CBD’s anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, & pain-relieving properties may help improve a cat’s well-being and health conditions, preventing aggressive behavior. Can CBD oil help with cat aggression? Here we explain the science behind the calming effects of CBD and how to use it if your feline friend gets over the edge. Have you tried everything to get rid of your cat's aggression? If so, then maybe it's time to try CBD oil. Find out how it works and why it may be the solution you've been looking for in this article on CBD oil benefits.
CBD for Cat Aggression – August 2022
Why Cat Owners Are Turning to CBD Oil for Cat Aggression
CBD’s therapeutic potential could be the reason that most veterinarians and pet owners are considering CBD for their feline friends.
They are interested to see whether the similar benefits of CBD oil might help improve their cat’s health and well-being.
Aggression, a common behavioral problem in cats, is a hostile or violent behavior exhibited to take control or intimidate a person, another cat, or other animals (6 ) .
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), in pet cats, aggressive behavior can vary.
The display of behavior can range from cats hissing and avoiding the target of their aggression to cats attacking the person or animal that triggered the behavior (7 ) .
The ASPCA believes that a medical diagnostic examination is necessary for all aggressive cats. Some cats behave aggressively due to an underlying medical condition or complication.
Certain medications can alter mood and affect a cat’s susceptibility to aggression. Even diet has been implicated as a potential contributing factor (8 ) .
Once a medical problem is diagnosed, it is crucial to work closely with a veterinarian to provide the cat with the best chance at improving its condition.
All mammals, including humans and animals, like dogs and cats, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which functions similarly (9 ) .
The ECS maintains homeostasis (balance) between a wide range of bodily functions, ensuring that all systems work accordingly.
With studies highlighting CBD’s many potential therapeutic benefits, the possibility that it would work in cats is worth exploring.
Treating any underlying health issues that could be causing the aggressive behavior can help improve a cat’s well-being and prevent aggression.
CBD may help with the following medical conditions or symptoms that have been found to cause aggressive behavior in cats.
CBD and Pain-Induced Aggression
Cats experiencing pain are aggressive toward other people or pets to avoid being touched, having to move or be moved, or doing activities that might intensify the pain (10 ) .
Painful conditions include feline dental disease, arthritis , and lower urinary tract disease (11 ) .
Cats with osteoarthritis, for example, would respond aggressively to having their joints handled. They may hiss, bite, or scratch to show their resentment to being touched.
In some cases, cats would continue to act aggressively even after the cause of the pain has healed (12 ) .
When touched on the once-painful body part, they would still respond with aggression, probably to avoid experiencing pain again.
Owners can help manage their feline friend’s pain-induced aggression by being careful in touching their pet, avoiding painful areas.
Another way to avoid this type of aggression is by working with a veterinarian to develop a therapy for pain control.
Medications may help ease the pain but only when used in combination with behavioral or environmental changes (13 ) . However, most pharmaceuticals bring about adverse side effects in cats.
Meanwhile, ongoing preclinical studies in animals demonstrate that CBD helps reduce pain and inflammation, according to Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D. (14) .
Dr. Boehnke is a research investigator in the department of anesthesiology and the Michigan Medicine Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center .
A study in the European Journal of Pharmacology examined CBD’s therapeutic potential on neuropathic (nerve constriction) and inflammatory pain in rats (15 ) .
The results indicated a promising potential for the therapeutic use of CBD oil in chronic painful states.
Some patients actively promote herbal cannabis to treat any type of chronic pain, say researchers of a study in Cochrane Systematic Review (16 ) .
According to the study, there are potential benefits of cannabis‐based medicine in chronic neuropathic pain.
Cannabis‐based medicines include cannabis (marijuana) from the cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or a combination of THC and CBD in a spray.
However, researchers are afraid the potential risks may outweigh the benefits given the very low-quality evidence and sample size.
The studies mentioned were not conducted on cats. However, the endocannabinoid system is present and similar in both cats and humans.
Thus, the benefits of CBD to a human’s well-being may be similar to the benefits that cats and other animals experience when using CBD oil.
Owners who would like to try CBD for their cat’s pain relief should first consult with a veterinarian.
CBD and Inflammation in Cats
Many feline diseases are caused by or linked to an inflammation of a specific organ or body part.
According to an article by Harvard Health, studies show that chronic inflammation, in general, may be the common cause of many diseases (17 ) .
It is not only acute painful conditions that can increase irritability and aggression in cats. Certain conditions in cats, such as orthopedic problems, thyroid issues, adrenal dysfunction, cognitive problems, neurological disorders, and sensory deficits, can also increase aggression (18 ) .
Most of the symptoms of these diseases are associated with inflammation. Treating the inflammation may help reduce or prevent aggression in cats.
Meanwhile, in several human and animal studies, CBD has been shown to help reduce inflammation.
One study in the European Journal of Neuroscience used mouse models to show that CBD might help minimize inflammation (19 ) .
There may be other causes for a disease. However, mounting evidence suggests a common underlying culprit in major degenerative diseases, like coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer , and Alzheimer’s disease, may be inflammation (20 ) .
To eliminate the possibility that an underlying health problem is causing a cat’s aggressive behavior, responsible cat owners bring their feline friend to a veterinarian for a diagnosis.
Meanwhile, CBD may help with inflammation. A 2017 study in Pain journal examined how CBD might help with inflammation in rat models of osteoarthritis (21 ) . Results showed that CBD helped reduce joint inflammation and nerve damage.
In another study, conducted on rat models by the University of Kentucky, results showed CBD lessened inflammation and overall pain (22 ) .
CBD’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties may also be beneficial to felines given how the ECS works in the same way among all mammals.
