What is Overgrooming?
First let's talk about grooming, when a cat licks itself, natural painkillers made by the brain named endorphins, are released.
The endorphin makes the sensation to groom be quite pleasurable, and it may lead to overgrooming in case of a stressed-out cat.
Some feline overgrooming don't have an explanation, so they are called "Psychogenic Alopecia", in most cases they don't create sores, but they fur breaks. The overgrooming use to happen when the owner is not around because the cat may get anxious, discomfort or stressed, the causes are likely to be chronic and consist of a number of combined stressors, like
- Permanent changes in the routine and environment
- The absence of a certain family member
- The arrival of a new pet or human family member
- Moving to a new apartment or house
- Rearranging some or all of the furniture
- Moving the litter box to another location
- Lack of environmental enrichment for the kitty
- Living in a chaotic household
- Medical reasons (allergies, dietary changes)
Signs your cat is overgrooming
If your cat is indeed overgrooming you will see a line or stripe of very short stubble that looks like a buzz-cut.
It can be anywhere on the cat body, but the most common places are foreleg, an inner thigh, or the belly because these spots are easier to reach.
The breeds that are more susceptible to overgrooming are Siamese, Burmese, Himalayan, and Abyssinian.
To confirm the diagnosis you will need to take your cat to the veterinarian, the doctor will rule out any medical reasons for the overgrooming, once the "Psychogenic Alopecia" confirmed you need to search for the reason that is making your cat feel stressed or anxious.
In the same time, you also need to figure some way to calm and relief it.
Here are some changes that can help at this task:
- Have the absent person mail home a voice recording to play for the cat. You can also ask the person to leave behind some clothes sealed in a ziplock bag, and show it to the kitty for some relief.
- Introduce a new cat gradually to reduce stress levels in both
- A spray or plug-in pheromone product, like Feliway, can be helpful to relieve stress. Feliway and other synthetic-pheromone products are similar to the scent cats naturally produce. You can spray it or rub it on objects, and it has a calming effect.
In most cases without a medical diagnosis, excessive licking behaviors require anti-anxiety drug therapy prescribed by a vet to break the licking cycle.
Some veterinary behaviorists suggest that a herbal remedy may provide mild relief for the anxiety, in this case, the CBD Oil is indicated.
First, let’s learn about CBD Oil
Cannabis sativa is a general plant name, it is made of dozens of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH) and cannabidiol (CDB).
There are many different types of this plant, some make the marijuana and others make hemp for industrial and therapeutic use.
The biggest and most important difference is the amount of THC it contains, in general, cannabis plants contain both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), those are both medicinal compounds.
The efficiency of cannabis oil for medicinal purposes in humans is already known and recognized in many countries, although this oil has a lot of THC, that has psychoactive properties and is responsible for the "high", it is highly toxic to animals, there are many reports of animals that have ingested cannabis and have ended up in a serious condition.
On the other hand, CBD offers all the benefits without the psychoactive and toxic potential, because the THC levels in the CDB oil are almost zero.
There is a whole system in both human and animal bodies known as the endocannabinoid system. This system is located in the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) and is made up of receptors. These receptors bind THC and CBD among other components of the cannabis plant. This system influences many processes related to pain, mood, immune function and much more, so when they are activated, they control several diseases symptoms.
Summing up, when the CBD is introduced into the body, it has the same effect that the receptors and help to maintain a healthy metabolism.
The CDB oil promises therapeutic effects such:
- Anti-inflammatory activity
- Promoting strong joints & mobility
- Reducing anxiety & stress
- Blocking cell growth (Cancer)
- Preventing the growth of blood vessels that supply tumors
- Anti-viral activity
- Reducing chronic pain
- Reducing seizure frequency & muscle spasms
- Benefitting aging & wellness
- Relieving nausea & digestive issues
- Calming aggression
Perhaps one of the most studied ways that CBD can positively affect humans and our pets alike is its ability to treat anxiety.
Since the "Psychogenic Alopecia" is basic accumulated anxiety the use of CBD can be of great help, being effective for treating and preventing skin conditions, applying on their skin, this can improve irritation because cats have cannabis receptors on the surface of their skin.
It can also treats different types of anxieties and phobias including separation anxiety and fear of loud noises, such as fireworks.
CBD Oil is all natural and non-toxic, so you don’t need to worry about the adverse reactions that accompany the vast majority of mood-altering drugs.
The most common side effect is increased appetite and decreased anxiety, CBD can promote relaxation and some animals are more sensitive than others.If you notice your cat has become too sedate, stop giving the product and work with your veterinarian.
If the dosage is too high the cat can be sedated, but nothing that will threaten the life of the animal.
Some cats that are allergic to grass can also be allergic to cannabis, so pay attention to that.
It is very important that you know the provenance of your CBD oil, cats are much more sensitive to THC than humans, so cannabis products should not be administered to them, only hemp derived products.
The final considerations are to work with your veterinarian when deciding on a treatment plan for your cat, never do it alone or without knowledge of what you are doing.
CBD Oil on the Market
The CDB oil potential is massive, the market is exploding with cannabis products for cats and other pets.
A California company specialized in non-psychoactive Cannabis products for animals and humans named TreatWell said that they expect 20% of growth per month.
The company explains that the number of pet owners that turns to CDB oil to treat diseases is increasing because it is a natural alternative, and has no side effects, as we see in regular medicine.
The result that the company observes in cases of cancer is impressive, they see tumors shrink or disappear, extending the animal life.
Cat owners usually report improvement in diseases such as arthritis, pancreatitis, seizures, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma.
As products flood the market, it is important that consumers make an educated purchase for themselves and their pet.
Here are some aspects you should consider:
- Farming practices: Has the plant been grown with the use of pesticides?
- Extraction method: Be careful with methods that use chemicals for extraction, because these residues will be present in the final product.
- Concentration: Some products contain too little CBD to be effective, others contain too much and can be toxic.
- Guaranteed analysis: Does the company test its product for the constituents beyond THC and CBD?
- Other ingredients: Make sure you know what other ingredients are present.
- Terpene/Flavonoid: CBD and THC are not the only medicinal components of cannabis, look for products that have the terpene and flavonoid profile analyzed as well.
How to use it
First things first, it's important to say that CBD oil does not work overnight like regular medications, it can sometimes take several weeks and months for the effects start showing.
You need to be patient and consistent, watch your cat and analyze the symptoms improve.
Cats are notoriously smaller than humans, so dosages should also be lower, if you buy a product made for cats, carefully read the recommendations of the correct dose, you can also use one of the humans, but the dose has to be much smaller.
The dosage may vary depending on your pet's disease, it is best to start with low doses.
As a rule, it is important to wait about 1 or 2 weeks to increase the dosage.
Repeat this process until you begin to see the effects, here are some dosage examples:
Are there any side effects?
This is something you should always consider for any medication or supplement you are giving your kitty. The most common side effect is increased appetite and decreased anxiety, CBD can promote relaxation and some animals are more sensitive than others. If you notice your cat has become too sedate, stop giving the product and work with your veterinarian. If the dosage is too high the cat can be sedated, but nothing that will threaten the life of the animal.
Some cats that are allergic to grass can also be allergic to cannabis, so pay attention to that. It is very important that you know the provenance of your CDB oil, cats are much more sensitive to THC than humans, so cannabis products should not be administered to them, only hemp derived products. The final considerations are to work with your veterinarian when deciding on a treatment plan for your cat, never do it alone or without knowledge of what you are doing.