How Much CBD Should I Give My Cat?
CBD has become an increasingly popular supplement for humans looking to improve their health and wellbeing. As more people start taking CBD oil, they often wonder if it's safe to give it to their pets as well. Cats, in particular, may benefit from CBD just like humans. But before you give your feline friend any cannabis-derived products, it's important to understand the proper CBD dosage for cats.
- What Is CBD?
- Is CBD Safe for Cats?
- How Does CBD Work For Cats?
- What’s the Right CBD Dosage for Cats?
- What’s the Best Way to Give a Cat CBD?
- What Should You Look for in a Quality Cat CBD Product?
- What Results Can I Expect When Giving My Cat CBD?
- Frequently Asked Questions About CBD for Cats
- The Takeaway – Should You Give Your Cat CBD?
- CBD Basics
- Dosing CBD for Cats
- CBD Products for Cats
What Is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of over 100 active compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike the psychoactive compound THC, CBD will not get cats or humans high. Instead, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates various bodily functions and maintains homeostasis.
Both humans and cats have an ECS made up of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. CBD can bind to these receptors and influence things like pain perception, inflammation, anxiety, seizure activity, digestion, temperature regulation, and more.
When given to cats, CBD may provide similar benefits as it does for humans, including:
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Relief from chronic pain and inflammation
- Anti-nausea effects
- Anti-seizure properties
- Improvement of appetite and digestive issues
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Possible anti-cancer benefits
Of course, the efficacy of CBD depends on finding the optimal dose for your individual cat.
Is CBD Safe for Cats?
There has been limited research specifically on using CBD for cats. But generally, CBD appears to be well-tolerated with few side effects.
The World Health Organization states that CBD exhibits no effects indicative of abuse or dependence potential. And significant research shows CBD is safe for human consumption.
Still, there are a few things to consider before giving your cat CBD:
- Source of CBD: Hemp-derived CBD contains 0.3% or less THC and is legal in the US. Avoid marijuana-derived CBD which can contain higher levels of THC and be unsafe for pets.
- Product Quality: Only purchase CBD from reputable companies that provide third-party lab testing to confirm purity and potency. Beware of CBD products with THC, pesticides, or contaminants.
- Approval from your Vet: Always consult your feline’s veterinarian before introducing CBD or any new supplements. They can review your cat's health history and advise you on safe usage.
So far, there have been no reports of severe side effects from properly dosed and high quality CBD administration in cats. Mild effects like drowsiness or upset stomach may occur. But most cats tolerate CBD very well.
How Does CBD Work For Cats?
Cats have an endocannabinoid system just like humans and other mammals. While research is still limited, we know cats have cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in their central and peripheral nervous systems, brains, spines, peripheral organs, and more.
When cats consume CBD, it interacts with these cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body. This triggers various responses that help move the body into a state of balance.
Some of the ways CBD may influence feline health include:
- Pain relief - CBD can reduce pain/inflammation by desensitizing pain receptors, inhibiting inflammatory responses, and balancing the immune system. This can help with arthritis, injuries, surgery recovery, and chronic conditions.
- Anti-seizure – CBD shows anticonvulsant properties and has been shown to reduce seizure frequency and severity in both humans and animals. For cats with epilepsy or seizures, CBD offers a natural treatment option.
- Anti-anxiety – CBD activates serotonin receptors and calms overactivity in the brain. This tempers anxious behaviors and helps high-strung cats feel more relaxed. CBD may ease separation anxiety, loud noises, travel stress, vet visits, and more.
- Anti-nausea – The anti-emetic properties found in CBD can suppress nausea and stimulate appetite. CBD may help cats with digestive issues or cats undergoing treatments like chemotherapy.
- Anti-cancer – In humans, CBD displays anti-tumor effects. It can inhibit cancer cell growth and metastasis for certain types of cancer. More research is still needed, but CBD could potentially slow feline cancers like lymphoma or mast cell tumors.
- Skin support - With its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD may improve skin irritations like itchy rashes or flair ups of feline dermatitis.
