If you're like most pet owners, you're always looking for new ways to support their overall health and well-being. When it comes to CBD and pets (and we’re guilty of this), most of the info available pertains specifically to dogs. Many have asked us, “What about my cat?” There's a lot of growing research about the potential benefits of CBD for cats, so join us as we dive deep into the science of CBD’s effect on cats.

Is CBD Safe for Cats?

Between a plethora of anecdotal support from cat parents—and reports from both scientists and veterinarians—CBD appears safe for cats.¹ CBD is a natural cannabinoid found in hemp and is typically well-tolerated. However, it’s important to remember that you always want to talk to a veterinarian before administering CBD to your cat. CBD may interact with other medications or cause adverse side effects.

Further, the serving size you give your cat is vital. Too much CBD may make your cat sleepy or lead to tummy troubles, but these issues usually work themselves out after lowering the serving size. To mitigate this risk, always work with your vet to devise a serving size and overall wellness routine suitable for you and your pet.

Keep in mind that not all CBD is created equal. Since the FDA doesn't regulate CBD products, it's essential to do your research and only buy from reputable companies that showcase their lab test results for a guaranteed analysis. You'll also want to look out for products formulated specifically for pets since they may come in more appetizing flavors and include essential vitamins and minerals your pet needs to stay healthy.²

How CBD Affects Cats

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in hemp—and it won't get your cat high. According to research, it may potentially offer a handful of benefits for your favorite felines by working with their endocannabinoid system (ECS).³ The ECS is a system all mammals share that helps us to balance some vital background processes, such as mood, appetite, response to pain, and immune system function. 

CBD binds to the endocannabinoid receptors in your cat's ECS, just like our own, and works to help it achieve balance (known as homeostasis). Cats have fewer endocannabinoid receptors, however—which is why they may require a slightly higher serving of CBD to reach the potential benefits outlined below.⁴

Potential Benefits of CBD For Cats 

While most of the research on CBD for pets centers around dogs, much of the same evidence applies to cats! More and more studies are being conducted on the effects of CBD on cats, but it's essential to recognize further research is still needed to solidify the findings. It’s important to remember that CBD isn't a cure for anything. It may help with issues your pet is experiencing, but it won't cure them—or take them away altogether. Below we have broken down a few of the potential benefits of CBD for cats in relation to pain, anxiety, and spasms. 

Anxiety 

An anxious pet can be a destructive pet. Anxiety in cats manifests itself as pacing, hiding, destruction, urinating or defecating outside the litter box, and (in extreme cases) self-harm.⁵ Whether it can be attributed to a new baby, loud noise, fireworks, or trauma from separation—anxiety can be a difficult obstacle for your family on all fours.

However, CBD may reduce the production of cortisol in cats as well as dogs.⁶ Cortisol, a stress hormone that triggers the fight-or-flight response, is better known as anxiety. The CBD may also promote a sense of calm in your cat, making it a potentially ideal choice in managing stress and other anti-anxiety systems, like Feliway spray.⁷ By reducing your cat's anxiety, you might save yourself from replacing destroyed carpets while helping your cat live its best life.

Pain & Inflammation

CBD products like CBD oil or hemp oil interact with the ECS in cats and may help modulate pain and inflammation responses.⁸ If you have an older cat struggling with mobility issues from arthritis, cat CBD oil products may be able to offer some support. Research indicates that CBD may target the vanilloid receptor in the brain, which decreases pain responses through desensitization of the receptor.⁹ CBD also shows some notable research evidence regarding inflammation—the root of most chronic pain. By helping to reduce pain and inflammation, you might be able to restore your cat's mobility and improve its overall quality of life.

Muscle Spasms & Seizures 

While CBD won't cure epilepsy or stop seizures altogether, evidence suggests it may offer neuroprotective properties. Seizures result from excess electrochemical energy, and CBD may be an effective anticonvulsant.¹⁰ A study by the American Epilepsy Society suggests that cats with seizures who are supplemented with CBD can experience up to a 50% reduction in both the frequency and intensity of seizures.¹¹

How Much CBD Should You Give Your Cat?

