Humans love chocolate and chances are, every household has some form of chocolate in the kitchen, pantry, or fridge. Be it a chocolate drink, chocolate chips, chocolate bar, or chocolate cookies.
It is common for dogs to devour all kinds of food, chocolate included, but as pet parents, we know chocolate can be toxic for dogs, so we keep it hidden and away from the prowls of our pet puppies.
But how about cats? While they’re not the kind to eat every kind of food they see, since they’re finicky and picky eaters, they may be some instances when they take a lick or bite or two of chocolate out of curiosity.
So this begs us with the question, can cats eat chocolate?
The answer is no.
Chocolate is highly toxic for dogs and they’re most especially toxic to cats, too.
Why is Chocolate Toxic to Cats?
Chocolate is toxic to cats because of the compounds present in the cocoa. These ingredients are caffeine and theobromine.
Ingestion of even small amounts of chocolate can cause a variety of symptoms in your kitty, such as vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and other symptoms.
Large amounts of chocolate, on the other hand, can even lead to coma or death when not treated immediately.
Theobromine is an ingredient in chocolate that is easily metabolized by the human body. In cats, however, their digestive system cannot metabolize the compound, and therefore, stays and accumulates in the stomach. This leads to undesirable effects, especially when it has already been absorbed by the bloodstream.
Additionally, cats cannot metabolize caffeine, either. Caffeine is similar to theobromine chemically and can overstimulate your cat’s central nervous system, including the heart. If your cat has heart problems, diabetes, or hypertension, then even a small amount of chocolate can be deadly.
Can You Feed Your Cat Small Amounts of Chocolate?
The answer is no. While the toxic dose of chocolate in cats is 200mg/kg, cats react differently to chocolate. Some cats may be overly sensitive to chocolate, while some cats may only show mild symptoms.
Some cats may only vomit and have diarrhea, while other cats may react more intensely with seizures and rapid breathing.
So how much chocolate is toxic?
Here is a list of toxicity dose per type of chocolate:
- Milk Chocolate - 1.14 oz.
- Dark Chocolate - 0.5 oz.
- Semisweet Chocolate - 0.5 oz.
- Baking Chocolate - 0.2 oz.
The rule is that the darker the chocolate, the higher levels of theobromine and caffeine, and therefore, the more dangerous it is. Baking chocolate is the most dangerous of all because it contains pure cocoa nibs and very little added ingredients such as sugar or milk contents.
While these are the minimum dosage for chocolate to cause toxicity in cats, it is always the safer choice to avoid giving chocolate as cat treats for your kitty.
White chocolate, on the other hand, is not a concern. This is because white chocolate is made of cocoa butter, sugar, and fat. If your cat has accidentally ingested white chocolate, then you don’t need to worry. But don’t feed it to her, either. The high sugar content of white chocolate can contribute to the elevated risk of obesity and diabetes, and its milk content is also not advisable for cats.
Recommended - Safe food for cats:
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning
If you suspect that your cat has ingested even a small amount of chocolate, you must watch out for the following symptoms:
- Increased Thirst
- Elevated Heart Rate
- Increased Reflex Responses
- Muscle Rigidity
- Rapid Breathing
If you have chocolate in the house and your cat displays some of these signs, it is best to bring your cat to the emergency room right away.
If your cat has eaten chocolate, your vet will induce vomiting, and will do a series of tests, such as blood, urine, and even an ECG to determine if there are any abnormal rhythms of the heart.
Your cat may then need fluid therapy, and may need to stay at the hospital overnight. Cats usually recover within a day or two after treatment.
The Bottom Line
Chocolates must never be given to cats. They are toxic to cats and can even cause acute liver damage, and even death within a few hours after ingestion.
If you have chocolate in the house, make sure you keep them away from areas where your cat can easily get a hold of them. Though cats may not be attracted to chocolate, they may take a lick or bite out of curiosity.
In cases where your cat has consumed chocolate, bring her to the emergency room immediately so she can be treated right away. The more you delay treatment, the more dangerous the toxicity can get, which can even lead to death.