Friday December 21, 2018

By Erin Hiatt

CBD for Cats: How Cannabidiol Might Help Our Feline Friends Health/Science

Imperious, indifferent and mysterious, cats can definitely be an enigma. Much less in-your-face than their canine counterparts, understanding what they need, especially when it come to the cat’s health, can be puzzling. But what cats, dogs and even humans have in common is the endocannabinoid system, known to have a direct role in regulating pain and inflammation.

Humans have been using cannabis to treat maladies for thousands of years. With the rise of legal cannabis came a rise in treating the family pet with cannabidiol, or CBD. According to the American Pets Product Association, Americans spend upwards of $30 billion a year on pet supplies, and more than $580 million on pet supplements, including CBD.

Can CBD Help Your Cat?

Consumers are looking to human supplements for cues when choosing supplements for their pets, and CBD is being used to treat things like digestive health, joint pain and anxiety in humans and animals alike. Pet owners are also looking for products that are made in the United States and contain natural and organic ingredients.

Even with a consumer push toward more animal wellness, veterinarians see cats less than they see dogs. The American Association of Feline Practitioners and Bayer HealthCare conducted a study to see how veterinary care for cats stacked up compared to dogs, and discovered that around 52 percent of cats hadn’t been the to the vet in the past year, and older cats were seen less than younger ones. Dogs get twice as many annual check-ups than cats, even though 95 percent of vets believe that cats should get annual checkups.

Cat at Vet
Make sure you always take care of your cat's health and wellness! photo credit

Using CBD as a supplement for your cat’s health has very few downsides and a myriad of benefits. CBD has been shown anecdotally to relieve stress, anxiety, inflammation, and pain, and there are a few conditions that cats in particular may have trouble with that may improve with CBD, like inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, arthritis, cancer, asthma, and upper respiratory infections.

How to Choose the Best Product and Dose

With animals and CBD, there is no placebo effect; it either works, or it doesn’t, so when looking for the perfect supplement for your cat, here are a few questions to ask:

Questions to Consider:

  • Do you know what exactly is in the CBD? Many cannabis products contain ingredients that can be toxic to pets, like xylitol, macadamia nuts and even chocolate
  • Has the CBD been grown without pesticides?
  • Does the extraction method leave chemicals in the final product?
  • Is the concentration of CBD high enough to have the desired medicinal effect?
  • Does the company show the profile of other components, like terpenes, and flavonoids?
  • Do you know if the product was tested for molds and fungus?

Finding the proper dose is more art than science, but as with all cannabis dosing, it’s best to start with less than you think is enough, then gradually increase it every five days or so until you see an improvement.

Try a dose of 0.5 mg/kg twice daily, and see how it goes. If your cat is showing side effects like being disoriented, vomiting, or excessive sedation, stop giving the CBD until the cat returns to its normal state.

The simplest way to make sure your cat gets regular doses of CBD is to sneak it into their food. Capsules and oil can easily be blended into their food or water and your feline friend is none the wiser. But, it is theorized that cats prefer capsules to oil because of the taste, but you be the judge. And let’s not forget this: Do not use CBD that contains THC! This can be very toxic for your cat and could send you to the vet ER. And we all know how much fun it is to put a cat in a carrier!

Have you ever treated your cat with CBD? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Photo Credit: susannp4 (license)

Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt writes about cannabis, psychedelics, hemp, politics, and drug policy reform for THC Mag and Freedom Leaf. She has also written for AlterNet and Vice. Erin's work and industry insights have been featured as the hemp and media specialist for the Cannabis and Hemp Association and as a guest on "In The Know 420," speaking on federal and international drug policy. Erin's background is in the entertainment industry, where she worked as a print model and actress on stage, film, television, and commercials. Erin is an avid hiker, trekking much of the southwest, and is a proud member of Actors Equity. You can follow her work on Wordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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