The CBD market is constantly growing, and new CBD brands and products are emerging every day. Plus, according to FDA research, many CBD products feature incorrect, misleading, incomplete labels and claims.
With so many choices and irregularities, finding the best CBD oil for your cat can be challenging. To make things easier, in this article, we will review the top 5 CBD brands for 2021. We will also discuss some popular cat CBD oil topics and answer popular questions.
Top 5 CBD Oil for Cats 2021 at a Glance
- Honest Paws – Best CBD Oil for Cats
- cbdMD – Best Value
- NuLeaf Naturals – Best Potency
- Petly CBD – Most Options
- Joy Organics – Best Natural Ingredients
How Did We Compile This List?
Third-Party Lab Testing: A reputable brand will have its CBD supplements tested by a third-party lab. The third-party lab test results are presented in a document called Certificate of Analysis (COA). The COA will show a full breakdown of the product’s chemical breakdown – types and amount of cannabinoids. It will also confirm the CBD product is free from contaminants such as heavy metals, additives, contaminants, and microbes.
Hemp Source: The ideal CBD oil must be made from organic hemp. This is because commercially grown hemp is heavily treated with pesticides and can draw contaminants from the soil. Organic farming practices will ensure a high-quality product. For maximum purity, CBD oil needs to be derived using the CO2 extraction method.
Types of Extracts: It is important to differentiate between hemp oil and hemp seed oil. Hemp oil or hemp CBD oil is a whole plant extract made from the leaves, flowers, and stalks and is rich in different cannabinoids. On the other hand, hemp seed oil is extracted solely from hemp seeds. Hemp seed oil is an excellent source of omega fatty acids, but it does not contain cannabinoids.
Isolate: CBD isolates are oil formulas that contain only one cannabinoid – cannabidiol. CBD isolates are health-boosting but not as efficient as full and broad-spectrum formulas.
Full Spectrum: The right CBD for your cat is full-spectrum CBD oil because it contains a more versatile cannabinoid profile than broad-spectrum CBD oil. Full-spectrum hemp also includes additional compounds like terpenes and flavonoids, which act synergistically and boost the CBD’s effects.
Brand Transparency: The first sign indicating the brand’s transparency is the COA availability on the official website. Additionally, a transparent brand shares reviews and success stories from satisfied pet owners. Finally, a transparent brand confident in the quality of its CBD supplements will have a money-back guarantee policy.
Made in the USA and Organic: It is not just the hemp origin that matters – all ingredients must be natural and organic, and the CBD oil sourced and manufactured in the USA. A high-quality oil must be non-GMO and free of allergens and filler ingredients like corn, soy, dairy, gluten, and wheat. It must also be free from artificial additives, colors, and preservatives.
Top 5 Best CBD Oil for Cats Brand Reviews
Summary: Honest Paws is the number 1 pet CBD brand in the USA. Its superior CBD formula is both vet and pet owners-approved. Each Honest Paws CBD product is a 100% all-natural piece of perfection.
With all criteria considered, the Honest Paws CBD oil is the best option for cats of all ages and sizes. Plus, it is extremely palatable and easy to use – one full dropper a day will keep your cat happy and healthy.
- Organic full-spectrum CBD oil and calm soft chews
- Cat-friendly taste
- Certificate of analysis available
- One-time order or subscription option
- Only one potency available
- Occasional low stock
Review: We like the different CBD supplements for cats and that they fit the tough cat palatability criteria. We dislike there are not different potencies available and the low stock due to high demand. Honest Paws is our top choice as the best CBD oil for cats.
Summary: cbdMD was envisioned by Martin Sumichrast and Scott Coffman from North Carolina and based on the premise that “anxious pets create anxious households.” The brand offers only thoroughly researched and tested products.
The cbdMD oil is made of top-notch ingredients carefully selected after thoroughly researching its effects. For straightforward application, the dropper is clearly marked. cbdMD offers the best CBD oil for cat owners on a budget.
- Ethically and locally sourced organic hemp
- Third-party lab tested
- Fast and free shipping
- Available at an affordable price
- Broad-spectrum CBD formula
- Flash chromatography CBD extraction
Review: We like the local organic hemp sourcing and the budget-friendly price of CBD oil. We dislike the broad-spectrum CBD formula and the ethanol-based extraction method. cbdMD is our top choice as the best value CBD oil for cats.