CBD for Stress and Anxiety
A review in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery says stress increases the risk of cats showing some forms of aggression, including redirected aggression (23 ) .
Redirected aggression is a common type of aggression in cats. It happens when the cat attacks another person or object other than the one that caused the aggressive behavior (24 ) .
Cats use redirected aggression as a coping mechanism when they are exposed to stressful events.
For example, the cat sees a stray cat in a neighbor’s backyard but cannot get to it. Failing to go on the offensive with the actual prey, the cat acts out with a family member or another animal that is within its reach.
In another research published in PLoS ONE , the authors sought to understand better the prevalence of separation-related problems in pet cats (25 ) .
The most typical behavioral signs of separation-related problems in cats analyzed in the study were the following:
- urination at inappropriate locations
- defecation at inappropriate locations, like out of the litter box
- destructive behavior
- excessive or uncontrolled vocalization or meowing
The researchers also added three categories that relate to cats’ mental states when the animals are either alone or separated from their owners.
These categories are aggressiveness, depression, and agitation-anxiety.
A questionnaire was drawn based on scientific data on separation anxiety syndrome in dogs and cats. The answers were ‘yes’ (Y) or ‘no’ (N) for each of the behavioral signs used.
Among the cats sampled, about 13% met at least one of the behavioral criteria for separation-related problems.
The authors found that destructive behavior, at 66.67%, was the most frequently reported behavior.
In contrast, 16 out of 30 cats exhibited depression-apathy. Aggressiveness was reported at 36.67%, or 11 out of 30 cats.
Strategies to prevent or reduce stress and anxiety in cats include removing the stressors or things that cause them anxiety in their environment.
Meanwhile, CBD oil may help reduce stress and anxiety, as some studies show.
A 2018 study in Frontiers in Immunology showed CBD as a potential remedy to post-traumatic stress and depression (26 ) .
In the study, the authors examined the clinical and experimental use of CBD. They noted that CBD possessed anti-anxiety, antipsychotic (calming), and neuroprotective (protects nerve cells) properties .
CBD’s therapeutic uses as an anti-anxiety-like and antidepressant-like compound were also noted in a study in CNS and Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets (27 ) .
Although the studies mentioned were conducted on rats and mice, the similar ways by which the ECS functions in all mammals may translate to comparable benefits for cats.
Owners looking to manage their cat’s aggression by reducing its anxiety and stress may want to consider CBD as a safe and non-toxic alternative to pharmaceuticals.
How CBD Works to Help With Aggression in Cats
CBD and other cannabinoids interrelate with the body’s ECS. These cannabinoids, acting as neurotransmitters, help carry messages between cells.
Two types of receptors are also present in the endocannabinoid system: the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
In cats, CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and nervous system. The CB2 receptors, meanwhile, are dominant in the immune cells and peripheral organs.
Many cannabinoids interact with both CB1 and CB2 receptors, meaning a single compound can provide several positive benefits.
CB1 receptors play a role in appetite, motor regulation, pain sensation, mood, memory processing, and sleep (28 ) .
Meanwhile, CB2 receptors, when activated, stimulate a response that combats inflammation, reducing pain and damage to tissues (29 ) .
These pain regulation and anti-inflammatory responses may help improve a cat’s well-being and health conditions, which may prevent aggressive behavior.
The Pros and Cons of CBD for Cats
- The endocannabinoid system (ECS) and cannabinoid receptors present in all mammals function similarly (30 ) . Thus, CBD’s potential benefits, as shown in human and animal studies, may also work in cats.
- CBD is not an addictive compound (31 ) , making CBD oil safe for cats when administered in veterinarian-approved doses.
- Hemp-derived CBD cat products are readily available and accessible without a prescription in many countries.
- High-quality CBD oil for humans may be safe to give to cats. Still, many reputable CBD manufacturers include CBD cat products in their product line. CBD cat products may come in different forms, such as tinctures or drops, CBD cat treats (soft chews or bites), capsules, and salves.
- The United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has not received reports of adverse events associated with animals given cannabis products (32 ) . The only reports received were of accidental ingestion of cannabis by pets.
- No extensive studies have been conducted on CBD for specific use in cat aggression. There are no reports of CBD’s long-term effects on cats.
- The FDA, to date, has not approved any cannabis products for use in animals. Before trying CBD for aggression in cats, the agency strongly recommends consulting a veterinarian to explore different treatment options (33 ) .
- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still lists CBD as a Schedule I controlled substance (34 ) . Drugs or substances categorized as Schedule I have no currently accepted medicinal use but have a high potential for abuse (35 ) .
- Except in California, veterinarians are not legally authorized to discuss cannabis with their clients. Thus, vets fall behind in working with cannabis plants and exploring their use in pets (36 ) .
- CBD may cause drug interactions with other prescription medications currently taken by the cat. The side effects of CBD include diarrhea, dry mouth, fatigue, and reduced appetite (37 ) .
How CBD Compares to Alternative Treatments for Cat Aggression
Among the general principles used to manage all types of feline aggression, early diagnosis and intervention are the most effective (38 ) .
The other alternative options for dealing with aggression involves the following:
- Avoiding situations that make a cat aggressive
- Separating cats that act aggressively toward each other and slowly reintroducing positive reinforcement
- Refraining from giving any form of physical punishment, which may only increase a cat’s fear or anxiety, making aggression worse
- Giving medications in combination with behavioral or environmental changes
- Giving food treats as positive enforcers of non-aggressive behavior
Consulting with a veterinary behaviorist is necessary if aggression still cannot be controlled using the techniques outlined above.
Note that certain medications can impact a cat’s mood and affect its susceptibility to aggression. Even diet has been implicated as a potential contributing factor (39 ) .
