Can Cats Each Chocolate
(This blog is meant to provide general information about the effects of chocolate on cats. If you feel your cat is in danger of poisoning from chocolate, please contact your vet immediately. Always consult with a veterinarian before feeding your cat food meant for humans.)
Chocolate and Cats
Cats are purrfect and chocolate is awesome. So you might feel tempted to combine the two and give your furry friend a little taste of your favorite treat. However, chocolate is toxic to cats – literally – so no matter how cutely your beloved feline looks at you while you’re enjoying your chocolatey treat, you shouldn’t give them any chocolate. Ever. Even if they meow loudly.
But why? How can it be that chocolate is bad for cats when it is so delicious to us?
Chocolate contains theobromine and theobromine has been shown to be toxic to not only cats, but most animals. It is a plant alkaloid that naturally occurs in cacao. In fact, the Latin name for the cocoa plant is Theobroma cacao, and it means “food for the gods”.
And while cats were seen as gods in Ancient Egypt, that still doesn't give cats the ability to metabolize theobromine. Humans can metabolize theobromine, but cats can't. So it builds up in cats' small bodies, causing vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, increased heart rate, and eventually can cause liver failure and death.
Yes, it is that bad. According to Pet WebMD, theobromine is present in all kinds of chocolate, including white chocolate. Dark chocolate and unsweetened backing chocolate are the most dangerous to cats.
And theobromine is not the only ingredient in chocolate that is bad for cats to eat.
Caffeine and Cats
In big enough amounts, caffeine can be dangerous for humans, too. And your tiny little kitty? Because of a much smaller body, they’re more sensitive to it – and caffeine is very similar to theobromine, and causes similar symptoms in cats.
One of the biggest caffeine dangerous to cats and other pets comes in the form of pills. Mini over-the-counter stimulants and diet pills Contain significant levels of caffeine that can be dangerous to cats. So keep your coffee and stimulants safely out of reach.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Cats
The severity of the symptoms that a cat may experience after ingesting chocolate vary depending on a number of factors, including the amount and type of chocolate eaten, according to Wedgewood Pharmacy, one of the largest pharmacies of its type devoted to animal health in the United States.
Fortunately, cats are typically not interested in chocolate, and the type that might seem somewhat tasty to them, milk chocolate, while still toxic, has the lowest potential to do them harm.
We’ve already mentioned some of the symptoms, but here’s a more comprehensive list:
- Rapid breathing
- Elevated temperature
- Muscle rigidity
- Increased reflex response
- Cardiac arrest
There might also be other symptoms that would be difficult to spot, like low blood pressure or rapid heartbeat.
What to Do if You Suspect Your Cat Ate Chocolate?
If you fear your cat at chocolate, contact your vet immediately to provide the the details about the type of chocolate, amount eaten and information about your particular cat.
According to Purina, if a cat is treated quickly enough after ingesting chocolate, a veterinarian would be able to induce vomiting in an attempt to remove the toxic element from your cat's body before it builds up. Don’t try to induce vomiting by yourself, or the poor kitty could get severe stomach ulcers or worse!
Leave it to the professional to decide what would be the best course of action. Vets have multiple methods for removing toxins. They can also give your cat medications to treat the specific symptoms and use fluid therapy to keep the kitty hydrated, support the heart and blood pressure, and help your kitty get rid of the toxins faster. The vet might also recommend a bland diet for the next few days.
Is There a Safe Amount of Chocolate for Your Cat to Eat?
No, not really. No matter how delicious it is, any amount of chocolate in any form (dry cocoa powder, baking chocolate, dark, semi-sweet, milk chocolate, white chocolate) contains theobromine and caffeine, and is therefore dangerous for your sweet feline.
How to Prevent Chocolate Poisoning
There’s only one way, and it’s fairly simple: keep all the chocolate away from your kitty or kitties. And dogs, of course, they’ll grab it much more eagerly than cats, and it’s just as poisonous for them.
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