Can cbd oil be used for cats

CBD Oil for Cats: Benefits, Risks, and Considerations

If your cat has any disease, you may be attracted to an alternative treatment, more natural and less expensive than the means offered by your veterinarian. Cannabis oil may have caught your eye.

This is hardly surprising, given that some people are using cannabis as a natural treatment for their own health concerns. However, even though the effect of cannabis on humans is widely studied, there are not yet enough official scientific studies on its impact on pets.

So, is CBD oil safe for your dear feline companions? And what health benefits does it have?

What Is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the cannabinoids found in hemp. There are nearly 144 of them, including the now well-known tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But, unlike its cousin THC, CBD does not have psychotropic effects, so it does not alter consciousness or perception.

Like all cannabinoids, CBD influences the endocannabinoid system: it is made up of a set of receptors located throughout the human body, which regulate the body’s key factors: appetite, sleep, stress, temperature, acidity, etc. As a result, CBD is now widely studied for its actions on humans and also animals, including sleep, anxiety, inflammation, osteoarthritis, and more.

Moreover, CBD oil is made up of:

  • A vegetable oil (olive, coconut, hemp, etc.) to strengthen its assimilation (fatty substance) and provide healthy nutritional contributions
  • A hemp extract rich in CBD

The vegetable oil is used to strengthen the assimilation of CBD by the body: thanks to this fatty substance, CBD is much more easily metabolized by the body, which increases its action and its duration of presence in the blood.

What Are the Health Benefits For Cats?

As with humans, CBD oil is also said to be beneficial for pets, especially cats and dogs. However, there is not (yet) enough scientific evidence to support these theories. This is why you need to act cautiously if you decide to give your feline CBD oil. In any case, you must first refer to a veterinarian.

Reported beneficial effects by cat owners include:

  1. Pain relief
  2. Decreased stress and anxiety
  3. Sleep regulation
  4. Improved appetite
  5. Regulate digestion
  6. Better healing of minor wounds
  7. Strengthened immune system
  8. Helps treat seizures and epilepsy
  9. Helps with cancer treatment

Besides, according to a 2016 American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association study, between 61% and 95% of people who have used CBD oil for their pets were satisfied with the results. In addition, most cat and dog owners have reported that they use CBD to alleviate a disease or condition diagnosed by a veterinarian, the most common ailments being seizures, cancer, anxiety, and arthritis.

Is CBD Oil for Cats Different Than CBD Oil for Humans?

There are two essential differences between CBD oil for humans and CBD oil for pets:

  • The lack of terpenes: The researchers of this study found that terpenes , a natural compound found in the flower or bud of the cannabis plant, could be toxic and even fatal to cats. While there hasn’t been much more research devoted to this topic, many manufacturers have decided to remove terpenes from their CBD oil designed for pets.
  • The aroma: CBD oil for cats can be enhanced with a specific aroma. This is meant to improve its scent, so your kitten will be more likely to ingest it.

Are There Any Side Effects or Risks of CBD Oil for Cats?

As with any other alternative method, there are potential side effects when administering CBD oil to your cat. In general, if you follow your veterinarian’s recommendations, this product is well tolerated by pets such as cats and dogs. However, some cat owners have noted abnormally lethargic behavior in their feline companions.

Gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea or vomiting, are other possible side effects resulting from CBD oil. Typically, cat owners notice these effects after brutally introducing the oil into their cat’s diet.

How Much CBD Should I Give to My Cat?

When you introduce CBD oil for cats to your pet’s diet, you will need to go slowly. Do not rush this process by giving your pet large amounts of CBD oil from the start. Instead, it is recommended that you ease the oil into its diet. This helps ensure that the pet gets to reap the many benefits associated with using the oil without having to experience a bad reaction. You can find more dosage information here.

However, just because they are available over the counter does not mean that CBD products for animals are safe.

What to Consider Before Offering CBD Oil to Your Cat

Step 1: Ask Your Veterinarian For Advice

To begin with, it is essential to pay a visit to the veterinarian. As a specialist in animal health, he will know how to analyze if your companion needs it, then adapt his prescription according to his metabolism and his body. In addition, if your cat is already taking treatment, your vet will be able to advise you on their compatibility with CBD oil.

Step 2: Deciding the Dosage

As with humans, it is advisable to start with small doses to see that your cat is coping well with the treatment at first. If this is the case and always in agreement with your veterinarian, it will be possible to increase the doses according to his needs gradually.