In giving food treats to aggressive cats, CBD cat treats may be an excellent option.
With CBD’s therapeutic benefits, as shown in the studies mentioned previously, CBD cat treats may be useful as positive enforcers of a cat’s calm demeanor.
CBD is generally safe (40 ) and non-addictive (41 ) . CBD cat treats may be used regularly for chronically-aggressive and stressed cats or when needed.
Cat treats with full-spectrum CBD are most beneficial for aggression in cats. Full-spectrum CBD contains increased concentrations of fatty acids, like Omega-3 and Omega-6.
Studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids can help alleviate stress (42 ) , making it potentially useful in keeping cats calm.
How to Choose the Best CBD Oil Products for Cats
CBD oil, a potent Cannabis Sativa extract, may be derived from either the hemp plant or marijuana plant (also called cannabis).
CBD extracts may come in the form of full-spectrum CBD. This type of CBD oil contains all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, essential vitamins, fatty acids (like omega-3 and omega-6), and other compounds naturally present in cannabis.
Terpenes are the compounds naturally present in cannabis that give the plant its unique aromas and flavors. Flavonoids give plants their vivid colors.
On the other hand, broad-spectrum CBD oils are much like full-spectrum oils but without the THC content.
At most, broad-spectrum oils contain only trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%), making them ideal for those who do not want THC’s psychoactive effects.
CBD isolates, meanwhile, contain only pure cannabidiol. This form allows the user to customize the amount of CBD oil added to their daily routine
Whatever type of oil cat owners choose, they should insist only on high-quality CBD oil for cats to ensure its potency and reliability.
The following tips are useful for cat owners looking to try CBD for their cat.
- Buy only hemp-derived CBD oil that is guaranteed organic and non-GMO. Reputable CBD brands grow their hemp from their farms, or they source their hemp only from licensed producers.
- Check state laws. While medical cannabis (medical marijuana) is legal in many states, it is still illegal at the federal level. Meanwhile, CBD is legally available in most states as long as it contains no more than 0.3% THC.
- Look for CBD cat products that used the CO2 extraction method. This technique uses pressurized carbon dioxide to produce hemp extracts that contain all the essential compounds from the hemp plant effectively and safely.
- Ensure that the cat CBD hemp oil brand uses only natural carrier oils. Examples of natural carrier oils are hemp seed oil, MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides from coconut oil), and extra-virgin olive oil.
- Ask for third-party lab results or the certificate of analysis (COA) of each product. The COA lists all the other active cannabinoids contained in a product and indicates whether or not it contains other additives, preservatives, or contaminants.
- Follow the manufacturer’s dosing instructions, as indicated on the product label. More importantly, before giving CBD to cats, seek the advice of a veterinarian.
CBD Dosage for Aggression in Cats
The most significant safety consideration when administering CBD oil to cats is dosage .
Knowing the right dosage for a cat’s specific condition, reading the information that comes with the product label, and consulting with a veterinarian ensure the safety of furry friends.
How much CBD oil to administer depends on the cat’s age, body weight, diet, and health condition.
Unfortunately, there has not been any standard recommended dose for any ailments or conditions, in both humans and animals.
Also, different brands of pet CBD oil for dogs and cats recommend different dosing guidelines. M ost manufacturers give dose values in ranges.
Holistapet , for example, has its vet-approved CBD dosing guidelines for cats and dogs. The company recommends between 0.25 mg of CBD (considered a regular dose) to 0.5 mg of CBD (a strong dose) for every pound of pet body weight (43 ) .
A regular dose is recommended for a cat’s daily health and wellness, minor aches and pains, minor skin conditions, and for boosting the immune system function.
This dose is also ideal for relieving cat allergies, stimulating appetite, and reducing inflammation.
A strong dose is recommended for a cat’s chronic pain, severe arthritis and joint inflammation, mobility issues, and epileptic seizures.
This dose is also appropriate when treating cancer-related symptoms, tumors, extreme nausea, vomiting, and severe anxiety in cats.
As for the dosing frequency, the guidelines indicate that for pain and inflammation, the suggested dose should be given every eight hours, or as needed.
It is recommended that CBD be given 30 minutes before a stressful event (like fireworks, long trips, going to a crowded and noisy place) to control anxiety.
For all other uses, the chart recommends administering CBD once to twice a day.
Meanwhile, the typical recommendation among different manufacturers is 1 to 5 mg of CBD for every 10 lbs of a cat’s body weight.
When starting to introduce CBD oils into a cat’s routine, start with a low dose, or even err on the side of underdosing.
From a low dose, gradually increase it until the desired effects are achieved. In the case of aggression in cats, increase the amount of CBD oil in slow increments until the cat shows a positive response and begins to calm down.
How CBD Oil Can Be Administered to Cats
CBD oil for cats often comes in a liquid or tincture form. Most tinctures are in a bottle with a dropper, allowing for accurate dosage and control.
Cat owners can slowly introduce CBD, drop by drop, into their cat’s diet, using tinctures.
Tinctures can also be administered sublingually by placing a few drops under the cat’s tongue.
CBD can also be absorbed through the cat’s gums. The oil can be administered by lifting the cat’s lip and applying it onto the gums with a fingertip.
If the cat is not calm enough for this type of administration, the owner can still give CBD orally by adding CBD tinctures or sprinkling the CBD capsules’ contents onto the cat’s food and drink.
Cat owners may also use CBD cat treats as enforcers of positive, non-aggressive behavior in cats.
For nursing a cat’s pain due to inflammation or other diseases, CBD topicals, like balms, salves, and tinctures may also help.
When the pet is in a calm state, massaging these products onto its body can add relaxation.
Massage can help free up stiff joints, soothe joint pains, and promote healing by encouraging circulation to affected areas.
More importantly, a cat owner’s massage therapy to its cat can also help strengthen the bond between them.
CBD topicals may be applied transdermally to the cat’s bare skin inside its ears, or on its paws to lick.
Topical CBD products are also excellent for managing a cat’s rashes, seasonal allergies, or muscle pains.
CBD topicals are a straightforward way of targeting a specific area of the body. Also, they are conveniently used whenever needed.
Keeping a journal of the cat’s CBD dosing, reactions, and behavior is an excellent way of recording essential health details.
Remember to share this information with the vet in charge of the cat’s therapy.
A Closer Look at Aggression in Cats
The first step in managing aggression in cats is making sure the cat does not have underlying health issues that may be causing aggressive behavior (44 ) .
Diseases, like feline hyperthyroidism, central nervous system problems, osteoarthritis, and dental disease, may cause aggression.
Cat owners may sometimes try to manage their cat’s aggressive behavior through simple behavioral or environmental changes.
However, they should first take their pet to the vet for a complete diagnosis. Once the veterinarian has ruled out medical issues, identifying the type of aggression is the next step to understand its cause better and to develop a plan for intervention.
Other Types of Cat Aggression
Young cats and kittens that did not grow with littermates, or lacked the opportunities to play with other cats, most commonly show play aggression.
Cats that were raised alone may not have had the chance to learn that biting or scratching too hard is not right.
Preempt the aggression by distracting the cat with active play, or denying access to places that encourage the behavior.
A bell on its collar may help signal a cat’s whereabouts before and during a display of aggressive behavior.
Cats demonstrating fear aggression may flatten their ears against their heads, hiss and bare their teeth, and crouch low to the ground.
Their tail may be tucked under their body, and their fur may stand on end.
Fear aggression occurs when a cat sees an unfamiliar stimulus or target, such as a human stranger in the house, an animal or pet, or when it suddenly hears a noise.
Cats also manifest aggression when exposed to experiences it associates with fearful or unpleasant events, such as a visit to the veterinarian, or being mishandled by someone.
Some cats may suddenly exhibit aggression when petted. The reason for this reaction remains mostly unclear.
However, possible explanations include overstimulation, which the cats may resent. Also, the cat may be trying to exercise control when it wants the petting to end.
Even routine activities, like grooming, bathing, and nail trimming, can also cause this type of aggressive behavior.
In many cases, the cat shows dilation of its pupils, tail lashing, and movement of its ears backward on the head before becoming aggressive.
Cats are known to establish and protect their territories. They may show aggressive behavior when encountering new cats, other animals, or people to make an impression and defend their domain.
This type of aggression usually takes the form of chasing, swatting, and attacking the person or animal perceived as a trespasser.
Cats that have recently given birth and are currently nursing kittens are more likely to exhibit maternal aggression to anyone who comes near them.
For these queens, owners should provide a safe, quiet, low-stress environment, far from visitors, especially strangers.
Maternal aggression usually subsides as the kittens get older and become more independent.
Research has shown that CBD is safe to use on cats to help address aggression. CBD’s health benefits may be useful in dealing with diseases or symptoms that may cause aggression in cats, such as stress and anxiety, pain, and inflammation.
However, CBD’s effectiveness in treating any medical condition or behavior problem, like aggression in cats, has not yet been proven. Also, CBD’s long-term effects on animals and humans are still unknown.
Until more research has been done providing substantial scientific evidence of CBD use for cat aggression, cat owners should proceed with caution.
Consulting with a veterinarian experienced in cannabis use is ideal before giving CBD oil products to cats.
CBD Oil for Cats Aggression: Can It Help?
Cats are predators, it’s true — but they’re not aggressive without a reason.
Whenever you notice signs of aggression in your cat, this can be due to a behavioral or physical problem.
If the issue is behavioral, a consultation with a specialist could help figure out the potential trigger and establish the right strategy to solve it.
But, if your cat gets anxious due to physical reasons, it’s time to take them to your vet because they may require medical attention.
Whenever your problem lies, CBD appears to target it from both angles. In this article, I’ll explain the science behind the calming effects of CBD on your cat, how it can help curb aggression, and where you can find the best feline CBD oils to purchase for your friend.
CBD and Aggression in Cats: Highlights
- Cats who are in pain may be aggressive toward other pets or people when being touched, having to move or be moved, or performing activities that worsen the pain.
- Furthermore, cats with thyroid issues, orthopedic dysfunction, adrenal problems, and neurological conditions can show signs of annoyance and aggression. Most of the symptoms of these diseases are associated with inflammation. Reducing inflammation may mitigate and even prevent aggression in cats.
- According to current preclinical studies on animal models, CBD is a remarkable anti-inflammatory compound that can also weaken pain transmission in the brain.
- CBD’s potential use as an anxiolytic and antidepressant was also highlighted by a study in CNS and Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets.
- All mammals have the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which works in similar ways as in humans. Therefore, CBD’s calming, painkilling, and anti-inflammatory properties may also translate into our feline friends.
Why Cat Parents Are Using CBD Oil to Calm Down Aggression
CBD is a highly versatile health supplement that has a whole list of benefits; its therapeutic potential makes many cat parents turn to it for their feline babies.
Some pet parents use CBD themselves and wonder whether it has similar benefits for their cat’s well-being.
Aggression is a common behavioral issue in cats. It’s a hostile or violent behavior to intimidate or take control over another cat, person, or other animal.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reports that aggressive behavior can vary in pet cats.
It may demonstrate in hissing and avoiding the target of their aggression to cats attacking the animal or person that caused the aggression.
