vet recommend cbd oil for cats

Think your pet needs CBD oil? Ask your veterinarian first

Respected pet brands have been doing a lot of studies and research to see what the safe dosing levels should be and whether it actually works.

AUSTIN, TEXAS—Just like with humans, the advertising to use CBD oil for pets is everywhere. But how do you know how much to give, or if it even works?

Respected pet brands have been doing a lot of studies and research to see what the safe dosing levels should be and whether it actually works.

Dr. Stacy Mozisek of Firehouse Animal Health Center in Austin, Texas, has been recommending CBD treats and oils for dogs and cats with mobility issues or anxiety.

For her, CBD products have been more effective for dogs with arthritis than the traditional joint supplements that have glucosamine as a beginning treatment before using a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or a prescription medication. Omega fatty acids also can be a good first step.

She likes to get blood work done on a dog or cat before starting a CBD product to get a baseline, then test again a month or two later to make sure nothing has changed. A vet also will make sure your animal doesn’t have any condition or take any other medication that would make CBD not the right choice. Certain breeds, like toy breeds or breeds that have smushy faces like pugs, also are more sensitive to CBD products.

You should not use CBD oil products that are meant for humans on your pets. Those can have ingredients that are safe for humans but are toxic for pets, like the xylitol in chewing gum. Currently in Canada, no drugs containing cannabis are approved by Health Canada for animal use. Current Canadian laws prevent vets from prescribing the substance to animals.

Mozisek says you want to use only pet-approved CBD products because they have dosing information based on the pet’s weight, which is very important. A pet cannot tell you how it makes them feel, such as whether it makes them feel too loopy or nauseated, or how much is too much.

Look for veterinary CBD products that have had third-party clinical trials.

The product Mozisek uses most is from ElleVet, which has had many clinical trials for mobility issues in dogs. It has not had as many trials for treating behaviour such as anxiety. Those trials were put on pause because of COVID-19.

Mozisek still recommends trying a CBD product before going to something like a Prozac for dogs who are anxious about going to the groomer or in storms.

She is especially excited about CBD products for cats because cats don’t tolerate non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and there aren’t a lot of other medicines for cats with arthritis.

Instead of the CBD treats that work great for dogs, she uses an oil for cats that can go onto their food or directly into their mouth, if the cat will allow it.

Mozisek says a lot of arthritis in cats gets missed because we don’t walk them, but if you notice your cat isn’t jumping around as much that might be a sign he or she is hurting.

Still, CBD treats or oil might not be the solution a pet needs, which is why it’s important to see a vet before giving these products to pets. Sometimes doing things like helping the animal lose weight can help with arthritis better than the treats or oil would. Proper training for the pet (and the human) also could improve behaviour more effectively than CBD or medication.

If you decide that CBD is the right choice, know that these products are not cheap. It’s about $100 (U.S.) a month for the dog treats and about $100 for the oil for cats, which will last one to two months.

CBD is “not a miracle drug,” Mozisek says. You shouldn’t expect that all their anxiety will go away or the arthritis will be fixed, but she has had clients who have stopped their dog’s other arthritis treatments after using CBD treats.

You won’t know if it will work on your pet until you field test it, she says.

Clarification – July 6, 2020: This article was edited from a previous version to make clear that currently in Canada no drugs containing cannabis are approved by Health Canada for animal use.

2021 Cat Lovers’ Guide to CBD

CBD has just recently exploded with popularity over the past few years, but CBD is not new at all,” says Dr. Lindsay Butzer, a Zesty Paws spokes veterinarian from Boca Raton, Florida. “CBD was extracted from the hemp plant in the 1940s and was recognized as a completely different substance than the psychoactive substance we all know as THC. That means CBD has been around for 80 years! That is a very long time. It was not until the late 1990s when the step toward legalizing marijuana in the United States began that the popularity of CBD followed right after it. Around this same time, CBD was being used in cats and dogs.”

Dr. Joseph K. Rosentel, vice president of product development and supply chain at Pet Releaf, based in Littleton, Colorado, adds “CBD for cats is a growing category and may help support a normal inflammatory response and joint discomfort,” plus also help with a variety of situations.

