Most pet parents admit to sharing food with their pets. Dogs with puppy dog pout persuade the owners to share food with them. However, cats can also have their feline version of puppy dog pout.
These little creatures are extremely persuasive when begging for food. Therefore, it is important to know about the meals that are safe for your pets.
Chocolates are absolutely not one of those foods that are safe to share with your pet cat. Like dogs, it also poses serious health issues to cats and can even become fatal if eaten in excessive amounts.
It is widely believed by many that chocolates are far more toxic to cats than dogs. It is because these felines generally do not have the ability to taste sweet. This can lead to severe chocolate poisoning among them.
Read this detailed guide to know more about the potential risks that cats might suffer after eating chocolates.
Can Cats Eat Chocolate?
There are many delicious foods most human beings enjoy, but they can be poisonous to cats. It is very common to hear that dogs get sick from chocolate ingestion. Nevertheless, it also poses serious health risks to cats.
Even though it is less likely that cats try to steal chocolates from your meals. Sometimes, when they do not like a chocolate bar, a milk-based chocolate drink, or chocolate-flavored ice cream may appeal to them.
As being carnivores and meat-eaters, it does not seem like cats are even more interested in eating chocolate. But evidently, domesticated cats turn out to be more attracted to milk chocolates. However, if they eat something chocolaty, it makes them very ill.
Why is Chocolate Toxic for Cats?
Usually, fat, xylitol, and sugar are not good for cats, but chocolate can prove to be even worse. It contains two main ingredients that pose a major threat to a cat’s health.
These include theobromine and caffeine. It is a plant alkaloid that occurs naturally in cacao and proved to be toxic for most animals.
Moreover, this special ingredient makes chocolate so delightful for humans but dangerous for pets. It is difficult for the cats to metabolize theobromine as even after the ingestion, it stays within a cat’s system for almost 24 hours. This accumulation of toxins can cause illness and death.
Remember, dark chocolates are even more harmful as they contain a higher level of cocoa.
How Much Chocolate Can a Cat Eat?
Any amount of chocolate is too much for your cat, and all kinds of chocolate are dangerous for your pet. It can be dry cocoa powder, baking chocolate, dark, semi-sweet, and milk chocolate, and even white chocolate, with a low percentage of cocoa.
However, the toxicity level highly depends on how much she ingests and the size of the cat itself. A toxic amount of theobromine in cats is considered to be 200 mg/kg. Thus, the minimum amount of chocolate that can be toxic for a 10-pound cat is as follows.
- 1.5 tablespoons of dry cocoa powder
- One square of unsweetened baking chocolate
- 20g (0.7 oz.) of 70-85% dark chocolate
- 25g (0.9 oz.) of 60-69% dark chocolate
- 33g (1.2 oz.) of 45-59% dark chocolate
- A thin slice of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting
- 78g (2.7 oz.) of milk chocolate candies
- 5 tablespoons of chocolate syrup
- 23 Hershey’s Kisses (about a third of an 11-ounce bag)
- 2 packages of regular M&Ms
- 2 whole 3 Musketeers bars
- Reese’s Pieces contain only trace amounts of theobromine
Different types of chocolates have different levels of theobromine and caffeine. Sweeter chocolate with lesser amounts of milk and sugar is not as toxic as dark one.
White chocolate does not contain cocoa and is usually made up of cocoa butter, milk, sugar, and vanilla. So the cat can eat about 1.14 ounces of it. On the other hand, baking chocolate comes in bars and chunks. Consuming a small amount of it can cause damage.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Cats
Each cat has a different metabolism, but all cats are sensitive to even small amounts of chocolate. It can cause chocolate poisoning in cats and lead to a range of symptoms given below.
- Increased heart rate
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Increased body temperature
- Rapid breathing or panting
- Muscle tremors or twitching
- Low blood pressure
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, visit the vet as soon as possible to receive the required treatment. Following this, monitor your cat for any other side effects to ensure it is completely out of her system.
Clinical signs of chocolate poisoning develop within 6 to 12 hours. If the cat is not treated properly, these symptoms can become more severe and lead to death.
What to Do If My Cat Eats Chocolate?
The very first thing you should do is to keep an idea of your cat. If she is allowed to go outdoors, keep them inside for almost 24 hours. It will help you to ensure that they don’t develop any symptoms. Also, keep the doors and windows closed and watch out for your pet as you come and go from the home.
