Love Of Paws is reader-supported. When you purchase through one of our links we may earn a commission.

CBD For Cats: The Ultimate Guide

CBD. It’s been at the forefront of a storm of alternative medicines geared towards those that are sick of dealing with the medical industry with their fancy drugs, unknown chemicals, and enormous price tags. 

In our little corner of the world, CBD has taken the role of a guiding savior for one of our cats, and it’s become an indispensable part of our care routine for him. We’re here to give you everything you need to know about CBD for cats.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is CBD?
  2. Is CBD Safe For Cats
  3. How Does CBD Work In Cats
  4. What Does CBD Help With
  5. How Much CBD Should I Give
  6. How To Give A Cat CBD
  7. How Long Does CBD Last?
  8. Side Effects of CBD
  9. The Best CBD Oil For Cats
  10. The Best CBD Treats For Cats

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is a chemical found in the cannabis plant. Found in the same plant is THC, the psychoactive compound that makes users “high”. But make no mistake, CBD will not create a “high” for its users - human or animal. 

There will be no euphoric effects from ingesting CBD. There are, however, a plethora of health benefits associated with proper consumption of CBD. 

Is CBD Safe For Cats?

Yes, CBD is considered safe for cats as long as it is not mixed with THC. 

Similar to humans, there can be side effects from CBD usage in cats, which we will outline a little later in this article. But as a whole, CBD is safe for cat consumption, as long as it is pure. 

As a result of CBD being fully legal since 2018, there has been an outstanding lack of regulatory oversight on the production of CBD. This has led to a huge quality issue within the market, with numerous brands selling, for lack of a better word, snake oil to their customers. 

This is to say that purchasing from a trusted source is paramount to ensuring your cat's safety with CBD. There are a few check and balances to verify a manufacturer adheres to quality standards, such as being listed on the National Animal Supplement Council list.

How Does CBD Work In Cats?

CBD works by reducing the production of cortisol in a cat's brain. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is linked with anxious behaviors. In effect, CBD helps to create a more calming effect on your cat's endocannabinoid system. 

CBD also targets the vanilloid receptors in your cat's brain. This effectively reduces their response to pain which can improve their mobility and mood. 

As a natural equalizer, there are lots of mental and physical benefits that come from CBDs ability to manage their endocannabinoid system. 

What Does CBD Help With

As an extremely versatile compound, CBD has a wide range of benefits for both animals and humans. Since we’re a blog about cats, we will stick to what we know. The most common ailments that CBD helps with in cats are: 

  • Chronic Pain
  • Arthritis
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Seizures
  • Cancer
  • Kidney Disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Cystitis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Itchy Skin
  • Nausea
  • Heart Murmurs
  • Gingivitis
  • Lymphoma
  • Dementia

As you can see, the list is long, and probably still incomplete. No matter the ailment, there’s a good chance that CBD can help treat it. That is to say, treat does not mean cure. For many of these ailments, CBD can only help ease the side effects, not cure them. 

How Much CBD Should I Be Giving My Cats?

The dosage of CBD to give to a cat depends on a few factors, including what you are treating and how big your cat is. 

To expand on this, the dosage required to treat severe ailments is higher than the dosage required for minimal issues. For example, a cat being treated for moderate anxiety and a cat being treated for intense, chronic pain do not receive the same amount of CBD, even if they are the same size. 

To help with the shifting dosage needs, we’ve built a handy calculator to help determine the best amount to be giving your cat. 

CBD Dosage Calculator

Please enter your cat's weight in lbs and select the condition being treated:

How To Give A Cat CBD

Now that we have determined the proper dosage to give to a cat based on their condition, it’s time to figure out how to give your cat CBD. For this, we need to discuss the two primary types of CBD, oil and treats. 

CBD oil is, as you probably guessed, an oil. They are generally sold in a small vial with a dropper that clearly labels the amount in milligrams you are giving. You will always need to do math to understand the dosage - the calculator helps understand how much CBD to give, but the potency in CBD oils vary, so read the label carefully. 

CBD treats are, as I’m sure you’ve figured out, the treat version of CBD oil. CBD treats are tricky as they are easy to break, meaning the dosage is usually less accurate. This is okay, dosage is a guideline, not a hard requirement. Your cat will not overdose on CBD.

Giving A Cat CBD Oil

CBD oil is generally considered the more accurate version of CBD. As oil is the natural state, it’s less likely to be processed. When you are giving your cat CBD oil, you can administer it, using the dropper, directly into their mouth. Many CBD oils are flavored to help entice cats to eat them. 

You can also drop the oil on top of your cat's food. The best time to give a cat CBD is on an empty stomach, so placing it on top of food is a good way to ensure that it’s digested with the food and not after. 

Giving A Cat CBD Treats

CBD treats are far easier to give to a cat. They are generally an enticing flavor for cats, and they have less mess and more versatility. It’s hard to give a cat CBD oil directly, so CBD treats come in handy if they need a dose between meals. 

Our advice is to stock both as they each have their purposes. The treats work great in a pinch or during more emergency situations, while the oil is more stable and potent. 

How Long Does CBD Last?

CBD takes between 15 minutes and 45 minutes to fully activate in your cat's system. Once the CBD has fully activated, the CBD will generally last between 4 and 6 hours

Be sure to give your cat some downtime between doses. While there’s nothing wrong with consistently administering CBD, you should check up on your cat in their natural state to see how their pain levels are going. Admittedly, this is hard to do, but it’s worth trying to give them some time. 

Side Effects of CBD in Cats

We’ve talked extensively on the benefits of CBD in cats, but we need to also address the side effects that are most common. 

Let’s start by reemphasising that a cat cannot overdose on CBD.

With that being said, if you have given your cat too much CBD in one dose, the most common side effects include the following: 

  • Dry Mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Diarrhea

In the event that you notice these side effects in your cat, you should re-evaluate your current dosage and tone it down. It could be the frequency or the dosage, so slow down on both until the side effects dissipate.  

The Best CBD Oil For Cats

Our choice for CBD products has always been SunMed, mainly because our local CBD store supplies it and they are beyond nice when we enter the store. Here’s the product we rely on. 

As a buying guide, we would always recommend someone from this list. This simply is because they have been verified as providing what they say. 

The Best CBD Treats For Cats

Again, we are big fans of SunMed CBD treats here as well. Here’s a type that we frequently get. 

Again, reference the same list above for more options that adhere to some sort of standards. This will ensure you are buying what you assume and that your cat doesn’t end up ingesting harmful chemicals as byproducts of a broken manufacturing process. 

Recent Posts

Why Does My Cat Keep Scratching At The Litter Box

Cats and their litter. It’s one of the most amazing aspects of raising a cat, watching them naturally get litter box trained without any effort on our part. Cats are clean and like to keep their bowel movements hidden and out of eyesight. So they naturally bury their waste in a litter box.  But what […]

Read More
Why Doesn’t My Cat Like To Be Held?

If you’ve ever felt like your cat’s just not that into you, it might be because they are just not into being picked up or held in place. In fact, it’s quite common for cats to not enjoy being held, it’s a pretty unnatural experience for them in general.  Think about it this way; when […]

Read More
How To Teach A Cat Its Name

One thing I truly love about cats is their attitude. Sure, dogs will jump up and tackle you when you get home because they are so excited to see you, but cats just aren’t that needy. The major downside to this: it’s kind of hard to teach a cat its name, or at least to […]

Read More