2021: What’s Happening

The most significant update may not be with CBD itself but with public perception. The biggest transformation over the last few years in the pet space and, specifically with cat parents, is how much more accepted CBD is, says Jon Neveloff, partner with King Kanine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Every day we are seeing more and more cat owners use CBD as part of their overall wellness program.” Jon points out that major retail chains prominently displaying CBD products for people helps build general awareness and recognition.

Another difference Dr. Angie Krause, with Boulder Holistic Vet in Boulder, Colorado, has noticed with CBD products is that “They are becoming more concentrated, and that helps kitties get a therapeutic dose with less volume of oil.”

Another development is that more veterinarians and their customers will consider CBD for pets. “The acceptance by veterinarians varies widely; I think often by region and perhaps demographics of the veterinarian and their client base,” reports Dr. Diana Drumm, medical director of The Animal Healing Center and president-elect of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. “Here in California, I regularly have clients start the conversation about CBD use for their pets. This is not only by my millennial clients, but even octogenarians who may be benefiting from CBD themselves.”

Dr. Drumm, also a Pet Releaf partner, adds, “I feel the reluctance by some veterinarians to educate themselves and in turn their clients about CBD use are mostly due to fear/ambiguity surrounding the cloudy legal landscape.”

And that legal issue is very real for veterinarians. “Veterinarians are restricted by state licensure laws,” explains Joey DiFrancesco, CEO and founder of LolaHemp in New York City. “In addition, there are issues with liability for veterinarians who would not be covered by insurance in cases where CBD products are recommended.”

Geography is clearly part of the hurdle. “Currently, only four states — California, Colorado, Michigan and Oregon — allow veterinarians to discuss CBD with pet parents,” says Jodi Ziskin, director of communications with Treatibles in Nashville, Tennessee. “We are confident this list will grow exponentially over the next few years.”

But that doesn’t mean vets can’t learn about it. “CBD is becoming more accepted by veterinarians every year,” Dr. Krause confirms. “Most veterinary conferences are instructing veterinarians on the medicinal benefits of CBD and how to use it in practice.”

CBD, THC — OMG!

“One of the things that people new to CBD for pets are often confused about is the terminology,” Joey says. “In fact, some of the terms for different CBD pet products overlap, so customers should know how to dig a little deeper into any CBD products they buy for their pets to be sure they are getting what they want.

He explains, “CBD or CBD oil is a broad term that can apply to just about any product that contains cannabidiol, one of hundreds of compounds found in hemp. CBD itself is not psychoactive, meaning it does not create the ‘high’ associated with THC, a compound found in trace amounts in hemp and much larger amounts in medicinal and recreational strains of cannabis.”

Dr. Butzer explains specific totals. “‘Hemp’ contains no more than 0.3% THC and any plant with more than 0.3% THC is considered to be ‘marijuana.’ Because even small amounts of THC can have a very negative effect, it is important to understand the composition of cannabinoid-containing products before administering them to your pet.”

More on hemp oil: “CBD hemp oil, typically extracted from the stalks, flowers and leaves of the hemp plant, is full of cannabinoids (natural compounds) that are only found in the cannabis plant family,” Dr. Rosentel explains. “CBD coming from hemp plants (and not marijuana hybrids) are extremely high in CBD and extremely low in THC.”

Hemp oil also contains properties that support cannabinoids: terpenes, antioxidants and fatty acids, Jodi says. “Full-spectrum hemp CBD oil means that all of these compounds are present in the oil. This results in the ‘entourage effect,’ which refers to a boost in the therapeutic benefits of CBD when these compounds work in unison.”

In contrast to full-spectrum oil is isolate. “CBD isolate products are made by first refining the compound CBD into a pure isolated crystalline form,” Joey says. “All of the other compounds found in hemp are stripped away. Some research has shown, and many industry experts agree, that full-spectrum oils may have better healing properties as the trace elements found in whole plant extracts seem to support each other in synergistic ways”

“An area of confusion for some pet parents is hemp seed oil,” Jodi adds. “This is oil extracted from the seed, not the plant or flowers. Hemp seeds do not contain any cannabinoids. It is often used as a carrier oil in CBD products because it is rich in omega-3 and omega6 fatty acids.”

