Brits love their pets. They collectively spend over £180m a month on their furry friends, with those between the age of 25 and 34 shelling out £1,498 a year to keep their pets happy. For most cat owners, that cute little animal might as well be your child: you have to potty train them when they are little, you make sure they are well fed and watered every day and you make sure they are healthy. Since you spend most of your free time with your cat, any physical, mental or behavioural issues they may be experiencing will be very apparent to you.
While there are plenty of tried and tested pharmaceuticals that have been proven to work against feline medical conditions, some cat and dog owners in the UK have started looking for more natural, holistic alternatives to help ease their cats’ pain. Not only are we more aware of the adverse effects pharmaceuticals can have on the body, but plenty of them have become insanely expensive as “Big Pharma” chases even bigger bottom lines. It’s a movement that prizes naturally sourced alternatives to pharmaceuticals for both humans and their pets, and that’s where CBD oil for cats comes in.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD or cannabidiol is a chemical compound that has gained immense popularity in the UK due to its purported medical benefits. Most of the CBD oil in the UK market is extracted from hemp, a variety of the Cannabis Sativa species that produces reduced levels of THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). This is the main psychoactive agent in cannabis and it is responsible for its distinctive “high”. For CBD oil to be legal, it has to contain less than 0.2% THC, and since CBD is not psychoactive, both you and your pet won’t feel intoxicated once a dose of CBD is administered.
But is CBD safe for cats? Yes, it is, mainly depending on the dosage and how it is administered. CBD in oil, tincture, or capsule form is generally harmless in small doses, but the whole cannabis plant isn’t. The plant is quite toxic to cats and in rare instances can even lead to death. A cat that has ingested dried cannabis, an edible infused with cannabis, or nibbled on the leaves of a growing cannabis plant may experience;
- Uncoordinated movements and falling over
- Depression, sometimes alternating with anxiety or agitation
- Seizures and in some cases coma
- Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
If your cat displays any of these symptoms, take the little guy or girll to the vet as soon as possible.
How Does CBD Oil For Cats Work?
In humans, CBD has been reported to alleviate a plethora of conditions including chronic pain, stress, anxiety and depression, insomnia, general inflammation, and cancer-related symptoms like nausea and vomiting as well as killing cancer cells. To bring forth these effects, CBD oil interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system respectively. The ECS plays a major role in regulating functions like sleep, mood, appetite, memory, immune activity, and pain sensation that contribute to the internal balance or ‘homeostasis’ of the body.
As far as we know, the endocannabinoid system works more or less the same in all mammals; the CBD mimics the endocannabinoids naturally produced by the body and binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors to give rise to a variety of effects. And as long as you purchase high-quality CBD oil that has less than 0.2% THC, you won’t have to worry about your cat suffering from THC poisoning. So now that we know how CBD oil for cats works, let’s discuss some of the conditions CBD can treat in cats.
GI issues in cats, such as inflammatory bowel disease, are caused by inflammation. CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory, making it an effective treatment against GI problems. The best CBD oil for cats will reduce both swelling and pain within the gastrointestinal tract, restoring your cat’s digestive system to balance and easing any discomfort it had before.
Pain and Inflammation
CBD oil is a known anti-inflammatory, making it quite an effective treatment against pain and inflammation disorders. In cats, the hemp extract works by blocking the vanilloid receptor which regulates pain, causing the receptor to cease sending pain signals throughout the body. Cats, especially the older ones, are known to get arthritis, a condition that causes chronic inflammation and pain in the joints.
Unfortunately, cats are pretty good at hiding their pain, and you may only discover it when it gets really bad. In this case, you may notice symptoms like;
- Decreased activity
- Weight loss
- Sleeping more than usual
- Lameness or stiffness in the affected joint or limb
- Growling or whining when being petted or picked up
- Struggling to find a comfortable position to sleep in
Although arthritis has no cure, CBD oil for cats can be especially helpful in minimising the pain your cat feels and improving its quality of life. Don’t start giving your cat a bunch of CBD oil for pain, though. Talk to your vet first: even though they aren’t legally allowed to prescribe CBD, you can get pertinent information, especially if your cat is on other medication.
Like humans, some cats suffer from seizures as well. A CBD based drug called epidiolex has been approved to treat pediatric seizure disorders in humans. Note that CBD oil doesn’t actually cure seizures in either people or cats; it reduces the number of seizures an epileptic human or cat experiences. Seizure medications for cats may result in side effects like impaired coordination, sedation, lethargy, and restlessness as well as longer-term effects like an increase in thirst, urine volume, and appetite, making CBD oil for cats seizures a wonderful alternative.
Anxiety and Depression
Most mental disorders in cats are caused by hormone imbalances in the brain, and CBD oil for cats for anxiety works by rebalancing these hormones. CBD oil eases anxiety and depression by stimulating the adenosine and serotonin receptors in the brain. It also boosts active levels of Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the brain, leading to reduced anxiety.
Unless in self-defense, chronic aggression is usually a sign of pain, fear, or anxiety. Your cat may also be feeling territorial or is trying to assert itself against your authority. If that’s the case, CBD oil for cats may not work for you. But if the little fella is being uncharacteristically aggressive due to chronic pain, fear, or anxiety, CBD oil for cats aggression will work like a charm. By reducing the amount of anxiety, or pain your cat is in, CBD oil will allow it to calm down and relax.
Although preliminary research shows that CBD can kill cancer cells, even the best CBD oils for cats with cancer won’t cure your little friend. However, cannabidiol is quite effective against the pain-related symptoms and side effects of cancer and cancer treatment, and it can help your cat stay comfortable as it undergoes medical treatment. However, the treatment for cats with cancer may result in side effects like dizziness, nausea, muscle soreness, and cognitive stress. In this case, CBD for cats will;
- Soothe the aching bones
- Reduce inflammation
- Relieve gastrointestinal issues
- Reduce stress and anxiety levels
- Reduce nausea and vomiting
CBD Oil Dosage for Cats
Take extra or special care when dosing CBD oil for cats. Whether you’re using tinctures, capsules or CBD cat treats, dosing will determine how well your cat reacts to the CBD. Experts usually recommend starting from a low dose and slowly working your way up depending on your cat’s condition. For instance, the initial CBD oil for cats’ anxiety dosage would be 0.045 mg per 0.5kg of your cat’s weight. You can gradually increase the dosage up to 0.2mg per 0.5kg, only stopping when you notice your cat’s condition improve.
Whether you’re buying the best CBD oil for cats Amazon or what local shops have to offer, make sure it is of high quality. Read the certificate of analysis to get an honest and accurate breakdown of the CBD oil and any contaminants as well as CBD oil for cat reviews to see how other pet owners fared. Before you even start your cat with a small dose, talk to a veterinarian. They may not be allowed to prescribe CBD but they can assess how safe it is to give your cat CBD based on its condition and any other medication it is on.
Have you tried using CBD oil for cats? How did it turn out? We’d love to know down in the comments.