The ASPCA points to a medical diagnostic examination as the best first-resource help for all aggressive cats. Some cats may be aggressive because of an underlying medical condition.
Certain pharmaceutical medications can affect mood and increase a cat’s likelihood of showing aggressive behavior. Even diet may be a potential trigger.
Once a cat receives a diagnosis, it’s essential to work with a veterinarian and a pet psychologist to provide the cat with the best conditions to improve its mental health.
All mammals, including humans, dogs, and cats, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which performs similar functions in all species.
The ECS promotes and maintains homeostasis (balance) between other systems, organs, and their functions — ensuring that they work in harmony.
As more resources are being fueled into the research on the health benefits of CBD, scientists are also exploring the field of feline health.
Treating any underlying medical condition that could be causing aggression in your cat can improve its well-being and prevent future outbursts.
CBD may assist with the following symptoms that have been proven to trigger aggressive behavior in cats.
CBD and Pain-Induced Aggression in Cats
Cats who are in pain can be aggressive toward other pets or people to avoid being touched, moved, or performing actions that might worsen the discomfort.
Chronic pet conditions CBD might be able to help with include cats with kidney disease, lower urinary tract disease, arthritis, and dental disease.
Cats suffering from osteoarthritis could show an aggressive response when their joints are being touched. They may hiss, scratch, or bite to show their resistance.
In some cases, the problem may linger in their head even though the pain has healed.
When touched on the body part that was once painful, they would still act aggressively, probably to prevent a possible injury.
Make sure to be careful when touching your pet and avoid painful areas.
When it comes to using CBD for pain-induced aggression, the cannabinoid can help reduce inflammation and pain.
A study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology analyzed CBD’s therapeutic effects on neuropathic (nerve-triggered) and inflammatory pain in rats. The results suggested a promising potential for the use of CBD for chronic pain.
Some patients actively use cannabis-based medicines, including CBD or THC, or a combination of both. However, when it comes to managing aggression in cats, THC may be counter-effective, as the ratio of a dose to your pet’s weight may cause it to experience something known as marijuana toxicity and suffer from anxiety, paranoia, and racing heart.
CBD for Inflammation in Cats
Many diseases affecting cats are caused by an inflammation of a specific body area or organ. According to an article posted by Harvard Health, research indicates that chronic inflammation may be the most common cause of diseases.
Certain illnesses in cats, such as thyroid dysfunction, adrenal problems, orthopedic issues, and neurological disorders, can also trigger or worsen aggression.
The majority of these symptoms are caused by inflammation. Treating it may help reduce the root cause of aggression in cats.
Several human and animal studies have pointed to CBD as a potent anti-inflammatory compound and an effective remedy for neurological disorders like seizures and epilepsy in cats.
For example, a study from the European Journal of Neuroscience has found that CBD might help curb inflammation.
A 2016 study in Pain journal investigated the mechanisms behind CBD’s potential to treat inflammation in a rat model of osteoarthritis. The authors found that CBD reduced inflammation and overall pain.
Given that the ECS works the same way among all animals, CBD’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects may also apply to cats.
CBD for Stress and Anxiety in Cats
The authors of a review from the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery said that stress could increase the risk of developing certain types of aggression, including redirected aggression.
This is a common type of aggression in cats. It occurs when the cat attacks another person or object other than the one that triggered aggressive behavior.
This way, cats cope with stressful events.
Let’s say your cat sees a stray cat in your backyard but can’t reach it; the failure to attack the actual prey causes the cat to become offensive toward a family member or another animal that’s on their territory.
A research paper published in PLoS ONE suggests separation-related problems as a potential cause of aggression in cats.
The authors outlined typical signs of separation anxiety:
- Urinating in atypical locations
- Defecating at inappropriate locations, besides the litter box
- Offensive behavior
- Uncontrolled meowing or vocalization.
The researchers also included three categories that describe cats’ mental states when they’re either alone or separated from their human parents.
These categories are agitation-anxiety, aggressiveness, and depression.
Among the cats sampled, about 13% of subjects met at least one of the behavioral criteria for separation anxiety.
Destructive behavior was observed in 66.67% of cats; aggressiveness was reported in 36.67 cats, whereas around 48% of cats demonstrated signs of depression.
On top of using strategies to prevent and reduce stress and anxiety in cats, such as avoiding stressors or “rewiring” the brain to stop associating the trigger with something stress-inducing, cat owners may supplement their pets with CBD oil to help with anxiety.
For example, a 2018 study published in Frontiers in Immunology showed that CBD may serve as a potential remedy for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
In the study, the research team analyzed the clinical and experimental treatment with CBD. They noted that CBD demonstrated antipsychotic, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), and neuroprotectant effects on the brain.
CBD’s therapeutic properties for anxiety and depression were also mentioned in a study from CNS Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets.
Although the studies were performed on rats and mice, the universal nature of the ECS among all mammals may provide comparable results in cats.
Cat parents aiming for successful management of their cat’s aggression by curbing anxiety and depressive symptoms may want to add CBD as a safe and non-toxic alternative to prescription medications.
How Exactly Does CBD Help With Aggression in Cats?
CBD and other cannabinoids affect the activity of the endocannabinoid system by acting on its receptors directly or indirectly. These cannabinoids work as neurotransmitters, helping establish proper communication between cells.
The two types of receptors present in the ECS are CB1 and CB2 receptors.
In cats, CB1 receptors appear mostly in the brain and central nervous system. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are prevalent in the immune system and peripheral organs.
CB1 receptors regulate pain, motor regulation, mood, memory processing, and sleep cycles.