Finally, just how does CBD work? “We humans and cats both have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is made up of cannabinoid receptors that CBD can bind to that may help regulate a variety of processes in our bodies,” Dr. Butzer says.

Special Delivery

“One of the ways that the CBD for cats market has expanded in the last few years has been the development of a range of products,” explains Joey. Most CBD for cat products fall into one of three categories: Tinctures, treats and topicals. Joey explains the distinctions:

“CBD tinctures (sold as an oil in a bottle with an eyedropper for precise dosing) for cats provide a lot of flexibility for use. They can be added to food and taken orally. They can be given directly to the cat in the mouth, which allows for faster relief and the most efficient absorption rate since it bypasses the digestive system. It can also be used topically for areas of dry skin or irritation.”

“CBD treats for cats offer convenience because each treat has a specific dose (which will vary by manufacturer). Some pet owners find the ease of giving a few treats each day to be faster and more convenient than using tinctures. They are also a great option for travel.”

“CBD topicals for cats are designed for use on the skin. They are often formulated to include other beneficial ingredients to help soothe and heal the skin.”

An additional dosing tip from Dr. Butzer, “Start with half the amount, and once you know how your pet responds to CBD then you can start to increase to the full amount. Recognize any new supplement you give your cat may impact their GI tract (soften stool).”

According to Jodi: “While all forms are equally beneficial, we do find that CBD oil administered directly into the mouth offers the fastest results for most cats because the oil absorbs into the bloodstream by capillaries in the cheek, gums and under the tongue. CBD products mixed with food enter the stomach, go through the digestion process and absorb into the bloodstream through the digestive tract. It takes a bit longer for the benefits to be experienced.” She points out that CBD is fat soluble, “So it is best taken with fat for maximum absorption.”

Jodi adds that topicals may be the best route for “super finicky cats. Gently rub into the tips of the ears. The cream absorbs quickly and can help calm a frightened or anxious kitty.”

As with many things that pertain to picky pussycats, there is no single best way — it may take some trial and error to determine what’s best for your cat.

Buyer Must Beware

While new companies in a particular space can help drive innovation, there can also be a negative side: those looking to jump on the bandwagon to make a quick buck. That’s where your due diligence comes in. Experts give some tips on what to look for and what to avoid.

“Sales of CBD pet products are skyrocketing in the United States, from $8 million in 2017 to $32 million in 2018, according to the Brightfield Group,” Dr. Rosentel says. “The firm estimates the CBD pet market could reach $1.16 billion in the United States by 2022.”

Jodi confirms: “Over the last few years, there has definitely been an influx of companies producing CBD for pets. Unfortunately, many of these bandwagon companies are offering inferior products that truly hurt all of us that are dedicated to high-quality, consistent and compliant product lines. In some states, regulators have been removing items from store shelves. The FDA is also starting to crack down on false claims (which is a good thing for consumers and legitimate CBD companies).

“The saddest part of all this is when cat parents try out these inferior ‘bandwagon’ products and desired results aren’t achieved, many decide CBD doesn’t work instead of moving on to a reputable brand. In the end, the cat is the one that suffers.”

©Artyom Kozhemyakin | Getty Images

Six for Safety

Experts for this article shared their top recommendations on what buyers should look for to get the best CBD for their cats:

  1. Make sure the product is third-party lab tested and can provide the consumer a certificate of analysis to prove that. This COA should certify the amount of CBD and THC in the product. The COA is usually shared through a QR code on the label to follow state regulations.
  2. Look for a 100% human-grade product.
  3. Was the product grown in the United States? Hemp is like any other botanical and picks up a lot from the soil in which it is grown, so non-U.S. sourced hemp may be high in heavy metals.
  4. Look for a CBD product grown without pesticides or chemicals.
  5. Confirm the product is and the hemp was organically grown and that each batch has a certificate of analysis.
  6. Look for the NASC logo. The National Animal Supplement Council has specific requirements in place for pet products containing hemp, including required labeling standards.

