Cats and Chocolate

Cats are special in so many ways. Their unique personalities, soft cuddles, and funny quirks, how can you not love them? When your cat is cute and cuddly you may want to reward them with a sweet treat such as chocolate. Unfortunately, if your cat eats chocolate they’ll go from happy to sad very quickly. Chocolate is toxic to cats and can cause many unwanted symptoms. Read below to learn about the dangerous effects of chocolate on cats. 

Why is Chocolate Toxic?

Chocolate contains two active compounds, caffeine and theobromine, which can have a negative effect on cats. Cats cannot metabolize these chemicals effectively, so they build in their system resulting in poisoning. White and milk chocolate contain elevated levels of fat and sugar, with lower levels of theobromine. Dark and baker’s chocolate contain high levels of theobromine, making it the most toxic. Common symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats include: 

  • Tremors in the muscles and limbs
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Agitation/restlessness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Treatment

If you’ve given or your cat accidentally ate chocolate, you must seek treatment immediately. Contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for first aid assistance. Attempting to induce vomiting in cats can put them in further danger and must only ever be done by a professional. Depending on the amount of chocolate and when it was consumed, your veterinarian may induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to absorb the remaining contents. Your cat may need hydration treatment and blood or urine testing. An ECG test will record the heart’s electrical activity. A bland diet is recommended for the next four days after treatment.  

Dogs make up for 95% of chocolate poisoning cases in pets. Cats typically won’t indulge in a large amount of chocolate the same way a dog would, but it’s not impossible. If your cat has consumed chocolate and you do not seek treatment, fatality can occur. Keep all chocolate away from your cat’s reach and talk to your veterinarian for cat friendly treat recommendations that your feline friend will love.