The endocannabinoid system plays many important regulatory roles. CBD can target specific receptors to return the body to homeostasis. While more cat-specific research is still needed, current data indicates CBD can safely provide similar benefits for cats as it does for humans.
What’s the Right CBD Dosage for Cats?
Giving your cat CBD for the first time understandably brings up questions about proper dosing. Unfortunately, there are no official dosing guidelines for CBD and pets. CBD products are not yet approved by the FDA for animal consumption.
With that said, a good starting point is to base the dosage off your cat’s body weight. A general rule of thumb is 0.1 mg - 0.5 mg of CBD for every 1 lb of body weight.
So for a 10 lb cat, a reasonable dose to start with would be 1 mg - 5 mg of CBD. For a larger 20 lb cat, you'd give 2 mg - 10 mg of CBD.
It's best to start on the lower end of the dosage range (0.1 mg per lb of body weight) and gradually increase from there if needed.
Factors like the type of CBD product, delivery method, and your cat’s health needs can impact optimal dosing as well. Always monitor your cat after giving them CBD to watch for potential effects or side effects.
Here are some other dosage tips for getting started:
- Give CBD 1-2 times per day, at consistent times. Consistency improves efficacy.
- Use CBD with food or treats if possible for easy administration.
- Start with one dose for a few days, then increase incrementally over 2-4 weeks.
- Keep track of how your cat responds to help find their optimal dose.
- CBD builds up in the body over time so effects improve with consistent dosing.
- Once you establish an effective dose, stick with it for continued results.
- If side effects occur, reduce to the previous dosage.
It may take some trial and error to find the sweet spot that benefits your cat without causing drowsiness or other unintended effects. Work closely with your vet and monitor your pet carefully. Also consult with CBD brand representatives for product-specific guidance.
What’s the Best Way to Give a Cat CBD?
CBD is available in various products but only certain types are recommended for feline consumption. The best delivery methods of CBD for cats include:
CBD oils or tinctures allow for precise dosage control. They come in a dropper bottle for easy administration directly into your cat's mouth or onto food. Choose a high quality oil without added ingredients. Cats do best with natural, unflavored CBD oils.
CBD Cat Treats
CBD-infused treats offer effortless dosage and your cat will love the taste! Look for soft chews made with real meat, fish, or chicken. Verify CBD potency and quality from third-party labs. Treats make CBD supplementation a breeze.
CBD Topical Products
CBD balms, salves, lotions, and creams can be gently rubbed into your cat's paws, nose, ears, or coat for targeted symptom relief. Topicals are great for skin, joint, or localized pain issues. Never use topicals containing additional ingredients toxic to cats.
Sprinkling food-grade hemp powder onto your cat's meals is another option. These won't provide significant CBD, but do offer nutritional hemp benefits. Make sure the powder is human-grade and safe for consumption.
Capsules, vaping, and other methods are not recommended for feline use. Always choose CBD products designed specifically with pets in mind. Avoid any flavored CBD oils, "hot" hemp extracts, or CBD isolate crystals only.
What Should You Look for in a Quality Cat CBD Product?
Since the CBD market remains unregulated, performing your due diligence is crucial when shopping for pet CBD. Here are signs of reputable CBD suitable and safe for cats:
- Organic hemp sourced CBD – Hemp naturally filters out potentially toxic compounds from soil. Organically-grown hemp ensures purity.
- CO2 extracted - CO2 extraction yields clean, safe CBD oil with zero harsh solvents. Avoid CBD extracted using butane, propane, ethanol, or other dangerous methods.
- Full/broad spectrum CBD – Full and broad spectrum CBD retain beneficial terpenes and minor cannabinoids for maximum therapeutic effect.
- Third party lab tested – Reputable companies batch test CBD oils through an independent lab to verify cannabinoid content, purity, and no THC/contaminants.
- Organic carrier oil - The highest quality CBD oils use extra virgin olive oil, MCT oil, hemp seed oil, or coconut oil to suspend the CBD extract.
- Made for pets – Seek out CBD brands specifically formulating products with cats in mind. Never give your cat CBD oil made for humans.