Summary: Founded in 2014 by plant medicine aficionados today, NuLeaf Naturals is a pioneering hemp company. NuLeaf Naturals offers premium quality, safe and efficient CBD products for cats and humans.
NuLeaf Naturals is the perfect CBD oil choice – it is organic, full-spectrum, and with a rich selection of terpenes and flavonoids. Because of its superior potency, the NuLeaf Naturals CBD oil is best suited for larger cats needing higher CBD doses.
- Organic Colorado-grown hemp
- Rich in cannabinoids and terpenes for a full entourage effect
- Hemp seed oil for carrier
- Certificate of Analysis available
- Limited product selection
- No cat-friendly flavors
Review: We like the quality of the ingredients, the CBD oil’s potency, and the inclusion of hemp seed oil as a carrier. We dislike the lack of CBD edibles, and the high potency can make dosing hard for smaller cats. NuLeaf Naturals is our top choice as the best potency CBD oil for cats.
Summary: Two dog dads who strongly believed pets are equal family members took the pet CBD production on a whole new level and founded Petly CBD. The brand works driven by the idea that health starts from within.
Petly CBD offers a line of cat-friendly CBD products that are easy to use and add to the everyday menu. The human-grade MCT carrier and lack of GMO, filler, and allergens speak volumes about the quality of the Petly CBD cat oil.
- Made from 100% organically grown hemp
- Donates funds for pets in need
- Certificate of Analysis available
- Subscription pricing available
- Broad-spectrum formula
- No cat-friendly flavors for the oils
Review: We like the selection of CBD options, especially the salmon-flavored cat food topper. We dislike the use of broad instead of full-spectrum hemp. Petly CBD is our top choice as CBD oil with most options for cats.
Summary: The Joy Organics brand is based on three concepts – compassion, integrity, and excellence. It is one of the CBD industry’s leaders and regularly sets new standards for quality and efficacy.
Joy Organics offers two different CBD oil potencies making dosing straightforward. Plus, being completely free from THC (0.0%), it poses zero risks of overdosing. The Joy Organics CBD oil is perfect for cat owners afraid of the THC effects.
- High-quality full-spectrum CBD oil
- 100% THC-free
- All-natural ingredients
- Third-party lab tested for safety
- Non-cat-friendly olive oil taste
- Comes with a heftier price tag
Review: We like the ease of mind associated with the completely THC-free formula and the quality of the organic hemp. We dislike the olive oil taste cats are likely to find unpleasant. Joy Organics is our top choice as CBD oil with the best natural ingredients for cats.
What is CBD Oil for Cats?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a natural compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant. The cannabis plant is a term including various strains, with hemp and marijuana being the most important.
Both hemp and marijuana contain cannabinoids, but their exact cannabinoid profiles are different. Namely, the two major cannabinoids are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
CBD is a health-boosting compound with proven medicinal properties, while THC is psychoactive – it gives the popular “high” feeling and is toxic to pets.
The hemp plant cannabis variant is loaded with health-boosting CBDs and contains less than 0.3% of THC – an amount too small to cause problems. On the other hand, the marijuana variant is relatively low in CBDs and rich in psychoactive THC.
Therefore, the same as all pet CBD products, CBD oil for cats is always extracted from hemp plants. We should note that CBD supplements for humans can be made from both hemp and marijuana – that is why it is important to stick to products formulated specifically for cats and never give your pet human CBD oil.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
Yes, when used responsibly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines, hemp-derived CBD oil is perfectly safe for cats.
According to a study investigating the safety of CBD products, “hemp-based CBD appears to be relatively safe in healthy populations of dogs and cats.”
The World Health Organization confirms this and, in its report on cannabidiol, states that “CBD is generally well-tolerated, with a good safety profile.”
Similarly, in an article published on the PetMD webpage, CBD is described as “very safe for cats.”
This is because pet CBD oil is made from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), meaning it offers several health benefits without the risk of making your dog “high.”
How Does CBD Affect Cats?
