Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil for Cats

Happy sleeping ginger cat
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Ignited by the interest in medical marijuana sweeping the nation since 2013, and fueled by the positive results of international studies and glowing customer testimonials, the market for CBD oil for pets has exploded. Dog owners are enjoying newly invigorated elderly or once-ailing dogs, and horse people rave about the remarkable transformation of their equine friends. But is CBD oil really OK to give to cats?

Domestic cats evolved from a common ancestor around 11 million years ago. Enigmatic and magical creatures of spirit, with more than their fair share of charisma, they are a living paradox — one moment purring up a storm, the next, clawing the hand that feeds them. Nevertheless, we are smitten with felines, as cats are equally smitten with us. And they have stuck to us like glue since time immemorial. Predictably unpredictable and as wild at heart as they were when they captured ancient Egyptians' adoration and loyalty, our domestic cats' bodily systems are ultra-sensitive and as different as night and day from dogs, horses, or any other animal for that matter.

Consequently, while cats have many of the same food restrictions as dogs such as chocolate and grapes or alcohol, many things that are perfectly OK for dogs or other animals are toxic to cats. Aspirin and even a wide assortment of plants — from creeping Charlies to poinsettia and lilies to many essential oils — are toxic to cats. So you wonder, is CBD oil completely safe for my cat? Dr. Angie of Boulder Holistic Vet unequivocally says ... yes! And statistics and myriad studies have proven the efficacy of CBD oil for cats. Word is out! It's not only completely safe to administer CBD oil to your feline family member; it could be life-changing!

Tabby Cat Lounging on Velvet Pillow
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What is CBD oil?

CBD oil for pets is one of the fastest-growing markets today because studies have shown CBD oil has exceptional therapeutic value for cats and dogs. Cannabis plants produce both hemp and marijuana, and they contain chemicals called cannabinoids: including phytocannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids. The two main ones are CBD or cannabidiol and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. While THC is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that makes you high (in concentrations over 15 percent ), CBD is medicinal and non-psychoactive. Industrial hemp is used to produce CBD oil for the pet market, and it contains no THC and must, under strict regulations, contain less than 0.3 percent.

Can I give my cat CBD oil?

Ongoing, in-depth research and multiple studies have concluded that CBD oil is safe to administer to your cat. Humankind has cultivated cannabis since Neolithic times. But it's not until relatively recent times that the former outlaw plant, marijuana, has turned a new leaf, so to speak, and been lauded for its medicinal and therapeutic merits for humans and animals.

Yes, the research is conclusive; CBD oil for your cat passes with flying colors; it's not only safe, but incredibly effective in treating a variety of illnesses and conditions, including cancer, chronic or acute pain, seizures, muscle spasms, tumors, skin conditions, anxiety, neurological disorders, or poor appetite due to anorexia. Cannabinoids also have anti-inflammatory effects, and CBD oil is beneficial for palliative care as well. You may be getting super excited and hopeful that CBD will help your cat, but still wonder; how exactly does it work?

How does CBD oil affect cats, and how does it work in the body?

The first thing you should know about CBD oil is that it is not a magic panacea. Although to read the customer testimonials about how CBD oil has turned cats' and dog's lives around, you might think it was indeed a miracle. CBD oil helps many, but not all. If your cat happens to be one of the thousands with positive results, CBD oil will make a marked difference in her life.

Cats, dogs, humans, the great apes, elephants, whales, and all vertebrate animals have a complex endocannabinoid system which consists of cannabinoid receptor sites in the brain, central nervous system, and peripheral organs, especially the immune cells. Your cat's body naturally releases endocannabinoid chemicals which connect with the cannabinoid receptors and fires neurons that stimulate the body's natural ability to create serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine. Serotonin is known as the "happy" chemical because it's a natural mood stabilizer and contributes to feelings of happiness and well-being. When CBD oil is introduced into the body, it enhances this natural ability. CBD oil also promotes homeostasis, the optimum functioning of the body. CBD oil cannot make your cat "high;" it can make him feel "good."

Adorable Tabby Kitten - The Amanda Collection
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Can I give my cat human CBD oil?

It's best to choose CBD oil manufactured by a pet-exclusive supplement company who caters to the pet market. Unfortunately, since recreational marijuana has become legal in many states, people are sharing their stash with their pets, including cats. Dr. Angie Krause, DVM of Boulder Holistic Vet, cautions against its use, and says, "While cats are thought to have a similar sensitivity to THC as humans, the sensation of being 'high' can be very uncomfortable. Kitties can't tell us that they are scared or hallucinating and therefore I recommend avoiding THC in kitties." Bottom line ... CBD oil has zero THC and is safe for your cat; cannabis products developed for humans for medicinal or recreational purposes are not.

CBD oil dosages for cats.

An essential rule of thumb is to follow the CBD oil manufacturer's dosage recommendations. For example, Pet Releaf's dosage guideline for their CBD Hemp Oil 330 — 100mg Active CBD (for small dogs and cats) is as follows, but keep in mind other brands have developed their own guidelines, which you need to follow carefully:

  • 1-15 pounds — dose one full dropper per day
  • Over 15 pounds — dose 1.5 droppers per day

How much CBD oil should I give my cat for seizures?

Seizures and epilepsy are traumatic and distressing for both you and your cat. Seizures can be treated, but sadly, epilepsy cannot be cured. Anticonvulsant drugs may work, but the side effects are often devastating. CBD oil can help alleviate the symptoms of seizures, without any nasty side effects. Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital is researching the use of CBD oil for pain and epilepsy in pets, but the results are not yet available. Remember to follow the dosage guidelines for your CBD oil brand carefully; for example, Holistapet CBD oil dosage guidelines for cats are as follows:

2-5 mg of CBD oil per 10 pounds of body weight.

Close-Up Portrait Of Cat Walking On Floor
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How much CBD oil should I give my cat for cancer?

Since prehistoric times, humans have used every seed, stalk, leaf, and other components of the Cannabis sativa plant for medicinal and recreational use. Only in the last few years, have studies proclaimed the significant beneficial effects of CBD oil for our pets. Dosages vary among the manufacturers of CBD oil for cats, but a general guideline for cancer recommended by Dr. Angie Krause, DVM of Boulder Holistic Vet is as follows:

Start with 0.5 mg/kg of CBD twice daily and increase gradually.

How much CBD oil should I give my cat for anxiety?

Like dogs, and people, too, cats can suffer from anxiety issues which are caused by imbalances in the brain. Whether stressed out due to living in multiple cat households or predisposed to anxiety, cats with this affliction can be helped by CBD oil, according to numerous studies and testimonials on CBD oil manufacturers' websites. Dosages vary among them, but a general guideline from Honest Marijuana is as follows:

Every cat is different so start with a low dose which allows your cat to adapt. Here is Honest Marijuana's recommended progression for giving your cat CBD oil:

  1. Start with one drop of CBD oil once per day.
  2. Continue administering one drop once per day for one week.
  3. If you don't see any effects, or your cat needs more relief, increase the dosage to 1 drop twice per day.
  4. Continue administering one drop twice per day for one week.
  5. If necessary, increase the dosage to one drop three times per day.
  6. Continue administering one drop three times per day for one week.
  7. If necessary, increase the dosage again as per the above pattern.

According to Holistapet, a CBD oil manufacturer in California, there are no official guidelines, but a general recommendation is 2mg for every 10 pounds of body weight administered once to twice a day, or as needed.

Considerations and tips for using CBD oil for cats.

You should work with your veterinarian when deciding on a CBD treatment program for your cat. If you are interested in working with a holistic or integrative veterinarian, visit the following sites to find one: