green eyed long haired cat

Welfare and Behaviour

New study looks at tolerability of CBD for cats

CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychotropic chemical derived from hemp (Cannabis sativa). In recent years, it has received widespread interest due to its potential therapeutic effects on humans, including relief from pain, inflammation, and anxiety.

Research suggests the health benefits of CBD may extend to animals. Yet, while the availability of safety data is increasing in dogs, scant information is currently available about the safety of CBD for cats.

To address knowledge gaps in the long-term suitability and tolerance of CBD in cats, Waltham Petcare Science Institute undertook a 6-month study, the findings of which were recently reported through a paper, “Healthy Cats Tolerate Long-term Daily Feeding of Cannabidiol”, published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

How the study was conducted

Scientists conducted a two-part study with a group of 39 healthy cats. In part one, 19 adult cats participated in a 4-week study and in part two, 20 adult cats participated in a 26-week study. During both parts of the study, which were blinded and randomised, the cats were fed either a 4mg per kg body weight dose of CBD oil or a placebo oil, mixed into a pate format diet and offered prior to their regular food.

Overall, the findings from the study, indicate that healthy cats can tolerate long-term daily feeding of CBD.

A closer look at the findings

The study showed CBD to be absorbed and well-tolerated by most cats, with no clinically significant differences in health measures between CBD and placebo groups over 6 months.

Some subjects showed increased alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a measure related to liver function during the 4 week study, but these were statistically equivalent over the long term.

Although generally well accepted, there were some partial refusals noted by cats in both groups to eat the food that had been prepared with CBD, this may have been down to issues of the palatability of the oil when mixed with cat food.

Top 3 takeaways from this study

  • Results suggest long-term daily feeding of CBD at 4mg/kg body weight is safe for healthy cats.
  • Study presents opportunity for more exploration into the efficacy of CBD on feline disorders and behaviours.
  • Caution should be applied if any history of liver issues is known or there are suspected concurrent infection, and a veterinary check is always recommended.

At Mars Petcare and Waltham Petcare Science Institute, we are committed to investing in scientific research to enhance pet health and well-being that speaks to our purpose of creating A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS™.