The naturally occurring cannabinoids from the hemp plant affect cats by interacting with their endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system is a regulatory system present in all mammals.
The ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis – a state of balance and general health. To achieve this, the ECS regulates different vital body functions such as appetite, metabolism, sleep, immunity, inflammation, pain, mood, memory, cognition, etc.
Despite its complexity, the endocannabinoid system consists of only three components:
- Endocannabinoid – compounds synthesized within the body that bind with corresponding receptors.
- Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 – dispersed throughout the body.
- Enzymes – responsible for breaking down the endocannabinoid-receptor complexes once they have performed their task.
CBDs replace the body’s endocannabinoids and bind with the cannabinoid receptors, thus boosting and supporting the endocannabinoid system. Virtually all effects and benefits of CBD stem from its ability to work through the ECS.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Cat?
There is no predetermined CBD oil dose for cats. How much CBD you should give your cat depends on three factors – your cat’s size and weight, the CBD oil potency, and the underlying issue for using CBD.
Based on these criteria, the general guideline is that cats can receive anywhere between 1 and 5 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight per day.
Finding the right CBD amount for your cat will take some experimentation. We always recommend starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing the CBD amount as your feline friends get used to the new supplement.
When using our #1 CBD from Honest Paws, since cats are all the same weight, it is always the same dosage recommendation – 1 full dropper a day, from a 125mg potency, which translates to 4mg of CBD a day.
If you happen to give your cat too much CBD oil, rest assured your pet will be fine – cats cannot overdose on CBD oil. Worst-case scenario, your cat will be extra sleepy and sleep off the effects.
Depending on why you are using CBD, you can dose your cat once or twice per day. For example, if using CBD for general wellness once daily is enough. On the other hand, if giving CBD for anxiety management, we recommend dosing your cat twice per day.
You can also choose between a CBD tincture and CBD treats. CBD tinctures or oils are more cost-effective and kick in faster. However, they have a bitter taste and may not be easy to give to cats with sophisticated palates. They can be dropped directly into the cat’s mouth (something most cats will not allow), added to the cat’s food, mixed with tuna juice, or dropped on a porous treat.
Alternatively, you can skip the fuss and use CBD cat treats. CBD treats are much more straightforward to use as they come in cat-friendly flavors. They are practical but need more time to kick in and come in fixed doses.
Finally, the use of CBD cat treats does not exclude the use of oils and vice versa. Namely, you can use different high-quality products simultaneously – CBD oil during mealtime, and CBD cat treats when on the go.
What Health Problems Can Cat CBD Oil Treat?
CBD’s therapeutic potential is a widely researched area. However, the research is still in its early stages.
The working theory is that there are many benefits of CBD use for cats – some of these benefits are proven, others are derived from studies in humans and other animals, and some are anecdotal evidence from satisfied cat owners.
At this point, we will focus on the scientifically proven benefits of CBD. Here is a list of the health problems for which CBD oil can be helpful.
CBD Oil for Cat Cancer. Based on statistics, one in five cats will develop some type of cancer at a certain point in its life. Age and exposure to carcinogens like (tobacco smoke, asbestos, pesticides, x-rays, benzene, food additives) are critical risk factors.
As a promising anti-cancer drug CBD can be quite helpful for cats. Namely, CBD can destroy cancerous cells and induce apoptosis without damaging healthy cells. It also has tumor-shrinking features and can inhibit angiogenesis, thus preventing tumor spread or formation of metastasis.
Additionally, CBD can help with the cancer symptoms and the side effects of conventional treatments by offering pain relief, inflammation management, nausea prevention, and normal appetite stimulation. Finally, when combined with traditional anti-cancer treatments, CBD boosts its efficacy.
CBD Oil for Cat Seizures. Seizures are among the most common neurologic disorders in cats and affect between 1-3% of the feline population. Defined as sudden episodes of uncontrolled muscle activity, seizures occur due to the misfiring of electrical impulses in the brain, which result in neuroinflammation.
Studies show that CBD can normalize the brain rhythm, thus managing electrical misfiring and acting as a neuroprotectant. Plus, it has been shown that there is a close connection between ECS, CBDs, and epilepsy. Two CBDs have proven anti-epileptic properties – cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabidivarin (CBDV).
