Just like all CBD oil has become the latest, greatest medical care rage for humans, CBD oil is quickly becoming a popular option for helping kitties with health issues. But the whole thing is kind of new, so there are a lot of questions out there.
I was asked to review CBD oil for my cats, and I was like, “Whoa. I don’t know anything about this! I’m not giving that to my cat!”
But knowing that it’s beneficial for humans, and one kitty I call beloved has anxiety issues, I wanted to pursue this possibility. I pulled out my research skills and started asking questions of the experts.
This ultimate guide to the best CBD oil for cats is the result of all that.
Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.
- 1 What is CBD Oil?
- 2 What is CBD Oil Not?
- 3 Does CBD Oil Contain THC?
- 4 How Does CBD Oil Work?
- 5 Why is CBD Oil for Pets Becoming So Popular?
- 6 What are the Benefits of CBD Oil for Cats?
- 7 Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
- 8 Is CBD Oil Legal?
- 9 What are the Downsides of CBD Oil?
- 10 Safe CBD Oil Dosage for Cats
- 11 Can Cats Take CBD Oil for Humans?
- 12 How to Choose the Right CBD Oil
- 13 How to Give CBD Oil to Your Cats
- 14 Our Top Choice for CBD Oil for Cats: HolistaPet Review
- 15 Why I’m Now Onboard for CBD Oil for Cats
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is short for cannabidiol. This oil comes from the cannabis plant. Yes, that’s the pot plant. But CBD oil is made from strains of cannabis that have low levels of THC – tetrahydrocannabinol – rather than the varieties that are notoriously enjoyed for recreational highs. That means CBD oil does not cause psychoactive episodes and doesn’t get you high. CBD is not marijuana.
CBD oils contain a high concentration of CBD for therapeutic purposes. These forms of cannabis have been used for thousands of years in medical care, treating illnesses, diseases, anxiety disorders, and more.
What is CBD Oil Not?
There’s some confusion on the differences between CBD and CBD hemp oil for cats.
According to Dr. Jim Carlson of Riverside Animal Clinic in McHenry, Illinois, “CBD is derived from the flowers of the hemp plant… Hemp comes mainly from the stem of the hemp plant… Hemp oil contains very few cannabinoids. There is also a product called hemp seed oil which is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant which do not contain CBD. CBD does not contain THC.”
It’s important to note the differences between the various types of oil in the cannabis realm. This will ensure you are using the correct products for your goals in helping your cat’s health.
Does CBD Oil Contain THC?
Catnip is a calming substance that does not get cats high. But since CBD comes from the same family of plants that the marijuana plant comes from, it’s important to understand whether or not CBD contains THC or will get your cat high.
The simple answer is “No.” Because the levels of THC in CBD oil are so low or, in some varieties, non-existent, your cat cannot get high from CBD oil usage. Relaxation is still one of the benefits of CBD, but it’s not from a psychoactive episode.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
Mammals have a system of cannabinoid receptors that comprise the Endocannabinoid System – ECS – that helps regulate the functions in the digestive and immune systems of the body. There are two different receptors of this nature, referred to as CB1 and CB2 receptors.
These receptors respond to CBD by regulating inflammations, which cause the development of most chronic health issues and diseases, such as arthritis.
Why is CBD Oil for Pets Becoming So Popular?
CBD oil has been successful in treating chronic conditions in humans for millennia. It only makes sense that other mammals who also have cannabinoid receptors could benefit from it as well. As more and more people discover the benefits for themselves, excitement has risen due to the many possibilities of using CBD oil to help pets with their chronic conditions as well.
What are the Benefits of CBD Oil for Cats?
So, what are the benefits of CBD oil for cats?
According to Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, advisor for Pet Life Today:
“CBD shows promise for treating inflammatory conditions, like osteoarthritis, as well as for anxiety, seizures, pain, and nausea.”
