CBD for Cats Joint Pain & Arthritis: Causes, Tips, Top Products

What causes arthritis in cats? 

Some of the typical elements that increase a cat’s risk of arthritis are:

  • Wear and tear. The joints may weaken as the cat gets older. 
  • Abnormalities. Abnormal hip development may affect cartilage around joints.
  • Injury or trauma. When a cat experiences a joint fracture or joint injury, it may cause arthritis. 
  • Obesity. There is no evidence that this causes arthritis, but it is likely to worsen an existing condition.
  • Genetics. Some cat breeds have an increased risk of arthritis. This is due to abnormal development of their cartilage or hips. This would include:
    • Hip dysplasia (abnormal development of the hip joints) is seen especially in Maine Coon cats (but also Persians, Siamese and other breeds)
    • Patella luxation (dislocation of the kneecap) which has been reported more commonly in Abyssinian and Devon Rex cats

Scottish Folds are particularly prone to severe arthritis affecting multiple joints due to an abnormality of cartilage in the breed.

Usually, the bones in your cat’s body slide past each other smoothly and are covered by a healthy joint fluid and cartilage. When a cat has arthritis, the soft surface is worn down, and the bones rub against each other like sandpaper.

Many symptoms of arthritis in cats associated with arthritis are: 

  • Reduced mobility
    • Reluctance, hesitance or refusal to jump up or down 
    • Jumping up to lower surfaces than previously 
    • Jumping up or down less frequently 
    • Difficulty going up or down stairs
    • Stiffness in the legs, especially after sleeping or resting for a while; occasionally, there may be obvious lameness
    • Test using the litter tray
    • The problem going through the cat flap
  • Reduced activity
    • Increased time spent resting or sleeping
    • Not hunting or exploring the outdoor environment as frequently
    • Sleeping in different, easier-to-access sites
    • Reduced interaction and playing less with people or other animals
  • Altered grooming
    • Reduced frequency of time spent grooming
    • Matted and scruffy coat
    • Sometimes overgrooming of painful joints
    • Overgrown claws due to lack of activity and reduced sharpening of claws 
  • Temperament changes
    • More irritable or grumpy when handled or stroked
    • More irritable or grumpy in contact with other animals
    • Spending more time alone
    • Avoiding interaction with people and animals

How is arthritis diagnosed in cats?

If a veterinarian doubts arthritis, they’ll review your cat’s medical record and complete a physical exam. The veterinarian will particularly look for:

  • Visible joint deformation 
  • Joint pain 
  • Decreased capacity of motion 
  • Grating (scraping noise) when the cat moves its joints 
  • Fluid in the joints
  • Joint instability

To ensure an arthritis diagnosis, your veterinarian will complete an X-ray to take shots of the inside of the cat’s body, particularly its bones.

Managing arthritis in cats

The first step in handling arthritis is to schedule an arrangement with your veterinarian for a thorough clinical inspection. Recognizing that cats will put on a brave face at the clinic, your comments at home are integral in building an accurate history and delivering those subtle indications that your cat may be in pain. Typically, blood tests and radiographs will be required to determine exactly what is happening in your cat’s joints and to assess for any accompanying disease that may be present. A personalized program can then be put together for their condition.

To help your cat be comfortable and enjoy life again, there are three vital areas that we will focus on: 

Weight managing

This is the most crucial part of managing any animal with arthritis. Overweight animals will place proportionally more weight on their joints and therefore cause more localized inflammation and irritation to the joints- which in turn can hasten the progression of arthritis. Cats need to lose weight gradually to prevent metabolic problems. Please discuss the best way to do this with your veterinary health care team.

Home comforts/ environment changes

Some simple steps at home will help decrease their pain and discomfort levels in mild cases.

  • Ensure your cat has a warm, comfortable place to sleep away from drafts.
  • Provide low-sided kitty litter trays for easy access and to help prevent toileting accidents.
  • Place steps near favorite furniture and beds to aid in getting up and down.
  • Trim nails regularly (our veterinary nurses are happy to advise on how best to do this at home or we offer this service free of charge).
  • Brush your cat’s coat regularly so that matters don’t develop.

Veterinary treatments

Different veterinary treatments are available to handle osteoarthritis in pets. The best option will rely on several factors involving your cat: age, the severity of signs, progression of the disease process and whether they have any other health problems. Importantly all arthritis patients should be accurately diagnosed before starting a treatment plan. 

