Cat owners know that cats’ sweet personalities and mischievous ways make them wonderful and entertaining companions. But sometimes, their wild side can stem from more than the love of the chase—nervousness or stress can plague our pets, including our feline friends. If you have a scaredy cat that’s prone to restlessness, aggression, or hiding, spending personal time with your kitty, distracting them with toys, or feeding them a CBD treat may help to reduce their nerves.
In this guide, we’ll explore common signs and causes of kitty nervousness and dive into answering the question, “Does CBD oil calm cats?”
Is Your Cat Experiencing Nervousness?
As you observe your cat, you may notice that they experience panting, rapid breathing, a quickened heartbeat, shaking, and even drooling.1 You may also find that they act less like themselves or behave destructively.
For example, if your cat typically likes to spend its mornings sunbathing near your kitchen window but is now clawing at your carpet or hiding under your bed, they may be triggered by an external source, such as a noisy lawn mower or their canine roommate.
Your cat may also be feeling uneasy if you’ve observed any of the following:
- Litter box problems, such as urinating or defecating outside the box
- Unusual vocalizing
What Causes Unease in Cats?
Oftentimes, the cause of your cat’s stress may be apparent. Many cats often become panicked when they’re loaded into a carrier for a trip to the vet, for example. That said, cats have evolved to hide signs of pain or illness, which can make identifying the cause of your cat’s unease more difficult.2
That said, it’s particularly important to identify any unusual behavioral changes, as this may indicate that something is bothering your kitty. Cats are sensitive animals, and they like routine and predictability, and small changes in the household can cause your cat more stress than you realize.
While physical aches or illness, such as age-related cognitive decline3, may cause unease, psychological triggers can also play a part. These can often stem from:
- Changes in routine, such as a change in your work schedule
- A recent move into a new home
- New pets or people in the household
- A family member being away for an extended amount of time4
- Loud noises from construction, fireworks, or yard work
- A long car ride to unfamiliar territory
Is Your Cat Suffering From Stress or Other Illness?
Sometimes, cats’ unusual behavior can signify another health problem. In the wild, cats cover up signs of illness as a defense mechanism.5 This can make it hard to spot the symptoms of health problems in our pet cats.
If you’ve observed changes in your cat’s behavior, it’s important to rule out any severe conditions that may be causing the issue. It’s time for a visit to the vet if you see any concerning signs such as:5
- Changes in grooming
- Pain or straining while urinating
- Bad breath
- Hunched posture
- Changes in eating or drinking habits
How To Help Calm Your Cat
A stressed kitty can be challenging to cope with. They may roam the house yowling or have trouble sleeping at night, keeping the rest of the household awake with noisy behavior. Nervous cats also show stress through destructive behavior, like urinating outside the litter box. The most common target for nerve-related spraying? Their owner’s bed.4
Trust us—you want to take care of the problem before it gets to that point.
Although your vet can prescribe a medication such as fluoxetine (the generic form of Prozac), many pet parents prefer to try other solutions before giving their cats a prescription pharmaceutical.
Let’s look at a few easy, natural ways to help your nervous cat.
#1 Engage Your Cat in Activities
First off, it’s important to make sure your cat has plenty of opportunities to engage in instinctive cat behavior. To feel safe, secure, and happy, your cat needs to be able to:6
- Play and “hunt”
Give your cat something that’s okay to scratch, such as a scratching pad or cat tree. Make sure your cat also has plenty of opportunities to play. Cats are more social than we often assume, and if they don’t have another cat around, it’s up to you to cultivate a stimulating environment. To engage your kitty, you can:
- Spend interactive time with your cat – Tossing a catnip mouse on the floor and calling it a day is boring for you and your cat. Instead, tie a feather to a string and lure your cat into an active game of chase. Or set up boxes and paper bags for exploration, and get your kitty’s prey instincts working by softly scratching your fingernails on the outside of the box or bag—most cats can’t resist investigating a mysterious sound.
- Make dinner time a hunt – Let your cat use his hunting instincts by putting food or treats in puzzle toys that require interaction like chasing, batting, and pouncing. Give food in smaller portions to keep the kitty’s interest engaged in the game.
- Offer a variety of toys – It’s not always easy to get cats to play, so changing the toys on offer can be a good strategy. Some cats love batting tinfoil balls, and others can’t get enough of their catnip mice. Rotate the toys available frequently. Look for toys that encourage pouncing, chasing, and batting. (But don’t leave cats unattended with elastic string toys that hang from doorways—they can be a choking hazard.)
#2 Address the Root of the Stress
If a recent change in the household is the root of your cat’s unease, you can try to manage your cat’s stress reaction with training and patience. Gentle exposure to the stressor, combined with lots of petting, praise, and treats, can help over time.
