There are several things you should understand when it comes to giving CBD to cats with seizures. Our guide here has you covered! Our 18-year-old tabby suffered two seizures a day. Our vet recommended CBD. I was skeptical. Then we tried it.
CBD for Cats With Seizures: The Ultimate Guide
As a cat owner, seeing your feline companion in constant discomfort because of chronic seizures is upsetting. The thought of your cat suffering these pains for the rest of its life is even more distressing.
Although there is no end-all cure for seizures, cannabidiol, or CBD, can provide relief for your cat. CBD is a dependable remedy that can help ease uncomfortable symptoms for cats with seizures.
CBD can even help support normal electrical brain activity in your cat, which can help control seizures. Your cat’s ability to live a healthy and happy life is crucial to your goal as a cat owner, and CBD can help your cat achieve exactly that.
Read ahead to understand what CBD is, and how it can provide relief for your cat.
What Is CBD, and Will It Get My Cat High?
You’ve probably heard of CBD’s counterpart, THC, which is notorious for its psychoactive effects. However, CBD has no psychoactive effect on cats whatsoever.
CBD and THC come from the same plant species, but THC oil comes from marijuana while CBD oil comes from hemp. Hemp is nearly devoid of any THC content, making CBD oil a non-psychoactive substance.
Since hemp cannot alter brain functioning at all, CBD cannot get your cat high. While THC is often used for recreational use, CBD is used solely for therapeutic use.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD affects nearly all animals the same way. That’s because humans, dogs, cats, and many other animals possess the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This biological function is crucial for CBD to induce its therapeutic properties into the user.
Regardless of species, CBD affects all animals’ ECS in essentially the same way. Just as humans have found success with CBD usage, CBD has been documented to aid dogs, cats, and various other animals with the harshest of symptoms. Users of CBD have reported intense relief from uncomfortable symptoms caused by medical conditions such as epilepsy and other chronic pain syndromes.
Cats suffering from seizures can benefit hugely from CBD, just as other species have. CBD can relieve chronic pain that cats suffer due to seizures and help them live normally.
How Can CBD Help My Cat With Seizures?
There is no way to fully cure your cat’s seizures. But CBD can alleviate its symptoms and potentially affect how often your cat experiences seizures.
Clinical trials suggest that CBD can result in a reduced frequency of seizures. Specifically, the “percentage of people who became seizure-free was 5% with CBD and 0% with placebo.”
Although this trial involved human participants, CBD has been suggested to also “normalize brain rhythms” in cats which can potentially reduce the regularity of seizures. Again, your cat’s seizures would not be cured, but regular CBD use can aid them from transpiring.
What Are CBD’s Possible Side Effects?
As mentioned before, CBD is safe for cats to consume. It contains none of the toxic properties that THC possesses, and is generally non-addictive and non-life-threatening.
Despite this, administering CBD to your cat improperly can produce adverse side effects. Negative side effects are often the result of a dosage that is too high. Side effects include but are not limited to fatigue, diarrhea, headaches, etc.
These side effects are typically mild and can be managed by lowering the dosage. Lower the dosage until you figure out the amount that your cat can comfortably ingest daily.
What Are the Best CBD Products for Cats?
CBD is easy to administer because it doesn’t have a naturally strong odor and can be easily incorporated into your cat’s nutrition. Even the pickiest cats can get used to CBD.
The most common CBD product to use is CBD oil, packaged in dropper bottles. This product can be sprinkled onto your cat’s food or even directly in their mouths.
There are many different types of CBD products, and various ways to apply them. CBD oils are just the easiest ways to entice any animal — but especially cats, being the notoriously finicky species they are.
How Do You Administer CBD?
Your cat’s first impression of CBD will strongly influence its willingness to consume it. When introducing CBD to your cat, remain calm and unstressed. Your pet can sense your emotions, and they will be anxious about taking CBD if you are anxious about administering it.
You can feed CBD oil to your cat directly, squeezing drops directly into your cat’s mouth from the dropper. Even sprinkling the product into an empty dish will work, as long as they lap up the product. Alternatively, you can add CBD to their meals and their treats.
If you need to tempt a particularly picky feline, you could drop some fish oil or tuna into a dish and add CBD oil. They will barely be able to resist the temptation of a fishy treat, and will also make a positive correlation between CBD and a tasty snack.
Drop some oil onto their paws if all else fails. They’ll groom and lick the oil off their paws.
CBD products will usually contain dosage instructions on their packaging, but you could start with an even lower dosage. If you’re unsure about what dosage to start with, we wrote precise instructions on how to give your cats CBD oil. Not only will this prevent overdosing, but will also prevent wasting product if they initially reject it.
Finally, buy high-quality, lab-tested CBD oil for cats with seizures. Premium CBD products will diminish the risk of negative side effects in your cat and will secure your pet’s chances of experiencing optimal results.
Where Can I Purchase High-Quality CBD Products?
CBD is an accessible remedy that effectively supports cats with seizures. You don’t need to wait for a prescription sign-off since they are natural, non-toxic remedies.
