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May 19, 2021

CBD for Cat Anxiety. Everything you Need to Know.

In this article, we will help you understand how CBD may help relieve the symptoms of your cat’s anxiety by promoting a sense of calm and relaxation.

If you’re a pet parent with a cat that suffers from anxiety, you know how crippling a condition it can be. At the same time, it can also leave you feeling just as stressed and even frustrated. Seeing your anxious kitty dealing with the symptoms and not knowing what to do can be painful. Luckily, CBD is a natural alternative that can help soothe a cat suffering from situational anxiety.

Anxious cat hiding under a blanket

What Causes Anxiety in Cats?

Cats by nature, are quite skittish. It’s quite possible that your cat’s natural fear response may become problematic if exposed to triggers for a prolonged period. When this happens, your cat anticipates future danger all the time – real or imagined – and the normal body reactions to fear become chronic.

Likewise, your cat may display behaviors they adapted for survival but are now abnormal or inappropriate. Situations that can make your cat anxious include fireworks, thunderstorms, or new four-legged (and two-legged) family members. In contrast, some triggers can be more subtle. So, for instance, scolding a cat or just speaking loudly can stress a cat out. It makes them feel anxious. Change and uncertainty, on the other hand, can promote long-term anxiety.

And just like dogs, cats can also suffer from separation anxiety. If you have an adopted kitty, for instance, he or she can become anxious if reminded of a past traumatic experience. If your adopted your cat is from a shelter, it may be difficult but try to learn as much about their background and previous care as possible. This will help you avoid situations that lead to a traumatic memory and trigger anxiety.

Recognizing the Symptoms

  1. Failing to use the litter tray
  2. Change in mood
  3. Hiding Aggression
  4. An increase in vocalization (excessive meowing)
  5. A change in appetite or weight
  6. Following people around the house
  7. Increased lethargy
  8. Vomiting

CBD for Cats with Anxiety

Currently, we don’t have any studies aimed at using CBD for cats with anxiety but we do have some decent evidence from other animal studies. From this, we can draw some conclusions about how CBD may help a cat with anxiety. It is also helpful to remember, that cats and humans should respond to CBD in similar ways.

Although researchers aren’t sure exactly how CBD works to help with anxiety and promote a sense of calm, studies have also shown that CBD can help promote the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus – the area of the brain associated with anxiety.  Why this is important, is because brain scans have shown that in humans at least, patients with anxiety and depression often have smaller hippocampi.  This means that by helping to regrow neural cells in that area, feelings of anxiety may also be reduced.

What Does the Science Say?

A team of Spanish and American scientists reviewed animal and human data from studies on the efficacy of CBD for treating and managing the symptoms of anxiety disorders.  They concluded that CBD has unique anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects for a range of anxiety issues, including stress-induced and obsessive behaviors.  

Researchers aren’t sure exactly how CBD works to help with symptoms of cat anxiety. However, studies have also shown that CBD can help promote the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the area of the brain associated with anxiety. This is important because brain scans have shown that in humans, patients with anxiety and depression often have smaller hippocampi. This means that by helping to regrow neural cells in that area, feelings of anxiety can also be reduced.

Likewise, researchers have found evidence suggesting that CBD may have the ability to act very much the same way as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozak and Paxil by stimulating 5-HT1A receptors – a specific class of serotonin receptor in the brain. When CBD interacts with these serotonin receptors, the absorption of serotonin is blocked and several things happen:

  • Blocks panic responses
  • Reduces cardio-vascular, as well as behavioral responses
  • Reduces contextual fear conditioning
  • Modulates the defensive behaviors evoked by the presence of threatening stimuli

What’s interesting is that, when you look at the different behaviors, symptoms, and responses CBD helps with, they are very similar to the types of behaviors and issues your cat experiences when feeling anxious.

CBD for Cat Anxiety Summed Up

Practically speaking, this means that CBD may help your cat’s panic response when confronted with fireworks, for instance, by reducing his or her physical and behavioral responses to it. “Chill Kitty Kitty” CBD+ calming treats are specially formulated for our feline friends by Dr. Rob Silver, a distinguished holistic veterinarian. They’re made with broad-spectrum CBD, are THC-free, and infused with other natural calming ingredients like valerian root. They’re infused with catnip (no secret cats love it), taurine (an essential amino acid for cats), and are naturally flavored with salmon. No dog treats disguised as cat treats here!

How Much CBD Should you Give your Cat?

The next step is to figure out when and how much CBD to give to your anxious kitty. Always follow the basic package guidelines and monitor your cat’s response to CBD when you first start using it. Once you understand how your cat reacts to CBD, you can adjust the amount.

If a specific event like fireworks triggers your kitty’s anxiety, we recommend giving them CBD 30 a few hours before the event. Naturally, triggers can’t always be predicted, so the next best thing is to give it to them when you notice any signs of anxiety. Your kitty should feel relief within the hour. If not, wait a little longer before giving them another serving. For more chronic, behavioral anxiety issues, we recommend supplementing daily.