Pet parents looking for more information on CBD oil dosages for cats will likely notice that recommendations vary. Different sites and manufacturers will have their own CBD oil dosing charts, and there's little consistency across sources.
Why are things this way?
In the US, inconsistent dosages for CBD in cats (and pets in general) relate to a lack of information. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved CBD to treat any specific conditions in pets, so no official specific dose guidelines exist.
High-quality sources of pet health information like veterinary associations, colleges, and veterinarians themselves, may stay quiet on CBD as a result.
Still, CBD oil for pets is increasingly popular and available. Cat owners interested in trying CBD can read on to learn how to interpret CBD dosages for cats, dose frequency, potential side effects, and other valuable topics.
What Is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally-occurring compound found in the hemp and cannabis plants. In contrast to its chemical cousin THC, CBD is not psychoactive (i.e., it does not produce a high).
CBD is most concentrated in the flowers and leaves of hemp plants, and "full-spectrum" or "broad-spectrum" CBD oils come from these sources. Chemists can also make CBD synthetically in a laboratory.
Cat Behavior & Cannabidiol
Your pet's underlying health status is crucial for deciding whether CBD is appropriate for them. Understanding your cat's behavior is key to recognizing signs of stress or illness.
Signs your kitty may not be feeling their best include:
- Increased hiding
- Poor appetite
- Unkempt fur
- Excessive grooming with thin or bald spots
- Increased conflict with other cats in the household
- Bathroom accidents outside the litter box
- Reduced jumping or playing
While these signs don't indicate a specific disease, they signal that your cat needs a professional's attention. Visits with your veterinarian can detect problems early, helping your cat feel better more quickly and reducing long-term costs. Routine care like vaccines, dental cleanings, spaying, and neutering all help to set your cat up for a long, healthy life.
CBD Oil Dosage for Cats
Unfortunately, scientific research is still catching up to CBD's rapid rise in popularity. A lack of comprehensive research studies on CBD for cats means that no official dose guidelines are available.
Still, pet owners can look to quality CBD manufacturers for some general advice. For example, Lolahemp's Regular Strength Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil recommends giving two drops (1 mg) twice daily to pets weighing 10 pounds or less.
Most cats weigh around 10 pounds, so this dose is a good place to start if you're interested in trying CBD.
Some cat breeds, like Maine Coons, weigh more on average, but that doesn't necessarily mean they should take more CBD. Some cats are naturally petite and weigh less than 10 pounds. Others may be naturally sensitive to CBD regardless of weight.
It's best to start with a low CBD dose for cats regardless of their size. That way, any changes will be gradual and you and your veterinarian can monitor the side effects. You can then gradually increase the dose as needed.
Remember: discuss CBD with your veterinarian before trying a new product! Your pet's age, weight, and other health conditions can affect whether CBD is appropriate for them. CBD is not a replacement for prescription medications or medical care for your pet.
CBD Dose Strengths for Cats
When comparing CBD products, it's critical to recognize that not all CBD oils are created equal. The amount of CBD in each drop can vary wildly depending on the product.
To ensure your cat receives the desired amount of CBD, read the manufacturer's information closely. You can use the listed concentration of CBD (mg/mL) to calculate the amount of CBD in each drop.
One drop has a volume of about 0.05 milliliter (mL), so there are about 20 drops in 1 mL.
You'll also want to look for proof of third-party laboratory testing when comparing CBD products for cats. Without these tests, there is no way to know whether the product really contains mg of CBD listed on the label.
Other CBD Formulations for Cats
Let's explore some other cannabidiol formulations aside from CBD oil that you might find on the market.
1. CBD Soft Chews and Treats
Achieving a specific CBD dose is more challenging for other products like treats, capsules, and topicals. The amount of CBD absorbed from a treat could depend on whether your cat has eaten recently, for example (1). There is less research on how cats metabolize CBD compared to dogs, so we won't know for sure until more studies are available.
Similar to CBD oil, it's safest to start with a low dose of capsules, chews, or treats and work up to the desired effect.
Check the calorie count on CBD chews and treats as well! An adult, neutered 10-pound cat only needs around 250 calories per day. So, if your kitty has worked up to more than one or two daily, consider switching to another dosage form.
2. CBD Topicals
Fortunately, the total CBD dose your cat receives is less pressing with topical products like creams and balms. Little of the CBD used on the skin reaches the bloodstream in people; it stays wherever it is applied (2). Changing how often you use the topical product is the primary way to change the dose.
If you're interested in trying topical CBD for your cat, it's best to message your veterinarian about your concerns. Skin problems, including areas on the nose, eye folds, ears, or paws, can be symptoms of a more significant problem.
Some skin conditions in cats are even contagious to people, so don't hesitate to reach out! Your vet can diagnose your cat's skin issue, provide prescription medications, and help you decide whether topical CBD is appropriate.
CBD Side Effects in Cats
Similar to dose guidelines, comprehensive information about CBD's potential side effects is unavailable. The modest amount of veterinary research on CBD has been almost entirely focused on dogs!
You may think, "doesn't what we know about dogs apply to cats?" Not quite.
Cats have a unique metabolism and may respond to compounds like CBD differently than dogs (3). While safety guidelines for CBD in cats are far from comprehensive, a few research studies have been performed. In these short-term studies, healthy cats seemed to tolerate CBD well, with mild and rare side effects (4).
Of these side effects, drooling and vomiting were the most common. Some cats may also excessively lick themselves or shake their heads after being given CBD oil.
Cats may also dislike the product's carrier oil. Hemp extracts used to make CBD oil tend to be mixed with a carrier, like MCT oil, to adjust the dose strength. Switching to a product with a different carrier oil could improve your pet's response to CBD.
Still, if your cat shows any of these signs, stop their CBD oil regimen and consult your veterinarian.
Your Course of Action
With CBD oil products for pets becoming more popular, cat owners are interested in learning more. Unfortunately, there are no official dosage guidelines for CBD in cats, and formulas and concentrations vary widely between manufacturers.
Still, recognizing the signs of a high-quality CBD product can help interested cat owners. Third-party tested products contain the same amount of CBD listed on the label. In contrast, untested products could have much more or less than what's listed!
Check your CBD oil manufacturer's website for dosage guidelines on their product. These details can provide a place to start for your cat.
Remember, it's best to start at a lower dose and gradually increase it if needed. Monitor for side effects, and consult your veterinarian before trying a new CBD product or dose. Keeping in touch with your vet is the best way to make CBD a safe addition to your cat's wellness plan.