Being cat owners, we are all too aware of how important good diet is to the general health and wellbeing of our feline friends. We occasionally cave and treat our cats (with a twinkle in their eye). However, can cats consume chocolate?
It is not advisable for cats to eat chocolate because it is harmful to cats and can result in significant harm.
Even while it is much more usual to read about dogs getting sick after accidentally eating chocolate, cats can also be seriously harmed by it. It is not advisable for cats to eat chocolate because it is harmful to cats and can result in significant harm.
Why Can’t Cats Eat Chocolate?
Chocolate contains ingredients called theobromine and caffeine, which are toxic to cats, if consumed in large enough quantities. The theobromine absorbs much more slowly in cats then it does in us, so even a small amount of chocolate can be toxic to a cat.
How Do You Treat Your Cat If It Eats Chocolate?
Should you suspect your cat has eaten chocolate, watch out for any of the following symptoms:
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Heightened temperature
- Muscle rigidity
If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, contact a veterinary surgeon immediately.
If you catch your cat in the act of eating chocolate, take them to a vet as soon as possible. If caught early enough, a vet can induce vomiting to try ridding the toxic element from your cat’s system before it builds up.
Your cat may naturally vomit after eating chocolate, but do not try to make your cat vomit at home without the advice of your veterinary surgeon.
Seeing your cat unwell can be a stressful time, but it is great to give the veterinary surgeon as much information as possible like how much, and what kind of chocolate your cat has consumed: saving the wrappers or packets can useful for this, as when you take your cat to the veterinary practice, any packaging will be useful to know the concentration of the chocolate.
Knowing your cat’s size and weight will also be helpful when speaking with a vet over the phone: this is a useful way of assessing the risk to your cat.
Once at the veterinary practice, the vet will perform several tests, including a physical exam and blood tests. They may also conduct an ECG (heart test) to determine whether there are any abnormalities in your cat’s heart rate. One side-effect of chocolate is an increased heart rate.
Should your cat be showing signs of chocolate poisoning, your veterinary surgeon will provide them with symptomatic treatment, such as IV fluids, and should the liver become affected, your cat will also be treated for liver disease.
How Can You Prevent Your Cat From Consuming Chocolate at Home?
As with any harmful food that could cause toxicity, avoiding ingestion is always the best practice. By keeping poisonous and hazardous food out of reach, and providing your cat with a balanced diet, you will help them stay healthy:
- Be sure to keep chocolate in cupboards and ideally in cat-proof containers, as cats are rarely dissuaded by heights or doors!
- Try not to leave baked goods or even baking supplies unattended on the counter, or keep your cat out of the kitchen while baking.
- Do not let your cat on the counter while you are cooking