- No additives - CBD oils for cats should contain only CBD extract diluted in a carrier oil. Avoid unnecessary ingredients, flavors, preservatives, etc.
- Potency – CBD oils come in different potencies, or concentrations. For cats, look for mild to moderate potencies between 250 mg - 750 mg per bottle.
- Price - Good CBD has a cost. Very cheap CBD may indicate poor sourcing and production methods. But also beware of drastic overpricing.
Along with these standards for selection, always consult reviews and the company’s reputation. Additionally, your vet can help evaluate if a CBD product seems high quality and appropriate for your cat.
What Results Can I Expect When Giving My Cat CBD?
The benefits and timing of effects from CBD depend on several factors like your cat's health condition, dosage amount, product quality, and more. Monitor your cat carefully during the first few weeks of CBD supplementation.
Positive changes are subtle at first. You may notice:
- Increased relaxation and contentment
- Less anxiety behaviors like meowing, chewing, pacing
- More interest in toys, treats, catnip
- Better mobility and activity levels
- Improved sleep quality
- Less aggressive behavior like scratching or biting
- Changes in bathroom habits
- Enhanced skin and coat condition
For health conditions like pain, inflammation, seizures, nausea, etc., you may see gradual relief of symptoms over 2-4 weeks. Long standing or severe health problems may take longer to respond. Chronic conditions involve rebuilding health over time.
Consistency is key as it allows CBD to accumulate in the body and exert effects. Continue using CBD daily for at least 4-6 weeks before judging its efficacy for your cat. Document your cat’s progress to pinpoint ideal dosage and timing for their needs.
While CBD appears very safe for cats, contact your vet if you have any concerns during use. Most side effects are mild and often resolve quickly by adjusting the dose.
Frequently Asked Questions About CBD for Cats
CBD is a new supplement in pet care so naturally you’ll have questions before giving it to your cat. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:
Is CBD safe long-term?
Studies report that CBD has a high safety profile when used over extended periods. There are no known severe side effects. However, research on CBD for cats long-term is still limited. As with any supplement, ongoing veterinary monitoring is advised.
Can CBD make my cat high?
No, CBD will not get your cat high or intoxicated in any way. It does not contain THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. However, trace amounts of THC in poor quality CBD could be harmful to pets. Always ensure the CBD source is clearly lab tested with 0% THC.
How long does CBD stay in a cat's system?
In humans, CBD metabolism time ranges anywhere from 2 to 5 days for infrequent users, and 4 to 10 days for daily consumers. This gives an estimate for cats also. But factors like dosage amount, frequency, product type, and individual metabolism can affect retention time.
Can I give my cat CBD oil daily?
Yes, daily use of CBD oil is safe for cats and improves results. The most effective protocol is consistent, scheduled dosing as opposed to sporadic or one-time use. Work up to daily dosing gradually and divide doses evenly over the course of a day.
Should I give CBD to my cat on an empty stomach?
No, it’s best not to give CBD to cats on an completely empty stomach as it can cause nausea or stomach upset. But a small treat works well to deliver CBD oil and hold it in place briefly. Allow your cat to digest the CBD before feeding a full meal.
What’s better for cats: treats, oil, or capsules?
Oils and treats designed specifically for pets are the preferred methods of giving cats CBD. Oils allow precise dosing while treats are the easiest to administer. Capsules made for humans can be harder for cats to digest. Never give your cat CBD vapes, gummies, or other human edibles.
Can I rub CBD oil on my cat's skin?
While you can use CBD topicals on areas your cat can't lick, transdermal absorption may not be effective. Oils and treats allow the CBD to enter the bloodstream for whole-body effects. But for localized issues like itchy paws, skin application may help. Avoid using strong "hot" CBD topicals.
The Takeaway – Should You Give Your Cat CBD?
An increasing number of pet owners are turning to natural supplements like CBD to support their cats' health. When given at proper dosages using high quality hemp-derived products, CBD appears to be generally safe for cats.
Research is still emerging, but shows promising results for CBD’s use in many feline conditions like anxiety, pain, seizures, nausea, inflammation, and more. There is potential for CBD to provide similar benefits for cats as it does for humans.
