Cannabis and Cats: What to Do if Your Cat Eats Marijuana
Saturday May 25, 2019
C at owners have known for a long time that catnip to our feline friends is like, well. catnip. Your cat may roll around in, lick, or eat this herbal feline treat, which could cause your household mouser to grow aggressive and wild. Or, they may become very docile, while others could give it a sniff and walk away, tail turned up. Whether your cat enjoys catnip or not, one thing to always keep in mind is that cannabis and catnip are not the same thing. Even though your feline friend might enjoy expanding their mind, cannabis may induce some negative effects. Here’s what you should do if your cat eats your cannabis stash.
Similarities Between Catnip and Cannabis
Believe it or not, catnip and cannabis have at least a few things in common. Originating from Europe, Asia, and Africa, catnip is an herb from the mint family, but now grows pretty much everywhere like a weed, and is often used in gardens because it repels insects and is drought tolerant. The intoxicating compound in catnip is nepetalactone, a stimulant that is thought to produce a high for the cat, much like cannabis for humans. Catnip acts in a cat’s brain much like cannabis compounds THC and CBD do, by binding to receptors that activate different areas of the brain that control emotion and behavior.
Like humans, cats have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a role in the regulation of many physiological systems, like movement and coordination, mood, appetite, sleep, and immune response. A properly balanced ECS is important to the overall wellbeing and health of our furry family members, too.
Actions to Take if Your Cat Ingests Weed
Your cat is pretty unlikely to confuse cannabis with catnip, but nevertheless, what should you do if your cat gets in your stash? The first thing to do is ascertain the safety and health of your cat. Here are some symptoms of cannabis poisoning to look for:
Steps to Take if Your Cat Eats Your Stash:
- Lack of Coordination: keep an eye out for lack of coordination, and a swaying, wobbly, or awkward gait
- Signs of Depression: if your cat is disinterested in play, being aggressive, acting withdrawn, or refusing to use the litter box, your cat may have eaten too much cannabis
- Litter Issues: Speaking of litter boxes, if your cat has diarrhea, urinary incontinence, or bowel movements in places other than the litter box, it may have cannabis poisoning
- Drooling is also a very common symptom of cannabis poisoning
- If you notice very serious symptoms like vomiting, seizures, irregular heartbeat, and shivering, take your cat to the vet immediately!
If you happen upon shredded edible packaging, empty tincture bottles, gnawed on nugs, or any other such scenario, don’t wait it out to see how your cat responds. It’s always best to call your vet right away so they can get the appropriate medical attention. But, if they consumed a very small amount, keeping in mind a cat’s reduced weight and body size, it may be okay to keep them at home – just be sure to keep them in your sight at all times and monitor them for the next 24-48 hours. Should you make the choice to keep your kitty at home, water may help, but the most helpful thing you can do is reassure your pet, and keep a close eye on them for increased symptoms.
Cats are most frequently exposed to cannabis through ingesting dried marijuana, nibbling on the leaves of a home grown plant, eating packaged cannabis products, or being exposed to secondhand smoke – which can be especially dangerous to a cat that has asthma or breathing problems. However, not at all cannabis compounds are bad for your furry family member. It is thought that CBD could be very beneficial to your cat’s long-term health and help with pain management, anxiety, and inflammation. However, giving THC to your cat, or any pet, should be avoided completely.
But when it comes to your own personal supply, the best line of defense to keep your cat out of it is to store your cannabis – especially edibles, concentrates, and oils – like you would any other medicine, out of reach of your pet. This could include locked drawers, high cabinets, and other inaccessible areas. Cats are very clever indeed, but they haven’t developed opposable thumbs. Yet.
Do you have any tips for cat-owners who may be dealing with their furry friend ingesting cannabis? Share your helpful tips in the comments below.
It's no secret that cats are curious creatures and love to explore. Plus, many cats enjoy catching a buzz on some catnip as well. But catnip and cannabis are two completely different substances when it comes to cats. Learn exactly what to do in the event of your cat ingesting marijuana.