And, just one more thing about the product — sometimes sharing is caring and sometimes it isn’t. While you can give your cat a CBD product made for your dog (at different doses, of course), never give your cat CBD oil or hemp products made for people. “Not only can these products contain dangerous amounts of THC, they can also contain potentially deadly ingredients, such as xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is safe for people but deadly to pets,” Joey warns. “We recommend that owners work with their vet or consult with a holistic vet to make sure they give their cat CBD oil safely.”

So while your cat may prefer a tuna flavor instead of your dog’s peanut butter version, that’s subjective. CBD oils for people include flavorings such as peppermint that can be an actual health hazard to pets.

If you think CBD might help your cat, there’s no better time to make use of the vast sources of products — and research. Your cat might experience less pain, and you might be rewarded with a few extra purrs.

Paws for Relief

Here are just a few examples of CBD and Hemp products in tinctures, treats or topicals.

The Best CBD Oils for Cats (2022 Reviews)

CBD oil has fast gained a reputation for helping to relieve a number of common ailments many of us deal with on a daily basis. There’s even growing traction about using CBD oil for dogs as a means of supporting their general health and wellbeing. What’s not so talked about is using CBD oil for cats. But don’t let this lack of awareness fool you into thinking that it’s not worth looking into. Giving your fluff ball a dose of CBD oil can be hugely beneficial for them. CBD oil can assist with everything from easing their feelings of stress and anxiety to helping treat any pain or inflammation they’re experiencing.

To help you find the right CBD oil for your cat, we looked at dozens of CBD oil for cats to identify the best of the best. In our search, we considered factors like the quality of ingredients, taste, ease of use, customer ratings, and more.

After a guarantee you’re buying a high-quality CBD oil? You’ll get a detailed independent third-party lab report with each purchase of this product.

In the end, we selected CBDfx CBD Oil For Dogs and Cats as our top choice. We were impressed by the superior quality of its ingredients and the care the company put into formulating a product that cat owners can use with full confidence. To learn more about this product, as well as the 23 other CBD oils for cats we reviewed, read on.

In This Article

The 5 Top-Rated CBD Oil for Cats

Editor’s Picks Brand Rating
Best CBD Oil for Cats Overall CBDfx CBD Oil For Dogs and Cats 4.9
Best Third-Party Tested CBD Oil for Cats HolistaPet CBD Oil for Dogs & Cats 4.6
Best Organic CBD Oil for Cats RE Botanicals Hemp Tincture for Pets 4.5
Best Hemp Extract Oil for Cats Elixinol Liposome Hemp Oil for Pets 4.7
Best Vet-Approved CBD Oil For Cats Petly CBD Pet Hemp CBD Oil for Cats 5.0

*Ratings are current at the time of publication and can change

Best CBD Oil for Cats Overall: CBDfx CBD Oil For Dogs and Cats

CBDfx CBD Oil For Dogs and Cats is a 100% organically-grown full-spectrum CBD oil that’s ideal if you’re looking for a high-quality, lab-tested CBD oil. CBDfx’s CBD oils are formulated with food-grade ingredients and each purchase is independently lab tested by third-party researchers to guarantee purity. Amazingly, you’ll receive your very own copy of the report for the specific CBD oil you buy. The report includes details about the amount of each compound in your bottle of CBD oil, as well as a guarantee that it’s 100% free of unsafe heavy metals and chemicals.

Other eye-catching features of this product include the fact it’s made in the USA, cruelty-free, and solvent-free. With a 4.9 out of 5 star rating from 70+ reviews, it’s gradually gaining a strong reputation among cat parents. It’s worth keeping in mind that CBDfx CBD Oil For Dogs and Cats also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

CBDfx CBD Oil For Dogs and Cats Key Features:

  • Full-spectrum CBD
  • Made in the USA
  • Organic
  • All food-grade ingredients
  • Purity tested in an independent lab

Best Third-Party Tested CBD Oil for Cats: HolistaPet CBD Oil for Dogs & Cats

A pure CO2 extracted full-spectrum CBD oil for your cat that has been carefully crafted with 100% natural ingredients.