Simply put, CBD can help cats with seizures because of its antiepileptic, anticonvulsant, and anti-inflammatory features. Since the results showed in a groundbreaking dog study, CBD is considered to be a promising anti-seizure drug. Plus, CBD boosts the effects of conventional anti-epileptic drugs.
CBD Oil for Cat Anxiety. Cats are prone to two forms of anxiety – situational and behavioral anxiety. Situational anxiety is triggered by short-term events like including fireworks, thunderstorms, car rides, and noise. On the other hand, behavioral anxiety is an ongoing problem, including unwanted behaviors, such as aggression, separation anxiety, or stress due to previous trauma.
During an anxiety attack, the brain cells are firing out impulses leading to hormonal chaos and imbalance. Through the ECS, CBD helps stop the misfiring and returns the brain chemicals to baseline. It is postulated that CBD works by changing the way the brain responds to serotonin – the so-called “feel-good” hormone responsible for happiness and relaxation.
CBD has a proven anxiolytic effect, and novel studies refer to it as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. It helps relieve general anxiety, thus managing specific environmental stressors like, for example, noise phobias. Plus, the overall calmness and relaxation result in better sleep.
CBD Oil for Cat Kidney Disease. Kidney disease is the most common metabolic disease in cats older than 12 years of age. It occurs in two forms – acute and chronic and manifests with frequent urination, increased thirst, vomiting, pain, decreased appetite, increased susceptibility to urinary tract infections, and weight loss.
CBD oil can help cats with both acute and chronic kidney problems or, better said, with several of the symptoms, including appetite loss, inflammation, pain, and anxiety which will positively impact the cat’s quality of life.
CBD has anti-nausea effects, prevents vomiting, and acts as a potent appetite stimulant. CBD also has proven anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Due to its anxiolytic powers, CBD can ease pain-triggered stress and improve sleep. Finally, CBD can modulate the immune system, thus fighting off urinary infections.
CBD Oil for Immune System Boosts. A strong immune system is critical for overall health. Sadly, in cats, the immune system function can be compromised by a myriad of pathogens and conditions. Once the immune defenses fail, the health takes a fast decline.
CBD oil supports the immune system by affecting the transient receptor potential vanilloid 2 (TRPV2) – a protein essential for healthy immune function. Plus, CBD promotes gut health, and a large portion of the immune system is located in the GI tract. Because of these potentials, some studies describe CBD as a novel therapeutic for immune modulation.
Additionally, CBD enhances the activity of the natural killer (NK) cells – a specific type of white blood cells specializing in fighting off viral infections. The anti-oxidative and anti-inflammation properties also contribute to immune health.
CBD Oil for Cat Arthritis. Feline arthritis is a progressive and irreversible joint inflammation almost all cats will experience at some point in their life. Manifesting with pain and decreased mobility, arthritis requires life-long management.
CBD can help with the two main aspects of arthritis – pain, and inflammation. Namely, CBD can bind with the vanilloid TRPV1 receptor in the brain, thus preventing pain and occasional discomfort. To be more specific, studies show that CBD can relieve inflammatory pain – the exact type of discomfort in arthritis patients.
As for inflammation, CBD has strong anti-inflammatory properties and affects inflammation on various levels and via different pathways. Therefore, CBD is considered to be a novel anti-inflammatory drug.
CBD Oil for Cat Skin Allergies. Skin allergies are prevalent in modern domestic cats and usually present with excessive itchiness followed by scratching or over-grooming. Cats can be allergic to a plethora of allergens, including fleas, dust mites, human dander, pollen, shampoos, and foods.
The ECS plays an important role in skin health and is closely related to allergies. Therefore, it is safe to assume that CBD may help with occasional and seasonal skin allergies in cats by working on various levels.
First of all, CBD can manage the universal allergy symptom – inflammation. Because of its antibacterial effect, it can also help with secondary infections due to excessive licking and scratching. Plus, CBD supports the immune system, thus ensuring a healthy immune response to allergens and reduces anxiety caused by continuous discomfort.