Plus, the dosage of CBD for pets depends mainly on your pet’s weight and the condition that needs to be relieved. As a general rule, the smaller your cat and the less severe her condition, the lower the effective starting dose should be. Most reputable pet CBD brands offer products based on weight or height categories, with dosage recommendations.

Step 3: How To Give CBD Oil To Your Cat

Depending on the product you have chosen for your pet, you should follow the recommendations on the instructions for use. The oil, in spray or in drops, can be administered in two ways:

  • Directly in the mouth of your animal
  • In his food or his bowl

If your pet is reluctant to take the oil directly as a spray or dropper, you can opt to mix CBD oil with their meal.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, CBD oil appears to be a source of benefit and comfort for cats and other pets, just as it is for humans. However, it is necessary to check with a veterinarian in order to find the right product and the proper dosage. In short, CBD and its effects on animals is a vast subject that continues to be studied, so new studies are likely to emerge that will reveal more secrets about this still intriguing alternative treatment.

Featured Image Credit: Lightcube, Shutterstock

Genevieve is a biologist and science writer. Her deep love for capuchin monkeys, pumas, and kangaroos has taken her worldwide to work and volunteer for several wildlife rehabilitation centers in Bolivia, Guatemala, Canada, and Australia. As a Canadian expat, Genevieve now lives in Argentina, where she wakes up every morning to horses and cows saying hello from the vast plain next to her home office window. She is the proud mom of three rescued dogs, Lemmy, Nala, and Pochi, and a frisky kitten, Furiosa. Having the privilege of sharing her knowledge and passion for animals of all kinds is what makes her fulfilled and happy.

Can cbd oil be used for cats

Although talk of CBD has been around the use for humans and dogs, cats are just as much a part of our family – so that brings up a big question: Can CBD help them live their best lives, too? There are a lot of reasons to think the answer may be yes.


All animals have an endocannabinoid system, and it plays a big role in keeping them healthy. The body produces endocannabinoids, substances much like the cannabinoids found in cannabis. These travel the bloodstream and attach to cells throughout the body to deliver messages and instructions that tell it what’s going on and how to react. Almost every bodily process is affected by these endocannabinoids.

That’s how CBD works. It takes the place of these endocannabinoids. When they aren’t delivering the instructions we need them to, or when the system is under more stress than normal, then CBD can help bring everything back to a state of homeostasis.


Cats have an endocannabinoid system, too. So it’s hardly a stretch to think that CBD can help them with things like anxiety, stress, inflammation, and pain in the same way we’re finding out it helps the rest of us . And we do see and hear lots of anecdotal evidence to back up the idea—from stories about unpettable cats turning in snugglebugs to reports of arthritic felines getting their mojo back.

Still, we can’t say for 100% sure because there just isn’t any long-term studies (yet!) to confirm our suspicions. We do know that CBD appears to be as safe for cats as it is for dogs . One project found large doses could cause side effects but said THC contamination was probably to blame. That same study also found that CBD was absorbed and eliminated differently in cats than it was in pups, which may mean modifying our doses for cats.


CBD’s main claim to fame is it’s ability to decrease inflammation and thus decrease chronic pain in mammals. Researchers at Cornell University fount that CBD oil is great at treating pain because they taret a receptor called the ‘villanoid receptor’ and prevent it from turing on.

CBD is also an excellent neuroprotector which makes it great at treating neurological disorders like seizures and epilepsy.

Other ways in which CBD can benefit cats is by helping with their:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Pain
  3. Inflammation
  4. Seizures/ Epilepsy
  5. Arthritis
  6. Inflammatory bowel disease
  7. Urinary Tract
  8. Overall Wellness


CBD oil for cats usually comes mixed with a few other ingredients to help make it more palatable and nutritious. Often times human or dog CBD is mixed with coconut oil. Unfortunately, cats can’t process the healthy fatty acids found in plants like coconuts (that’s because they’re carnivores.

So look for CBD oils containing sardine oil instead, like Austin and Kat’s Purrfect Feline Formula. And if you must use a coconut oil-based CBD, make sure you get a concentrated one so your furry friend isn’t ingesting too much.


We recommend giving a dose of 2-4 mg of CBD per 10 pounds for cats to start. This is twice the amount we recommend for dogs, but don’t fret. Cat’s don’t have as many cannabinoid receptors as dogs so they need twice the amount to see the same effects. For cats with cancer or seizures, start with 4-6mg of CBD per 10 pounds.

