Updated: Feb 18
Like humans, cats also have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) and therefore cannabis products including CBD can have an effect on our feline friends. For example, a cat's brain, GI tract, lungs, and muscles have one type of cannabinoid receptors called CB1, and another type called CB2 in the bones, spleen, and skin.
First of all, it's important to emphasize that CBD for cats must contain no THC at all, as this may have some ugly untoward effects on your cat.
How CBD could be feline-friendly
There are some areas of concern where CBD may be of help to your cat.
Some cats may have experienced traumatizing abandonment issues early in life which now manifest as anxiety. Certain events, whether it be the arrival of guests at your home or fireworks on Independence Day, can trigger this anxiety. Because CBD has been shown to help in reducing anxiety, may be able to assuage the nervousness and help your cat relax.
2. Pain and inflammation
We know that CBD has a beneficial effect on inflammation. Along with aging, joint degeneration and various feline diseases can cause serious pain. Anecdotally, cat owners report improvement in some pain syndromes in their cats, e.g. able to move around a lot better in spite of arthritis.
Some of the signs of dementia in cats include the following:
Avoiding social interaction
Changes in activity levels, such as excessive licking
Lack of self-grooming
House soiling and inappropriate elimination
Changes in sleep cycle or lethargy
Of course the above symptoms are very distressing for the cat's human, and can be themselves stressful to the cat themselves. But while CBD has been a hope for the treatment of dementia in animals, there have been warnings about possible dangers of CBD in demented pets--dogs, for example. Other substances have been more extensively studied and recommended.
The bottom line, again, is that studies on the use of CBD for feline dementia are lacking and not sufficient to recommend CBD definitively.
What kind of CBD oil, and what dose?
The first most important thing to bear in mind is that we can't give cats CBD in a carrier like coconut oil or other plant-derived oils, because the carnivore-based feline system cannot digest such oils. Therefore, look for CBD in sardine oil, for instance.
A recommended dose is 2-4 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of your cat's weight. So if your cat weighs 20 pounds, that would be 4 mg dose to start and titrate upwards to 8 mg for an effect.
This table is taken from Austin and Kat's website:
Whatever you choose to do for your cat using CBD, consult with your vet and dose your cat low and slow.