Are products like a CBD tincture or CBD oil safe for cats in relative doses? Neither the FDA nor the Center For Veterinary Medicine regulates CBD, meaning there really is no official guideline on how much CBD you should give cats. However, since CBD is a non-toxic supplement, it's generally safe to start with a small CBD serving size and work your way up until you observe the desired effects in your cat. Always talk to your veterinarian before giving your cat CBD. If nothing else, you can ensure it won't interact with any current medications.

Once you talk to your vet and find lab-tested CBD from a trusted source, you can give your pet a light, regular, or substantial serving of CBD based on their body weight and the use case. The average cat weighs somewhere between eight and ten pounds, but larger or smaller adult cats (not kittens) may also benefit from CBD. 

We recommend 1mg to 5mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of weight—or 0.3mg per pound. This range is higher than what’s typically suggested for dogs, but cats have fewer endocannabinoid receptors, so they require more CBD to see the same potential effects. 

Can You Give Your Cat CBD With Other Medications?

Always talk to your vet before administering CBD to your cat—especially if your feline is on any other medications. Some medications could interact poorly with CBD, causing them to be less effective or possibly have adverse side effects. By talking to your veterinarian, you can rule out possible complications between the two. This will help you adjust your CBD product serving sizes if your cat is on pain relievers that could affect its liver.¹²

How To Help Your Cat Take CBD

CBD for cats comes in the form of oil tinctures and -infused treats. Tinctures are the easiest way to administer CBD to your cat—especially if your cat is a picky eater. You can add CBD tinctures to your cat's food or water bowl for easy administration or squeeze a few drops directly into their mouth. If your cat isn't too picky and happily inhales every treat you put in front of them, you can also use CBD treats to administer CBD.¹³ 

Just remember that CBD works best when it's taken daily, like a supplement. You aren’t going to see immediate results if you give your cat CBD once or infrequently. But as the CBD builds up in your cat's system via consistent servings, they may experience more of its benefit potential and support with overall wellness. That said, try giving your cat a helping of CBD with breakfast and with dinner—or once every six to ten hours.

CBD Tinctures For Cats That We Offer 

We know how important your cat is to you and your family, so Lazarus Naturals works tirelessly to craft pet CBD tincture products with your feline friends in mind.¹⁴ Our Wild Salmon Pet Tincture has a mouth-watering flavor your cats can’t resist and is even fortified with Omega-3s from wild-caught fish oil.¹⁵ Our CBD tincture products for pets naturally encourage a healthy immune system, heart, and fur coat.

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Sources: 

¹https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33769105/ 

²https://todaysveterinarypractice.com/nutrition/role-of-dietary-fatty-acids-in-dogs-cats/#:~:text=Dogs%20and%20cats%20require%20omega,fatty%20acids%20on%20their%20own 

³https://ivcjournal.com/endocannabinoid-system-cats-dogs/#:~:text=The%20Endocannabinoid%20System%20(ECS)%20is,dogs%20and%20cats1%2D3

https://news.okstate.edu/articles/communications/2020/the-use-of-cbd-in-dogs-and-cats.html 

https://be.chewy.com/help-my-cat-is-pulling-his-own-hair/#:~:text=Psychological%20disturbances%20are%20a%20very,manifestation%20of%20stress%20or%20anxiety

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7537661/ 

https://www.doncastervet.com.au/pet-advice/feliway-for-cats 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210423130221.htm 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1575333/ 

¹⁰https://cbdclinicals.com/cbd-for-seizures-in-cats/ 

¹¹https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6514832/ 

¹²https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/24/9/1694/htm 

¹³https://www.lazarusnaturals.com/products/forpets/joint-support-cbd-dog-chews-salmon 

¹⁴https://www.lazarusnaturals.com/ 

¹⁵https://www.lazarusnaturals.com/pet-cbd-oil-tincture#205=5490&188=5501

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