As marijuana becomes legal either recreationally or for medical purposes in most states, cat parents are wondering if the cannabis plant can help their kitties as well. The answer is yes! In this article I will outline how to source CBD for cats and how to use it for common diseases and conditions in cats.
First let’s understand the difference between hemp and marijuana. Both of these come from the cannabis plant but differ in the amount of THC present. THC is the part of the plant that causes a ‘high’ and is found in higher concentrations in the marijuana plant and trace amounts (less than 0.3%) in the hemp plant. Avoid giving your cat marijuana products or formulas that have more than 0.3% of THC. Hemp plants have high levels of CBD and other medicinal components. Marijuana has low levels or no CBD present.
Things to consider when choosing CBD for cats:
- Taste. Cats are notoriously choosy, and the skunky smell of cannabis plants can be off-putting. I have tested dozens of brands for palatability for cats and my favorite brand is HempRx. This product comes in either an oil or chewable treat formulation.
- Purity. Make sure the company you choose tests each batch of oil for pesticides and solvent residue. HempRx has a certificate of analysis for each batch to prove its safety, purity and potency.
- Potency. Many companies create CBD products for cats that are too dilute to have therapeutic benefits. Make sure that the CBD oil has at least 20 milligrams of CBD per milliliter of oil. This is not the same as the amount of milligrams per bottle. For example, HempRx Feline Drops contain 450mg of CBD per bottle and has 30 milligrams of CBD per milliliter. This highly concentrated formulation makes it easy to administer as your cat will need less volume of oil.
For more tips and tricks on product selection, check out my veterinary nurse’s blog here.
CBD for Cats with Anxiety
Cats with anxiety can benefit greatly from HempRx for Cats. I have seen remarkable transformations for anxious cats, as well as stressed cats living in multi-cat households. CBD can help within the first 1 to 2 days if the correct dose is found. For the average 10 pound kitty, I recommend starting with 2 to 4 milligrams of CBD twice daily. This is 2 to 4 drops of HempRx Feline Drops or 2 to 4 of the HempRx SoftChewz for Cats..
CBD for Cats with Kidney Disease
There are no studies that have investigated the effectiveness of CBD on kidney function in cats. However, CBD can reduce inflammation. Most cats with kidney disease have inflammation of their kidneys along with inflammation of other body systems, such as their joints. I also recommend older cats use CBD to help with increased feelings of well-being as they age. CBD can have a multifaceted therapeutic approach for animals who are living with multiple diseases or conditions. For cats with kidney disease, I start with 2 milligrams of CBD twice daily and increase as needed. This is 2 drops of HempRx Feline Drops twice daily with food.
CBD for Cats with Joint Pain
Arthritis, and other pain in cats, often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Unfortunately, there are less pharmaceutical options to reduce pain and inflammation in cats as compared to dogs. CBD can be a game changer for cats struggling with aches and pains. Many cat parents report that their arthritic cats become more active after starting CBD. I start the average 10 pound arthritic cat on 4 milligrams of CBD twice daily. This is 4 drops of HempRx Feline Drops twice daily on food.
CBD for Cats with Seizures
Cats do not commonly have seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, but they can benefit from CBD if they are experiencing seizures. I have had feline patients in my practice that have successfully avoided using anticonvulsant drugs by using CBD. However, if your kitty is already using an anticonvulsant, do not abruptly stop using this medication. Speak with your veterinarian first. CBD should be added to your cat’s already prescribed medications to increase the seizure free interval.
If you are using CBD alone and it is not controlling your kitty’s seizures, add the anticonvulsant medications your veterinarian is recommending. Failure to treat seizures can cause irreversible damage to your cat’s brain. In my practice, I start my feline patients with seizures on 1 mg/kg of CBD twice daily and increase as needed. If you have increased to 3 mg/kg of CBD twice daily and have not seen improvement in the seizure free interval or quality of seizures, CBD may not be effective for your kitty.
To learn how to calculate your kitty’s dose, check out this article.
CBD for Cats with IBD
Cats with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD. In my experience, CBD benefits some of my cat patients with IBD. This may also be due to its anti-nausea properties. If your cat has uncontrolled vomiting, diarrhea or is losing weight, CBD should not be used alone to control IBD. I start the average 10 pound kitty with IBD on 2 mg of CBD twice daily. This is 2 drops of HempRx Feline Drops twice daily on food.
To read more about my holistic approach to IBD in kitties, check out my complete article here.
CBD for Cats in Heat
Many cat lovers that work in cat rescue inquire about using CBD to help calm unspayed female cats in heat. While the calming effects may not completely eliminate symptoms of heat, it may ease their distress. There are no studies that have investigated CBD’s use for cats in heat, however I start these patients on 4 mg of CBD twice daily for the average 10 pound cat. This is 4 drops of HempRx Feline drops twice daily on food.