From making us laugh with their antics to comforting us when we're not feeling our best, cats provide years of companionship while requiring relatively little in return. But even the healthiest cats can experience a little anxiety, pain, or other health problems during their life.
Catnip was once the only supplement widely available for cats. But in the wake of the CBD revolution, today's pet stores are now stocking CBD for cats as an option. So if you've been relying on catnip to boost your cat's mood or relieve their stress, perhaps it's time to consider using CBD instead.
Why Is CBD for Cats Becoming Popular?
While there are many painkillers and anti-anxiety medications available from your vet, they all come with potentially unpleasant side effects. These medications can also simply fail to work for some cats. Which is usually what leads pet owners to look for alternatives like CBD—especially for less severe cases of pain or anxiety that don't justify the use of potentially risky medications.
CBD is currently used to manage the symptoms of a variety of human health conditions from chronic pain and anxiety to cancer treatment relief and epilepsy. In fact, as many as 72 percent of Americans are willing to try CBD to treat pain. Yet many still have no idea that using CBD oil for pets is even a thing.
What Does Catnip Do for Cats?
Most cat owners only think of catnip as a treat they can give their pet to promote playful behavior. But others use it routinely hoping it will address a specific condition like anxiety. When cats sniff catnip, they inhale plant compounds that can cause a change in mood. This is likely why it's believed that catnip can give cats more energy, reduce anxiety and relieve pain.
Unfortunately, the effects are short-lived. A cat will rarely feel the full effects of catnip for more than 10 minutes at a time. If it does last longer than the 10-minute window, your cat may feel mildly sedated for a few hours tops until it wears off. This might sound like a good thing, especially for an anxious cat. Yet the downside is that it's not a sustainable solution. Giving catnip to your cat daily or even excessively could lead your pet to build up a tolerance. Meaning that sooner or later, it's likely your cat could show little to no response to catnip at all.
CBD vs Catnip: What's The Difference?
CBD or cannabidiol is a non-intoxicating, non-psychoactive compound from the cannabis sativa plant. It interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) – a series of receptors that regulate pain, mood, memory, appetite, stress and the immune system.
Cats, like humans, have an ECS. This allows them to experience the beneficial effects of CBD similarly to the way humans do. Some of these benefits include:
- Pain relief from arthritis and aging
- Relief of seizures and neurological problems
- Soothing of trauma and anxiety
- Pain relief from cancer or after surgery
- Help with digestive issues
- Relief of muscle spasms
Some anecdotal evidence also suggests that using CBD for cats may help with digestion, particularly among animals who are very young or old and in need of as much nutrition as possible.
Still, it's important to note that few clinical CBD trials using cats as study participants exist. At the same time, that doesn't mean there aren't some compelling signs of its potential to help cats. CBD's anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory effects have already been closely studied in humans and other animals. Plus, recently published research confirms that CBD helps dogs with osteoarthritis. So it's believed that it could provide the same results for cats with arthritis or inflammation.
Additionally, it's more likely that the effects of CBD will outlast the fleeting effects of catnip. In humans, a dose of CBD oil can provide benefits for hours, and a cat's smaller body size and slower metabolism means they will likely experience the benefits for even longer.
How Much CBD Should I Give My Cat?
The dose you give your cat will vary depending on their body weight. Since cats are typically smaller, you definitely want to begin with a low dose. The key is to always start small and work your way up gradually if need be over time. Most times you'll want to administer the CBD from one to three times a day. But it's also a good idea to give your pet a low dose for a few days only once per day, then work upward from there if the low dose doesn't seem to be taking effect.
Where Can I Find Safe & Effective CBD for Pets?
When exploring CBD for cats, don't just buy the first product you find. Do your research thoroughly. The CBD industry is grossly under-regulated, and there are many CBD pet products on the market that aren't actually safe for your cat. Make sure the products you're vetting are natural, contain no artificial colors or flavors and are tested by a trusted third-party to verify purity. Also, look for hemp-derived products with 0% THC content since it's toxic to cats.
Here at Curaleaf Hemp, every product in our pet CBD line is 100% free of THC, hemp-derived, and made with only the best natural ingredients. We also conduct third-party testing on all of our products to ensure they meet the highest quality industry standards.