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CBD for Cats?

CBD for Cats?

CBD for Cats?

My family had a cat named Mariah when I was growing up, black and white, with a penchant for climbing into shoe boxes that were too small for her to fully fit inside. As she got older, she got cuddlier, and I grew even fonder of her every year. But her health declined. One night, she had a seizure in my room, and I woke up my parents, who rushed her to the vet.

Mariah lived awhile longer under my parents’ care. They put her on a special diet and gave her medicine to lessen the effects of the seizure disorder. She had a happy life with a loving, peaceful end.

Seeing marijuana legalization in the news these days has me thinking back to Mariah and her seizures. With more information coming out about the medical uses of hemp and marijuana, I’m probably not the only animal lover wondering about the possibilities and ethics of hemp for end-of-life and other veterinary care. So, I decided to gather the facts about the controversial plant and ask my Dr. Catsby family what you think.

What’s CBD?

CBD is cannabidiol, a compound that can be derived from hemp plants for medical purposes. Although hemp is classified with marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, they’re separate plants with one key difference. While marijuana contains enough tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to be psychoactive, hemp has a minimal amount. What does that mean in plain English? Marijuana gets you high. Hemp and CBD don’t. In fact, CBD counteracts the effects of THC, getting users less stoned.

If hemp doesn’t get you high, what’s it for?

There are hundreds of uses for hemp, from clothing and personal care products to biodegradable plastics. But CBD is a medicinal compound. Many pain patients favor CBD because it treats their discomfort without the distracting effects and psychologically addictive properties of strong painkillers like opiates. Other conditions that patients treat with CBD include:

  • inflammation
  • pain
  • anxiety
  • psychosis
  • seizures
  • muscle spasms
  • digestive issues

Clinical research has been especially promising in terms of the effectiveness of CBD in treating chronic conditions (like epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder) and terminal conditions (like cancer). Of course, that research is mostly done through the lens of medical care for humans.

What do veterinarians think of CBD?

Different vets have different opinions. The prevailing opinion is probably a big shoulder shrug – the use of CBD is relatively new in mainstream, western medicine, so there isn’t much of an industry standard for its use in animal medicine yet.

But, a lot of holistic and integrative vets use CBD for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pancreatitis, arthritis, cancer, asthma, and anxiety in cats. Talk to your vet if your kitty suffers from any of these conditions and you think CBD might be a good course of treatment.

What do you think?

At Dr. Catsby, we’re invested in feline health. That’s how we got our name! And we value the opinions of the cat-lovers in our community, so we want to hear from you. Have you tried medicinal CBD for your furbaby? How did it go? What are your thoughts on CBD for cats, and what questions would you ask before you tried it? Write to me at, or tell us on Facebook!