Meanwhile, the CB2 receptor is responsible for reducing inflammation and protecting tissues.
These anti-inflammatory responses may help improve a cat’s well-being, preventing aggressive behavior.
Pros & Cons of Using CBD Oil with Aggressive Cats
- The endocannabinoid system (ECS) and cannabinoid receptors work the same across all mammals. Therefore, CBD’s potential benefits, as proven in human and animal studies, may also translate to cats.
- CBD doesn’t have the potential for abuse or addiction, making it safe for cats when administered under veterinary supervision.
- Hemp-derived CBD products for cats are widely available without prescription in many countries.
- You can give high-quality CBD oil meant for humans to cats. Still, be careful when measuring your doses because cats are way smaller than humans. Gauge the dose as if you were microdosing CBD for yourself.
- Not many direct studies on cats have been conducted when it comes to using CBD for specific health conditions, such as those involving aggression.
- Cannabis-based products haven’t been approved by the FDA, so before trying CBD for feline aggression, the agency strongly recommends consulting a veterinarian.
- Veterinarians aren’t legally authorized to prescribe CBD as a medication for cats, except in California. Not many vets are even aware of the health benefits of CBD.
- There’s a risk of interactions between CBD and certain medications because CBD competes with metabolic enzymes in the liver.
CBD vs Alternative Treatments for Aggressive Behavior on Cats
All types of feline aggression can benefit from implementing several general principles. Diagnosis and intervention are the first steps you should take to solve the problem.
Other alternative options for dealing with aggression in cats involve:
- Avoiding aggression triggers
- Separating cats that are aggressive toward each other, and slowly introducing them to start tightening their bonds.
- Not giving any form of physical punishment, which could only worsen the cat’s fear and anxiety, increasing aggression.
- Combining behavioral and environmental changes with dietary modifications and supplementation.
- Giving your cat treats that enforce peaceful behavior.
A veterinary behaviorist can help if aggression still goes out of control despite using the techniques presented above.
Keep in mind that certain medications may affect your cat’s mood and increase its sensitivity to stimuli; this, in turn, could compromise the efficacy of your treatment.
But even a wrong diet may contribute to feline aggression, so you need to approach the problem from different angles and look at your cat holistically.
If you decide to go for calming cat treats, CBD is a great pick because it naturally calms your cat, not to mention that such treats often come with other supplemental herbs that give them a well-rounded effect.
Different Types of CBD Oil for Aggressive Cats
CBD oil is a concentrated extract sourced from Cannabis sativa plants; it can be derived from hemp or marijuana.
In its least processed form, CBD oil contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. These compounds work synergistically to enhance the health benefits of the extract as a whole.
This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect and has been broadly described in several research papers.
Full-spectrum CBD oil also contains a trace amount of THC (0.3% or less), but the amount is insufficient to produce any intoxicating effects on your cat.
There are also broad-spectrum extracts, which are much like full-spectrum CBD oils, except for the THC content. The psychoactive compound is removed once the manufacturer has obtained a crude extract.
CBD isolate is another appealing form for cat parents because it contains only CBD. On the one hand, this is good if you’re interested in the health benefits of CBD alone. But pon the other hand, such products don’t leverage the entourage effect and are more difficult to dose due to the so-called bell-shaped dose-response curve.
How to Choose The Best CBD Oil for an Aggressive Cat
Here are a few tips that will help you choose the best product to curb aggression in your cat:
- Check the hemp source: the hemp used in your CBD oil should come from organic, non-GMO crops that are grown on local US farms. Alternatively, look for brands that source their hemp from licensed producers.
- Choose CO2 extraction: this method uses pressurized carbon dioxide to yield hemp extracts that carry all the therapeutic compounds from hemp effectively and safely.
- Look for CBD oils with MCT oil: this oil contains medium-chain triglycerides and is derived from coconut oil due to its high content of saturated fats. While some companies may try to lure you with CBD oils suspended in hemp oil to ‘keep everything within the cannabis family,’ the truth is that the more saturated fats, the higher the bioavailability of CBD. Not to mention the MCT oil can neutralize the earthy taste of full-spectrum CBD to some extent.
- Ask for the certificate of analysis (COA): each product batch should be tested in a third-party laboratory for potency and purity, including results for pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and microbial impurities.
CBD Dosage for Feline Aggression
That’s probably the most bugging aspect for pet owners when it comes to curbing aggression in their cats.
How much CBD is enough? What happens if you go too far with the dosage?
The good news is that a lethal overdose on CBD oil is impossible because CBD doesn’t interact with the brain stem areas that control respiratory function.
The bad news is that there are no official dosage charts for giving CBD to cats because the cannabinoid isn’t regulated by the FDA and veterinarians can’t officially prescribe it to pets.
What you can do is follow the manufacturer’s instructions or calculate the dosage using your cat’s weight.
For example, Royal CBD recommends giving one full dropper of its 250 mg full-spectrum CBD oil twice daily — or as recommended by a veterinarian.
When it comes to dosing by weight, the best practice is to start at 0.25 or 0.5 mg of CBD for a low or strong dose for every pound of the cat’s body weight.
If your cat becomes aggressive due to behavioral problems, try giving them CBD oil for about 30 minutes before stressful events.
How to Give Your Pet Cat CBD Oil
The most effective way of administering CBD oil to cats is through sublingual use. Ideally, your cat should be able to hold the oil under the tongue for around 60 seconds to maximize the absorption of CBD.
However, since some cats are picky when it comes to CBD oil, pet parents often add the extract to their regular food. This will delay CBD’s onset and reduce bioavailability but may ensure longer-lasting effects.
