CBD, overweight and obesity in cats
As in humans, overweight and obesity are increasingly common problems in pets, and cats are no exception. Overweight and obesity is an excessive accumulation of body fat, which can be unhealthy. Complications caused by too much weight are multiple (diabetes, osteoarthritis, heart and respiratory problems). Let’s see together what steps to take so that your cat regains an ideal weight for his health, and how CBD oil (cannabidiol) can help you in this process.
What is overweight ?
Overweight and obesity, are an excessive accumulation of body fat, harmful to health. Overweight is defined as overweight of 10% of the reference weight, obesity will be characterized above 20%. It is much more difficult to measure fat mass in cats than in humans. The estimate is therefore based on 4 factors:
- 1) The examination of the animal’s silhouette. Not always obvious in cats, because fat deposits are different from those of dogs.
- 2) The weighing. In order to verify the weight according to known references (breed, sex, etc.)
- 3) The body condition index, calculated according to several scales, the best known being the SHAPE (Size, Health & Physical Evaluation).
- 4) The percentage of body fat, calculated from the Feline Body Mass Index. It is from these results that the veterinarian will be able to set up, with the cat’s owner, a dietary strategy aimed at reducing the animal’s weight.
The effects of excess weight in cats
Overweight or obese cats are much more prone to certain serious diseases, which can reduce their life expectancy. The most common diseases found in overweight or obese animals are :
- Joint pain
- Dermatological conditions
- Lipidosis of the liver
- Hormonal problems
- Decreased life expectancy
In France, according to several studies, about 30% of cats are overweight or obese (Colliard L et al. 2009).
Why does a cat gain weight?
Several factors can promote weight gain in animals. When we offer our cat more calories than it expends during the day, then the excess calories will be stored as fat. A diet that is too rich, or that does not respect the cats’ eating habits, as well as insufficient physical activity will promote weight gain. Other factors can also be involved, such as certain diseases, castration, stress, etc.
How can you help your cat regain his weight ?
Are you ready to do everything in your power to help your cat regain full health? Then a little patience, because it is recommended to aim for a weight loss goal of approximately 1% of the initial weight per week. This very progressive rhythm allows the cat’s stomach to get used to a smaller amount of food in terms of calories or quantity, or both. Here are 4 areas to focus on.
- Cats’ eating habits mean that they prefer a multitude of small meals spread over 24 hours, rather than 2 or 3 larger meals. A large number of scattered meals allows your companion to always be satiated.
- Adapted kibbles. Some brands offer low-calorie kibbles that are rich in protein and fiber. They have the advantage of allowing the cat to maintain its muscles thanks to the protein, but also to keep it full thanks to the fiber. You can also add some green vegetables rich in fiber, such as beans, cucumbers, zucchini, cut into small pieces and mixed with the croquettes.
- Some movement. If your cat lives in an apartment and has no outside access, he will naturally tend to be less active. Therefore, offer him many toys that you will renew regularly so that he doesn’t get tired of them. Play with him, and you’ll both have a great time.
- CBD (cannabidiol), a few drops of CBD oil every day, will reduce your cat’s appetite and strengthen his health.
CBD appetite reduction and weight loss
CBD (cannabidiol) is a member of the cannabinoid family of substances found in industrial hemp (Cannabis Sativa), and more generally in cannabis. You surely know another famous cannabinoid, THC, whose consumption is prohibited because it is psychotropic. Cannabidiol (CBD) does not make you “high”, its sale and consumption are legal since 2018. Indeed, CBD has an impressive therapeutic potential, and is therefore the subject of many studies, including the following ones on our subject:
When Your Cat is More Fat than Fluffy
As my youngest cat, Henri, trundled up to me one Saturday morning, sitting squarely on my chest as I read a book, I realized something: my cat might just be more fat than fluff. But, like most people with cats, I am unsure of his breed, so searching the deep corners of the internet for a healthy weight for “generic cute cat” was not very helpful.
A trip to the vet confirmed my suspicions: my cat was not only fluffy, but he was very fat.
If you have ever had a harsh realization about your pet parenting and felt like a failure, rest assured, you are not alone. I felt like a flat-out failure. How had I let my once-tiny kitten get so big? How had I not stopped it sooner? I have three cats, and of the three, how had I failed with the youngest one? I owed him a better life than that!
Fortunately, I was able to make changes in Henri’s life that helped him get back to a healthy weight range and helped put a spring in his step. This is how I got Henri’s life back on track:
Start with Feeding Times
Who else is guilty of pouring the amount recommended on the cat food bag into the bowl and then leaving it down and going about your day, and then coming home from work and pouring more into the bowl and letting it sit? Just me? That can’t be right.