If you’re looking for a high-quality, highly-reviewed CBD oil for cats that’s even been lab tested for purity, HolistaPet CBD Oil for Dogs & Cats is it. This CO2 extracted full-spectrum CBD oil is formulated with 100% natural and organic ingredients that are free from GMOs, gluten, and dairy. This means that you can buy it with the peace of mind that you’re giving your cat the highest-quality CBD for cats around, without the standard unwanted ‘extras’. Did we mention it’s vegan too?

One of the features we love most is just how easy it is to use. Thanks to the well-designed dropper bottle, you just need to drop it directly into your feline’s mouth or into their food or water. While there are a total of 5 dosage sizes available to buy, opt for the smallest dosage size for your cat; 150mg of CBD. As you may have already noticed from the product’s name, it’s also suitable for dogs to consume. So if you’re a dog parent as well, you may wish to treat your pooch to a bottle too!

Given all of its features, it’s hardly surprising that more than 160 customers have given this product a mind-boggling 4.9 out of 5-star rating. It’s also notable that HolistaPet offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. So considering all of the above and this guarantee, there’s really nothing stopping you from giving it a whirl!

HolistaPet CBD Oil for Dogs & Cats Key Features:

  • 100% natural and organic ingredients
  • Lab-tested for purity
  • Free of GMOs, gluten, and dairy
  • THC free
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Best Organic CBD Oil for Cats: RE Botanicals Hemp Tincture for Pets

Formulated with U.S. grown, USDA certified organic hemp, this high quality tincture is one of the best on the market, regardless of its attractive price.

RE Botanicals Hemp Tincture for Pets is one of the few certified organic CBD oils for cats available. In fact, we were genuinely surprised when we spotted its very reasonable price after reading through its impressive reviews.

Each 1 oz. bottle contains 300mg of full spectrum CBD as well as certified organic virgin coconut (MCT) oil to support the health of your cat’s coat and skin. This product stands out for many reasons, not least because the formula is fertilizer, preservatives, artificial flavors, color and GMO-free.

The only downside we found was the fact that the product has relatively few reviews. However, given how well made this product is as well as the positive reputation RE Botanicals has as a company, we don’t believe this should deter you.

RE Botanicals Hemp Tincture for Pets Key Features:

  • 300mg of full spectrum CBD per bottle
  • Non-GMO and free of preservatives, artificial flavors, colors and pestisides
  • 1% of RE Botanicals sales are donated to regenerative agriculture and helping farmers create healthier soils
  • 100% USA grown, USDA certified organic hemp
  • Contains certified organic MCT oil

Best Hemp Extract Oil for Cats: Zatural Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract for Cats

After an expertly-formulated hemp extract oil for your cat? This full-spectrum hemp oil is an excellent choice.

Zatural Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract for Cats is our top choice for anyone looking for cat-friendly hemp extract oil for a range of reasons. Each bottle of full-spectrum hemp oil contains 75mg of broad spectrum hemp extract oil. The only other ingredient is organically grown cannabis sativa hemp seed oil.

For those concerned about the origins of the products they give their kitties, you’ll be happy to learn that Zatural Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract for Cats is bottled in the USA and the ingredients are freshly sourced by Colorado farmers. If that wasn’t already enough to instill your confidence in this option, the plants are grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides.

Zatural Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract for Cats Key Features:

  • Contains 75mg of broad spectrum hemp extract oil
  • Limited ingredient formula
  • Ingredients are freshly sourced by Colorado farmers.
  • Bottled in the USA

Best Vet-Approved CBD Oil For Cats: Petly CBD Pet Hemp CBD Oil for Cats

Want to buy a CBD oil for your kitty that has the tick of approval from vets? This third-party tested product is it.

Use discount code PL20 to get 20% off your purchase!

Selecting a CBD oil for your cat can be a bit of a daunting process if you’re new to the world of CBD oils. That’s why it may be helpful to select a product that already has the tick of approval from vets. We believe that Petly CBD Pet Hemp CBD Oil for Cats is the best vet-approved CBD oil for cats that money can buy.

It contains 125mg of 100% organically grown broad-spectrum CBD. The formula also boasts human-grade MCT coconut oil to provide an additional layer of support for your feline’s health. Other eye-catching features include the fact that it is free from GMOs and gluten, as well as additives and preservatives. You can probably hazard a guess that it’s completely free of THC as well!

