Can you help your cat feel like a kitten again?
It seems as if you can find CBD being sold anywhere now: drug stores, designated CBD shops, gift shops, kiosks at the mall, online ads, and even the corner gas station. The benefits of these products are certainly alluring for us humans, but what about for our cats?
I’ve heard many questions about CBD for cats. Since cats age and have similar ailments as we do, will it work the same and help alleviate the need for medications and trips to the vet? Will it help my cat chill and relax? In light of all this curiosity, here are some things to consider!
*Disclaimer: I am not a vet nor a doctor. I gathered this information from reputable online sources, anecdotes, and magazines. Please consult your vet with any additional questions before using new products on your cat. Sources are listed at the end of the post.
Since my brother is an MD, he is at the forefront of medical research and fads / trends / life-changing drugs. A few months back, he told me that he was surprised to have a patient describe their older arthritic dog as ‘acting like a puppy again’ after using CBD. What intrigued him most about this claim is that pets aren’t swayed by suggestion or the placebo effect; they react in real-time to real benefits.
How Does CBD Work?
Nearly all animals (everything from humans to cats to dolphins) have something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS system works in similar ways to the nervous system, using neurotransmitters and receptors to elicit certain functions. The ECS maintains a sort of homeostasis in the body and helps participate in things like management of pain, anxiety, inflammation, metabolic regulation, and immune function.
All of these wonderful functions occur when the brain releases endocannabinoids that bind to receptors and signal the body to take action against pain, anxiety, or other issues. There are two types of receptors: CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.
Endocannabinoids bind to these receptors, providing relief. What kind of relief depends on which receptor it is, where it’s located in the body and what ailment needs fixing. For example, if you’re experiencing pain in your ankles, endocannabinoids may bind to a CB1 receptor (commonly located in the central nervous system) to provide some pain relief. Naturally produced endocannabinoids are then broken down by enzymes.
Researchers believe CBD works by impeding the breakdown process, allowing your body’s natural pain relief to last longer.
Where Does Cannabis Figure Into This?
Phytocannabinoids are a plant’s version of cannabinoids. They are found in nature and there are over 113 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The most commonly known being CBD and THC. The most common place to find some of these are the hemp and marijuana plants.
THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical compound that gives marijuana its euphoric feelings and psychotropic reactions. However, CBD does not have that same exact effect and can help with the relaxing feeling without the psychotropic “high”. THC should never be given to animals. Since CBD can give this relaxing feeling, it is useful for calming and can help control inflammation and pain.
As with any medication or supplement for your cat, a discussion with your vet should take place beforehand. There could be medication interactions and your vet will need to know your cat and its health condition to properly advise. Vets cannot prescribe or recommend CBD but should know and be aware that it is being added to their regimen.
Should I Use CBD On My Cat?
CBD is not regulated, tested, or approved by the government, so caution is always advisable. It is also still under research in many scientific circles and there are still skeptics. Since CBD is not regulated, be aware of where you purchase it and what brand. Read any associated reviews and be sure to do your own research, as CBD can differ in potency and quality.
Things to look for when searching for CBD products include:
Bottom line: buy from a reputable business and most importantly, make sure that that brand is approved for cats or pets.
How Do I Pick a CBD Product?
There are several forms in which CBD is sold. The most popular is the oil or tincture (with an alcohol base). This is very quick-acting being given via mouth or on the skin. Oils can also come in capsule form, so be sure to have your cat’s favorite treat on hand to hide the capsule.
Now giving a cat a tincture under the tongue could be very tricky, so if your cat gets upset with this sort of thing, consider staying away from these products.
You can also find CBD as a food additive. These forms of CBD can be slower to act but easier to add to the cat’s food. Some cats may be able to sniff it out and refuse it all together so be sure you know what you can and can’t slip past your cat!
Topical creams are another popular form as are lotions. Be very careful to pay attention to the amounts you’re using: start by using a small amount and paying attention to how your cat responds. If it doesn’t provide them any relief, up the dosage next time and adjust accordingly.
Chews are another great form to administer but once again, not all cats like treats or their texture. This may sound like a simple way to give them CBD but they could sniff and walk away and now you’re out a jar of CBD pet treats.
How Will My Cat Benefit From CBD?
CBD can help with pain, inflammation, stress, and anxiety in humans. Likewise, cats may experience similar benefits, including:
In all of these cases, CBD can be a great option to try to help calm and soothe your cat’s ailments.
Once again, please consult with a vet and check that the brand you buy is safe for animals. As with any medication, what dosage you may take is not the same for your little 10 lb cat! It is wonderful to have new alternatives to try and help out our furry friends. While they may not be zooming around like a little kitten, to see some relief or a little tail flick when they walk by can be just as great.
Information on phytocannabinoids:
Information on the ECS:
Information on CBD benefits:
Information on the ECS: