CBD Oil For Cats – Is It Safe And Is It Illegal?

CBD oil over the years has become a hot topic, it’s ever increasing presence and use in today’s society has left some pet owners wanting to know if CBD oil for cats is safe. 

While there have been studies on the effect of CBD on humans, there have been no recognized scientific studies done on pets. 

That in itself might be enough to discourage you from using CBD oil for cats however, if you’re still interested I suggest you keep reading. 

In this article, I’ll cover topics such as, what is CBD oil, is it safe for cats, is it legal and finally my opinion and a vets voice of reasoning on CBD oil for cats. 

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD known as cannabidiol is an oil derived from cannabis plants. CBD oil is extracted from strains of cannabis that contain very low levels of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. 

If you didn’t know, THC is the compound found in cannabis that gets you “high”. 

The idea around CBD oil is, you get all the medicinal benefits from the plant without the “high” therefore, CBD is not the same as marijuana. 

A cannabis plant will contain over 100 compounds with the most common used for medicinal purposes being CBD or cannabidiol. With the high concentration of CBD rather than THC it’s very effective for humans. 

CBD oil is used among the community for therapeutic purposes. It’s common for treating stress, anxiety, illnesses and even some diseases and disorders. 

Here are some thoughts from Dr. Daniel Inman, a veterinarian at Burlington Emergency Veterinary Specialists in Williston, Vermont.

“While we don’t recommend CBD oil for our patients, holistic veterinarians are using it to treat a variety of ailments, including inflammation, anxiety, and pain.”

While it appears that there is still a grey area around CBD oil for pets, it’s carefully put that CBD oil has been used subjectively to help alleviate pain and improve quality of life for some pet patients. 

I must stress that it is not a standard practice by any Vet and is often used by holistic veterinarians to treat inflammation, anxiety and pain. 

There are no official medical studies that state the effect of CBD oil in cats!

Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?

It really all depends who you talk to. When I have asked vets they have firmly said no not at all. They state because there are no studies behind the effects of CBD oil in cats they can’t advise to use them. 

On the other hand there are plenty of holistic vets and a general sense in the community that CBD is indeed safe for pets. 

If you are one to back a scientific researched product for your pets then you are probably leaning towards not using CBD oils for any pet. 

Those typically interested in using CBD oil for their pets consume CBD oil for themselves already and thus interested if it’s possible for their pets. 

With all that being said let’s take a look at what some doctors have to say about using CBD oil in cats. 

What Veterinarian Doctors Say About CBD Oil For Cats

Dr. Gary Richter from Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Care in Oakland, California states that CBD is generally safe for cats. Dr. Gary also mentions that some adverse effects can arise when giving your cat CBD oil such as gastrointestinal issues and sedation. Although they will be alleviated when not dosing with CBD oil. 

Dr. Gary mentions that the biggest medical issue he sees with CBD oil for cats is the dosing amounts. He wants to make it clear that you need to be very clear on the amount of dose to give to an animal to have the desired effect without overdosing. 

Another quoted reference is from Dr. Liza Guess, a clinical assistant professor at the Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Medicine in Columbus, Ohio. 

Dr. Liza states the lack of official well documented research on the effects of CBD and cannabis products in cats makes her hesitant to suggest or recommend them to anyone. 

In a quote noted by catological Dr. Liza states, “I have heard that, in humans, marijuana products can be used for neuropathic pain, intractable seizures, anxiety, and appetite stimulation.

I have plenty of medications in each of those categories [that are not cannabis] that have been safely used in cats for years that I am very comfortable using and understand well,” she says.

“These medications have gone through rigorous studies and are approved by the FDA. Why would I want to use a poorly understood treatment that I can’t guarantee is safe or even effective?”

It’s worth noting that the FDA does not regulate CBD products that are available for pets on the market. That means consumers can’t guarantee the quality of product or safety of the CBD oil they are giving to their pets. 

It also means that it’s very hard to determine the correct or safe dosage for your pet. 

“Pet owners looking to give their animals CBD oil should do their due diligence before purchasing anything online,” Richter says. “The marketplace is very much a ‘buyer beware’ environment, and people should be sure that the product they’re buying has been laboratory tested for both content, as well as contaminants like bacteria, fungus, and heavy metals.”