The different treatments that can be offered include:

  • Disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs (Pentosan polysulfate): These medications are given as a series of injections: one injection a week for four weeks and the course of 4 injections usually needs to be repeated every 6-12 months. They act to stabilize joint membranes, help joint cartilage repair and improve joint lubrication. They significantly improve a high percentage of arthritis patients with minimal (if any) side effects.
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications: Cats can be susceptible to some NSAIDs and it is essential only to use ones prescribed by your veterinarian. They work by reducing the joints’ inflammation and providing significant pain relief. With regular checkups with your veterinarian to monitor your cat’s liver and kidney function and assess the most appropriate medication and dose rate to administer, most patients respond very well to their use.
  • Nutraceuticals/ Prescription diets: Eg: Joint Guard, Royal Canin Mobility. These are dietary supplements or prescription diets that contain ingredients such as Glucosamine, Chondroitin sulfate, Fish Oils and Green Lipped mussel. These agents work together to aid the protection of joints and can be given long-term to help reduce inflammation over time.

Diet and dietary supplement

Obesity or being overweight will worsen arthritis and so should be bypassed. Careful weight control is therefore essential for older cats. If your cat is fat, they will benefit from carefully controlled weight loss, supervised by your vet. Your vet may also recommend a special diet to help achieve this safely and effectively.

Several dietary accessories and diets are available for cats with arthritis. They usually contain combinations of essential fatty acids (EFAs) designed to reduce inflammation and glycosaminoglycans (such as glucosamine and chondroitin) that are the ‘building blocks of the cartilage in the joint and designed to improve cartilage quality. These diets and dietary supplements are generally very safe to use (but should only be used when recommended by your vet); however, their effectiveness in managing arthritis in cats is uncertain. If they have an effect, it is likely to be relatively mild and may help in early cases of arthritis or as part of a management plan using other drugs. The additional problem is that the manufacture of dietary supplements (such as glucosamine and chondroitin) is poorly regulated, so the quality of different products may vary enormously.

Additional treatments

Acupuncture has been used in different species to treat the chronic pain of arthritis. The effectiveness of acupuncture is still debated; this treatment has not been proven in controlled studies. Still, anecdotal reports suggest it could be a beneficial adjunctive therapy for some cats. It should always be performed by a specially trained vet and not used as a substitute for medication in severe cases.

CBD for cats joint pain

TOP 5 CBD products for cats arthritis

1. HolistaPet CBD Oil

CBD Content300 mg
CBD TypeFull Spectrum

As a non-GMO, no gluten, and no dairy oil, HolistaPet CBD Oil for Dogs & Cats is also one of the healthiest products on the pet CBD for cats joint pain market.

That said, HolistaPet CBD Oil for Dogs & Cats is available in five strengths. However, cat owners should only be interested in the 15ml bottle intended for smaller pets, specifically those under 20 lbs.


  • Full-spectrum CBD
  • Affordable price
  • Cat-friendly flavor
  • Third-party tested
  • Free shipping
  • Organic
  • Colorado hemp source


  • Some customers complain about long shipping time

2. Honest Paws CBD Oil For Cats

CBD Content125 mg
CBD TypeFull Spectrum

The first CBD product cat owners should consider is Honest Paws CBD Oil for Cats – Well. Each milliliter contains 4 mg, a dose suitable for the majority of cats.

As a certified organic product, you don’t have to worry about whether pesticides and other substances are harmful to your cat. Honest Paws CBD Oil for Cats – Well contains a number of terpenes alongside CBD, which may increase its benefits.


  • Best for cats with inflammation
  • Organic full-spectrum hemp oil
  • 4 mg of CBD per dropper
  • GMO, soy, and corn-free


  • The natural flavor might be off-putting to some cats

3. Medterra CBD Tincture For Pets

CBD Content150 mg
CBD TypeFull Spectrum

When it comes to the best CBD for cats joint pain oil, Medterra is definitely an option to consider. Their pet CBD oil comes in three concentrations and two tasty flavors as well as an unflavored option.

If you’re looking for a liquid CBD for your cat, you may find the options limited when it comes to flavor. Felines tend to be picky eaters and the last thing you want to do is spend good money on a supplement just to have your pet turn up his nose.


  • Variety in potency
  • Chicken and beef flavors
  • Comes with a dropper applicator
  • Suitable for cats + dogs


  • No free shipping for one-time orders

4. NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum Pet CBD Oil

CBD Content300 mg
CBD TypeFull Spectrum

According to over 2,000 inspired customers, NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Pet Oil is most effective with mobility issues and arthritis.

