CBD for Cats: A Natural Way to Get Your Feline to Chill
Posted on February 2nd, 2021
The demand for safer and more natural health remedies has significantly increased over the past few years. Cannabidiol (CBD) is emerging as one of the most popular options. According to existing research, CBD is showing great promise for helping people with a wide range of conditions. Stress, anxiety, pain, and inflammation are some of these. Pet owners seeking alternative therapies have also jumped in on the action, wondering whether they can use CBD for cats and dogs.
Research on the effects of CBD on cats is still in its early stages. Still, reports indicate that CBD may alleviate an array of feline issues including anxiety, epilepsy, and pain. As a cat owner, one of your top priorities is ensuring the health and well being of your cat. Compared to other pets, cats are generally easier to care for. However, they are still prone to developing different kinds of medical and psychological issues.
While there are many supplements available on the market, CBD has proven to be the most versatile. If you are interested in CBD for your cat but are wondering if it offers any value for your cat, then this article is for you. Here, you will learn about its potential benefits, safety, and side effects.
What is CBD?
It is important to note that the cannabis plant contains more than four hundred different chemical compounds, of which more than 60 are cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids naturally produced by mammalian bodies while phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced by plants. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD are the two most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
THC is the compound responsible for the intoxicating effects of marijuana. And while it has its own therapeutic benefits, many people steer away from it due to the ‘high’ feeling it causes. On the other hand you can’t get high from CBD. People seeking the many benefits of cannabis but without the intoxicating effects opt for CBD. While CBD is present in most cannabis strains, it is found in abundant amounts in the hemp plant. In legal terms, hemp is cannabis that contains 0.3% or less THC content by dry weight. This means that CBD oil from hemp has little to no THC content.
How Does CBD Work in Cats?
Same as with other cannabinoids, CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex molecular system present in all animals, including cats, and it is responsible for regulating and balancing many processes in the body including appetite, memory, immune response, mood, hunger, neuronal synaptic communication, reproduction, etc.
Your cat produces endocannabinoids that interact with cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the ECS. This signals the body to act in a specific way in response to their external environment. This process is crucial in maintaining a balanced environment within the body. The state of internal body balance is known as homeostasis.
CB1 receptors are mainly found in the brain and central nervous system and are responsible for regulating pain, memory, mood, appetite, mobility, amongst other functions. On the other hand, CB2 receptors mostly exist in the peripheral nervous system and are responsible for regulating pain and inflammation. The endocannabinoids your cat produces interact with these receptors influencing various positive effects within the body. However, problems start to occur when there are endocannabinoid deficiencies. In such cases, supplementing with other cannabinoids such as CBD offers the ideal solution.
While it’s not yet clearly understood how CBD interacts with the ECS, it has been found to inhibit the breakdown of endocannabinoids, thus maximizing their function. It is important to note that within the ECS, there are two main types of enzymes responsible for metabolizing endocannabinoids. CBD helps to reduce their function.
Benefits of CBD for Cats
As discussed earlier, CBD is one of the most versatile pet supplements available on the market. It can be used to treat an array of feline conditions. Given that the ECS is responsible for regulating many physiological functions, through its effect on the ECS, CBD can be used to manage various issues affecting your cat.
While further research is still required, CBD for cats has been found to be effective. It may control epileptic seizures, alleviate pain from organ and joint inflammation, and reduce aggressive behavior.
Cats suffering from epilepsy are prone to experiencing seizures. Seizures are typically caused by excess electrochemical activity in the brain and are characterized by the vigorous shaking of the body. Seeing your cat going through a seizure can be very distressing. Fortunately, CBD has shown potential to possess strong anticonvulsant properties.
According to a study published by the American Epilepsy Society, CBD can help to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures in cats by up to 50%. Owners of epileptic cats have rejoiced at this news. This is especially considering that seizure medications can have a high risk of adverse side effects. Some of these include heart failure, kidney failure, and low mood and energy levels.
Stress and Anxiety
Just like humans, cats can also experience stress and anxiety. A wide range of factors can cause this, including a change in environment, health problems, separation anxiety, etc. They can show stress through poor eating and grooming habits and behavioral issues.
CBD uses a ‘multipronged approach’ when it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety. First, it inhibits the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Secondly, through its effect on the endocannabinoid system, CBD helps to promote a calm feeling and relaxation.
Arthritis and Joint Pain
While arthritis is a condition that more commonly affects dogs, it also affects cats. If you have an older cat, it has a high risk of developing this condition. Symptoms of arthritis include reduced energy levels, frequent pain, and problems with movement. CBD helps to address the symptoms of arthritis in two ways. The first is through its powerful anti-inflammatory properties through the endocannabinoid system. The second way is by desensitizing the brain’s vanilloid receptor. This neuron plays a crucial role in pain perception. By desensitizing the vanilloid receptor, CBD helps to prevent the transmission of pain signals in the body.
As with humans, cats will suffer neural degeneration as they get older. Dementia in cats usually involves constant and unnecessary yowling. This is often due to their feeling distressed or disoriented because of confusion.
According to existing research on humans, CBD can help to enhance neuroplasticity and brain cell regeneration. And given the fact that cats have the same receptor system as humans, most believe that CBD can help a cat suffering from dementia.
Is CBD for Cats Safe?
Side effects have been minimal in almost all cases. They include tiredness, increased thirst, soft stool, and changes in appetite. You can further reduce the chances of side effects by carefully considering the quality and strength of the CBD product you choose. This can however be a challenge considering how unregulated the CBD industry is. This is why it is important to ensure that you only obtain your CBD for cats from highly reputable and trusted suppliers.
You should ensure that the CBD product doesn’t contain any harmful products. Ensure that a third-party lab has tested the product. Keep in mind that CBD oil containing too much THC can heighten symptoms such as anxiety.
What is the Dosage of CBD for Cats?
It is always advisable to consult your vet even before considering administering CBD to your cat. This is especially true if the cat is under other medications.
Most vets recommend starting with one to two milligrams of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight. Given that cats are significantly smaller than humans you shouldn’t use your own level of dosage on your cat as this can lead to adverse side effects. Starting with very small amounts is always the best option..
To be on the safe side, start with 1 mg for a period of one week while closely monitoring your cat for any changes or improvements. Increase this dosage by one milligram each subsequent week until you achieve your desired results. However, if you notice any negative reactions, discontinue the administration and preferably contact your vet.
If you own a cat, you are definitely invested in its health and wellbeing. As with humans, cats are prone to experiencing various health issues at certain points in their life. CBD is showing great potential as a viable treatment for various feline issues. Consider talking to your vet to find out how CBD for cats can help your favorite feline.