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CBD For Cat Anxiety – How To Calm With Cannabidiol

CBD For Cat Anxiety – How To Calm With Cannabidiol


Is this Article for me?

If you've asked yourself questions similar to the ones below, you should find this guide useful.

1. How CBD can help cats suffering from anxiety?

2. What can you give cats for anxiety?

3. CBD oil for cats: Will it help their anxiety?

4. How to reduce your cat's anxiety and stress?

about this Article

Distress, fear, and anxiety are common problems in cats. A variety of factors can contribute, and over time it can progress into a general disorder. The cause of stress is often the cat's past experiences.

There are many prescription drugs aimed to treat anxiety in cats. Yet, many cat owners prefer using natural remedies when possible. Some pet owners wonder if CBD can help their cats with anxiety and stress.

There are all kinds of herbs that can produce calming effects in cats. But lately, many cat owners are beginning to realize the power of CBD (Cannabidiol). 

CBD utilizes a system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS and its receptors are present in every primary system of our body. The ECS system is present in humans and all mammals, including cats.

CBD originated from hemp mimics the natural cannabinoids in our bodies. And get this — cannabinoid receptors are even present on cells in a part of the brain called the "amygdala." It's the part of our brain which processes emotions, such as fear or anxiety. 

Now, let's dive right in.

chapter 1:

Anxiety and Fear in Cats

For a more extensive guide on CBD, check out our Beginner's Guide to CBD Oil


Anxiety and Fear in Cats:

Fear is a natural emotional response to the threat of harm or danger. The fear can physical, emotional, or psychological, real, or imagined.

Anxiety and fear serve vital roles in keeping us safe as it mobilizes us to cope with potential danger. It's also known as the "fight or flight" response. It's an essential part of nature and helps keep animals and humans safe from harm.

When the brain triggers fear from a false danger we only imagine, it becomes known as an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is the mind and body's reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations.

When cats feel anxious, their bodies prepare for fight or flight. It increases their heart rate, produces adrenaline, and tenses up the muscles.

When cats sense danger, these reactions help them to get out of trouble fast. 

In the case of an anxiety disorder, a cat might experience a fear reaction from a danger that does not exist. These false fear reactions may affect the cat's ability to live a healthy life.

Severe anxiety disorders can be very draining, both for humans and cats.


Feline Anxiety and Fear-Related Problems:

Cats experience many of the same types of anxieties that humans experience. You can classify types of fears and anxiety into several kinds:

  • Phobias: A phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of an outside stimulant. These stimulants might include loud noises from fireworks, thunder, and vacuum cleaners. A cat will display an immediate response to phobic situations. 

    Once a cat establishes a phobia, they are in danger of developing anxiety.

    Events that simulate that same fear could be enough to create an anxious response. Even memories of the event can trigger anxiety.  

  • Panic: Panic is an intense display of fear that can come on without warning. Like phobias, a cat may attempt to escape the situation.

    Panic may also make a cat vicious while trying to avoid the situation.

    Events surrounding phobia or panic attacks are very memorable and upsetting to a cat.

    Over time, these events tend to become easier to trigger and more challenging to treat.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Generalized anxiety is an excessive fear or worry about several different things.

    GAD in cats might look to you as general nervousness, which appears to have no specific trigger.

    Cats with GAD can display anxious symptoms, no matter what the situation is.

    Cats with GAD may always appear unhappy, unenthusiastic, or downright miserable. But, this is how a cat displays and deals with its constant anxiety feelings.

  • Separation Anxiety in Cats: Separation anxiety is another type of anxiety seen in cats. It is a condition where a cat displays anxiety symptoms when separated from their owners.

    Although separation anxiety is more common in dogs, it may also affect cats.

    Severe separation anxiety can occur when a cat's attachment to its owner becomes dysfunctional.

    Separation anxiety can lead to behavioral problems. You may notice that the cat becomes very clingy.

    A cat with separation anxiety may show signs of distress when its' owner leaves the house or is preparing to leave.


Anxiety and Fear Triggers:

  • Having other cats around

  • Humans — general, or a specific type (e.g., children, visitors) or specific people

  • Loud noises

  • New sounds, objects, or locations

  • Larger animals such as dogs

  • Separation from loved ones such as family

Some Behavioral Symptoms from Cat Anxiety:

Most cat owners will recognize clear signs of fear — crouched body, low tail, dilated pupils, and perhaps trying to escape from an area.