Dr. Jeremy Riggle, Chief Science Officer for Mary’s Whole Pet elaborates slightly:
“Cats have their own endocannabinoid system so they can benefit from CBD oil much the same way humans do. Specific ailments include, but are not limited to: loss of appetite, anxiety, stress, inflammation … arthritis, etc.”
And much like humans use CBD oil and medical marijuana, the best CBD oil for cats with cancer can be an effective treatment. CBD oil for cats seizures treatment is another popular use of this product.
Other uses and benefits:
- CBD oil for cats with kidney disease
- CBD oil for cats’ aggression
- CBD oil for cats’ arthritis
- CBD oil for cats with asthma
- CBD oil for cats with pancreatitis
- CBD oil for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
It is commonly felt that CBD oil generally improves overall health in the long-term – even when kitty has no medical conditions – as the CBD reduces chronic inflammation, one of the body’s worst enemies.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
After discussing this question with several experts, it can be concluded that high-quality CBD oil is safe for cats.
According to Dr. Riggle,
“CBD oil is safe for cats. Cats, like all mammals, have an endocannabinoid system that plays a prominent role in nearly every physiological function from eating to immune response. The thing cat owners need to be careful of is CBD oil that contains residual THC. Anecdotally, cats are much more sensitive to THC than humans or dogs so even a little can cause unwanted side effects for a cat.”
Cats are very sensitive to foods and supplements for a reason: there are many things that people and dogs can consume that are toxic to cats. You’ve got to be careful about the CBD that you purchase. It needs to be verified and certified as containing low to zero levels of THC to prevent your cat from having issues with toxicity illnesses.
However, Dr. Coates notes her concern:
“…cats are especially sensitive to toxins, and I worry about low-quality CBD products causing serious side effects in feline patients.”
CBD oil is not currently regulated by the FDA, which can make this difficult but not impossible.
Look at the lab test results of the given product, as well as verifying that the products contain 0.3% THC or less. And avoid the cheap options as these typically have cheap, often toxic, additives in them.
It should be noted that some veterinarians are hesitant to recommend CBD because of the limited research conducted at this point. The experts I consulted who have tried CBD oil, however, find it to be safe in the proper doses.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Since medical marijuana is not legal in every state, many people question the legality of CBD oil. It’s important to understand this issue for the obvious reasons, but also because it helps you understand which options are potentially beneficial for your cat.
If a cannabis product has less than 0.3% THC, it is considered to be “hemp” rather than marijuana. Hemp is not a restricted substance, and therefore this CBD oil is legal.
However, anything with a higher amount than 0.3% could be illegal in some states. Always make sure you verify that the CBD oil is below this limit, both for legal reasons and for the safety of your cat.
It’s also important to note that even in states where medical marijuana is legal, your veterinarian may not have the legal freedom to discuss the treatment of your cat using CBD oil. Activists are trying to change these laws, but that hasn’t happened yet.
The use of CBD oil, however, is legal in all states, even if you can’t discuss it with your veterinarian. Ridiculous, but that’s the world in which we live.
What are the Downsides of CBD Oil?
While I’d love to report I found zero downsides to CBD oil for cats, we both know that nothing is perfect. In general, issues with CBD use are pretty low, as long as the right products are used. These issues generally arise from using products that are low quality, contain additives, or have higher than 0.3% HTC.
Side effects are rare but have occurred. The reported side effects of CBD usage in humans include the following and may apply to cats in some situations. Watch carefully for these and discontinue use if you notice any of the signs.
- Unusually low blood pressure
- Withdrawal symptoms like insomnia and irritability
- Dryness of mouth
Safe CBD Oil Dosage for Cats
One of the most important aspects of using CBD oil for cats is administering the proper dosage for your cats. Dr. Gary Richter, Medical Director of Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland and Veterinary Health Expert with Rover.com, California, tells us that the dosage is one of the most important things in using CBD oil for cats. It’s important not to overdose your cat.
Unfortunately, there has not been much research done on the subject as of yet, so there is no distinctive answer on how much CBD oil should be given to cats. Obvious things, however, would demonstrate different needs, such as the weight and age of the cat.