Bailey’s CBD has a plethora of high-quality, lab-tested, veterinarian-formulated CBD products. We also have CBD oil for cats. Getting your hands on CBD is as easy as a few clicks!
Of course, you can go ahead and browse the rest of our site, where you can read more about CBD’s benefits of our CBD products and how they have helped countless other animals.
** These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. **
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We gave Maple the cat CBD for seizures. Here’s what happened
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about treating pets with cannabidiol (CBD) oil.
As journalist and pet owner I was skeptical about giving CBD to animals.
Maple tussles with coyotes, raccoons, and dogs. But age is catching up to him.
There are few studies to consult. Most of the information is anecdotal. But recently when Maple, my family’s very old house cat, began to have seizures we decided to try a CBD treatment. My information is anecdotal, too, but maybe it’ll help you inform your own decision about whether the treatment is right for your cat. Here’s how it went for us.
Maple is a survivor: 18 years of raccoon encounters and coyote tussles. He wears his war wound like a crown.(Courtesy of Bruce Kennedy)
Meet Maple the Cat
Maple turns 18 this summer. He’s an orange tabby we adopted as a kitten. He likes to snooze in what we call “dead-bug” position—on his back, paws in the air—and has a long history of getting himself into trouble. He’s tangled with coyotes, raccoons, snakes and feral dogs. His most prominent feature is his broken-down and notched left ear, a souvenir from a dispute he settled with our second cat soon after her introduction to the household. Maple is a survivor.
Senior Issues, Then Seizures
As with humans, dogs and cats can get dementia as they age. About a year ago, along with arthritis, Maple began to yowl for no reason, sometimes in the middle of the night. We could deal with that (sort of), but several weeks ago we became alarmed when he began to have seizures.
In the beginning there were at least two a day. They would begin with him collapsing. His eyes would go glassy. Then would come the shaking and rolling: his body convulsing and corkscrewing into agonizing positions while he snapped, snarled and clawed at the air.
After about 90 seconds the tremors would subside. Maple’s eyes would clear, his body would eventually relax, and he’d start panting and would yowl pathetically. It would take several more minutes for him to get to his feet, and he’d sway like a drunk on a bender until his balance came back. We’d often have to clean up the blood from his bitten tongue, as well as saliva and urine.
Maple recovering from a seizure, just before we started one of his early CBD treatments. (Courtesy of Bruce Kennedy)
Advice From Our Vet
Our local veterinarian is very good with cats. He said that we could have Maple undergo a standard treatment, starting with a neurological exam and blood work. But given Maple’s advanced age, he suggested that we instead try CBD oil.
We could do blood work and tests, but the vet suggested trying CBD oil first.
The doctor told us he’s been recommending hemp-derived CBD oil for the past eight months or so, mostly for dogs with arthritis or anxiety issues. We live in suburban Denver, where cannabis has been legal for adults since 2012. “People around here are very open to it,” he said. “In fact sometimes that’s the first thing we try, or I suggest we try.”
When I asked if there had been any reluctance from his clientele about using CBD for their companion animals, he was amused.
“Probably one out of every four of them, they’re taking CBD for themselves,” he laughed.
I trust my vet. He’s been treating our cats for years now. We decided to go with his recommendation and try CBD oil for Maple. But being a journalist means my trust is limited, so I also did a bit of research.
There are literally dozens of pet-oriented CBD products currently available online. I was overwhelmed by the choices. Having covered the cannabis industry for some time now, I’ve learned to be skeptical of any undocumented claims made by those selling medicinal cannabis products—even if they include glowing testimonials from ‘satisfied customers.’ It’s difficult to know which products are clean and reliable, or even which products actually contain CBD. In the end, we went with a product the veterinarian’s office carried.
In early June, several days after the seizures began, we put Maple on a twice-a-day dosage of Mobility Oil produced by ElleVet Sciences out of Portland, Maine. We starting with three drops per dose but quickly ramped up to six drops, as per the bottle’s instructions. Three drops gave Maple a 6.3mg dose of CBD, while six gave him 13.2 mg. (ElleVet’s recommended dosage is about 2 mg per kilogram of body weight for cats. Dogs metabolize CBD differently, so consult your vet and product label for that information.)
A Battle of Wills
The cat was not fond of the CBD oil. At all. After a couple of failed attempts with the dropper I found that mixing the drops into a little water and then squeezing it all into Maple’s mouth with an oral syringe ensured that most of the dosage actually got into the cat.
Personally, I like the earthy bitterness of cannabis as a flavor. But I can see why Maple might object to it.
According to the manufacturers this oil is a “broad spectrum cannabinoid & terpene” compound, which means it also has a strong earthy cannabis smell. I must admit I did try a drop of the oil myself, purely for educational purposes. And while I personally like the bitterness of cannabis as a flavor, I can see why a cat might object to it.