This budget-friendly oil is also recommended as an excellent remedy as CBD for cats’ anxiety and stress, sore and weak joints. External lab tests available on NuLeaf Naturals’ website support the quality and safety of this product.


  • Best hemp oil for cats with mobility issues and arthritis
  • Vegan and gluten-free
  • America’s pioneering CBD oil brand
  • Free shipping


  • Only natural flavor

5. CBDfx – CBD Oil Cat Tincture

CBD Content250 mg
CBD TypeBroad spectrum

CBDfx CBD Oil Cat Tincture offers an all-natural CBD product that is a good choice for senior cats. It contains anti-inflammatory CBD and cannabigerol (CBG), which may relieve conditions including epilepsy. The tasty chicken flavor makes it easy to give to picky cats too. You can incorporate it into meals (unless they are heated), or administer it directly into your cat’s mouth.


  • Broad-spectrum CBD product
  • Chicken flavor
  • Organic and non-GMO


  • MCT carrier oil may cause digestive upset

Can you overdose with CBD for cats joint pain?

Cat’s really don’t need much CBD cat treats. They have small bodies, to begin with, and tend to be more exposed to endocannabinoids than dogs or humans.

It’s essential to start with a minimal dose when first using CBD oil with your cat to see how they respond.

CBD for cats: benefits would be next:

Begin with 1 mg doses and work your way up in small increments until one of two things occurs:

  1. Symptoms start to resolve — you’ve seen the optimal amount for your cat.
  2. Your cat incidents side effects — you’ve gone over the optimal dose. Reduce the amount of CBD to the last dose that doesn’t produce side effects; this is the optimal dose for your cat. 

While every cat is different, some general dosage recommendations give you an idea of how much CBD oil to use with your cat. We’ve outlined these doses in the table below based on weight.

Can I give my cat human CBD?

Yes, you won’t harm your cat by giving them some of your CBD oil, as long you are using THC-free, pure hemp CBD oil that doesn’t contain any sugar or artificial flavors. It would help if you also calculated the proper dosage for your pet based on the strength of the CBD oil for human consumption.

It is also essential to consult your pet’s vet regarding the animal’s overall health before giving them CBD oil — especially if they’re using any other medications or have underlying health issues.

How long does it take for CBD for cats joint pain to work?

The quantity of time it takes for CBD to start producing results depends on several factors — the age of your cat, the reason for using CBD in the first place, the severity of symptoms, and the dose of CBD you’re using.

In general, CBD oil will begin taking effect immediately. If your cat is experiencing symptoms like pain or anxiety, you should notice results immediately. However, finding the correct dose can take some time, so be patient and follow the advice above to locate the optimal amount for your cat.

Some signs will take longer, even when you find the correct amount.

For example, inflammatory disorders, chronic joint disease, or digestive dysfunction usually carry a week or more before you expect any progress.

The rule of thumb is this — if it took a while for symptoms to appear, it would take a while for them to leave. If symptoms appear suddenly, they tend to go away suddenly as well. 

The bottom line: be patient when using CBD oils with cats. You may notice improvement immediately, but it could take up to a week (or longer).

Can I give my cat CBD every day? 

Never rush your cat when trying to introduce them to CBD. It’s always best to have a gradual introduction. You do not need large doses, to begin with; it might hurt your cat. It would help if you eased it into their diet, giving their body the time to adjust without triggering any side effects.

When giving your cat CBD, let your veterinarian guide you on the correct dosage and always read the product’s instructions. For people that want to treat a chronic condition in their cat, follow the dosage we recommend below

  • For issues like asthma, or arthritis, give your cat 0.5mg/kg twice daily.
  • 0.1mg/kg twice daily and gradually work your way up to 0.5mg/kg twice a day.
  • For Inflammatory Bowel Disease – 0.2mg/kg twice daily.
  • For severe upper respiratory infection – 5 mg/kg twice daily. 

Should there be any unpalatable reaction when starting this treatment, reduce the dosage. Also, let your vet know the new dosages you want to try.

How much CBD should I give a cat?

Determining the ideal dose of CBD for your cat may require experimentation. 

How much CBD oil to give a cat, whether you’re using hemp CBD oil for anxiety or pain relief, the right dose can vary quite a bit from one situation to the next, and you may need to experiment to find the right amount of how often. Start with a dose in the middle of the range and expect results in 30–60 minutes. If there is no change after an hour, increase the dosage.

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