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Can CBD Help a Cat With Anxiety? Exploring Alternatives

Written by: Kerry-Ann Kerr

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Man giving CBD oil to a cat

Can CBD Help a Cat With Anxiety? Exploring Alternatives

There have been no scientific studies that investigate the impact cannabis has on pets, but many pet parents are turning to it for help with their cat’s anxiety. And yes, it does work.

When considering CBD for your pet, the most important things to factor into your decision of whether it is right for your pet kitty are the benefits and risks. We delve into this here, so keep reading if you’d like to know exactly how CBD treatment can help your cat with anxiety.Cat ball divider 1

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. When choosing a CBD treatment for your pet, it’s essential that it doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gives marijuana the psychoactive properties that get users “high.” Most CBD products are derived from hemp and not marijuana.

Many veterinarians won’t recommend using CBD oil for their patients, as scientific research is still ongoing, but holistic vets are using it to treat ailments like pain, seizures, inflammation, and anxiety. CBD treatment comes in oils, tinctures, and treats. We prefer the oils or tinctures because they are easier to control the dosage.

Image Credit: CBD-Infos-com, Pixabay

What Is Cat Anxiety?

Anxiety is a physiological and emotional response to stressors. When we think about anxiety, it isn’t a single disorder. Instead, it’s a group of multiple conditions. Cats experience anxiety differently from humans, which means their signs may also differ.

Diagnosing anxiety in a cat can be tricky because they do not speak, and the visible signs are similar to those of other conditions. If you suspect your cat may suffer from anxiety, contact your vet to discuss the available treatment options.

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The 3 Most Common Causes of Anxiety in Cats

1. Environmental Anxiety

Your cat may experience environmental anxiety when their environment doesn’t provide enough stimulation or has stress triggers like loud construction noises, machines, etc. Signs to look out for are constant meowing, frequent hiding, scratching carpets or furniture, over-grooming, house soiling, and loss of appetite.

orange cat taking CBD oil
Image Credit: Velement, Shutterstock

2. Separation Anxiety

Cats that are anxious when they are alone may suffer from separation anxiety. Signs you may notice include excessive meowing, destroying things in the home by excessive scratching, defecating outside the litter box, excessive grooming, etc.

3. Social Anxiety

This is the most common cause of anxiety in cats, and it refers to cats that suffer from anxiety due to the presence of other animals or the unsolicited interactions of their owners. They may be aggressive and refuse to come out of a hiding spot.

cbd oil and cat on background
Image Credit by: Lightcube, Shutterstock


Treatment Options for Cat Anxiety

There are a variety of options open to you, all of which you can discuss with your vet. To tackle the problems your cat is facing, you could investigate some of these options:

  • Environmental change
  • Mental stimulation
  • Behavioral modification
  • Medication
  • Change of diet

Another option is, of course, CBD. CBD products are made from organic hemp plants, which contain terpenes and other natural compounds that interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) linking to the receptors. Just like humans, dogs, and other mammals, cats have an ECS, which is responsible for regulating mood, sleep, appetite, memory, and other bodily functions.

What to Look For From a CBD Treatment

As long as you stick to the veterinarian’s recommended dosage, which will be based on your cat’s weight, CBD treatment is completely safe. If your vet gave you a range of dosage, such as one to two drops every 12 hours, we recommend starting small (as you should whenever introducing something to your cat’s diet). Always select the smallest dosage because it’s easy to increase a dose, whereas once your cat has ingested the CBD oil, you can’t go back.

Ask your vet about a specific product recommendation or concentration. A reliable product will have a Certificate of Analysis (COA), which means you can trust the product and its ingredients. You also want a product that has little to no traces of THC.

cat taking CBD oil
Image Credit by: Erin Stone, Pixabay

Side Effects of CBD Treatment

If your cat shows side effects from their CBD treatment, keep in mind it might not have anything to do with the dosage or the treatment itself. Instead, it could be an ingredient in your particular product. Your cat should be fine if you follow your vet’s and the product’s instructions.

Signs to be on the lookout for:
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth (which presents as drinking more)
  • Lethargy/Drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure/dizziness
  • Vomiting

If you notice any of these signs, cease using the product immediately, and contact your vet for advice.

cat paw divider

Final Thoughts

CBD treatment can be used to treat not only anxiety but also pain in cats. Contact your vet for advice on how your cat could benefit from CBD. It might be tempting to give CBD for humans to your pet, but we don’t recommend it. Getting the dose right is so important, and introducing something new to your pet should always be done with your vet’s approval.

Featured Image Credit: Lightcube, Shutterstock

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