Zaphod the cat may only be 14 years old, but time has played rough with him. In the last two years, he has lost his purr, his eyesight, and his ability to comfortably jump, pounce, play, and recently, even cuddle. His tail thumps angrily now when I pick him up, set him on my lap, or even just sit next to him on the bed—even as he leans into a chin scratch. His hobbies include sleeping by day and wandering around the room in tiny circles at night, occasionally meowing existentially into the darkness.
Zaphod the cat may only be 14 years old, but time has played rough with him.
My cat’s treatment plan
When my favorite local pet store started carrying their own brand of CBD oil for pets, I had to give it a shot.
My cat’s health is poor, despite good care. Zaphod gets regular checkups including bloodwork to check his organ function and dental care. He gets a daily dose of liquid prednisone, and a potassium supplement called Renal-K to support his kidney function. However, recently, it just hasn’t been enough. When my favorite local pet store started carrying their own brand of CBD oil for pets, I had to give it a shot.
What is CBD oil?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol, which is one of the cannabinoid molecules found in marijuana. While THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the substance known for making humans feel “high,” CBD lacks that euphoric property. Instead, it’s known to possess antipsychotic and anti-anxiety properties, as well as produce anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
Clinical trials are underway to establish the efficacy of CBD for various conditions, but sadly there is no published material yet on CBD treatment for pets. Anecdotal evidence abounds for use of medicinal marijuana in pets. Nonetheless, most vets are advising caution to patients interested in trying CBD pet products.
Many of us are looking for another tool to ease pain and suffering in our elderly or terminally ill companions.
So why try it? Having talked to other pet owners about this, it seems as if many of us are just looking for another tool to ease pain and suffering in our elderly or terminally ill companions. I know that was the case for me.
How CBD oil helped my cat
The first time I dropped the CBD oil into Zaphod’s wet food, I went with the package’s recommended dose. However, I found out it was a little too much for my old guy, who is unstable at the best of times. He was a little goony and wobbly, though relaxed and calm.
Next, I tried half a dose twice a day, which seemed to be just enough to relax his facial expression and let him feel comfortable being picked up, held, or petted. The CBD oil doesn’t stop his night restlessness (it’s like the kitty version of sundowning), but it does relax him enough that I can carry him to bed with me and he’ll settle on my chest. I know we’ll be saying goodbye very soon, and no miracle drug will change that, but I’m so happy that I can offer a little more comfort as the light continues to fade.
I’m so happy that I can offer a little more comfort as the light continues to fade.
The timing of this piece couldn’t have been more on-point, as I processed Zaphod’s decline and impending departure. After I finished this article, Zaphod’s feline dementia timetable increased rapidly. Though we were keeping his body alive, he was unable to find peace or enjoyment in this world any longer.
On his last day with us, he got a little extra CBD oil in the morning. My husband and I took turns holding our cat and telling him how amazing and wonderful he was, as we shared our favorite memories. Before the car ride (Zaphod’s least favorite thing) I gave him his favorite treat, and promised him this 10 minutes of car ride torture would be his very last. We said goodbye that afternoon. While it was so hard to let go, we found peace in the fact that we had tried every avenue to help him be at ease in his final month with us.
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