Unfortunately, a cat cannot tell us when he's feeling anxious.

Cat owners may miss the signs if there are no apparent triggers. However, you'll notice that a cat with anxiety will display some noticeable behavioral signs.

Here are some common symptoms of cat anxiety:

  • Increased appearance of sleepiness

  • Decreased or increased levels of activity

  • Hiding or increased clinginess to people

  • Aggressive behavior

  • Soiling inside the home

  • Larger animals such as dogs

  • Meowing excessively

  • Loss of appetite or weight

  • Scratching carpet or furniture

  • Increased vigilance and restlessness

  • Grooming excessively

Your pet deserves this.

Let's get them feeling better.


chapter 2:

Calming Practices for Cats

There are a few simple things that you can try at home to help ease your cat's nerves.


Calming Practices for Cats:

CBD oil mimics one of the body's natural calming pathways, as mentioned above. 

Additionally, below are some of the things you can do to make your cat less anxious or fearful.

  • Giving More Playtime to Your Cat: Give your cat toys that entice them to chase something. These toys have the benefit of increasing exercise.

    Cats like them because the toys mimic their instinctive hunting behavior.

    Food puzzles and trick-training are also excellent forms of mental stimulus.

    They also serve as boredom busters for the time you're away from your cat.

  • Stimulating scents: Outdoor cats spend lots of time sniffing and exploring their environment.

    As an indoor cat owner, you can help mimic this by providing new scents from food or non-toxic plants.

  • Hops and Chamomile: Some scents may be both calming and refreshing. Many people drink chamomile tea to help them relax.

    Chamomile can also work on cats. However, instead of inviting your cat to a tea party, try scattering a few dried chamomile flowers around your home.

    Hops, the ingredient used to make beer, can also have the ability to provide enrichment for cats.

  • Scratching Post & Cat Trees: Cats love vertical spaces. Put your cat tree by a window, and your cat will be able to entertain itself, watching what is going on outside.

    Cats sharpen their claws. Claw sharpening is an essential and natural cat behavior. It's not only to maintain the health of claws, but it's also a way they signal to other cats. 

    Scratching posts is a great way to occupy your cat's time. And, as a bonus, they will also stop your pet from scratching the furniture. 

  • Behavior Modification: You can also try working on desensitizing your cat to your leaving the house.

    Often, there will be triggers for cats to start becoming anxious. It could be something as simple as when you pick up your car keys, getting your coat, or putting on your shoes.

    Try to fake it a few times a day and make it look like you are preparing to leave, but don't leave the house.

    Over time, your cat will become less sensitive to those triggers.

  • Provide Some Distractions For Your Cat (For Separation Anxiety): Your cat should have plenty to do while you're out. You could leave a puzzle feeder to occupy your cat or leave some new toys for your cat.

    Make sure that there is a window that your cat can get to so they can see out of it.

    Keep the radio playing or leaving the TV on while you're gone can also be a great help.

chapter 3:

Causes Of Cat Anxiety

The actual causes of anxiety in cats are not fully understood. Stress and anxiety in cats are as complicated as they are in us humans.

There are a variety of environmental, physical, and psychological factors that may lead to feline anxiety. 


Social Interactions

Cats that have not had much human exposure as kittens are more prone to develop anxiety as adults in your home. Thus, it is important to expose a kitten to social interactions with other animals and humans at an early age.

It's good to monitor social interactions while your cat is young to make sure the social experience is positive. Negative experiences can create future anxieties for young cats.

Weaned Too Soon

When you take kittens from their mother too early, they are more likely to display cat separation anxiety symptoms. Orphaned kittens are also more likely to develop anxiety.

Kittens should not be removed from their family for at least eight weeks after birth.

However, handling from humans should start occurring before they reach seven weeks of age.


Different breeds of cats will react differently to social engagement, but individual genetics plays a role as well. You can't change a cats' genetics, but mental stimulation, early socialization, and exercise can very much help reducing anxiety in cats that are predisposed to this condition.