I’ve heard people ask, “how many drops of CBD oil for cats?”
There’s no one answer to this question, however.
A few observational studies suggest between 0.1 and 0.5 milligrams per kilogram weight of the cat. If this dosage seems low after your cat has taken the CBD oil for a bit, you may need to slightly up the dosage. But keep in mind, “It’s always best to start low and increase the dose based on the desired outcome,” Dr. Riggle notes.
Before upping the dose or abandoning the use of CBD oil because of lacking results, remember that it will take a little time to see long-term benefits for your cat. Some cats may immediately feel better, while others will take a while. Be consistent with the dosages while being patient and observant of any effects it may be having on Tigger.
Can Cats Take CBD Oil for Humans?
While many people claim that CBD oil is safe for dogs, my research, which included CBD oil for cats reviews and the expert interviews – limited as professionals are on the subject – have indicated that cats should not take CBD oil for humans. The experts consulted indicate that CBD oil designed for other animals may cause issues for cats.
How to Choose the Right CBD Oil
As noted multiple times above, the most important thing in helping your cat with CBD oil involves the right dosage of the right CBD oil. There are several things I have used to examine CBD oils for cats to determine which is the best option. Without these categories, they pretty much all look the same, so it’s important to pay close attention to them.
Look for the Source of the CBD Extract
The CBD must be high-quality, or your cat could have issues with toxicity sickness. Hemp tends to absorb everything in the ground in which it grows, so that means you need to understand where the plants are grown, the type of soil that is used, and how the plants are harvested for the oil.
Plants grown in healthy, organic environments will result in high-quality CBD products.
One of the ways you can identify the CBD source is by studying the brand of the product.
Hopefully, the sources of their hemp will be identifiable and grown in the USA.
Farmers in the USA are required to get certification from their state’s Department of Agriculture. These records are public knowledge and can help you understand this kind of information about soil, et cetera, based on the type of farm.
Check for Third-Party Testing
Just like in all industries, some companies make CBD with only dollar signs in their eyes. Often these companies are questionable in their practices and rarely have third-party testing done.
Because we want to make sure we’re using ethically grown and harvested, organic, beneficial products for our cats, it’s important to look for that third-party testing on CBD oils.
Reputable companies use third-party testing to demonstrate the potency, quality, and effects of CBD oil. Generic claims on CBD oil being “effective” are often written in vague terms by less than quality companies, so avoid these. Sourcing, processing, and other elements affect the quality, and these tests show which brands are doing it right.
The brands that are doing it right are the ones that have products you can safely give to your cat.
You can determine which companies use third-party testing by checking both the labels and the company websites.
Always Choose Organic Oil Extracted Naturally
While I’m not a “100% all things always must be completely and utterly organic in every way” person, anything your cat consumes needs to be. I cannot stress this enough. Cats have extremely sensitive systems – think of all those hairballs and how often Kitty vomits for no seemingly good reason – so any product that isn’t organic could be an issue.
Non-organic products are either grown in pesticides that may cause health issues or contain unnatural additives that could make your cat ill.
The method used to extract the oil is also critical. While it’s hard to imagine companies using such practices, some use butane or ethanol – remember that alcohol in tinctures? – to extract the oil from the plant and produce a tainted, toxic CBD oil.
To find the right oils, choose products that use supercritical CO2 extraction. This is the proper food-grade method that renders the most effective, purest, best CBD oil for cats. This method is also the safest for the environment.
Look for Full Spectrum, Not Isolate CBD
In some ways, it might seem like the Isolate of CBD would be the better choice. It’s pure, straight-up oil. However, the full-spectrum or “enriched” CBD contains other beneficial ingredients from cannabis that can help the relief your cat receives from the oil overall.
Full-spectrum CBD includes a variety of beneficial elements as both primary and secondary supplementation that could help your cat feel better.
Terpenes are something most of us haven’t heard of. Cannabis is not the only plant that produces terpenes.