CBD Oil for Cats Peeing. Uncontrolled peeing or urinary incontinence is a common symptom of Lower Urinary Tract Disease (LUTD) in cats. LUTDs can develop due to bacterial infections, urinary stones, and inflammation and always manifests with uncontrolled, frequent, and painful peeing.
CBD can manage uncontrolled peeing. The exact mechanism is unknown, but it probably has to do with the cannabinoid receptors located in the bladder, lower urinary tract, and higher centers responsible for urinary tract control. In a human study on patients with multiple sclerosis, CBD decreased the number of urinary incontinence episodes.
Possible Side Effects of CBD Oil for Cats
Although generally safe, in some extra sensitive cats adding CBD to the healthcare regimen may result in side effects. The good news is that the potential side effects are rare, benign, and usually resolve after few days of CBD use.
Here is what you can expect after starting your cat on CBD oil:
- Dry Mouth. CBD can inhibit the normal production of saliva, resulting in increased thirst and water intake in cats. The increased water consumption is followed by more frequent visits to the litter box. To manage this issue, make sure your cat always has access to fresh drinking water.
- Lip Licking. The unusual sensation of the dry mouth makes some cats more likely to lick their lips more frequently and excessively. Once again, access to fresh water is all it takes to deal with this adverse effect.
- Increased Appetite. CBD oil is a proven appetite stimulant. Depending on the exact circumstances, this can be seen either as a side effect or a benefit. For example, for an obese kitty on a strict feeding regimen, the increased appetite is labeled as a side effect, and for a cat with appetite loss, it is considered a health benefit.
- Diarrhea. Adding a new supplement to the menu is likely to results in diarrhea in cats. In the case of CBD, the diarrhea is usually a result of the product’s carrier oil (usually coconut oil) and not the actual cannabinoids. To prevent diarrhea implement the CBD oil gradually or serve it during mealtime, on a full stomach.
- Drowsiness. Pronounced tiredness and increased sleepiness are common yet benign side effects of CBD in pets. Some cats may also exhibit decreased paw-to-eye coordination and mild head-shaking. If your cat is extra sleepy, let it snooze off the CBD effects.
- Lowered Blood Pressure. The calming effect of CBD can also cause a sudden but temporary drop in the heart rate and blood pressure for cats, which ultimately may result in light-headedness.
- Liver Enzymes Inhibition. CBD can affect the production of liver enzymes which results in a delayed breakdown of certain prescription medications. To be more accurate, CBD can either inhibit or boost the effects of these meds.
Most of these CBD side effects subside after few days or with a simple dosage modification. If you already decreased the CBD dose and there are still adverse reactions, talk to your trusted veterinarian.
In fact, we recommend consulting with your vet before giving your cat CBD oil in the first place. This is because of CBD’s potential to interact with certain medications. If the veterinarian approves, you can safely start supplementing your cat.
Our Final Thoughts: The Best CBD Oil for Cats
As a responsible pet owner, you need to ensure your cat is being supplemented with high-quality hemp CBD oil that is both safe and efficient.
To make a short conclusion, the ideal CBD oil for your cat should tick the following quality boxes – organically grown, full-spectrum, whole hemp extract, CO2 extracted, THC-free, third-party lab tested, non-GMO, and free from dairy, soy, and gluten.
With the right CBD oil for your cat, you can promote general health and well-being or target specific health issues and improve your pet’s quality of life.
Cannabidiol inhibits paclitaxel‐induced neuropathic pain through 5‐HT1A receptors without diminishing nervous system function or chemotherapy efficacy – Ward – 2014 – British Journal of Pharmacology – Wiley Online Library
Cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic component of cannabis, attenuates vomiting and nausea-like behaviour via indirect agonism of 5-HT(1A) somatodendritic autoreceptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus – PubMed (nih.gov)
Cannabinoids for treating neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction in patients with multiple sclerosis: a systematic review and meta‐analysis – Abo Youssef – 2017 – BJU International – Wiley Online Library
The effect of cannabidiol on canine neoplastic cell proliferation and mitogen‐activated protein kinase activation during autophagy and apoptosis – Henry – 2021 – Veterinary and Comparative Oncology – Wiley Online Library