Chocolate is toxic to cats because it contains theobromine. It’s a stimulant that causes damage to the nervous system in cats. Chocolate poisoning can be fatal, so it’s important to know the signs and get your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible if you think they’ve eaten chocolate. And if a guest ever asks: “can cats eat chocolate?”, tell them an emphatic “no!”
What Happens if Your Cat Eats Chocolate?
While theobromine is the main reason for chocolate toxicity, it also contains another compound that is a potent pet poison. Namely, caffeine. We all know how that can affect us if we have too much. It can make us jittery, anxious, and can cause an irregular heartbeat.
The same goes for your pet, and they’re much smaller than you, so there’s no safe amount of chocolate. If your cat eats some, they may start being ill within 6 to 12 hours. The symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats include:
- increased urination,
- muscle rigidity.
In severe cases, eating chocolate may lead to coma and death in your furry companion. The risk is higher with dark chocolate, as it contains much more theobromine and caffeine than the sweeter varieties.
If you think your cat has eaten chocolate, take them to a veterinary clinic immediately. If the physical exam and laboratory tests confirm your concerns, the vet may induce vomiting to prevent your cat’s body from absorbing more of the toxins. They can also give them intravenous fluids to help flush out the toxins.
Can Cats Eat Chocolate and Be Fine?
If your cat weighs 10 pounds and eats 0.5 oz of milk chocolate, they’ll probably be okay. If it was 60% cocoa chocolate, they’re likely to suffer from diarrhea and vomiting, but not more serious symptoms. The same amount of an 86% cocoa chocolate may cause rapid heart rate. The lethal dose is around 55 mg of methylxantines (caffeine and theobromine) per 1 kg of your cat’s weight.
The sooner your cat gets treatment, the better their chances are of recovery. Prevention is always the best approach, so keep chocolate out of reach of your cat. And if you’re ever asked “can cats eat chocolate?”, just say no and help keep your pet safe from harm.
Can Cats Eat White Chocolate?
This type of chocolate contains less theobromine, so it’s not as poisonous to cats as dark chocolate or baking chocolate. However, it’s not completely free from it, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Never feed your cat any kind of chocolate – they don’t need it anyway.
Besides, chocolate contains high levels of fat and sugar, which can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. So while your cat may not get poisoning from a tiny piece of white chocolate, it’s still bad for their health in the long run.
How to Keep Your Cat Safe from Chocolate?
It’s better not to leave any human food alone with your cat, even if it’s something that’s safe for them to eat. But chocolate is especially dangerous, so you need to be extra careful.
Make sure to keep chocolate out of reach of your cat, even if they’re indoor cats. Store it in a cupboard or drawer that they can’t get into. When you’re baking with chocolate, make sure nothing falls to the ground where it can be snatched by a curious feline.
You should also be careful with guests in your home, especially if you have young children. Chocolate can be tempting for kids to share with your cat, so make sure they know not to do it. It’s also a good idea to keep your cat in another room when there are visitors over, just to be on the safe side.
Should You Be Worried if You Left a Chocolate Bar on the Table?
The good news is that chocolate isn’t interesting to most cats. Unlike dogs, they tend to stay away from unknown foods. Besides, cats don’t have sweet taste receptors, so most chocolate will just taste bitter to them.
If you left some chocolate lying around, and your pet isn’t exhibiting any symptoms, it’s likely that they’ve ignored the sweet completely. However, milky or white chocolate may attract some cats – they can smell the milk and may try to lick it. If you’re not sure if your feline friend has consumed any, keep a close eye on them for the next few hours.
Can Cats Eat Chocolate Ice Cream?
Just like with regular chocolate, cats can’t eat chocolate ice cream. While there’s little cocoa powder in it, it’s still there, and the high amounts of fat and sugar in ice cream are generally bad for cats.
Don’t do ifs, buts or maybes – the rule of thumb is to avoid anything that can harm your cat. Likewise, chocolate milk, muffins, donuts, or mousse are all off-limits for your pet.
If Your Cat Has Eaten Chocolate, It’s an Emergency
So if you’re wondering “can cats eat chocolate?”, the answer is always going to be no. Chocolate is dangerous for cats, so it’s best to keep it away from them. If you think your cat has eaten chocolate, call your vet immediately and bring them in for treatment. The sooner they get help, the better their chances are of recovery.
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