My cat, Siouxsie, and I have been together for almost 18 years now. She’s grown from a crazy little kitten to a sedate old lady, surveying her queendom with eyes full of wisdom.
But when I noticed those wisdom-filled eyes were also filled with pain, I knew I had to take action.
Siouxsie before her treatment with medical cannabis
I knew Siouxsie had arthritis, and it was clearly getting worse. She was walking hunched up, she wasn’t able to jump like she used to, and she spent most of her time curled up in her heated cat bed instead of on my lap.
I took Siouxsie in for her semiannual senior exam in January, and I mentioned my concerns to my vet. I told her that the pain control methods I had been using (glucosamine-chondroitin treats and even gabapentin) didn’t seem to be helping her. Dr. Brandon took some X-rays, and the results left no doubt about why she was so sore.
There was almost no cartilage at all where her femur bones meet her hips. The left hip was worse than the right. I cringed when I saw the results: I have my own share of chronic pain and I knew poor Siouxsie had to be hurting 24/7.
I’d heard that Dr. Brandon and her husband, veterinarian Dr. Greg Copas, had developed a treatment that’s non-toxic and known to be a very powerful pain reliever. That treatment: medical cannabis.
I know people who have benefited tremendously from using medical cannabis to manage pain, and I was thrilled to know that my vet had developed a formula that is safe for pets. I asked whether it could help Siouxsie, and my vet said she’d seen good results in other arthritic pets, so I decided to give it a try.
Canna Companion is made from hemp with an extremely low THC content. It’s made from 100-percent organic, non-GMO hemp in vegetarian capsules. The active ingredients, known as phytocannabinoids, have a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and appetite stimulant effect. Phytocannabinoids can also reduce the spread of cancer and even provide seizure control.
Canna Companion is legal in all 50 U.S. states. Because of its extremely low THC content (less than 0.3 percent) and because it is not meant for human consumption, it meets the current definition of hemp supplements for companion animals. I’m not sure about its legality in other countries or international shipment of the product, however.
I ordered a package of 30 capsules, which I began mixing into Siouxsie’s food twice a day. Even after the first dose, she started showing signs of feeling better. As time passed, I noticed other changes in her behavior.
She started climbing on my lap again. She began climbing the cat tree again. Her walk became much more fluid and easy. Her jumps became smoother and more successful. And soon enough, Siouxsie was asking for her "purry hugs" and shoulder rides again … something she hadn’t done in months!
I’ve been giving Siouxsie the Canna Companion for about four months now, and she’s continued to thrive. She’s been to the vet for a couple of follow-up exams since then, and Dr. Brandon is also impressed with the positive effect the medical cannabis has had on her quality of life.
I know Siouxsie is old. She’s going to be 18 in May. I don’t know how much time I have left with her, but I want to make every minute of that time as happy and pain-free as possible. Medical cannabis is helping me to do that.
Siouxsie after a couple of months on medical cannabis, jumping and walking more smoothly.
Keep in mind here that I am not talking about marijuana. Higher concentrations of THC are toxic to cats, so here’s a common sense warning: For the love of all things cute and furry, do NOT smoke your cat up or give him human-grade medical cannabis!
Would you use medical cannabis on your cats? Have you used it? Does this intrigue you or freak you out? Share your thoughts and your stories in the comments, and let’s talk!
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About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.