Is CBD Safe for Cats?

March 01, 2024
Is CBD safe for Cats?

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Recently the interest in CBD for cats has surged, as pet owners seek a more natural and holistic approach to support their feline friends’ health and well-being. It can offer relief from conditions ranging from anxiety and stress to chronic pain and inflammation. But is it safe? In this article we explore the most up-to-date research on safety of CBD in cats, and conclusively answer whether CBD is safe for cats.

Purr-fect Harmony: CBD Safety in Cats

CBD can sometimes raise some eyebrows, because it’s from the cannabis family. But it’s very different because of one thing it lacks: THC. According to this study, CBD is safe for cats, with doses as high as 30.5mg/kg given without adverse effects. This demonstrates that Broad spectrum CBD (the kind that doesn't contain THC) is indeed safe for healthy cats, and they can reap the benefits that CBD has to offer for arthritis, anxiety, chronic pain, and neurological support. Keep in mind that some CBD products are full spectrum, and contain THC.

But there’s more to the story of CBD safety in cats than that, and it’s important to consider other factors like the long-term effects of CBD. Let’s get a full understanding of the safety of CBD in cats, as well as the role your vet can play in using CBD with your cat.

Research on CBD for Cats

While the research on CBD in cats is just getting started, early results are promising. Preliminary studies and stories from pet owners and veterinarians suggest that CBD could offer therapeutic benefits for cats, particularly in areas such as pain management, anxiety reduction, and the mitigation of inflammation and seizures. Notably, research has shown that cats metabolize cannabinoids differently than humans and dogs, emphasizing the need for more cat-specific studies to ensure safe and effective use, as well as raising the possibility that cats are less sensitive to CBD and require a higher dose to achieve the same effects as observed in dogs.

On its own, CBD has a host of health benefits that are difficult to overstate, but in many cases it could be more useful as an adjunct to existing treatment regimens, with the explicit go-ahead from your veterinarian. Pet parents have reported successfully using CBD as an adjunct to their existing treatment plans, and in some cases reducing reliance on drugs which present difficult side effects and potentially harmful long term effects.

Getting to Nine Lives: Long Term Safety of CBD in Cats

CBD has been shown to be safe for long term use. While there haven’t been any long term safety studies on CBD use in cats, long-term safety studies performed in dogs and in humans provide results that are applicable since CBD similarly affects all three.

There is mounting evidence that CBD is safe for long term use in cats, humans and dogs. A comprehensive review of studies on the long term effects of CBD found that “CBD’ side effects can be classified as mild or unremarkable.” (Di Salvo et al. 2023). This means that broad spectrum CBD products can safely be used in cats and dogs without adverse side effects, even over long periods of time. The authors of the review found that several published studies have shown good results for CBD being effective for pain, behavioral disorders, skin problems, and epilepsy.

Another 4 week study in humans found that CBD resulted in less over-the-counter and prescription drug use, in cases where CBD was being taken for anxiety, joint pain, sleep, inflammation, and other reasons. These are the main reasons that pet parents have been using CBD for their dogs and cats. CBD decreased reliance on over-the-counter and prescription medications, while offering a better safety profile.

A recent long term 6 month trial of Broad Spectrum CBD in dogs found that a daily high dose of 4mg/kg didn’t have any significant adverse effects. The only observed change was a “transient elevation” in the enzyme alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in “just over half of the dogs receiving CBD” (Bradley et al. 2022).

It’s worth noting that many medications cause elevated ALP levels, since the liver has to produce more of the enzyme to process the medications. There’s no evidence to suggest that this elevation of enzyme levels is harmful, so CBD can be considered safe for long term use.

Your Vet’s Role in CBD for Cats

Ideally, your vet will play an essential role if you decide to try to use CBD for cats, but that might not always be possible. As the body of research grows and pet owners increasingly turn to CBD as a potential remedy for various feline conditions, the guidance and oversight provided by veterinary professionals become indispensable. However, vets in some states are prohibited from talking about CBD for pets, but they still play a critical role.

Only vets can diagnose and advise on treatment of the issues your cat is facing, and their involvement significantly increases your pets chances of success. 

Given the unregulated nature of the CBD market, veterinarians in select states can help identify high-quality, lab-tested products that are safe for feline consumption, thereby mitigating the risks associated with contaminants or incorrect dosing.

Moreover, veterinarians are essential in monitoring a cat’s response to CBD. By keeping a close watch on your cat’s health over time, they can make necessary adjustments. This includes advising on the integration of CBD with conventional treatments to avoid any adverse interactions.

Their ongoing research and continuing education on CBD and its effects on animals ensure that veterinarians remain at the forefront of knowledge, enabling them to offer the most current and comprehensive care. As the liaison between emerging CBD therapies and pet health, veterinarians are crucial in maximizing the benefits of CBD for Cats, ensuring that pet owners can provide their feline friends with safe, effective care.

Pawsitive Horizons For CBD in Feline Health

In the ever-evolving landscape of pet health and wellness, CBD stands out as a beacon of hope for cats grappling with conditions like joint stiffness, chronic pain, and neurological disorders.

It’s always important to consult with a veterinarian before starting your cat on any new supplement, especially if they’re already taking medication. It’s also important to choose high-quality CBD products when on the path to safely harnessing CBD’s benefits. The stories of improved mobility, reduced pain, and enhanced well-being among cats are compelling, urging us to consider CBD as a pivotal component of holistic feline wellness.

As research progresses and regulatory bodies catch up with the burgeoning interest in CBD for pets, the future looks hopeful. A world where our feline companions can live their lives free from the shadows of pain and discomfort is on the horizon, thanks to the potential healing powers of CBD.


Biscuit's Story

I was unprepared for what would happen to my dog, Biscuit. 

Ever since she was a puppy, she’d spend her days running and playing. I’d take her on walks, to the beach, and dog parks.

Unfortunately, at age 10, she started to limp after trips to the beach. It broke my heart to see her in pain doing what she loved the most. I started feeding her a raw food diet and added high-quality supplements to ensure her nutritional needs were met. Unfortunately, while she loved the food, the limping persisted.

I went to the vet, who looked over Biscuit and said she was likely limping due to joint inflammation. She gave us something to help. This worked well at first. Biscuit was moving around more freely, and was limping less. 

However, a few days later, It was to my absolute shock that she…

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