If you catch your cat while eating chocolate, immediately take them to the vet. If caught early, the doctor will induce vomiting to get rid of the toxic element before it builds up in your pet’s system.
Sometimes the cat naturally vomits after eating chocolate. However, do not try to induce vomiting by yourself at home without expert advice.
Try to find exactly how much and what kind of chocolate your cat has consumed. Save the packets and wrappers for this purpose and take that to your vet. It will determine the level of risk to your cat. Similarly, you can also call your veterinarian if you know the cat’s size and weight.
Chocolate Poisoning Diagnosis and Treatment
If you believe that your cat has eaten chocolate, check for the symptoms mentioned above. Take your feline to the vet immediately. No antidote is proven to be effective for chocolate poisoning in cats.
Similarly, the kind of treatment largely depends on the quantity of chocolate your cat ate. The vet will perform several lab tests and a complete physical examination to diagnose any signs of abnormalities. These include the following:
- Urine sample
- Electrolyte panel
- Chemical blood profile
If the symptoms are being diagnosed, the vet may recommend the following three types of treatments for your pet cat.
These treatment methods are discussed below in detail.
1. Induced Vomiting
He will induce vomiting to prevent the dangerous ingredients from causing damage. It will clean out the cat’s stomach.
2.A Fluid Drip
Intravenous fluids can be used to keep the cat hydrated, strengthen the metabolism rate and dilute the toxins. Moreover, the cats experiencing seizures and tremors may be given medication to control them.
3.Activated Charcoal or Hydrogen Peroxide
The vet can also treat the cat with activated charcoal or hydrogen peroxide. It acts like a magnet to attract the toxic substances and carry them through the gastrointestinal tract and out of the body.
If the symptoms worsen, the vet may admit the cat to the animal hospital for monitoring and other therapies.
After bringing your cat home, make sure to follow the instructions of your vet. Feed her with a balanced diet and take necessary steps to ensure that the cat does not eat chocolate again. Try to be extremely cautious while giving your cat food, as certain foods contain chocolate without you realizing it.
Other Toxic Foods for Cats
There are other favorite foods that can be proved to be toxic for the cats if ingested. If your cat is interested in what you eat, do not leave them alone with food.
Here are some other toxic foods that can be unhealthy for your cat.
- Raw dough
- Raw meat and bones
- Uncooked eggs
- Oranges and other citrus fruits
Healthier Food Choices for Your Cat Pet
The following are the healthier food choices for your cat. You can always give them appropriate amounts of these foods.
- A small amount of tuna
- Diced, cooked chicken or turkey (without the skin)
- Unseasoned rice
- Green beans
- Catnip or broth frozen into an ice cube
You can also purchase healthier options of cat food from a pet supermarket.
How to Prevent the Pet Poisoning from Happening Again?
Chocolate ingestion is 100 percent preventable if you keep it out of your cat’s reach. After the cat visits the vet, they will be prescribed medications and a healthy diet. As cats are curious and they usually get into things that they should not. Thus, keep all the chocolate in a secure area where they cannot get into it.
Think of all the food items that might contain chocolate, including cookies, brownies, or donuts. Keep them out of reach by storing them in high or locked cupboards. Furthermore, if you are baking, do not leave the supplies unattended.
Be careful during events like Easter and Christmas when you may have lots of chocolate in the house. Also, avoid using gardening mulches that contain cocoa shells.
Even if your cat has developed a taste for chocolate, do not give it a treat. Instead, find other cat treats to support your pet’s diet and provide health benefits. Remember, treating your cat is not only about food. Instead, give them enough attention, love, and time.
If you are suffering from a mental or emotional disability, you can adopt a cat as an emotional support animal. In such cases, this guide is important to know and understand the adverse effects of eating chocolate. Similarly, it will help you take care of your cat to spend quality time with her.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can cats drink chocolate milk?
No, chocolate in any form is dangerous for cats because these felines are lactose intolerant.
Why does my cat love chocolate?
The cats can’t taste sweetness, but they usually like chocolate because of the fat content.
Is Nutella poisonous to cats?
Yes, Nutella is poisonous to cats as the high quantities of sugar and fat are not feline-friendly. Moreover, theobromine is also toxic for these creatures because they lack the enzymes needed to break down toxic substances.