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Can Cats Have CBD Treats? Vet-Verified Safety & Benefits Explained

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Nicole Cosgrove

Can Cats Have CBD Treats? Vet-Verified Safety & Benefits Explained


Dr. Alice Athow-Frost Photo


Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

Veterinarian, BVM BVS MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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You might’ve noticed all the hype about CBD (cannabidiol) in recent years. Maybe you’ve even tried it yourself. In people, CBD has been shown to help reduce or prevent seizures in some childhood epilepsy disorders as well as relieve insomnia and anxiety. There are some studies in dogs that indicate that CBD helps in reducing chronic pain. But is it beneficial for felines?

The answer is possibly yes, although much more research into CBD for felines needs to be done.   Early evidence suggests that CBD can help cats with joint pain and anxiety 1, and that it can be used safely in dogs 2.  Again more research is needed in cats.  How do you give your kitty CBD? While you can give them CBD oil, you might be better off with CBD treats. Here’s a closer look at how safe CBD treats are, according to the research so far, and the benefits they might offer your pet.

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What Is CBD?

CBD is the acronym for cannabidiol, a compound that comes from the cannabis plant (and is, in fact, the second most active ingredient in that plant) 3. Unlike the psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), also found in the cannabis plant, CBD is non-psychoactive. Cats have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans, meaning that a small amount of THC can be toxic to cats.  This is not the case for CBD, so pets don’t experience the same toxic effects with CBD as they do with THC. CBD is most often extracted from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant.

Before purchasing anything containing CBD, make sure it’s legal in your state, as each state has different laws governing CBD.

Image Credit: CBD-Infos-com, Pixabay

How Safe Is CBD for Cats?

There haven’t been many studies done on using CBD on felines, but those that have indicate that CBD is useful in cats to control the pain of diseases such as feline chronic gingivostomatitis (FCGS) 4. When it comes to dogs, studies have indicated that CBD can aid in relieving pain for those with osteoarthritis 5. There have also been studies done for non-felines and people that indicate CBD can aid in inflammatory conditions, as well as anxiety and nausea.

The results from studies done on canines, as well as anecdotal evidence from veterinarians and cat parents, all seem to point to CBD being safe for animals, including cats . However, it has been noted that dosing for cats and dogs will be different, due to different speeds of metabolizing the drug.  For some kitties, taking CBD seemed to cause excessive licking and head shaking.  If you’re going to give CBD treats to your cat, it’s advisable to speak with your vet first about what dosage would be suitable for your pet.

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What Are the Benefits of CBD for Cats?

Man giving CBD oil to a cat
Image Credit: Lightcube, Shutterstock

Again, most reported benefits of CBD on felines are anecdotal. However, cat parents and vets have found that benefits include:

  • Easing of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Reduction of anxiety
  • Relief of arthritis pain
  • Reduction of seizures

Does CBD For Cats Have Any Side Effects?

Like all medications and supplements, CBD may have a few side effects. Luckily, most side effects do not seem to be very serious. Side effects of CBD can include:

  • Licking
  • Head shaking
  • Pacing
  • Chomping
  • Gagging
  • Drooling/foaming
  • Vomiting


How Can I Give My Cat CBD?

You can find several CBD treats on the market, mostly in the form of chews. These may be best for your kitty, especially if you’re giving your pet CBD for the first time. Speak with your vet before giving your pet any CBD treats, as they can tell you whether CBD is suitable for your kitty and what dosage you should give your cat. If your cat takes medication, they can also inform you of any possible drug interactions.

Professional handsome male vet smiling joyfully talking to his female client after examining her cat
Image Credit: Nestor Rizhniak, Shutterstock

A Word of Warning

One other thing to know about CBD is that there is barely any regulatory oversight when it comes to the CBD market for pets. What does that mean? It means there are many low-quality CBD products out there. One study found that some CBD products on the market had more CBD than advertised, while many others had little or no CBD at all. Be sure to check labels carefully when deciding which CBD treat to give your kitty!

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Final Thoughts

Cats can have CBD treats, as CBD is thought to be safe for felines and to have many benefits. CBD may help your kitty with anxiety, sleep, pain, seizures, and more. There might also be a few minor side effects, but the benefits may outweigh these. Just be careful when giving your kitty CBD, as the market for CBD products isn’t highly regulated, and always speak with your vet first about possible medicine interactions and dosage.

Featured Image Credit: Kreminska, Shutterstock

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