The first thing that helped me get my cats to a healthy weight was limiting feeding times and starting a routine. We put their food down in the morning and in the evening (around 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.), in separate rooms, and set a timer to leave it down for 20-30 minutes. After that time limit, we pick the bowls up, save the leftover food, and go about our lives.
Starting this feeding routine not only helped get all three of my cats to a healthy weight but also helped keep them more content. In fact, cats thrive on routine , and starting a morning and night time feeding schedule seemed to lower their anxiety and drastically decrease their food aggression. They seemed to trust that they would be fed and stopped waking us up early to feed them. Everybody wins.
Monitor Amount Being Given
Have you ever noticed that the cat or dog food container or bag has a recommended serving size? Have you ever thought maybe it was too small, like when human servings are smaller so that they can claim it is a diet-friendly option? As it turns out, following the recommendation on the bag may not be a good idea, because the recommendations are generic at best and in some cases, are intended to make you run out of food faster so that you buy more.
Talk to your vet to find out the right amount of food for your specific pets needs. Your vet will take into consideration your pet’s activity level, current diet, and allergies. I learned that Henri needed less than a quarter of a cup of his dry food twice a day. For my older cats who battle UTIs, it was one-third a can of wet food each (which I purchased from my local EarthWise Pet Supply ).
Monitor for Underlying Causes of Overeating
I was quick to blame myself for Henri’s weight, but just like people, cats can have emotional and physical issues that cause overeating.
It wasn’t until I was home with Henri one afternoon during a thunderstorm that I first realized he was shaking. Every time the lightning made its symbol-like crash and the thunder rolled like a bass drum, Henri would stick his head up from under my chair, and shake. Five minute into the storm, I noticed he started to pace. Then, after about 15 minutes, he went to his food bowl (which I had forgotten to pick up) and started nervously eating. As soon as the storm passed, he calmed down and stopped. He always seemed so aloof — we joke that he sells timeshares because he can make anyone love him and he isn’t afraid of people like my older cat, Inigo, or sassy like my oldest, a calico named Chloe. But during that storm, I saw that he was struggling. I remembered that his previous owners had abandoned him outside during a storm, and immediately understood that this was a deep fear for him. (Yes, I psychoanalyzed my cat.)
I started giving him CALM CBD oil for pets, which I learned is safe for all mammals, and it was able to treat his fear of storms. I put 0.5 mL of the oil under his lip when I saw the sky clouding up, and he took a nap and did not stress eat. Getting to the root cause of his stress eating has helped him stay at a healthy weight now, even if I forget to pick up the food bowls.
You may also want to see if your cat is overweight or overeating because of diabetes, and may need to discern if they are bloated because of the type of food you are giving them. Either way, getting down to the root of the problem is vital.
Is CBD Safe for Cats? Your Ultimate Guide
The CBD pet market has been growing at a rapid rate over the last few years. It was worth $19.5 billion in 2018, and it’s expected to reach a valuation of $22.39 billion by the year 2023. Many people are aware of the benefits of CBD for humans. There’s still quite a bit of confusion about whether or not it’s a safe and effective option for pets, though. If you’ve been wondering, “Is CBD safe for cats?” keep reading. Everything you need to know about giving your furry feline CBD oil is explained down below.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid that is naturally present in the cannabis plants. CBD is not psychoactive, unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, which is another well-known cannabinoid) — this means it will not get you high when you consume it. CBD has a different effect than THC, in part, because it does not bind to the CB1 cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are found mainly in the brain and spinal cord. Instead of binding to these receptors, CBD works by increasing the availability of the body’s own natural cannabinoids (known as endocannabinoids). It also binds to other receptors, such as the serotonin receptors , to help balance mood and promote other health benefits.
Is CBD Safe for Cats?
Now that you have a bit of a better understanding of how CBD works in the body, you’re probably wondering whether or not it’s safe for pets like cats to consume. The short answer appears to be that yes, it is. Cats, like dogs and humans, have an endocannabinoid system. It’s important to note, though, that their endocannabinoid systems, as well as their digestive systems, are much more sensitive than those of dogs or humans. Because of this, it’s important for them to consume CBD oil (and other CBD products) designed specifically with cats in mind.
Benefits of CBD for Cats
When cats are given cat-specific CBD, they can experience a variety of benefits. The following are some of the most well-known benefits:
IBD, short for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, is a type of chronic illness. It causes inflammation within the digestive tract. As with humans who suffer from this condition, cats with IBD are prone to digestive issues like diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting. They may have a hard time putting on weight as well. If your cat suffers from IBD, CBD may be beneficial when it comes to relieving inflammation and pain associated with the condition. It might make it easier for your cat to eat at regular intervals, too.
