By Brian Henry

Cats can spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping ー but as any feline owner could tell you, that doesn't mean they're relaxed. Therabis, which has been marketing CBD treats to dogs since 2016, is now entering the cat market with treats aimed at quelling feline anxiety.

"Cats can be pretty skittish," Therabis President Bob Rubin told Cheddar. "Our soft chew treat helps reduce them reduce that anxiety that can be brought on in a number of situations like riding in a car. That's a very stressful situation for a cat ー even just a five-minute ride going to the vet."

Cat owners spent an estimated $2 billion globally on cat treats in 2018, according to Euromonitor International. But even with years of experience marketing treats for dogs, entering the feline market was not an easy task. Rubin says Therabis, a subsidiary of Dixie Brands, spent a lot of time perfecting the "Calm and Quiet" soft chews.

"It's not easy to develop products for cats because, as the old saying goes, they're quite finicky. We've developed a product that is incredibly palatable for the cats. In fact, in the tests that we've done, 24 out of the 25 cats consumed our soft chew. That took us a while to get to that point. We've had a lot of market demand for a full spectrum hemp product for quite some time."

Rubin told Cheddar that pet owners will recognize a behavioral difference in their cats quickly.

"One easy way to see it as that they'll go from under the bed to on your lap. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to take effect. It really does change their behavior quite a bit," Rubin explained. "The same is true for riding in a car. A lot of times they will scream and they'll even go to the bathroom in a crate in a car because they're so nervous about it. The difference that you'll notice is that they're calm and quiet the entire ride."

As curiosity around cannabis and CBD continues to grow, even celebrities are dipping their toes into the water. On Thursday, pot producer Canopy Growth announced it was partnering with lifestyle guru Martha Stewart on a line of CBD-based products for animals. But Rubin says Therabis isn't worried about the competition in the pet space.

"We're part of a company called Dixie Brands that's been in the cannabis industry for almost 10 years," he said. "We have a significant amount of heritage in developing products that contain CBD. Part of our DNA is really understanding it. We have a long history of the rules and regulation and formulations. Anybody who comes in now has a lot of catching up to do in order to be where Therabis is.

For full interview click here.