Most pet parents know that chocolate is poisonous for dogs, but is it the same for cats? Can cats eat small amounts of chocolate? What are the signs of chocolate toxicity? Well, you’ll find all the answers you need here.
There are many foods loved by humans that are not acceptable for cats to consume. Chocolate is one of them. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine which can both be detrimental to your cat’s health if consumed, even in small quantities. While dogs are more likely to find your hidden stash of chocolates and guzzle down the lot, cats can also develop a taste for sweet treats.
Theobromine is metabolized in the human body when digested but this does not happen with dogs or cats. A toxic build-up can occur with serious cases resulting in liver failure. The amount of chocolate that will cause problems for your cat differs from animal to animal. Things like age, metabolism, and size will all play a role in the effects. Dark chocolate is also more harmful than milk or white chocolate, as it has a far higher theobromine content.
There are certain signs to look out for that could indicate chocolate toxicity in your cat. These include vomiting and diarrhea, lack of appetite, tremors, increased heart rate, panting, increased thirst, and panting. If you suspect your cat has consumed chocolate and is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately. If caught early enough, your veterinarian may be able to induce vomiting in your cat (you may be asked to do this at home using hydrogen peroxide but follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully) and prevent the toxic buildup. Try to evaluate how much chocolate your cat has consumed and bring the wrappers with you to the vet. This may be able to help them determine the severity of the case.
Once you are at your veterinarian, your cat will likely have blood and urine tests performed and maybe put on a drip to stay hydrated. They may perform an ECG to check their heart rhythm as well. Symptoms will most likely be treated as they arise.
Other ‘human’ foods that are harmful to your cats include grapes/raisins, raw eggs, milk, onion, garlic, avocado, and alcohol. To be safe, ensure your cat is never left alone with any of these items.
There are many healthy food options if you would like to treat your feline friend. Things such as cooked skinless chicken, berries, bananas, plain rice, green beans, and carrots are all good options. These will add variety to your cat’s diet but remember, everything is good in moderation!