Can Cats Eat Chocolate? Can You Share Your Chocolaty Treats?

Can Cats Eat Chocolate? Can You Share Your Chocolaty Treats?

As a cat owner, it’s natural to wonder what your furry friend can and cannot eat. You may be surprised to learn that chocolate, a popular treat for humans, is toxic to cats. 

You should not feed chocolate to your cats!

In this blog, we will explore why chocolate is harmful to cats, what the symptoms of chocolate poisoning are, and what to do if your cat eats chocolate.

Why is Chocolate Harmful to Cats?

Theobromine is a compound found in chocolate that is toxic to cats. Cats are unable to metabolize theobromine as efficiently as humans can, which means that it can build up in their system and cause a range of symptoms. 

Theobromine affects the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system of cats. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, seizures, and even death in severe cases.

What About Chocolate Flavoured Foods?

All types of chocolate can be dangerous for your cat, including cocoa powder, milk chocolate, and even white chocolate, which contains a low amount of cocoa. S

Some foods like ice cream or icing may be flavored with chocolate, causing confusion among cat owners about whether it is safe for their pets. Although your cat may not experience fatal consequences from consuming some chocolate ice cream, it can still feel quite unwell for a few hours. 

The toxic effects of cocoa, combined with the sugar and lactose from the dairy, can be hard for a feline’s digestive system to handle.

Can Cats Eat Chocolate Ice Cream?

No!

Although cats can technically eat chocolate ice cream, it’s not recommended as chocolate is toxic to them. Even small amounts of chocolate can cause digestive issues.

Can Cats Eat Chocolate Cake?

No, cats should not eat chocolate cake as chocolate is toxic to them. It’s best to avoid giving your cat any chocolate or chocolate-flavored foods, including chocolate cake.

Can Cats Eat Chocolate Chip Cookies?

No!

Chocolate is harmful to cats, and they should not eat chocolate chip cookies. It’s important to keep all chocolate and other potentially toxic foods away from cats to prevent them from ingesting them accidentally.

Can Cats Eat Chocolate Pudding?

No! Cats should not be fed chocolate pudding or any chocolate-based products. 

How Much Chocolate is Toxic to Cats?

The amount of chocolate that is toxic to cats can vary depending on several factors, including the type of chocolate and the weight of the cat. 

As a general rule, even a small amount of chocolate can be harmful to your cat, and it’s best to avoid giving your cat any chocolate at all.

However, if your cat does happen to eat chocolate, the severity of the symptoms can depend on the amount ingested and the type of chocolate. Dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate contain higher levels of theobromine and are therefore more toxic to cats than milk chocolate or white chocolate.

According to the ASPCA, a toxic dose of theobromine in cats is approximately 200-400 mg/kg of body weight. This means that a 5-pound cat would need to consume as little as 1 ounce of dark chocolate or just over 3 ounces of milk chocolate to reach a toxic dose.

Type of ChocolateMinimum Amount That Can Be Toxic to an 8 lb. Cat
Milk1.14 oz (or 32.3 g)
Dark0.5 oz (or 14.2 g)
Semisweet0.5 oz (or 14.2 g)
Baking0.2 oz (or 5.7 g)
WhiteNot a concern

What are the Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Cats?

If your cat has ingested chocolate, you may notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Excessive thirst

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately.

Can Cats Die From Chocolate?

It is possible for cats to die from eating chocolate, depending on several factors. 

The size of the cat and the type of chocolate consumed can greatly impact the severity of the situation. For instance, even a small amount of 86% cocoa can cause severe seizures in an 8-pound cat, with more than ½ ounce potentially resulting in death.

The risk of fatality is even higher when it comes to baking chocolate, with just ½ ounce being potentially lethal to cats. Similarly, even less than ½ ounce of cocoa beans can be deadly.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can progress quickly, causing heart rate and rhythm changes that may lead to low blood pressure. Additionally, muscle tremors and spasms can lead to dangerously high body temperatures. 

If left untreated, these changes can be fatal.

It is important to seek immediate veterinary care for your cat if you suspect they have ingested chocolate or any other potential toxin. The sooner your cat receives treatment, the better the prognosis. 

Remember to keep all chocolate and chocolate-based products out of your cat’s reach to prevent accidental ingestion.

What to Do if Your Cat Eats Chocolate?

If you suspect that your cat has eaten chocolate, the first thing you should do is contact your veterinarian. 

They will be able to advise you on the best course of action based on the type of chocolate your cat ate and how much it consumed. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting or administering activated charcoal to help absorb the toxins.

Treatment of Chocolate Toxicity

Administering one or two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide to a cat can induce vomiting and help eliminate any contents of the stomach, including chocolate and wrappers. 

However, it can be challenging to give a cat hydrogen peroxide without a syringe at home. So, it is often best to bring your cat to the veterinarian’s office as soon as possible.

Upon arrival at a vet clinic, your cat may receive fluid therapy to prevent dehydration, and blood or urine tests may be conducted. An ECG may also be performed to check for any abnormal heart rhythms. Symptoms will be addressed accordingly, and a bland diet may be recommended for the next few days.

It is crucial to seek prompt veterinary care after your cat has ingested chocolate. 

What Other Foods are Toxic to Cats?

Chocolate is just one of many human foods that are toxic to cats. Other foods to avoid include:

  • Onions and garlic
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Avocado
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in some sugar-free products)

No Chocolate for Cats – The Final Verdict!

Cats should not be given chocolate as it is toxic and can cause serious health problems. 

If you suspect that your cat has ingested chocolate, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to be aware of the foods that are toxic to cats and to keep them out of reach.

FAQs

Can a small amount of milk chocolate harm my cat?

While a small amount of milk chocolate is unlikely to cause harm, it’s still best to avoid giving your cat any chocolate.

How long does it take for symptoms of chocolate poisoning to appear in cats?

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can appear within a few hours of ingestion.

Are all types of chocolate toxic to cats?

Yes! In fact, the darker and more concentrated the chocolate, the more toxic it is to cats.

Why is xylitol toxic to cats?

Xylitol can cause insulin release, which can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver damage in cats.

How can I keep my cat from eating toxic foods?

The best way to keep your cat from eating toxic foods is to keep them out of reach. Store human foods in secure containers or cabinets and make sure that garbage cans are securely closed.

Reena McElroy Avatar