If your cat has IBD, they also have or be at risk of developing pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). CBD can help to treat this condition as well by minimizing pain and inflammation and promoting better digestion.
Thanks, again, to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD may be a useful tool for those who have cats (or other pets) struggling with arthritis and joint pain. If your cat is old or overweight and has a hard time walking or getting up or down from pieces of furniture because of their joint pain, CBD can help to relieve their symptoms so they can move in a pain-free way.
Improve Respiratory Conditions
Many cat-owners also find that giving their cats CBD can help to reduce or eliminate the symptoms associated with respiratory conditions. This includes respiratory tract infections and asthma. The benefit of using CBD for these conditions is twofold. First, CBD helps to get rid of the inflammation that can cause or make them worse. It also has some antibacterial properties to help fight off infections.
Reduce Seizure Frequency and Severity
Cats who suffer from epilepsy or seizure disorders can find relief when given CBD as well. One of CBD’s original uses was to treat seizure disorders in humans. It’s useful for cats as well and can be given alongside other seizure medications.
Even if your cat does not have IBD, they may have other health issues that cause a reduction in their appetite. If your cat isn’t eating as much as they need, CBD may help to stimulate their appetite so they can eat on a regular basis and start putting on weight.
Many people don’t think of cats as struggling with separation anxiety because they don’t bark as dogs do. They may show other signs of anxiety, though. Some cats meow incessantly or act out in other ways when they’re left alone. If this is the case for your cat, giving them CBD can help to calm them down.
Improve Sleep Quality
In addition to reducing anxiety, CBD can also improve your cat’s ability to fall and stay asleep. If you have concerns about them not sleeping enough, try giving them some CBD to promote feelings of calmness and settle them down before they’re supposed to go to bed.
CBD Risks for Cats
The biggest risks of giving cats CBD oil or other CBD products comes not from the CBD itself, but from the dosing process, as well as from the formulation of the product. If your cat gets a larger dose than they need, they may be more prone to fatigue or digestive issues. If they’re given a subpar product, such as one made with synthetic CBD, an unhealthy carrier oil, or artificial flavors or colors, they may also be more prone to digestive problems and other negative health effects. As long as you administer high-quality CBD products and give them in the appropriate dose, the risks associated with CBD are slim.
How to Give Your Cat CBD
If you’re interested in using CBD for your cat, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Remembering these guidelines will help you ensure you’re giving them a high-quality oil and help you get the dosage just right:
Ask About Sourcing
One of the first questions you should ask when considering a particular CBD product is about where the plants from which the CBD was extracted were sourced. Were they grown in the U.S.? Were they grown using organic growing techniques? How healthy is the soil in which they were grown? The answers to all of these questions may have an impact on the healthiness of the CBD oil or products you’re about to give your cat.
It’s important that the plants from which the CBD was extracted are organic. It’s also important that the other ingredients in the CBD product be organic as well. If the CBD is organic but the carrier oil is non-organic and full of pesticides, for example, you could end up negating the benefits of the CBD or even causing more harm to your cat. Look at the ingredients label and ask questions if you have concerns about the origins of any of the ingredients.
Seek Out Lab Tests
There’s very little regulation in the CBD industry at the moment (especially the CBD pet industry). To combat this, CBD experts like those at Innovet recommend only buying CBD products from companies that pay to have their products tested in third-party laboratories. If a company will pay extra money to ensure they’re putting out a quality product, that’s a good sign that theirs is a safe option for your cat to consume.
Talk to Your Vet
It’s always a good idea to talk to your vet before you start giving your cat any kind of supplement. If you’ve already purchased a CBD product, take it to your vet’s office and ask them to take a look at it. You can also ask your vet if they know of any other brands that they recommend or have experience using.
When giving CBD to your cat, always start with the smallest dose possible. A few drops or a tiny portion of a treat can go a long way, especially if you’re using a product that contains a higher concentration of CBD (check the label before you administer it). It’s always better to err on the side of giving your cat too little rather than too much. The side effects of excessive CBD for cats may not be terribly severe, but it’s still best to avoid them if possible.
Once you’ve given your cat CBD, pay close attention to see how it affects them. Administer the CBD at the same time each day for a week or so and take note of how their symptoms improve or get worse. If you don’t notice any changes, try increasing their dosage by a small amount and continue to monitor them.
Try CBD Today
As you can see, there are lots of benefits that come with using CBD for your cat’s overall health and wellness. Now that you have an answer to the question “Is CBD safe for cats?”, what do you think? Does it seem like a good option for your feline? If you have more questions about CBD for pets or for humans, don’t forget to check out the other articles on our site today. The Health section is full of useful information.