Changes In Environment

A change in their environment can trigger anxiety in cats. The addition or loss of human family members, moving to a new home, or adopting a new pet into the house, could make your cat feel stressed out.

Neutering and Spaying

Neutering and spaying may play a role in cats developing anxiety. Studies have shown that cats that are neutered or spayed at a younger age are less confident as adults.

Veterinarians recommend neutering and spaying cats despite the small risk of anxiety. The benefit of this procedure is to reduce overpopulation.

It also reduces other unwanted behaviors such as courtship vocalizations and urine spraying.

Your Own Anxiety

Cats are very observant. If you are feeling upset or anxious, your cat can sense your emotional state.

When you appear anxious, your cat may become anxious as well. If you're looking for a way to increase your calmness, you may want to try our CBD oil for human use. Crayolex CBD oil is human-grade.

Traumatic Event

A change in their environment can trigger anxiety in cats. The addition or loss of human family members, moving to a new home, or adopting a new pet into the house, could make your cat feel stressed out.

Events or experiences that generate extreme fear, such as animal abuse, may create generalized anxiety. This is especially true if experienced as a small kitten.

Many cats can recover from anxiety given time and patience.

Other Underlying Health Problems

Anxiety in cats may be a result of another health issue. Discomfort, pain, or common feline hormonal problems like diabetes and hyperthyroidism can cause changes in behavior.

It is always advisable to visit the vet at the first sign of behavior changes in your cat.

chapter 4:

Natural Remedies for Nervous Cats

For a more extensive guide on CBD, check out our Beginner's Guide to CBD Oil


Natural Remedies for Nervous Cats

If your cat is suffering from anxiety, there are several things that your vet may recommend.

If the anxiety is severe, your vet may prescribe anti-anxiety medication.

There are some non-prescription therapies you may wish to try for mild to moderate anxiety, although it is always advisable to consult first with your veterinarian.

You may also try some things at home, which may help minimize your pet's fearful experiences. 

CBD oil is a great choice to use for anxiety in cats. There are also other natural remedies that you can try using to increase the comfort of your cat.

Here are some common natural options people use to combat fears and phobias in cats:


  • Valerian: Ancient Romans and Greeks would use the Valerian Root to help treat nervousness, insomnia, stress, and headaches.

    However, researchers are not entirely clear on how it works with anxiety and stress. They believe that Valerian Root triggers a steady increase of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.

    GABA creates a calming effect over the body. A similar reaction to how diazepam (Valium) or alprazolam (Xanax) decreases anxiety in people.

  • Bach Rescue Remedy: "Bach" is a combination of flower essence that can calm down a cat. It uses a combination of flower essences — clematis, cherry plum, rock rose, impatiens, and Star of Bethlehem.

    The human version of a Bach flower anti-stress remedy contains brandy.

    Never give your cat alcohol! Manufacturers will make versions for pets that are alcohol-free.

Last Notes

The cannabis plant has at least 113 different compounds. CBD, which is short for Cannabidiol, is one of those compounds.

The unwanted effects in the cannabis plant come from another cannabinoid called THC.

THC is what causes that 'high' feeling. CBD has 0% THC, and studies show that it may promote calmness.

CBD will not give you or your cat any 'high' effect. 

It is important to note that, aside from the human drug "Epidiolex," the FDA has not approved CBD for any supplemental or medical use. As such, it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

Your pet deserves this.

Let's get them feeling better.


chapter 5:

The takeaway

In Conclusion

There have been many studies on the calming effects CBD has to offer. Some researchers have shown how using CBD can trigger a temporary increase of serotonin in a cat's brain.

Serotonin is an essential hormone in the body. It's responsible for balancing our sense of well-being, mood, and happiness.

Giving your cat a boost of serotonin can help improve the mood of your cat.

Research is ongoing into the many positive ways CBD affects the body and how it benefits anxiety in cats.

For now, CBD's effectiveness for cat anxiety derives from the vast amount of evidence we see from many cat owners.

If your cat seems fearful or distressed, using CBD might help comfort it with minimal risk of side effects.

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Dr. Doni Zivotofsky

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)

Doni Zivotofsky is a mixed animal veterinarian in Ma'ale Adumim, Israel. His patients range from dogs & cats to birds and camels.