Cat sitting making an angry face.

How Long Does CBD Take to Work on Cats?

Cats and dogs have been domesticated for over 10,000 years. But despite this lengthy time as companions, cats, unlike dogs, have not entirely transferred their total allegiance to people. Consequently, the house cat can revert to self-dependence much faster than most dogs.

Regardless, cats still pretty much rely on humans for survival. This is necessary because, like humans, cats are also affected by many ailments that can affect people. Typical cat diseases include rabies, salmonellosis, toxoplasmosis, roundworms, cryptosporidiosis, and giardiasis.

However, with the emergence of natural supplements like cannabidiol (CBD), pet owners have a wide array of treatment options besides conventional prescription medications.

The effects of CBD kick in within 15-45 minutes in cats and can last for 4-6 hours, depending on the cat's characteristics.

But before you give your cat CBD, it is crucial to have basic information regarding how CBD works for cats. It’s also a good idea to consult a veterinarian before treating your pet in any way.


Key takeaways

  • Cats can take pure CBD oil due to its low toxicity level.
  • CBD's effects kick in within 15-45 minutes in cats
  • The amount of CBD to give your cat depends on its size, the severity of its condition, and the strength of the CBD oil.
  • The rule of thumb as far as CBD dosage for cats goes is 1-5 mg per 10 pounds of body weight.

    Can cats have CBD oil?

    CBD oil is made by diluting CBD extract in an oil carrier element. These are nut- or plant-based oils that help the body absorb CBD. There are many types of carrier oils, and some CBD products use a blend of multiple oils.

    The most familiar carrier oils used to make CBD oil are coconut, avocado, olive, hemp seed, and MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oils. MCTs are the most preferred CBD carrier oil due to their health benefits and easy digestibility. 

    At the very minimum, CBD oil has two primary ingredients: CBD and carrier oil. However, many CBD products contain other ingredients depending on the CBD source, extraction method, and purification. These include phytonutrients, other cannabinoids (e.g., tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC), terpenes, and flavonoids.

    As to whether cats can use CBD oil, the answer is yes. CBD appears to be safe for pets though large doses have been associated with unwanted side effects. It remains unclear if the side effects are due to CBD or the trace amounts of THC that may be contained in CBD products.

    This is why it’s important to make sure that the CBD has been approved to use on pets and that it doesn't contain any additives that could be harmful to your pet. If you’re not 100% sure of the ingredients, don’t give it to your pet.

    Pet owners mainly use CBD oil for their pets to relieve ailments and improve their quality of life. The most vital consideration when giving a cat CBD is administering the correct dosage. The correct dosage helps alleviate symptoms associated with your cat's ailments, and in due time, you'll have a healthier, more active, and playful feline.


    How does CBD oil for cats work?

    Mounting anecdotal evidence suggests CBD oil may help cats with a variety of conditions. Though you should always ask your vet before attempting to treat your pet on your own.

    Indeed, a 2021 survey by Leafreport, an online reviewer of CBD products, showed that nearly 50% of the respondents (N = 1448) used CBD for their pets. Most of the survey participants did so on the recommendation of their veterinarian. 

    So, how does CBD work in cats? All mammals have a neuromodulatory system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is made up of endocannabinoid receptors (mostly CB1 and CB2), endocannabinoids, and enzymes. 

    The ECS regulates many body functions and processes, including, but not limited to, sleep, motor control, mood, digestion, stress management, skin function, and mood. It is a relatively new discovery, so researchers are not fully knowledgeable about its full scope of functions. 

    Nonetheless, one of the ECS's most important functions is homeostasis, i.e., maintaining a stable internal environment to enhance the survival of an organism. This essentially means when a change in the external environment causes internal instability, the ECS triggers a raft of corrective measures to rectify the situation.

    The basic action mechanism of CBD on the ECS is similar across humans and pets. The body produces its version of cannabinoids called endocannabinoids ("endo" means internal) which attach to cannabinoid receptors spread throughout the body. 

    The binding of endocannabinoids to receptors triggers wide-ranging physiological processes that are typically beneficial to you and your pet. For instance, in humans, THC binds to the CB1 receptor to induce psychoactivity, i.e., an altered state of mind that may result in euphoria, relaxation, pain relief, or paranoia (depending on the amount inhaled or ingested).

    Cats and dogs don't process THC the same way we do. In fact, THC is highly toxic to dogs because they have more receptors than humans, which essentially implies that the same dose of THC can have far-reaching effects on dogs than on humans.

    There is reason to believe THC can have more or less similar side effects on cats which is why we insist that all CBD pet products must be THC-free!

    By all means, only give your pets CBD products designed for pets.


    Benefits of CBD oil for cats

    Now that we have established that CBD oil can work in cats, here are some health conditions and ailments that you can use CBD for:


    According to the Leafreport survey, managing stress and anxiety was why 44% of the respondents gave their pets CBD. So, it does appear this cannabis compound works! Well, human studies strongly support the use of CBD for helping reduce anxiety symptoms

    CBD doses ranging from 300 to 600mg have been shown to reduce anxiety in experimental models and patients with social anxiety disorder. Naturally, the doses for pets must be lower because pets like dogs have more CB receptors and need less CBD for the same effect.


