Humans can use CBD to combat all manner of medical conditions, from everyday aches and pains to severe epilepsy. Dogs, too, have specially made CBD products to help calm their anxiety and address other health concerns. But, what if you have another furry friend in your home whom you suspect would benefit from a regular CBD dosage – can your cat take CBD, too?

CBD most likely interacts with the body through the endocannabinoid system, a system present in all animals that plays several critical roles, especially in the experiences of stress and pain as well as in maintaining internal balance. Thus, cats likely can experience the benefits of CBD, but because they are much smaller than dogs – and much, much smaller than people – you need to be careful with which products you use and how large of a dosage you offer. Here’s a guide to everything CBD and cats, so your feline can feel fine:

Understanding Feline CBD Benefits

Cannabis has just barely been legalized in a handful of places in the U.S., which means we are only just beginning to get initial research on how cannabinoids like CBD might affect humans. Suffice it to say that we won’t have any long-term studies on the effects of CBD on cats for quite some time.

Still, based on the information we have about CBD and people – and the knowledge that cats have endocannabinoid systems that function similarly to humans’ – we can make educated guesses about how cats can benefit from some CBD consumption. Plus, there is plenty of positive anecdotal evidence from cat owners who have given CBD to their felines.

If your cat suffers from any of the following, you might consider integrating CBD into their treatment plan:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Seizures
  • Loss of energy
  • Allergies

If your cat is already on medications for any health concerns, you should talk to your veterinarian about the possibility of introducing CBD before you start dosing at home. Then, you can be certain that CBD won’t interfere with your pet’s existing treatment strategy.

Calculating Cat-appropriate CBD Dosage

There are three factors that you need to consider when calculating the right CBD dosage for your feline: your cat’s size, the concentration of your CBD product and the effects you desire to elicit in your pet. Larger cats can tolerate higher doses of CBD, which means you can use stronger products; if your cat is experiencing a serious health condition, like cancer treatment that is causing a number of negative symptoms, you might want to offer higher doses of CBD to ensure sufficient impact. Conversely, if you have a small cat with minor issues, you might invest in a low-dose CBD product and only give your feline CBD occasionally.

You can start by giving your cat 2 to 4 milligrams of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight. You can increase or decrease this amount based on how your cat reacts. On your CBD oil or tincture packaging, you should be able to find a concentration, which is a ratio of CBD per 1 milliliter of product. If you are struggling to find this information, you can ask a budtender at a DC dispensary to teach you about CBD product labels.

Slipping CBD Into Your Cat’s Diet

Unlike other pet medications, CBD doesn’t require you to pry open your cat’s mouth and administer a specific number of drops directly. If your cat always resists these kinds of interactions, you can mix the right dosage of CBD into your cat’s food. Though some pet owners and CBD users believe that CBD is best absorbed on an empty (or not-full) stomach, reducing the stress of administration as much as possible will also help the CBD to do its magic.

There are some cat-specific CBD products, like treats and sprays, available online and in pet stores, but we recommend against using these. Because the CBD market is unregulated, it is likely that many of these products contain little to no CBD, and they might also harbor toxins like butane, formaldehyde and heavy metals that could worsen your cat’s health. You should stick with high-quality CBD supplements available at cannabis dispensaries or from CBD stores.

You love your cat just as much as any dog-owner loves their pooch, so if you can do something to relieve their pain and stress, you should. It doesn’t hurt to offer low doses of CBD to your cat; if you are doing so smartly and safely, the worst that could happen is no change.