Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on December 27, 2022

In recent years, cannabis-derived products, as well as hemp-derived ones, have become increasingly popular – be it for their therapeutic potential or for recreation’s sake. By now, it’s no news that the benefits of CBD, in particular, are manifold. Consequently, in 2015 the FDA lessened certain regulatory constraints regarding CBD research, and the production of CBD products seems to have ramped up, with the CBD market being projected to reach $123.2 billion by 2027.

So, it should come as no surprise that there are a plethora of CBD products on the market that pet owners can administer to their furry friends as well. But, since you’re already here, you probably have a particular friend in mind, and if that friend’s your cat, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explain everything CBD-related a cat owner would like to know: CBD pet products, the benefits and effects of CBD in cats, and whether CBD products can help with your cat’s anxiety. But, first things first.

How Do CBD Products Work?

CBD stands for cannabidiol and it’s one of the many constituents of marijuana, and hemp, the same-species cousin of marijuana. CBD by itself does not cause a “high” – that’s the role of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Unlike THC, CBD also doesn’t bind to CB1 (cannabinoid receptor type 1) and CB2 (cannabinoid receptor type 2) in our nervous system, so it’s not precisely known how the compound interacts with our organs. That being said, since CBD is a phytocannabinoid, the sort of cannabinoids produced in the epidermis of the cannabis plant, it almost certainly has some sort of interaction with our endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The Benefits of CBD Products

Even though we don’t know the precise mechanics, we do know most of the calming effects and benefits that cannabidiol has. Without going into too much detail, it relieves anxiety and pain, it helps with acne, and it has certain neuroprotective properties, but most important of all – it’s been approved as a treatment for certain severe forms of childhood epilepsy syndromes. So, to say that it’s helpful would probably be an understatement; the untapped potential and the yet-to-be-done research notwithstanding.

But, Is CBD Safe for Cats?

Just like every other mammal, cats also have a fully-fledged endocannabinoid system, so it’s only natural that CBD will affect them in some way. Although there are some side effects that we’ll talk about later on, the impact on your cat’s wellness ought not to be ignored. Accordingly, CBD has been used to help cats with the following problems:

  • Diabetes;
  • Hypothyroidism;
  • Cancer;
  • Inflammatory bowel disease;
  • Decreased appetite;
  • Certain cardiovascular issues;
  • Seizures;
  • And, today’s topic – anxiety.

Types of CBD Products for Cats

As there are many CBD products on the market produced for humans, and due to the aforementioned fact that the ECS is very similar, it wouldn’t be wrong to give your cat any of these products as long as it’s the right CBD dosage. Products that are readily available include CBD capsules, CBD tinctures or oils, CBD suppositories, and even CBD cat treats or edibles. You could also look for CBD for pets if you’d like to go the extra mile, but this is up to you and you shouldn’t have a very different outcome by giving your cat either.

Before we continue, do note that you should never give your feline CBD products that may contain THC.

Our Go-to: CBD Oil for Cats

That said, we thought it’d be useful if we shared our prime pick that helps with cats’ anxiety – CBD oil. CBD oils come in many flavors and derivatives, such as coconut oil, hemp oil, or fish oil. There are many upsides to administering CBD to your cat this way as opposed to the alternatives. 

The first and probably most important one would be that you won’t struggle with dosing (which is by far the most crucial thing to keep in mind; more on that later) as nearly all of them utilize a convenient dropper which makes things relatively easy.

Another alleviating circumstance is the fact that you can simply add the oil to your cat’s food, while some of the CBD treats, as well as the other options, may have peculiar tastes that your pet won’t like. If your pet’s anxiety, for example, ends up improving, you could also try exploring different tastes in order to find the best CBD oil for your cat.

How to Give My Cat CBD Oil

As we pointed out, CBD oil comes with a bespoke dropper, making it very easy to determine the right dosage based on your cat’s body weight. When it comes to actually giving your cat CBD oil, though, there’s a couple of options.

  • The first method you’ve probably already thought of is administering the oil directly into your cat’s mouth. Although, this does come with its own host of issues; if your cat’s already anxious, it might be reluctant to partake and will show resistance. It’s pretty self-explanatory as to how it may prove troublesome. But, the upside is that you’ll be able to make sure that the cat consumes the whole dose, and when administered to the gums, the absorption will be ideal.
  • The other way to go about it would be to include the CBD dosage in your cat’s food or drinking water. The crux of the matter in this situation would be if your cat doesn’t consume the whole bowl, leaving some of the diluted oil in the leftovers. Although, as we already mentioned, this is probably the “path of least resistance” and makes for the most convenient choice. A small tip would be to give your cat minute rations when combining the oil with water or food so you can be sure that it’ll eat/drink it all.

CBD Dosage for Cats: How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Cat?

First and foremost, in order to determine the right dosage of CBD for cats, you should always consult your veterinarian. After all, they would know any and all underlying medical conditions of your cat and would advise you best regarding the dosing and whether you should give CBD oil to your cat at all. CBD intake may also inhibit the effects of certain medication, so make sure to be on the look-out for that as well, especially if your cat has other health issues.

If you do get the vet’s green light but are still uncertain about the amount of CBD oil you should give your cat, the second step would be to check the instructions on the pet CBD oil you’re using. Almost all of the oils out there have their concentrations listed in mg of CBD as well as the proper dosings according to your pet’s body weight.

As a general rule of thumb, and strictly for reference (and in cases where you decide to give your cat regular CBD oil), the usual proportions are the following:

  • For cats weighing 7-9 pounds: 1 to 2 mg.
  • For cats weighing 10-16 pounds: 2.5 to 3.5 mg.
  • For cats over 16 pounds: 4 to 4.5 mg.

All of the numbers above are starting dosages; 

You should always start small and monitor your pet’s reactions;
Avoid giving your cat oil that might contain THC in any concentration.

Potential CBD Side Effects on Cats

In general, there rarely are any notable side effects, but we can’t say that they’re not known to happen. The frequency and intensity of the side effects can depend on a multitude of factors with the most significant one being dosage. The most common ones include excessive licking and head shaking – both relatively harmless – while pacing, vomiting, and chewing can occur but are much more unusual. Certain outliers include salivating, drooling, or foaming, as well as grimacing and jumping, but these occur in less than 1% of cases.

All in all, the cat will rarely experience any abnormalities or negative changes in behavior, while their physical well-being will be unmarred.

To Summarize

So, to answer (y)our initial question – “can I give my cat CBD for anxiety?” The answer would definitely be yes as the side effects seem to be few and far between, while the potential upside, other than helping with anxiety, includes many health benefits and improvements to your feline friend’s general well-being. That brings us to the conclusion that CBD oil and other CBD-based products are safe for cats. 

Plainly put, CBD works, and if you have the opportunity to better your pet’s quality of life, don’t hesitate to seize it. After all, they’re basically your family members and should be treated as such.

Additional Sources

Deabold A. K, Schwark S. W, Wolf S, Wakshlag J. J. Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats. Animals (Basel). 2019 Oct; 9(10): 832. Published 2019 Oct 19. doi: 10.3390/ani9100832

Silver J. R. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals (Basel). 2019 Sep; 9(9): 686. Published 2019 Sep 16. doi: 10.3390/ani9090686

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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