    Cats are experts at hiding pain, probably as an evolutionary mechanism to avoid appearing vulnerable to predators. So, it is not easy to detect when your cat is in pain.

    Still, signs such as lethargy, reduced appetite, decreased interest in playing and social interaction, reduced movement, etc., can signify pain in cats. Health conditions such as arthritis, bone disease, cancer, and urinary tract infections can cause occasional pain in cats.

    Fortunately, one of CBD's novel qualities is pain relief. Research suggests CBD shows promising potential in treating chronic pain and could be used as adjunctive therapy in managing pain-intensive conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.


    Inflammation and pain often go hand in hand, and one of the most common causes of inflammation in cats is arthritis. Inflammation can also be caused by bacterial, parasitic infection, or intolerance to certain proteins in the cat's diet. This results in gut inflammation or feline inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

    Generally, inflammation is the body's natural way of dealing with foreign organisms and irritants. This is the typical consequence of white blood cells releasing chemicals that increase blood flow to an affected area and the subsequent leakage of fluid into surrounding tissues.

    CBD demonstrates potent antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties by modulating the transient receptor potential (TRP) channels and CB receptors. It can also induce anti-inflammatory effects by directly or indirectly activating the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), thereby reducing oxidative conditions.

    Besides inflammation, these properties have elevated CBD's profile as a potential treatment for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.


    Cat arthritis is a common condition that affects joints, making them painful and with reduced range of motion. It is easy to detect when a cat is developing arthritis as the common symptoms to look for include:

    • Stiff gait
    • Lameness in the legs
    • Swollen joints
    • Reluctance to use the stairs or jump 
    • reduced mobility

    Cat arthritis is incurable, but NSAIDs can help relieve the pain. Also, some studies suggest CBD could positively impact arthritis pain. For example, a 2017 study showed CBD might be useful in treating joint pain due to osteoarthritis. An earlier study found that CBD topicals could relieve arthritis-based pain and inflammation.

    Be that as it may, further research is still needed to conclusively determine whether CBD can be an effective treatment for arthritis.

    Inflammatory bowel disease

    The prognosis for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in cats is not that bad, although currently, there is no cure for it. The symptoms can be managed, allowing cats to live relatively pain-free and comfortably. 

    The causes of IBD in cats range from dietary intolerance, food allergies, chronic infections, parasites, and autoimmune disorders. Stress can also cause IBD and often results in diarrhea. The symptoms to look out for include weight loss, diarrhea, fatigue, gas, and chronic intermittent vomiting.

    The use of CBD for IBD is majorly for symptomatic relief. Indeed, patients with IBD report significant therapeutic effects when using cannabis products to manage abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea. 

    CBD's ability to inhibit an enzyme called COX2 is also believed to contribute to its anti-inflammatory property. A 2011 study showed that CBD might reduce intestinal inflammation by controlling reactive gliosis in the central nervous system (CNS). This action reduces intestinal damage, positioning CBD as a new therapeutic option for treating IBD.

    Urinary tract

    If you thought urinary tract infections (UTIs) only affected humans, think again. It turns out cats can also develop UTIs. Unlike in humans, UTIs in cats often indicate an underlying endocrine problem, e.g., diabetes mellitus or hyperthyroidism. 

    The most common symptoms of cat UTI are reduced urine amounts, struggling to urinate, urine tinged with blood, discomfort, and pain when urinating, and frequent urination about the house. These symptoms could also point to a feline lower urinary tract disease, so an accurate diagnosis is imperative.

    Other causes of lower urinary tract disease in cats include:

    • Congenital abnormalities
    • Spinal cord injuries
    • Incontinence 
    • Bladder infection
    • Urethral plug
    • Environmental stressors
    • Injury/tumor in the urinary tract.

    Male cats are prone to developing UTIs, as are overweight felines with minimal to zero access to the outdoors, who do not get enough exercise or eat lots of dry food. 

    CBD has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that may help cats with UTIs by alleviating pain and inflammation. CBD also has anti-bacterial properties that may help combat bacteria in the urinary tract.

    In humans, CBD stimulates the release of anandamide, thus reducing pain sensitivity. All these qualities combined make CBD a worthy consideration for treating pet UTIs.


    How much CBD should I give my cat?

    The amount of CBD you can give your cat depends on several factors, including:

    • Cat size
    • The severity of the condition
    • Strength of the CBD oil

    CBD dosage for cats

    The rule of thumb appears to give 1-5mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight. CBD dosage for cats is relatively higher than for dogs because cats have fewer CB receptors, in case you are wondering why the dosing for cats is higher than for dogs. Always consult a vet for accurate dosage.


    CBD products for cats

    If your veterinarian recommends CBD for your cat, our Premium CBD Pet Drops are a sure bet. We don't discriminate between pets and people, which is why this CBD oil is human-grade. We believe your pet should get as good a treatment as you.

    This CBD Pet Drops product is made with premium broad spectrum hemp CBD to ensure it is THC-free and utterly safe for your pet. It comes in three foody flavors and two strength levels for ease of use and dosing convenience.


    Watch this vidoe to learn more about the benefits of CBD for your cat: