Not under any circumstance should cats eat chocolate. Even a little bit of chocolate can cause serious issues with cats and you must take extra care to ensure chocolate is not fed to the cats or your cat get a hold of chocolate in any form.
In this post, I am going to explain why chocolate is so dangerous for cats and exactly how much chocolate is fatal for cats.
Why is Chocolate Toxic for Cats?
Chocolate is a favourite treat for people, but it can be very dangerous and life threatening for cats.
Caffeine is the most common ingredient in chocolate and cocoa, but it’s not the only one. Chocolate also contains sugar and fat, which are not good for your cat’s health. In fact, many cats have allergic reactions to chocolate because of these ingredients. And if your cat ingests enough chocolate, it can cause severe vomiting or diarrhoea.
Theobromine is another toxic ingredient found in chocolate that has been linked to seizures, heart problems and even death in some cases. Theobromine is an alkaloid that can affect the cardiovascular system as well as other organs in cats like dogs and humans. The dose required for toxicity will depend on how much chocolate was eaten by your cat as well as how much moisture is present in their stomachs after eating it.
Can Chocolate Kill a Cat?
YES! Chocolate can be absolutely fatal for cats or lead to severe health problems. It largely depends on the weight of the cat and the amount and type of chocolate that has been ingested by the cat.
The Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) claims an average of 103 chocolate-related cases per day! Note: The number is for both cats and dogs.
The symptoms of chocolate poisoning progresses very quickly and the condition can worsen at an alarming rate.
You should get your cat medical attention as soon as you can. It can be the difference between life and death for your feline friend.
How Much Chocolate is Dangerous for Cats?
The amount of chocolate that can be toxic to cats, depends on the type and amount of chocolate ingested and the weight of the cat. That said, any amount of chocolate can cause issues, so it is better to take the cat to the vet than to wait for symptoms to develop.
You can use this calculator to determine exactly how much chocolate is toxic for your cat.
You can also refer to the below guide to determine the toxicity level for chocolate.
|Type of chocolate
|97.4 g (3.4 oz)
|41.6 g (1.5 oz)
|5668 g (199.9 oz)
|26 g (0.92 oz)
|21.7 g (0.76 oz)
|18.1 g (0.6 oz)
What are the Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Cats?
Chocolate poisoning or toxicity can cause various symptoms and in the worse case scenario, can even cause death. Below are some of the symptoms that can occur but there also could be other symptoms.
- Muscle Tremors or twitching
- Panting or rapid breathing
- Elevated Heart Rate
- Elevated Blood Pressure or Low Blood Pressure
- High Body Temperature
- Excessive urination
- Excessive Thirst
- Rigid muscles
The above symptoms do not occur in a specific order. Take your cat immediately to the vet even if your cat starts showing a single symptom.
What to Do if Your Cat has Ingested Chocolate?
If your cat has eaten a piece of chocolate, the most important thing for you to do is remain calm and follow the below steps immediately.
- Take away the chocolate from your cat immediately.
- If your cat has some chocolate in their mouth, face or paws, try to get it out as safely as possible. Clean off the chocolate from the face, coat or paws.
- Get hold of the chocolate packaging, as this information would be required by your vet.
- Try to figure how much chocolate your cat has ingested.
- Keep a close eye on your cat for any symptoms or discomfort.
- Immediately take your cat to the vet for an emergency check up.
- Show the vet the chocolate packaging and share the amount of chocolate you think the cat has ingested with the vet.
How will Chocolate Poisoning be Treated?
Treatment of chocolate poisoning will depend on the amount and type of chocolate ingested. If you have done the above steps, the vet can quickly determine the best way forward. The vet could start the following treatments:
Induce Vomiting: If the chocolate was ingested within the last 2 hours, your vet might try to induce vomit to remove any chocolate from your cat’s stomach and possibly slow down the absorption of the toxins.
Hospitalisation: Based on the severity of the symptoms or the amount ingested, the vet might decide to hospitalise your pet to ensure that they can treat any symptoms immediately. They would also want to ensure that the cat doesn’t suffer any side effects and observe them for a few days.
Activated Charcoal: The vet might decide to give your cat liquid activated charcoal through the mouth. Liquid activated charcoal stops the cat digestive system from absorbing the chocolate toxins.
Medications: If the cat is suffering from seizures,tremors, increased heart rate or elevated breathing the vet might opt to give your cat medicine to control these systems.
Ventilator: A ventilator might be required to regulate breathing.
Chocolate Poisoning Recovery
Unfortunately, there is no one fit answer for this. It really depends on the amount of chocolate ingested and the severity of the symptoms.
But be prepared for at least a couple of days before your cat is back to their naughty self.
You should set up follow up appointments with your vet to make sure your cat is recovering well and there are no lingering issues.
How to Prevent Chocolate Poisoning?
The best way to stop chocolate poisoning in cats is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Always store your chocolate and foods with chocolate in cat proof containers and places.
If you have children, educate them on why it is important to not feed cats any food that they are eating and why it is dangerous for the cat.
Remember any food that contains traces of cocoa is toxic to cats. Foods like cookies, brownies, ice creams, and oreos all contain chocolate.
Give your cat treats specifically made for them to keep them happy and reward them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Cats Like the Taste of Chocolate?
Cats do not have the taste receptors to taste sugar. That is why they are not really interested in any sweet stuff and chocolate. But cats are curious creatures and may want to try things.
Can Cats Eat Brownies?
NO! Brownies contain chocolate as their main ingredient. Never give your cat brownies and always keep it away from the cat’s reach.
Can Cats Have Chocolate Ice cream?
NO! Chocolate ice cream contains chocolate which can be toxic to cats. Keep chocolate ice cream away from your cat. Ice cream in general is not good for cats as it contains dairy and cats are not good at digesting dairy products.
Can Cats Have Chocolate Milk?
NO! Chocolate milk is not safe for cats.Chocolate milk contains chocolate and milk, both of these can cause harm to cats.
Can Cats Have White Chocolate?
Cats can eat white chocolate in very small amounts. White chocolate doesn’t contain caffeine and is less toxic than other chocolates.
But make sure not to give too much chocolate to your cat, as it still contains theobromine in very small amounts, which is toxic for cats.
The Bottom Line
While cases reported for chocolate poisoning are low, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take this situation seriously.
Be extra careful with chocolate around your cats and take them immediately to the vet if they have ingested chocolate instead of waiting for symptoms to occur.
Chocolate poisoning can be lethal in cats and if not treated early can lead to death.
Did you know in addition to chocolate, there are 46 other foods that can be quite dangerous to your cat. Check out our list of 47 Food Cats Can’t Eat.