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How Long Will It Take for CBD to Work on My Cat? Facts & FAQ

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Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid derived from cannabis that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.1 Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD may be beneficial in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions in humans and animals, including cats. However, there is limited scientific data on the efficacy and safety of CBD in cats.

Cats are known for being finicky creatures, and when it comes to medicating them, CBD oil is a popular choice for pet owners looking for an alternative to traditional medications. It can work within 15 minutes. However, it is wise to be hesitant about giving your furry friends anything that could potentially make them uncomfortable, has not been thoroughly studied or has not been recommended for use by your veterinarian. Continue reading to learn what determines CBD’s suitability for treating cats.

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What is CBD & How Does it Work?

In cannabis plants, there are more than 100 active compounds, but cannabidiol, or CBD, is most commonly used for medical purposes. CBD does not have the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), meaning it does not make a person feel “high.” CBD oils contain high levels of CBD, making them suitable for therapeutic use. CBD affects the body by interacting with receptors in the brain and immune system, helping to balance the endocannabinoid system. By interfacing with the endocannabinoid system, CBD helps to regulate mood, pain, and memory. In humans, CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and anti-seizure properties.

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CBD & Cats

In recent years, CBD oil has become increasingly popular among pet owners as a way to treat a wide range of health conditions. CBD oil is thought to be generally safe for cats, despite the fact that no scientific studies that specifically investigate the effect of cannabis on cats have been conducted. Although there is a rush of eager pet parents to the marketplace, we advise you to exercise caution when administering CBD to your cat and to only do so when using a product and dosage recommended and monitored by your veterinarian.

3 cat face dividerWhen Will You See Results?

When it comes to CBD for cats, many pet owners are curious about how long it will take for the cannabinoid to work. Different products claim to work at different speeds. Depending on the ailment or condition being treated, CBD oil can theoretically provide relief in as little as 15 minutes or take up to a few weeks. For chronic conditions, some pet owners find that it takes a week or two of consistent dosing for their cat to experience the full benefits of CBD oil.

Man giving CBD oil to a cat
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What Conditions Can CBD Be Used to Treat in Cats?

Cannabidiol’s benefits have mainly been studied in humans, but there isn’t any scientific evidence that it can help cats. Numerous studies are currently underway, and anecdotal evidence suggests that pets can benefit from these products. There are several health conditions that CBD can treat in cats, including anxiety, stress, seizure disorders, and chronic pain. Whenever you give your pet any CBD product, we recommend speaking with your veterinarian first.

How to Administer CBD to Cats

Cats can consume CBD in a variety of ways, depending on their needs. In addition to tinctures and capsules, CBD oil is available in treats. Depending on the product, it may take minutes, days¹, or even weeks to produce results. Cats can be given CBD oil as a snack or it can be added to their food. Usually, it is administered once or twice a day. There are some cats who don’t like the taste of CBD oils, which can make them reluctant to consume them. If your cat is picky, you may have more success with CBD treats.

You should start slowly and work your way up to the full dosage recommended on the package, which is usually based on the pet’s weight.

cbd oil and cat on background
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Side Effects of CBD Oil in Cats

CBD oil is considered safe and has few side effects. It is possible, however, for a cat who has ingested CBD to appear high. This can happen if the owner has given the cat a product without veterinary supervision, and there is THC in the product. The most common clinical signs that are reported are vomiting, weakness, lack of appetite, and diarrhea. When a large amount of CBD is consumed, tremors can occasionally occur as a result.

How Does CBD Oil Interact with Other Medications?

CBD oil is known to interact with other medications. When taken together, this can cause side effects. CBD oil can also reduce the effectiveness of some medications.  Most of the time, this is of little clinical significance; however, when CBD is used for seizure control in cats, it is extremely important that you discuss this with your vet so they can decide if it is necessary to adjust the doses of other anticonvulsants.

Never make changes to your cat’s medications without discussing it with your vet.  In some safety studies, CBD has also been shown to elevate liver enzymes. Although this has not been observed in acute overdose situations, it may be an issue in cats that take CBD on a long-term basis. In these cats, your vet should monitor your cat’s liver functioning over time.

a tabby cat sleeping on a pillow
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Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?

There is currently a lack of scientific evidence to support the claim that CBD oil is safe for cats. Since the FDA does not regulate CBD products on the market, owners cannot be sure that they’re giving their cats the correct dosage. Given the total lack of regulatory control, consumers should exercise caution in the marketplace.  Cat owners need to be certain that the products they buy have been tested for both content and contaminants such as bacteria, fungi, and heavy metals.

Furthermore, when you consider that the potential side effects of CBD oil include gastrointestinal upset, drowsiness, and changes in appetite, it’s easy to see why it is important to consult with a veterinarian before giving CBD oil to a cat.3 cat face divider


In conclusion, it is important to remember that every cat is different and will therefore react to CBD in different ways. Some cats may see results from CBD immediately, while others may take a few days or weeks to experience any benefits. In addition, every product has a different dosage, and each cat has a different weight and health issue. If you are considering giving your cat CBD, it is best to speak with your veterinarian first to ensure that it is the right decision for your pet.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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