Tony Reeves

Medically Reviewed By

Piet Hellemans, DVM
Veterinarian & Veterinary Consultant

IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) is an umbrella name that is used to describe several chronic ailments that are caused by inflammation of the digestive tract. In the case of the cats, the inflammatory cells infiltrate its digestive tract walls.

This in turn, thickens the walls of the gastrointestinal tract and disrupts its ability to digest and absorb food. The condition can affect cats of any age. However, middle-aged and older cats are more at risk than younger cats.

What Causes IBD in Cats?

The exact reason why cats suffer from inflammatory bowel disease is not known. However, veterinarians suspect that it could be caused by inflammation from an interaction between bacterial infections, immune system, diet and the imbalance of bacterial populations in cat intestines.

It is also thought that the environment also plays a role in aggravating the condition. Other animal health experts have also linked IBD in cats with that of dogs and human beings and concluded that genetic abnormalities may also play a role in the development of the condition in felines.

What are the Symptoms of IBD in Cats?

Some common signs of the inflammatory bowel disease in cats include lethargy, bloody stools, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, and unexplained weight loss. The frequency of these signs, as well as the severity of the condition, is dependent on the part of the body of the GI tract that is affected.

If the large intestine is inflamed, the condition is called colitis. On the other hand, if the stomach is inflamed, the condition is known as gastritis. If the problem is in the small intestine, the condition is enteritis.

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If the condition affects the stomach or upper parts of the small intestine are infected, the cat may experience repeated vomiting. However, lower small intestine and colon infections result in diarrhoea and stool with blood.

The Difference between IBD and IBS

IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome. It shares some names and symptoms with the IBD. However, there are subtle differences in their symptoms. First, IBS is a non-inflammatory condition, unlike the inflammatory bowel disease.

Second, IBS is not classified as a true disease but rather a functional disorder such as the chronic fatigue syndrome. This means that these symptoms do not have an identifiable cause.

Some symptoms of IBS in cats include constipation, cramps and diarrhoea. All these symptoms can be found in IBD with the addition of the symptoms discussed above. In the case of diarrhoea, IBS may have little volume that of the IBD. (Diarrhoea is defined by the volume of stool.) Before you see a veterinary doctor, you can differentiate the two with the symptoms that do not appear in both.

What Food Is Best For Cats With IBD?

Cats with IBD are less tolerant to several ingredients when compared to other felines, especially anything that may not be described as a carnivore diet. Therefore, give the cat lots of readily digestible proteins sourced from animal sources. These proteins should be at least 87% digestible proteins.

Besides, ensure that they get omega 3 fatty acids from animal fat. However, avoid inflammatory food additives such as sugar, flavour, artificial colours and other filler ingredients common in cat food. Products containing natural fatty acids, such as CBD products are well- tolerated by cats.

Highly digestible protein is protein from minimally processed animal flesh. This effectively rules out other sources of proteins such as soy, potato, peas and corn gluten. The cat may also need a vitamin B12 injection as the body is not able to absorb lots of vitamins.

Is Pet CBD Safe for A Cat with IBD?

CBD is a short form for cannabidiol, a chemical compound derived from hemp plant. Hemp has other compounds, including THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. Therefore, most governments around the world do not classify CBD oil as a restricted substance.

Since CBD oil lacks psychoactive properties, using it is safe for cats. It contains a lot of  natural fatty acids so it is well-tolerated even by cats with IBD. However, the choice of CBD products matters a lot, as there are no official regulations covering individual CBD oil formulations.

What types of CBD for Cats is Available on the Market?

While all of CBD products are derived from the same, they have different characteristics due to the number of ingredients.

CBD oil for cats

CBD oil for cats is a CBD oil which does not contain added terpenes. It is enriched with vitamins and pet-friendly flavouring, to make it more appealing to your cat.

CBD treats for cats

Treats infused with CBD, especially formulated to suit a cat’s diet. 

How to Find the Right CBD Oil for Cats with Stomach Issues?

Given that there are different CBD products out there, it is important to pick the pet CBD that will be best tolerated by your cat. Your choice of pet CBD is based on the following factors.

Severity of the IBD

For cats with severe IBD, cat owners should be very careful when choosing pet CBD. Pay attention to the ingredients list and make sure there is nothing there which has previously shown to upset your cat’s stomach.

Studies have shown that fatty acids help reduce the inflammation and improve food absorption. Therefore, CBD oils containing fatty acids may be a good choice.

Look at the Labelling

Do not go for pet CBD products that make unbelievable medical claims. Instead look at the ingredients list and decide if your cat can tolerate the product. Ensure that the pet CBD product label states the amount of THC available. 

Look at Lab Report

A lab report  on all  CBD products outlines the compounds present. This lets you know if you are buying isolate, full spectrum or broad spectrum pet CBD. The lab report should be available on the CBD oil manufacturer’s website and have a publishing date.

Talk to Your Veterinary Doctor about CBD Oil

Just like with any new food or supplement introduced to your pet, cat owners should talk to the veterinary doctor if considering giving CBD to their cat.  Most veterinary doctors are aware of CBD oil and will gladly give directions of how to use it.

How Do You Give CBD Products to Your Cat?

Cat owners can give CBD products in the form CBD oil for cats, tinctures or CBD -infused cat food. While there is no exact dose for cat CBD products, it is important to start with a low dose of a few drops a day for about two weeks before increasing it gradually. 

Are there Natural Remedies for IBD?

There are several methods you can relieve cats with IBD.

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture for cats helps deal with problems with the nervous system. Just like in human beings, acupuncture helps in the reduction of inflammation.

  • Raw Meat Diets

Cats with IBD are able to digest and absorb most of the nutrients in raw meat diets. The raw meat also helps cats with sensitivity to most of the ingredients included in the commercial foods.

Can You Use these Remedies while giving CBD Oil to Your Cats?

There has been no evidence that CBD interferes with the above stated natural remedies for IBD in cats. However every cat is different. Therefore, if you notice any unwanted effects, discontinue the use of CBD oil. 


Feline IBD may get severe if not managed at an earlier stage. It is important that you seek veterinary advice as soon as you see the symptoms. 

If you decide to give CBD to a cat suffering from IBD, make sure you check the ingredients list for any ingredients known to irritate your cat’s stomach. 


David is our expert for all things concerning CBD and your four-legged friends. Animals often need special attention and care and that's David’s specialty, but he’s also an expert in all CBD topics, so whatever your question, he's happy to help.

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