For example, if you’ve added a new pet to the household, try separating the two animals and then reintroducing them slowly over several days to weeks. Go slow, and give lots of praise and treats as the two pets interact.6
#3 Add A Relaxing Treat
Some cats are just more sensitive than others and may suffer from generalized stress and fear even if the household is calm. Or you may have a short-term stressful event coming up, like a move, airplane flight, or a new baby on the way.
In cases like this, CBD for cats may be an ideal solution. You can try CBD oil easily at home without a vet visit by simply adding it to your pet’s food.
When choosing a CBD product for your pet, keep these points in mind:
- Read the label to be sure the CBD oil is derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC
- Choose CBD for pets, and follow the dosage on the label carefully
- Only buy from manufacturers that provide information about their quality control measures and are guaranteed to be free of contaminants
- Look for products that have been independently lab tested and certified to contain the amount of CBD on the label
CBD Oil for Cats: Does It Work?
CBD oil has been growing in popularity for years as a natural solution for a wide range of health concerns in humans. As CBD has become more widely available, many pet owners have started trying CBD for pets.7
In one survey of 632 dog and cat owners, pet owners reported using CBD to help their pets with a variety of health issues, including:7
- General discomfort
- Stress and nervousness
- Sleep problems
- Joint health and comfort
- Age-related decline
- Noise phobias (thunderstorms, fireworks, etc.)
So far, the results appear promising. For example, over 65% of cat owners surveyed reported that they believed CBD oil had helped their cats with discomfort.
How Does CBD Work in Cats?
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is found in both humans and animals. The ECS is a complex network of neurochemicals and receptors that helps to regulate homeostasis within the body.8
More specifically, the ECS may play a role in:9
- Pain and inflammation
- Immune function
- Cardiovascular function
Although more research is needed to understand how CBD works for cats, we do know that cats have an ECS, and taking CBD daily may help to promote feelings of calm, comfort, and relaxation in cats.8
Is CBD Safe for Use in Cats?
Studies on the use of CBD for cats have found that CBD appears to be safe and well-tolerated.10 But just like humans, every cat is unique. You should always use care when giving any new supplement to your pet in case they have an unexpected reaction.
Side effects from CBD are usually harmless and mild when they do occur. Researchers have found that CBD passes through the feline body quickly, so any side effects should clear up soon after you stop giving the supplement.11
Keep Calm and Kitty On With Canna-Pet®
Our cats provide us with companionship, love, and endless entertainment. But when Fluffy is suffering from nervous behaviors, it can make both of you unhappy—especially if your feline friend shows her stress through problematic behaviors like yowling, pacing, spraying, or shredding the curtains.
If your cat shows signs of stress, CBD oil is a simple, at-home option that may be able to provide your cat with relief and relaxation. And when you choose CBD oil from Canna-Pet®, you can be sure you’re getting only hemp-derived, organic CBD that’s free of contaminants, heavy metals, and pesticides.
With CBD oil from Canna-Pet®, you and your cat will both feel better.
- PetMD. The ultimate guide to cat anxiety. https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/behavioral/c_ct_fear_phobia_anxiety
- VCA Hospitals. Recognizing the Signs of Illness in Cats. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/recognizing-signs-of-illness-in-cats
- Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Older cats with behavior problems. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-behavior-issues/older-cats-behavior-problems
- PLoS One. Identification of separation-related problems in domestic cats: A questionnaire survey. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7159185/
- Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. How can I tell If my cat is sick? https://spca.bc.ca/faqs/cat-sick/
- Merck Manual. Treatment of behavior problems in cats. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/cat-owners/behavior-of-cats/treatment-of-behavior-problems-in-cats
- American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Consumers’ perceptions of hemp products for animals. https://www.ahvma.org/wp-content/uploads/AHVMA-2016-V42-Hemp-Article.pdf
- Silver, R.J. The endocannabinoid system of animals. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090686
- Harvard Health Publishing. The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-endocannabinoid-system-essential-and-mysterious-202108112569
- Animals. Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100832
- Animals. Single-dose pharmacokinetics and preliminary safety assessment with use of cbd-rich hemp nutraceutical in healthy dogs and cats. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100832
- American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Cannabis in veterinary medicine: a systematic review. https://www.ahvma.org/wp-content/uploads/Cannabis-in-Veterinary-Medicine-A-Critical-Review-Vol-61_LR-3.pdf
- Frontiers in Veterinary Science. US veterinarians’ knowledge, experience, and perception regarding the use of cannabidiol for canine medical conditions. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00338/full
- Innovative Veterinary Care. CBD for cats and dogs. https://ivcjournal.com/cbd/