Always consult your veterinarian before introducing CBD or any supplement to your cat. But current evidence and veterinarian support indicates CBD can be a worthwhile complementary therapy for cats when given responsibly. Start with a low dose based on your cat’s weight, choose a quality pet-specific product, and monitor your furry friend closely for any reactions.
With the right CBD regimen personalized for your cat, they may join the many pets experiencing the natural wellness benefits of CBD!
CBD for Cats
CBD has become an increasingly popular wellness supplement for humans. Now pet owners are exploring the potential benefits of CBD for dogs and cats too. But is CBD safe for felines? And how much should I give my cat? Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about using CBD oil and treats for cats.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of over 100 active compounds called cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and does not produce a “high”. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system to help regulate various bodily functions and promote overall health and wellness.
How does CBD work for cats?
Cats have an endocannabinoid system just like humans. When CBD is consumed, it interacts with endocannabinoid receptors located throughout the body and brain. This helps modulate different physiological processes to create balance and optimize health.
What are the potential benefits of CBD for cats?
Research shows CBD may provide similar benefits for cats and humans, including:
- Relief from chronic pain and inflammation
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Anti-nausea and increased appetite
- Anti-seizure properties
- Possible anti-cancer benefits
- Skin support
Is CBD safe for cats?
There has been limited research on CBD for cats specifically. However, most evidence indicates CBD is very well-tolerated in animals as it is in humans. Always consult your vet before giving CBD to your cat, and watch carefully for any side effects.
Can CBD get my cat high?
No, CBD will not intoxicate cats or make them high. However, THC found in some inferior CBD products could be toxic for cats. Always ensure the CBD source is hemp-based with 0% THC.
Dosing CBD for Cats
How much CBD should I give my cat?
There are no official dosing guidelines, but a general starting point is 0.1mg - 0.5mg of CBD for every 1 lb of your cat’s body weight, given 1-2 times per day. Start low and increase gradually if needed.
How often can I give my cat CBD?
For best results, CBD is given daily on an ongoing basis. Consistency allows CBD to build up in your cat’s system and exert effects optimally over time.
When is the best time to give my cat CBD?
CBD can be given at any time of day. However, establishing a consistent schedule, such as morning and evening, can be most effective.
Should I give CBD to my cat with food?
Yes, mixing CBD oil into your cat’s food or giving CBD treats makes administration much easier. Just ensure your cat eats all the food/treat to ingest the full dose.
How long does it take for CBD to work in cats?
Effects set in gradually over 2-4 weeks. Long-standing health issues may take longer. Continue CBD daily for at least 4-6 weeks to accurately gauge the benefits for your individual cat.
CBD Products for Cats
What CBD products are safe for cats?
The best CBD products for cats are oils and treats specifically formulated for pets. Never give your cat CBD oil made for humans. Avoid capsules, vapes, and other non-pet products too.
Where can I buy quality CBD for cats?
Purchase CBD products from reputable brands that provide third party lab testing to confirm purity, potency, and safety. Many pet stores, online retailers, and some vets now sell CBD for pets.
How can I tell if a CBD product is good quality?
Look for organic hemp-sourced CBD, CO2 extraction method, third party lab testing, CBD carrier oils safe for cats, and a company committed to pet health. Beware of cheap CBD isolates.
Can I give my cat human CBD oil?
Never administer your own CBD oil to pets. Human CBD products can contain ingredients, carrier oils, or high doses unsafe for cats. Only purchase pet-specific CBD oils designed for cat health and safety.
Is it safe to apply CBD oil topically to cats?
CBD balms, lotions, and creams can be gently applied to paws, ears, noses but avoid allowing cats to lick. However, transdermal absorption may not be effective. Oils and treats deliver CBD throughout the body best.
Can I give my cat CBD capsules or gummies?
No, capsules and gummies made for humans can be improperly dosed and hard for cats to digest. Stick to CBD oils or treats made exclusively for pet consumption for safety.
Follow your veterinarian’s guidance, start slow, and monitor your cat carefully when first using CBD. But current research indicates CBD can be a useful supplement for supporting feline health naturally.