For localized problems that may trigger aggression, such as arthritis flare-ups or injuries, topical CBD should provide the best results. When applied topically, CBD interacts with the cutaneous endocannabinoid system, acting on CB2 receptors and reducing physical discomfort.
Understanding your Cat’s Aggressive Behavior
The first step to addressing aggression in cats is to make sure it doesn’t have any underlying medical conditions that may be causing them to behave aggressively.
Diseases, such as central nervous system disorders, dental disease, osteoarthritis, and feline hyperthyroidism may be the “why” behind your cat’s aggression.
Whenever you notice any alarming signs in your cat, take them to the vet first. Once you’re sure it’s not any physical condition, you can look for a behavioral specialist who will lay out a proper strategy to solve the problem.
Different Types of Aggression
Now to behavioral issues. Here’s why your cat may become aggressive other than from being sick:
Young cats and kittens that didn’t have the opportunity to play with other cats commonly show play aggression
This applies to cats that were raised alone or may not have the chance to learn that scratching and biting too hard is inappropriate.
You can quite easily manage this issue by distracting the cat with active play or limiting the activities that encourage play aggression.
Another tip is to use a conditioning mechanism, something like a specific sound that will warn your cat against continuing the misdemeanor. Use it every time the cat shows signs of aggression so that they learn it’s not good to act out during playtime.
Aggression is a defensive mechanism that cats can use to protect themselves from another predator or any other kind of danger.
You may notice fear-induced aggression by observing your cat’s behavior. When they flatten their ears against their heads, show their bare teeth, and crouch low to the ground, they’re not in a playful mood.
Cats also demonstrate aggression when put under situations that remind them of unpleasant events, such as a visit to the veterinarian or being carried to their transport box when you take them to your parents on holidays.
Cats like to establish and protect their territories. They may become aggressive toward new cats, other animals, or people that breach the territory.
This type of aggression usually manifests in swatting, chasing, and attacking the trespassing object.
The reason for this kind of aggression is unclear, but some cats may suddenly turn aggressive when petted.
Possible explanations include overstimulation, which cats certainly don’t like. Aggression may be a sign of your cat trying to take control over the situation when you’re trying too hard.
Even normal activities, such as bathing, nail trimming, or grooming, can also trigger aggression in cats.
The symptoms of petting-induced aggression involve dilation of the cat’s pupils, tail lashing, and moving their ears backward on the head before attacking.
Cats that have just given birth to kittens and are currently nursing them are more likely to show maternal aggression to anyone who approaches them.
For these cats, owners should provide a quiet, low-stress environment where they could feel safe from visitors, especially strangers.
Maternal aggression usually goes away as the kittens get older and gain more independence.
Key Takeaways on Using CBD Oil for Cat Aggression
Studies have shown that CBD is safe for cats and may help reduce their aggression, whether it’s driven by a physical or behavioral issue.
CBD is a versatile therapeutic compound that can improve your cat’s quality of life by balancing its endocannabinoid system. However, CBD’s efficacy in treating certain medical conditions is unclear due to the lack of clinical trials on cats.
But then again, all mammals have the same endocannabinoid system, so what works for other animals and humans may work for cats as well.
If you believe CBD could help curb your cat’s aggression, talk to a veterinarian who will be knowledgeable about giving CBD oil to cats. Just make sure to do proper research because veterinarians aren’t officially authorized to prescribe CBD to cats.
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (2022). Aggression in Cats. ASPCA.ORG. Retrieved from: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-behavior-issues/aggression-cats
- Mouslech, Z., & Valla, V. (2009). Endocannabinoid system: An overview of its potential in current medical practice. Neuroendocrinology Letters, 30(2), 153–179.
- Costa, B., Trovato, A. E., Comelli, F., Giagnoni, G., & Colleoni, M. (2007). The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain. European journal of pharmacology, 556(1-3), 75–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2006.11.006
- La Porta, C., Bura, S. A., Negrete, R., & Maldonado, R. (2014). Involvement of the endocannabinoid system in osteoarthritis pain. The European journal of neuroscience, 39(3), 485–500. 
- Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., McIlwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis. European journal of pain (London, England), 20(6), 936–948. 
- Amat, M., Camps, T., & Manteca, X. (2016). Stress in owned cats: behavioral changes and welfare implications. Journal of feline medicine and surgery, 18(8), 577–586. 
- de Souza Machado, D., Oliveira, P., Machado, J. C., Ceballos, M. C., & Sant’Anna, A. C. (2020). Identification of separation-related problems in domestic cats: A questionnaire survey. PloS one, 15(4), e0230999. 
- Crippa, J. A., Guimarães, F. S., Campos, A. C., & Zuardi, A. W. (2018). Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a New Age. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 2009. 
- de Mello Schier, A. R., de Oliveira Ribeiro, N. P., Coutinho, D. S., Machado, S., Arias-Carrión, O., Crippa, J. A., Zuardi, A. W., Nardi, A. E., & Silva, A. C. (2014). Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS & neurological disorders drug targets, 13(6), 953–960. https://doi.org/10.2174/1871527313666140612114838
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
The Best CBD Oil for Cat Aggression (Review)
Many pet owners know how frustrating it can be when their cats get aggressive. Cats are known for being quite antisocial, and one of the reasons they may lash out is because they feel threatened or scared. Aggression in cats can lead to a number of other problems, such as not letting someone near them, biting at anyone who tries to pick them up, and even urinating outside the litter box. Fortunately, there’s something that will help these furry friends: CBD oil!
Cats Aggression Overview
Cats, like other animals, can become aggressive for various reasons. A typical example of this is when they feel threatened by another animal or want to protect their territory.