CBD oil might be safe for your pets but cannabis plants are not, they’re known to be toxic to cats if eaten!

There is a little bit of a legal “loophole” when it comes to products containing or using cannabis. If a product contains less than 0.3% of present THC then legally it is classified as ‘hemp’. Hemp is not a restricted substance and therefore is legal for consumption. 

You’ll find 99% of CBD oils will contain less than 0.3% of THC. But, just because CBD oil is legal that doesn’t mean you should be allowing your pets to consume CBD. If you haven’t guessed it by now, using CBD with pets is quite controversial. 

As it stands most Veterinarians aren’t allowed to recommend any products that revolve around hemp or cannabis. It’s hit or miss whether your vet can legally talk about the use of CBD oil for your pet.

It’s worth noting that just because cannabis is legal in your state, does not mean your veterinarian can legally discuss any cannabis products for you or your cat, including CBD oil. 

Currently there are activists trying to change these laws, and a bill has been brought to the California State Legislature to discuss the use of medical cannabis for veterinarian involvement. 

It’s a hot debate among peers and the community whether veterinarians should be allowed to discuss or recommend cannabis for their patients and how that would look. 

Please keep in mind there is absolutely no reason to be giving medication or supplements to your cat without first consulting with your local vet first. 

Does CBD Oil Contain THC?

A quick and simple answer would be to say no but, that’s not entirely true. Let’s take a closer look at what I mean by that. 

CBD oil in some cases will contain a trace of THC however it’s a very small amount, around 0.4% in most cases. This low percentage will not be enough to get you or your cat “high”. 

There are some CBD oil products on the market that contain zero THC however, please remember none of the CBD oils on the market as of today are FDA approved for pets. 

If you’re wanting to give your cat some “chill vibes” why not get them some catnip instead. 

What are the Benefits of CBD Oil for Cats? If Any!

As you know, there is no backed research on the effects of CBD oil on cats, so it’s hard to say in concrete if there are any benefits to using CBD oil for cats.

Doing some research, I quickly found some of the following statements from respected doctors in the field. 

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.”

What are the Negatives of CBD Oil?

Let me make this very clear, I see this biggest issue with CBD oil for cats being dosage. Because it’s not regulated we are having to trust the individual companies reports on THC content and how the CBD oil is sourced. 

It’s also most Vet’s concerns about CBD oil for cats and pet owners globally. 

Aside from that, the most general issues are low quality products that contains additives or higher than 0.3% THC. 

Some side effects for your pet can be: 

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety, quite ironic as CBD oil is widely used to treat anxiety
  • Dehydration in cats

Safe CBD Oil Dosage for Cats According To Vet’s

Again, it’s one of those situations where we really don’t know how much is safe for your cat. Because of the lack of research and the lack of regulations the answer is very difficult. 

It’s for this reason I can’t safely recommend a dosage amount for your cat. The information on the internet is at best a rough guess or guide. As of writing this there is no known FDA approved recommendation. 

If or when there is I would say it would be calculated by your cats weight, age and condition. 

At present there is no known “safe” dosage for your cat.

One doctor has stated that if you are going to give your cat CBD oil after doing your research, a suggested study states to use between 0.1 and 0.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight for your cat. 

Start off on a low dosage, but remember there are no formal studies or research for CBD oil in cats. You are giving them CBD oil at your own risk. 

Conclusion On CBD Oil For Cats

While there are many debates around CBD oil for cats my conclusion is clear. Given the fact it’s not regulated and there are no medical evidence to CBD oil use in animals, I simply can’t recommend using it for your pets at this stage.

I’m very aware there is a movement going on right now to try and get more research done around the topic to improve our pets life and I encourage that. 

There are what appears to be several leading CBD oil providers in the space and I might take a look into them further. 

I suggest doing your own further research and talking with your vet if possible about any questions you might have. 

CBD oil for humans is a great thing and if we can get the sufficient research required for our pets then I’m all for it. 

Do I Recommend CBD Oil For Cats. 

At this stage no I don’t. With further studies and research with good evidence of the benefits then perhaps maybe I would. 

It can be a touchy subject for some and a little scary to think about. I’m almost there but I think there is a little more ground to break before it should be recommended. 

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be medical advice. It is merely my opinion on CBD Oil for cats and should be taken for informational purpose only.