Petly CBD Pet Hemp CBD Oil for Cats Key Features:

  • Contains 125mg of broad-spectrum CBD
  • Organically grown
  • Third-party tested
  • Human-grade MCT coconut oil
  • Non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free

Who Should Buy CBD Oil for Cats

If your cat is dealing with one or more health problems, there’s a good chance that CBD oil may be able to help. CBD oil can help cats with anxiety, stress, loss of appetite, joint pain, chronic pain, and arthritis. So if your cat is suffering from any of these problems, you should seriously consider buying CBD oil for cats.

If you’re unsure whether your cat could benefit from taking it, don’t hesitate to consult your vet first. They will be able to provide you with specific advice about whether CBD oil is right for your cat.

After a guarantee you’re buying a high-quality CBD oil? You’ll get a detailed independent third-party lab report with each purchase of this product.

Important Features to Consider

CBD oil for cats should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a CBD oil for your feline:

  • Quality of ingredients. Just as you would do when shopping for new cat food, make sure to take a good look at the ingredients list for each bottle of CBD oil you’re considering buying for your cat. While you can be confident that reputable, well-reviewed brands will use high-quality ingredients, unfortunately, there are some brands out there that will try to cut corners. As a general rule of thumb, the less ingredients a product has, the better. Be extra mindful to research products with more than a handful of ingredients as these products are more likely to be filled with harmful additives.
  • Different flavors. One of the key differentiating features between CBD oils for cats are the flavors they come in (or lack thereof). There is a bountiful variety of flavors on the market to choose from. There are also some excellent flavorless options if that’s more your cat’s taste.
  • Organic. If buying organic goods is important to you, you’ll be happy to learn that there are many organic options to choose from. Companies selling organic CBD oil for cats will state this attribute clearly in their product descriptions, so you’ll have no trouble determining which products are and aren’t organic.
  • Free of THC. As we also touch on below, it’s crucial to select a CBD oil for cats that does not contain THC. The reason you should steer clear of giving THC to cats is that it has the potential to make them extremely sick. CBD oils for cats will generally not contain THC anyway, but it pays to double-check the ingredients list for yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is CBD oil used for in cats?

CBD oils has no shortage of use cases for cats. For starters, CBD oil can help reduce your cat’s feelings of anxiety and stress. It can also help to stimulate their appetite if they’ve lost it for whatever reason. Yet another handy use of CBD oil for cats is providing some relief for chronic and joint pain, as well as arthritis symptoms.

Can you give human CBD oil to cats?

Technically, it’s fine to give certain kinds of human CBD oil to cats, but in our opinion, it’s simply not worth the possible risks and trouble associated with doing so. A high-quality human CBD that has a cat-friendly concentration shouldn’t present any issues for your cat if the correct dosage is also administered. However, given that it’s safer, easier, and more convenient to buy a CBD oil that’s specifically made for cats, we recommend doing this instead.

How can I get my cat to take CBD oil?

Getting your cat to take CBD oil isn’t usually too difficult. You can either drop it directly in their mouth using a dropper or add it to their food or water. If you’re struggling to get your cat to take to CBD oil, buy a CBD oil in a flavor you know they’ll love. You can also add it to their favorite cat treats. You can even try dropping the CBD oil on their paws in the hope they’ll lick it up during a grooming session. But this might prove to be difficult given that they’ll need to lick it off soon after you add it to their paws.

Can CBD oil kill a cat?

CBD oil is very safe for cats to consume and will not kill them. However, it is vital that you give them the correct dosage. To help work this out, we recommend using Holista Pet’s oil dosage calculator for cats. It’s also important to ensure the CBD oil you buy is 100% free from THC, which is basically the compound in cannabis that makes you ‘high’. Products with THC can be very dangerous to your cat, so be sure to avoid giving them to your puss altogether.

Monica is a freelance writer and digital marketer with a soft spot for all fluffy creatures, especially her ragdoll cat. She’s written 100+ articles about animal care, ranging from how to train puppies to the healthiest pet snacks on the market. She has extensive experience cat sitting, having taken care of eleven gorgeous cats just in 2019!