Why Do Cats Love Cannabis Leaves?
Did you know a lot of cats (and dogs) love cannabis leaves? Every cat I’ve owned loves to nibble on my plants if given a chance. I’ve heard the same from many other growers. One day you check on your garden only to see cat-sized bites all over your plants!
No kitty! Not my weed plant!
This cat is 2 seconds away from taking a bite
Why do cats love cannabis leaves?
I realized my cats loved cannabis leaves many years ago when one snuck into my tent and ate half of my plants. I was so angry at the time but it seems funny now. They eventually learned not to eat leaves off the plants and instead sit patiently next to me as I work in the tent. I reward good behavior with free leaves at the end. My cats go crazy if they see any leaves in my hands because they know they’re getting a treat.
Am I a bad owner for letting my cat eat leaves? She’s 13 years old now, and I feel like she seems happier after eating leaves. Yet could it be in my head?
I’m not sure whether cats love leaves because of cannabinoids, the leaf texture, the fact they just like nibbling on plants, or something else. I’ve heard from other growers that some cats seek out weed plants, while other cats don’t seem to have any interest. Every cat is different.
Is cannabis bad for cats?
I wish I had an answer for you but I am not certain. I’m not a veterinarian and I have no medical background. I only know what I’ve seen, read, and heard from other growers.
For example, I’ve read online that cannabis buds are bad for cats. Yet my cats only eat the leaves. Even if it seems they’re going for a bud, they only nibble on the leaves around the outside.
I’ve never seen any evidence that eating leaves can hurt cats, and I’ve spoken to dozens of growers who’ve noticed their cats (and dogs) love taking bites out of the garden without any apparent harm. But those are anecdotes, not proof.
There are reports that CBD and other cannabinoids found in weed or hemp have therapeutic effects for cats (and dogs). As a result, there are many CBD products aimed at helping pets feel relief from pain, anxiety, inflammation, or other ailments. The most common “treatment” is CBD oil, which is concentrated oil from a cannabis or hemp plant grown without significant amounts of THC. Many people believe CBD oil helps their pet appear more comfortable and relaxed, but unfortunately, there aren’t many scientific studies or evidence to prove the effectiveness or safety of CBD one way or the other.
I personally have found that both CBD oil and fresh cannabis leaves seem to help my elderly cat seem more relaxed and happy, but I don’t have any evidence to prove that. I haven’t noticed any adverse effects. I’ve spoken to other growers who’ve experienced similar results. However, I’ve also read reports online that some cats react poorly to high doses of CBD oil so like all new things, moderation is key. And of course, always contact a veterinarian with any medical questions about your pet.
The Challenge of Growing Weed Around Cats
Almost all plants have to deal with herbivores in the wild. This tendency for leaves to be eaten may be part of why some plants are so resilient to defoliation and may even react favorably to certain types of defoliation. But who knew a cat might be a cannabis predator?
Common cat owner challenge – your kitty tries to sneak a bite when you’re not looking
My current kitty doesn’t seem to like leaves with trichomes on them. She prefers plain leaves. I’m not sure if that has to do with cannabinoids, smell, or if she just doesn’t like the texture of sticky trichomes on her tongue. The bonus is that my plants are safer after they start flowering.
My kitty staring longingly at this little marijuana plant I grew in a sunny window. She wants a bite but she knows better by now!
I decided to grow a plant with no THC just for her. It’s currently about 3 weeks old and she already approved of the first leaf I gave her 🙂
A Pink Kush CBD autoflowering plant I’m growing just so my cat to enjoy the leaves. She’s so lucky!
Warning: Many dogs and bunnies also love eating cannabis leaves!
This bunny loves her greens 🙂
Oh no! What happened to this garden?!
The plants were devastated by an excited puppy [Pictures by @big_f_grows). Don’t be too hard on errant pets, we all know what it’s like to love cannabis!
Why Do Cats Love Cannabis Leaves? Did you know a lot of cats (and dogs) love cannabis leaves? Every cat I’ve owned loves to nibble on my plants if given a chance. I’ve heard the same from many