Meow! Can Cats Take CBD?
by Alissa Gardner | 04 July, 2022
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CBD has gained popularity as an effective remedy that can help you mitigate some of the symptoms of various medical conditions, including arthritis, epilepsy, and chronic anxiety. While there are traditional ways to treat those, such as painkillers, they might come with harmful side effects, especially when taken for an extended period of time. As such, people reach for different CBD products as a form of alternative medicine.
However, CBD is not only for humans, and it might also have a benign influence on your cat’s well-being. As your feline friend ages, it is more likely to experience mobility issues, separation anxiety, changes in appetite, and a weaker immune system. Seeing your beloved pet suffering, it is only natural that you want to explore alternative treatments, including pet CBD oil.
Before you jump into doing anything, though, you need to really understand what is CBD, what exactly it entails for your furry friend, and how it can help with your cat’s health problems. So if you would like to use CBD oil for cats, we have prepared a guide where we will explain everything you need to know.
What Is CBD?
CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the many natural compounds that are found in cannabis plants. In many cases, the manufacturers use industrial hemp to extract CBD, still, people still often confuse it with the marijuana plants that are often smoked for recreational purposes.
However, the plants differ in their concentrations of the primary cannabinoids – CBD and THC. The latter is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound that is responsible for the high that you experience when smoking marijuana. However, CBD does not have that effect, which is why it is being used for medicinal purposes. As such, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of the hemp plant, as long as it contains no more than 0.3% THC by weight.
Is CBD Oil Safe For Cats?
For all cat owners, the most pressing question is whether CBD oil is safe for their pets. The answer is yes, CBD is generally safe for cats. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that it does not have an effect on your pet’s behavior. Moreover, the allowed 0.3% of THC is not enough to induce the typical side effects.
Still, you have to remain cautious, especially when determining CBD dosage for your cat. CBD might trigger certain side effects, such as gastrointestinal upset and some sedation, though they are usually caused by overdosing. As such, it is a good idea to consult it with a vet beforehand. Your vet will be able to tell you whether CBD is indeed safe for your cat’s condition and how much oil should it take.
How Does CBD Work For Cats?
To understand how CBD can help your cat, we have to look at how the compound interacts with its body. All mammals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is made up of receptors, messengers, and enzymes that work together to maintain homeostasis within the body. For that, the ESC is responsible for regulating vital functions, such as sleep, appetite, immune response, mood, and pain.
When your cat consumes CBD oil, the cannabinoids take the place of the natural messengers in the ESC and improve the sensitivity of the receptors. This allows ESC to work at its best, maintaining the balance in the cat’s body and producing some health benefits.
Unfortunately, there is little research that proves the effectiveness of CBD oil in cats. Still, the CBD industry is relatively young, but as it prospers, it is bound to attract scientific interest. Moreover, anecdotal evidence and some studies have shown that CBD oil can help alleviate some symptoms of health issues, such as:
Just like humans, cats can also suffer from anxiety induced by separation, loud noises, unfamiliar settings, and more. As such, your kitty might show symptoms like hiding, scratching, and some destructive behavior.
While there are many ways to alleviate cat anxiety, CBD is quite promising in this regard, as the substance has a sedative effect on those who ingest it.
As your cat ages, it is bound to experience some changes in its joints and bone structure. In most cases, the symptoms are easily manageable, but for some cats, arthritis can be a serious issue that affects their mobility.
CBD is a natural alternative for joint pain. CBD oil for cats can help reduce the inflammatory response, thereby alleviating symptoms, bringing pain relief, and improving the overall health of your pet.
Though it is rare, cats can suffer from epilepsy just like people do. The condition manifests with seizures that are usually triggered by some kind of stress. Fortunately, CBD has proven to be helpful when it comes to seizure management thanks to its anticonvulsant and neuroprotective qualities. It can help reduce the intensity and frequency of seizures thus improving the cat’s quality of life.
Many pet parents reach for CBD oils to deal with appetite loss. It is a common symptom of aging, and it can be more severe in some cats. With its relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD oil for cats can potentially help stimulate your pet’s appetite and improve its health.
Other conditions that CBD oil can help with include inflammatory bowel disease and urinary tract issues. However, as your cat is suffering from a serious medical condition, it is likely that it already receives prescription medications. CBD can interact with some of the medications, reducing their effectiveness or even harming the cat. That’s why it’s a good idea to consult your vet about whether CBD is safe in combination with the current medication your cat is taking.
Which CBD Oil Is Good for Cats?
Now that you know more about CBD in general, it is time to look at the market for pet CBD products. There are plenty of CBD oils and other delicious treats that your feline will certainly appreciate. Just remember to buy products that are dedicated to pets as they contain an appropriate dosage of CBD.
If you decide to go with CBD oil for cats, you will have to choose between full-spectrum oil (contains all compounds of the hemp), broad-spectrum oil (all-natural compounds, excluding THC), and isolate (pure CBD). THC is toxic to cats.
After extracting it, CBD is mixed with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or hemp seed oil. Unfortunately, as carnivores, cats cannot process healthy fatty acids found in plants like coconuts. As such, it might be better to look for a CBD product that contains sardine oil instead.
Finally, you have to make sure that you are choosing a high-quality CBD oil. You need to check whether the product has been tested for pesticides, heavy metals, and residual solvents. It would be best to pick a product that has a third-party testing report that you can access.
How Much CBD Oil Should You Give Your Cat?
We have already told you that giving CBD oil to your cat is generally safe. However, you should always follow the appropriate dosage and consider consulting a vet before administering CBD oil to avoid unpleasant side effects.
The CBD oil dosage will depend on your cat’s weight, age, diet, fatigue, and ailment. If you are using CBD oil for cats, you should look at the product’s label to see how much of the product should be administered to your pet per day.
Usually, starting with a small dosage is a good idea. Then, you should observe your cat’s behavior for any signs of side effects. In case of any adverse effects, immediately stop giving your pet CBD. If there is no effect whatsoever, you can try to give your cat more CBD. However, you have to be careful as CBD builds up in the body, and you can accidentally give your cat too much CBD.
How to Give Your Cat CBD Oil?
As a cat owner, you know how picky those creatures can be, which might make administering CBD a challenge. The first and most obvious method is to give your cat CBD treats that you can buy in a CBD dedicated store. This method allows you to easily add CBD oil to your cat’s diet.
The other method would be to mix CBD oil into the cat’s food. However, for a quick effect, the product should be taken on its own. That is why you could allow your cat to lick the oil dispenser, or leave a few drops in their empty bowl.
You might also administer CBD oil by rubbing it on your cat’s paw. The pet will likely proceed to clean its paw, ingesting the product. The final method is applying a little bit of CBD oil to the tips of your cat’s ears to be absorbed transdermally.
CBD is not a miracle cure that can help your cat deal with all of its ailments. However, it has a few proven benefits, and it can help with some of the most common issues that pet owners have to deal with.
It is also quite safe for cats, however, there are some things that you have to consider before giving it to your feline friend.
Firstly, ensure that the CBD product is meant for pets and contains no THC. Secondly, you need to check whether the product is of high quality, as some of them can cause side effects. Finally, choose the best method of administration as your cat might not be too keen on certain flavors, such as the traditional herbal taste of hemp oil.
Regardless of whether you decide to give your cat CBD oil as a treat or to help with some of their health issues, make sure you consult with a vet before doing so.
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