I had to hold Maple’s head up in one arm, his body supported in my lap, to give him his dose. Once he got a whiff of that distinct smell—a smell stronger than the cannabis tinctures I use—his nose would wrinkle and he’d bat down my syringe-holding hand. If you’ve ever tried to spoon-feed an unwilling human infant, you get the idea. The battle of wills would begin.
Maple and I have an understanding. I’ve been able to clip his claws for years with minimal fuss, and I’ve learned that if I calmly but strongly hold him in position for medicines he eventually calms down and accepts his fate.
But he really didn’t like the CBD oil, and I have some scabbed-over scratches on my hands as proof. After getting his dose he’d give me a disapproving scowl, struggle out of my lap and shuffle away. We do this twice a day now.
Not a Miracle, But…
The CBD oil had no immediate effect regarding the seizures but we did notice a marked improvement in Maple’s appetite, as well as his overall movement.
Over time we’ve seen progress with the seizures, too. Ten days into his course of treatment, Maple was down from two seizures a day to one seizure every two days. I wouldn’t consider that a miracle cure, but Maple’s quality of life has definitely improved.
Ten days into his treatment, Maple’s seizures were reduced by 75%. (Courtesy of Bruce Kennedy)
I told our veterinarian about how the CBD appeared to be working. He pointed me towards the results of a newly-released study by Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a neurologist at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Dr. McGrath’s study was small, involving 16 dogs that suffered from seizures. Nine of the dogs were treated with hemp-derived CBD for 12 weeks, while the remaining seven were placed in a control group and given a placebo.
According to her research, 89% of the dogs that received CBD had a reduction in the frequency of their seizures.
“We saw a correlation between how high the levels of CBD oil were in these dogs with how great the seizure reduction was,” McGrath said in a CSU press release. “It’s really exciting that perhaps we can start looking at CBD in the future as an alternative to existing anticonvulsive drugs.”
Pushback From Veterinary Associations
During our consultations, our veterinarian was very open with his information about CBD and comfortable talking about its potential uses. But he also asked that his name not be used in this article, due to the controversial status of CBD within the mainstream of animal medicine.
The AMVA says ‘the available scientific evidence pertaining to use of CBD in animals is currently limited.’
According to a survey of more than 2,100 vets done last year by the Veterinary Information Network, 63% of respondents said they were asked by their clients at least monthly—and sometimes weekly or even daily—about cannabis products for their pets. Most of the veterinarians surveyed said they had “never been the ones to initiate the discussion” about cannabis products.
That being said, a large part of the veterinary community remains split about CBD—and many are still reluctant to recommend it as a treatment.
On its website, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) notes that while cannabis-derived products appear to have therapeutic promise “in areas such as the treatment of epilepsy and the management of pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, the available scientific evidence pertaining to their use in animals is currently limited.”
Much of what is known, the AVMA statement continues, “is related to anecdotal or case reports or has been gleaned from studies related to use in humans, including the study of animal models for that purpose.”
Finding a Product That Helps
Curious about the company that produced Maple’s medicine, I contacted Amanda Howland, co-founder and chief branding officer at ElleVet Sciences. (ElleVet did not pay for this article, nor did the company supply any medicine or other consideration. They just happened to be linked in a chain of trust: I trust our vet and our vet trusted ElleVet products enough to stock them, so that’s the brand we went with.)
Howland told me she understands the position of the big veterinary organizations.
“Veterinarians are doctors and they’re protecting their patients,” she said, “and they would like to see evidence.”
Howland pointed to a clinical trial conducted by Cornell University. It was a double-blind placebo trial on dogs with multi-joint pain, which her company supported with a research grant and a supply of products. In that study, researchers found that more than 80% of the dogs had a significant or dramatically positive response to CBD treatment.
ElleVet is currently in the middle of a seizure study with researchers at the University of Florida (also using the company’s CBD products), as well as a handful of other research regarding pain management and oncology in dogs.
One of the primary problems right now, Howland said, is CBD’s booming popularity. There are a lot of products currently on the market with very differing and sometimes very low levels of CBD content, quality and potency.
“There are a lot of products out there that really aren’t very good,” Howland told me. “So we want people to talk to their veterinarians, and we want veterinarians to have a product that they can trust and that they can recommend. We like to keep a good relationship with the veterinarians and we like to keep pet owners talking to their veterinarians, to make sure that the dogs and cats are getting a product that is actually going to help them.”
Realistic, but Hopeful
It will take some time to see if Maple’s CBD regimen is truly helping him, and if so, if it’s sustainable in the long term. (And “long term” is relative. The cat is 18 years old.) His seizure rate has dropped, but there’s no way to know if that would have happened without the CBD oil, or if there are other factors involved.
I do know this. Our goal is to lessen the suffering of this cat that we’ve loved for nearly two decades. And right now the CBD oil seems to correlate with a reduction in seizures and an improvement in appetite and mood. Emotions aside, I’m encouraged about the potential for CBD to gain mainstream professional acceptance as a therapeutic treatment for both humans and their companion animals. It’s not hurting, and it seems to be helping. For Maple and for us, that’s all that we ask.