They are fragrant oils that give the cannabis that certain smell, which we can identify as cannabis, even though each variety has a bit of a different smell to it. They’re secreted from the sticky resin glands of the cannabis flower, which are the parts that produce the THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids.
Terpenes bind to the receptors in the ECS parts of the brain. They help with several medical issues, including insomnia, inflammation, asthma, depression, anxiety, etc.
You’ve probably heard of flavonoids. In school, we had to learn about these phytonutrients – plant chemicals – if you’re like me, you’ve forgotten what they are and how they could help.
Flavonoids are the part of the plant that gives fruits and vegetables their vivid colors. They happen to be powerful antioxidants and help support and boost the immune system and fight inflammation. They also help fight neurogenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
In the foods we typically eat, you can find flavonoids in tea, onions, strawberries, kale, Brussels sprouts, citrus, parsley, and grapes. And as we know, those who consume these foods regularly are likely to be healthier than the folks who don’t. This is partially due to the flavonoids they contain.
Flavonoids help in a variety of ways, including:
- Cardiovascular health
- Weight management
- Cancer prevention
- Neurodegenerative disease prevention
- General cognitive function
CBD is a cannabinoid, but other elements also fall into this category.
CBC – Cannabichromene – helps to treat anxiety, stress, and inflammation. It also provides pain relief and has anti-viral and anti-tumor properties. CBC provides some of the pain relief that THC is associated with, except without the “high.”
CBG – Cannabigerol – is another non-psychoactive cannabinoid. It also provides relief for inflammation and pain and has properties that help with glaucoma, intraocular pressure and slows the rate of blood clotting.
CBDA – Cannabidolic acid – is found in uncured cannabis plants. It’s the precursor for CBD. It’s great for anti-inflammation, anti-nausea, pain relief, antibacterial and antimicrobial issues, as well as providing antioxidants.
Other Things to Consider in CBD
Some specific products may target a particular ailment. For example, a full-spectrum or partially isolate product may be directed towards helping with inflammation. Another may be designed as CBD oil for cats’ anxiety. These will have the cannabinoids that target these issues while using CBD as the base.
Some CBD supplements will also have other supplemental ingredients to boost the healing properties as well. Things like lavender may be included in a CBD oil that is directed towards anxiety or insomnia treatment.
As you look through CBD options, be sure to choose one that is either a full spectrum product that covers all the basics or has a more narrowed focus for your cat’s specific ailments. My cat, who suffers from anxiety, would benefit from a lavender-infused product, for example.
How to Give CBD Oil to Your Cats
Another issue, of course, is the way through which you should administer CBD oil to your cats. As we all know, Sylvester is picky, and that can make giving him supplements a bit difficult at times. Thankfully, CBD products come in a variety of forms to make it easier for you and your cat as you discover what works best.
First off, there are CBD oil tinctures. Tinctures are typically extracts of plants that are dissolved in alcohol of some form. However, fermented things, like vinegar, are the solvent used for pet care products.
Tinctures are the liquid form of CBD that comes in bottles with droppers. You can drop the tinctures onto the food or into the water for kitty, but this will change the flavor and may cause Fuzzy to rebel against both the CBD and his dinner. Some cats, though, don’t care or may like the flavor.
To help with this, you can mix the liquid in with canned food that’s harder to separate liquid. My cat loves the gravy part of cat food better than the meat anyway, so this is pretty effective.
You may also find that you need to administer the tincture directly to Kitty’s mouth with the dropper. Be sure to clean the dropper each time you use it, even if it does not come into contact with your cat’s lips or tongue. If you determine this is the best way to give your cat CBD oil, try this method.
- Prepare the dropper ahead of time by drawing in the correct amount of CBD oil into the dropper tube.
- Place the dropper on a small plate to catch any leakage and to keep the dropper sterile.
- Position your cat on a hard surface, facing away from you. Have his hindquarters in front of your body.
- Use one hand to keep Kitty calm and use the other to grab the CBD oil.
- As you hold Kitty in position, use your stroking hand to tilt the cat’s head slightly up while using the other hand to press the dropper into the mouth near the back corner.
- Squirt the liquid in for your cat to swallow.
If you find your cat gets panicky or rebellious at this, you may wrap him in a towel for calming purposes. This usually works for my cats, as long I ease them into the towel gently and stroke their heads for a few minutes before giving the medication.
Always follow this up with a reward, as well, so that the cat can associate this treatment with something he enjoys, especially if he’s receiving the treatment daily.
If your cat is stubborn and the dropper-to-mouth technique isn’t working, the other solution is dipping his paws in CBD oil. Since cats can’t stand feeling dirty or wet, they will clean the tincture off their paws. Just realize that this is the last resort as some of the oil will not be consumed, and your floors will probably get a little bit dirty in the process.
Many CBD products come in the form of a chewable tablet that your cat can easily much down along with his food or as a treat. Again, the willingness of Kitty to consume the capsule will be case by case from one cat to another. Some will love the capsules, while others will turn up their noses and reject your attempts.
For the cat with itchy skin, CBD can be applied topically to the affected skin. Do not apply any kind of supplement to an open wound, however. Wait until the wound has healed or apply to other areas nearby to avoid irritating an open sore.
Finally, and probably the most preferred method of administering CBD is through CBD treats. These combine cat-healthy superfoods with CBD to entice Kitty to nibble away happily on the supplements.
Look for organic options only to avoid any toxins that non-organic plants might include. These should also be gluten and dairy-free for your cat’s ultimate health.
Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.
Our Top Choice for CBD Oil for Cats: HolistaPet Review
Keeping in mind all of the elements of the list above on how to choose the right CBD oil, I wanted to include just one choice for this CBD oil for cats review. It meets the requirements of all-natural, third-party tested, organic, and wholesome.
There are others that I recommend, but I go into detail on these on my Best CBD Oil for Cats (click the link to see our reviews of the top 5 CBD oils for cats). For this article, however, talking about just this one option is more to the point in helping you better understand CBD oil, the benefits, and the selection process.
HolistaPet brand CBD products are the number one choice on CBD for cats for several reasons.
The first reason is it comes in many forms. This isn’t more important than anything else, but it is significant for anyone who’s not sure how their cat will take to consuming CBD oil.
HolistaPet offers tinctures, treats, and capsules to give you the most variety possible when administering CBD to your pet. I love that they offer smaller packages as well as bulk buying choices. I would start with a smaller package, however, until you know for sure which way your cat prefers receiving her CBD dose.
HolistaPet is a full-spectrum CBD, which is important for gaining all the benefits from the cannabis plant that the isolate cannot offer. Also, there is 0% HTC in HolistaPet’s products, which is critical for Kitty’s health. She doesn’t need a high; she just needs some pain relief.
The ingredients are 100% natural, all organic, non-GMO. The products are gluten-free, dairy-free, made in the U.S.A., and have zero preservatives and additives. They’re third-party tested for potency and even offer free shipping on all their orders.
Why I’m Now Onboard for CBD Oil for Cats
CBD can be a little scary for someone who doesn’t know much about the reality of cannabis, hemp, et cetera.
I was one of those scared folks just a short while ago.
But after talking to a variety of experts, reviewing tons of products, studying and learning the things I need to know for choosing the right CBD oil for my cats, and reading the few available studies out there, I’m not one of them anymore.
CBD products are not for everyone. Some cats will do great with them and feel better within a few days or weeks of taking the supplement. Other cats won’t want to consume it, won’t benefit from it, or will otherwise not do well with CBD oil.
Just remember that every system is different, so you’ll need to keep an eye on your cat as she takes CBD. Make sure she’s not showing any of the symptoms listed above, and make sure that you’re consistent with giving it to her to know for sure whether or not she’s benefiting from it.
Disclaimer: I am not a vet. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA or any other agency. The information on this page is for informational purposes only.