Fortunately, CBD oil will often help with these kinds of aggressive behaviors in cats. Like with people and other animals, CBD acts as a calming agent that enhances the mood of your furry friend. It doesn’t take long to notice some behavioral changes once you start using it regularly on your cat, either! This article on CBD benefits covers why this supplement may be able to help treat any kind of mental health issue.
The two main causes of feline aggression are fear and possessiveness/territoriality. Cats are more likely to get scared when you try to do something to them or when they aren’t used to being handled. In addition, some cats may also be possessive about their food bowl and litter box, so you shouldn’t try to use those without asking for permission from your cat first!
If you’re curious about CBD oil’s benefits for these kinds of behaviors in cats, then read on. This article will give a step-by-step guide that will help you understand how CBD can help ease aggression and other related problems. It’s important to note that there isn’t any scientific research available for this article because it is difficult to conduct such studies with animals. However, this article does include anecdotal evidence from people who have tried CBD oil supplements on their pets (like cats) and seen positive results.
What Are the Available Treatment Options for Cats Aggression?
As with humans and other animals, CBD is not a cure for aggression in cats. Rather, it can help lessen your pet’s symptoms so you can work on the root of the problem. A good example of this is if your cat becomes aggressive when they feel threatened or scared – CBD oil will help reduce those feelings as well as associated behaviors like hissing or puffing up fur. In short, you’ll need to continue some kind of treatment alongside using CBD oil to permanently treat aggression in cats.
In addition, there are other ways you can help calm down your furry friends during times of heightened stress. It may be a good idea to keep them separated from any triggers that make them aggressive (if possible) until you no longer see any aggressive behaviors. It’s also important to note that CBD oil may not work for every cat, so please consult your vet before trying it out on your furry friend.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Cats’ Aggression
CBD oil has a variety of benefits for both humans and pets that include:
One of the most well-known benefits of CBD oil is how it can ease inflammation in your cat’s body. This, in turn, will decrease any pain associated with their aggression as well as related symptoms like cramps or even arthritis. Since CBD oil also helps improve your cat’s moods, you may see them being less aggressive overall. In fact, many people have seen great results from using CBD oil to treat their cats’ anxiety – this behavior usually manifests by pawing at furniture or hiding under beds!
Just like any other animal, CBD oil is a natural way to help calm down your cat. Unlike medications, CBD oil products are completely natural and won’t cause any negative side effects. This means you can use them every day to help prevent aggressive behaviors from reoccurring. Some people have even been able to get their pets off of prescription medication just by using CBD oil!
Cats who suffer from anxiety will often lash out at other animals or humans in their environment. They may also hide away from the world because they’re stressed out or generally scared about something going on near or around them. By calming down your pet with a dose of CBD oil, he’ll be less likely to behave this way – especially if his anxiety stems from another animal being too close to him.
Just like any other animal, cats who suffer from chronic pain may lash out as a result of their condition. Fortunately, using CBD oil on your cat can help ease the aches and pains they experience throughout their body – especially those related to inflammation or swelling. In turn, this can help prevent aggressive behaviors, so you don’t have to worry about them harming you or another pet in the house!
List of CBD Products and Best Uses
There are many different products you can use to help ease your cat’s aggressive behavior. While not all CBD products are the same, here are some of our favorites:
CBD Oil – This product is the most concentrated form of CBD oil for cats and works well in both treats and drinking water.
CBD Tincture – This is one of the most popular ways to take CBD because it uses a dropper and lets you easily control how much your cat is getting every day.
CBD Treats – These treats come in many different flavors, so cats with picky eating habits can enjoy them as well. What’s even better is that they’re flavored like chicken or salmon – meaning your cat won’t be able to resist!
CBD Edibles – Many pet owners like this method because it’s easy to give your cat their dose every day. For example, you can mix CBD oil into their wet food or even sprinkle it over some dry kibble! The only drawback here is that your cat may not like the flavor or texture of edibles.
How to administer CBD Oil to an Aggressive Cat?
There are several ways that you can give CBD oil to your cat – each with its own benefits and drawbacks:
- Topical Application
For many pet owners, giving their pets CBD oil top is one of the easiest ways to take advantage of its health benefits. This is because it allows CBD oil to sink into their skin and fur so the nutrients can be absorbed throughout their body. The downside to this method is that there is a chance cats will try and lick off any CBD oil products you put on them – which means they won’t receive any of the benefits from your end!
If you’re uncomfortable with the thought of putting something onto your cat’s skin, then ingestion may be a better option for you. Many pet owners have been able to give their cats CBD oil by mixing it in with wet or dry food. By doing this, your furry friend has no choice but to eat the CBD oil and enjoy all of the benefits that come from taking it. However, this method is much easier for younger cats who are more likely to eat food out of a bowl – older felines may prefer having their food hand-fed to them instead!
Another way you can give your cat CBD oil products is by allowing him to inhale vaporized smoke or steam from any CBD oil products. This method works especially well with those made from plants other than hemp, as they won’t contain any THC and will be safe for pets. The downside, however, is that many pet owners don’t like the idea of smoking around their furry friend, and there’s no guarantee they’ll be OK with the smell either.
Recommended Dosage for Cats Aggression
Unfortunately, there isn’t any dosage information available for treating cats with aggression using CBD oil. This is because there haven’t been enough studies done to determine how much or how often they should take it. However, most pet owners give their cat between 0.5mg and 2mg of CBD oil every day – this can be spread out across several meals.
We truly believe that CBD Oil is the best product for cat aggression. It’s so important to know what you’re getting into before trying this treatment, which is why we’ve included some of the most common questions and answers surrounding CBD treatments in general. If you have any other questions about our article on how CBD oil works for aggressive cats or want more information on other product benefits, please let us know!