Most of us know to keep chocolate away from our dogs. But can cats eat chocolate? Turns out that chocolate is equally toxic for cats. Before you think about sharing dessert with your feline friend, you should know a few important things.
Consuming Chocolate Can Be Fatal for Cats
Is chocolate bad for cats? The short answer to that question is a resounding Yes! Like dogs, consuming enough chocolate can cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and death for a cat.
The toxic agent in chocolate is theobromine. It is present in all chocolate, including white chocolate. Although, it is present in a larger dose in unsweetened baking chocolate and dark chocolate.
A Small Amount Of Chocolate is Dangerous for Your Cat
ATheobromine content combined with caffiene content is what adds up to danger in your cat. Different types of chocolate have differing amounts of these substances. A tiny corner of a brick of baking chocolate can be enough to cause severe symptoms in your kitty. About 0.2 ounces of unsweetened baking squares and 0.5 ounces of semisweet or dark chocolate can be fatal.
This is a useful calculator for estimating danger to your cat that takes into account the size of your cat and the type and amount of chocolate consumed.
What To Do If Your Cat Eats Chocolate
It’s a situation we all dread. Oh no, my cat licked chocolate! You find your pet licking up contraband with no way of knowing how much they ingested. The first thing you should do is watch for symptoms.
Symptoms of Toxicity in Your Cat
- Rapid breathing
- Elevated temperature
- Rigid muscles
- Heightened reflex response
- Cardiac arrest
If you observe any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s time to make an emergency trip to the veterinarian. Your vet can examine your kitty and run tests for unseen symptoms such as low blood pressure. The vet may also do a urinalysis and blood work to determine the extent of toxicity.
Treatment for Chocolate Toxicity in Cats
Most likely, your vet will first treat your cat by inducing vomiting. Getting him to throw up any undigested chocolate will halt any more theobromine from entering his system.
Next, your vet will probably rehydrate your cat with IV fluids. This will help with fluid loss due to vomiting and diarrhea. It will also dilute any toxins already in your cat’s system.
Last, your vet will likely recommend that your cat eat a bland diet for a few days.
Cats CANNOT eat chocolate.
It’s a frightening situation when your pet eats something dangerous. Luckily, cats usually avoid eating things that are bad for them. If you suspect that your cat has eaten chocolate, stay calm and watch for signs of toxicity. When in doubt, call your veterinarian for help.