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Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil for Cats: What to Use & When? Our 2023 Comparison

Making sure your cat is safe, happy, and healthy is the priority of any kitty owner. Providing healthy food, a clean litter box, a safe home to play and sleep in, and regular veterinarian visits are all part of being a good cat caretaker. You might have heard of CBD and hemp oil as a natural therapeutic for felines, and you may be wondering if they’re worth using. What exactly are hemp oil and CBD oil? What’s the difference between the two? Are these oils safe for your cat? Let’s dive in to answer these questions and more here.

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Overview of Hemp Oil for Cats

cat taking CBD oil
Image Credit: Erin Stone, Pixabay

Hemp oil comes from a part of the cannabis plant, but it does not contain any psychoactive compounds. The oil is made by cold-pressing hemp seeds to extract the oils from them. The oil concentrates are then bottled and sold to provide a variety of benefits to the human or pet that uses it. Although a 2018 Farm Bill was passed that federally legalized certain aspects of producing and having hemp and CBD products, hemp is not legal in all 50 states throughout the U.S1. Therefore, it’s important to know your local laws before deciding to source hemp oil for yourself or your cat.

As for why hemp oil is given to cats, it’s all about the health benefits. Hemp oil can be used topically or be ingested, depending on the results that you’re looking to get. For example, topical use can help ease itchy skin. Hemp oil is also high in omega fatty acids, which cats (and humans!) require for good health. Putting a small amount of hemp oil in your cat’s food can help increase their omega fatty acid intake and in turn, improve their health.

Other reasons that people give hemp oil to their cats include:
  • As an Antibacterial — A study has found that hemp seed oil carries antibacterial properties, which can help keep a cat’s skin free from bacterial growth and the possibility of skin problems due to bacteria.
  • For Heart Health — Since hemp seed oil is rich in linoleic acid, it can help keep cholesterol levels in check and protect the heart from problems like stroke and heart disease.
  • To Decrease Inflammation — It is thought that the compounds in hemp oil (and CBD oil) can help decrease inflammation in the body, which in turn, can ease pain associated with the inflammation. Hemp oil may help an injured or ill cat as they recover, for example.

Hemp oil may be a good option for your cat if you are looking to improve their health or make them more comfortable when they are in pain.

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Overview of CBD Oil

cbd oil and cat on background
Image Credit: Lightcube, Shutterstock

CBD oil is like hemp oil in that it comes from the cannabis plant, but it is sourced from different parts of the plant. Hemp oil is sourced from the plant’s seeds, while CBD oil is sourced from the plant’s stalks, flowers, and leaves. Like hemp oil, CBD oil contains little to no THC, which is the compound that makes one “high.” CBD oil is typically utilized for therapeutic purposes in both humans and pets, including cats.

The benefits of CBD oil are close to those of hemp oil. It can apparently be used to treat pain and inflammation in the body. Some research indicates that CBD can help relieve symptoms of anxiety in humans, so it’s possible that the same can be said for cats. Research also indicates that CBD can help cats with seizure and epilepsy problems, which may or may not be true for hemp oil too. There haven’t been any studies released about the use of hemp oil for seizures and epilepsy, though.

So, Is Hemp Oil or CBD Oil Best for Your Cat?

CBD capsules at oil in syringe
Image Credit: CBD-Infos-com, Pixabay

The only difference between CBD and hemp oil is the part of the cannabis plant that each oil is sourced from. They have similar properties and many of the same compounds, and neither has any significant amount of THC, so there is no need to worry about psychoactive effects. So, it comes down to what you are most comfortable using and which option your cat best responds to.

The only exception is if you’re trying to help a cat that suffers from seizures and epilepsy, in which case, CBD is probably the best choice because there is research to back up its effectiveness. You can consider trying both options for a week or two at a time to determine which works better for your cat.

There Are Side Effects to Consider

While most people and cats tend to tolerate hemp and CBD oil when ingested or used topically, there are side effects that you should be aware of. That said, these are usually mild and require no medical attention.

They include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Dry mouth

If any side effects do develop after giving CBD or hemp oil to your cat, keep an eye on them overnight, and if the side effects don’t subside by then, call your veterinarian.

sad lonely cat lying on bed
Image Credit: medveda, Shutterstock

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CBD and hemp oil are similar and can be used for the same purposes. What you choose to use should come down to what works best for your cat and what’s easiest for you to get. These products may not work as well as medications that your veterinarian might recommend, but they are considered safe to use.

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Featured Image Credit: CBD-Infos-com, Pixabay (R)