The more difficult the condition, the more CBD you’ll need. But start small and go up until your furry feline is feeling happier and calmer. A little less, or even a little more oil won’t do any harm. Dosing can easily remain approximate until you’re able to find what works best for your cat.

Charlie, or Char-Char, for example, is a lazy 25-pound orange tabby cat. He would have a starting serving of 5mg of CBD and can increase to 10mg if 4mg is not enough for him.

Just remember – It takes about 15-45 minutes to reach full-effect in your pet’s system and lasts for about 4 – 6 hours, depending on breed, ailments, activity level, and their own personal chemistry.

Is CBD Oil Good for Cats?

Adrienne Kruzer is a veterinary technician with more than 15 years of experience providing healthcare to domestic and exotic animals. She is trained as a Fear Free Certified Professional to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets.

Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, is an accomplished veterinarian and writer with more than 25 years of experience in veterinary medicine, animal welfare, and conservation. She participates in The Spruce Pets’ veterinary review board and is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

CBD has grown in popularity for use in humans, dogs, and even cats, but there are still a lot of questions surrounding its use. Pet owners need to know what it might be useful for, whether or not it is legal, and the difference between hemp, CBD, Cannabis, marijuana, and THC. Knowing whether or not a product is safe, effective, and legal for a pet cat to use is of utmost importance in order to avoid harming your pet or breaking the law.

Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?

There is unfortunately little research that has been done on the effects of CBD in cats. Based on anecdotal reports and limited study, CBD does appear to be safe for cats, but its effectivenss for the treatment of any condition has not yet been proven. Until more research has been done showing that CBD is in fact safe and effective, it is only prudent to use it under veterinary supervision.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD is actually an abbreviation for cannabidiol, and cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid, or specific type of molecule, that is made by and extracted from Cannabis plants. When extracted, CBD can be included in an oil that can be given orally to cats. It often contains coconut, hempseed, olive, avocado, or palm oil that acts as a carrier oil, similar to how many essential oils are made.

What Is the Difference Between CBD and Hemp Oil?

CBD and hemp oil are often confused with one another because both are sourced from Cannabis plants.   Hemp oil may or may not contain significant amounts of CBD, but it is always extracted from a specific strain of Cannabis sativa called hemp that contains less than 0.3% THC, the phytocannabinoid that is responsible for the high of marijuana. CBD, on the other hand, can be extracted from either marijuana or hemp, although hemp-derived CBD is far more common.

Does CBD Oil Contain THC?

THC is the abbreviation for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and is the psychoactive component of marijuana. Marijuana plants contain significant amounts of THC; hemp plants do not.   Many people who want to use CBD oil specifically look for THC-free or low THC CBD oils, which is why they are usually purchasing hemp-derived CBD. Any product containing significant levels of THC (higher than 0.3%) should not be administered to cats and may pose safety concerns.

Is CBD Found in Marijuana?

CBD can be derived from marijuana plants, but most growers are more concerned about the THC content. Marijuana should never be administered to cats regardless of how much CBD is in it. Hemp-derived CBD is legal and safer for cats than marijuana-derived CBD.

Why Is CBD Oil Popular for Cats?

Cat owners want to give their pets safe and effective treatment options, and some medications may have negative side effects or not work well enough to help their cat’s specific issues. The anecdotal, media, and early scientific success of CBD oil in people and dogs has caused it to grow in popularity for use in cats, too. Some owners report major successes in treating a variety of ailments in their dogs that were taking CBD oil after being unable to achieve it using other products. However, it’s important to remember that cats and dogs process medications and supplements very differently, and the safety and effectiveness of CBD is still being researched in cats.  

Risks and Concerns in Using CBD Oil in Cats

Since there really isn’t any research that has been done supporting the safe use of CBD in cats, there is a lot still unknown. Whether or not there are side effects, especially with long-term use, the efficacy for use in supporting a variety of bodily systems, contraindications with medications, and administration amounts for specific uses in cats still need to be studied.

In addition to the lack of research, another concern with CBD oil is finding a consistent and pure source. There is almost no regulation over the manufacture of CBD so widely-available products may contain little to no active ingredient and/or be contaminated with potentially harmful substances.   Consumers should talk to their veterinarian and look for a company with strict quality control measure to ensure products meet label claims before giving CBD to their cats.