Can Cats Eat Chocolate?
Can cats eat chocolate? Just as chocolate is dangerous to dogs, cats also need to stay away from the sweet stuff.
The main reason that chocolate is harmful to our pets is because it contains Theobromine and Caffeine – two ingredients that do not agree with cats at all.
Can Cats Eat Chocolate – Why it is Dangerous
Chocolate flavored treats can cause chocolate intoxication in cats. Those nasty compounds we mentioned before, caffeine and theobromine, belong to a group of cheminals called methylxanthines.
Their effect on both humans and cats is the stimulation of the heart and nervous system, (this is the caffeine buzz we experience after a mug of coffee to start the day).
Our nervous systems are able to cope with these stimulants, our cats, being a fraction of our body weight and size, cannot.
Measuring Chocolate Toxicity
An easy way to measure the toxicity of chocolate is that generally, the darker it is, the more dangerous it is. White chocolate has few methylxanthines and is less toxic, (although should still be avoided as a treat for your cat).
Dark chocolate on the other hand, is packed with methylxanthines, and is very harmful if consumed by cats.
The highest concentration of methylxanthines, can be found in plain, dry unsweetened cocoa powder. Thus making chocolate brownies or baked cakes completely off limits.
The Symptoms of Chocolate Toxicity in Cats
The impact of chocolate toxicity on your cat will vary depending on the type of chocolate they have eaten, and of course the amount.
The weight of your cat will also be a factor. It is said that as little as 20mg of theobromine per pound of pet weight can cause side effects and health problems.
In general, if your cat has consumed too much chocolate, they may experience the following:
- increased thirst,
- abdominal discomfort
- restlessness to severe agitation,
- muscle tremors,
- irregular heart rhythm,
- high body temperature,
- seizures and even death.
Cats showing more than mild restlessness should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Likewise, if you know your cat has eaten chocolate, take them to the vets as soon as you can.
At the Vets
Once your cat is at the vets, your veterinarian will likely perform a complete physical exam. This should include a chemical blood profile, an electrolyte panel, and a urinalysis.
The results of these tests will help determine whether your cat has experienced a chocolate and caffeine overdose.
An ECG may also be performed to see if the heart is showing any abnormalities in rhythm, due to the stimulant affects of the compounds.
Can Cats Eat Chocolate – Any benefits?
What, are you mad? There are no benefits to feeding your cat chocolate, so don’t.
We know it’s tempting if you are sitting on the sofa, watching your favorite movie and your cat is curled up on your lap, to offer a little something to your feline companion.
However, resist that temptation. There are plenty of alternative treats available that are healthy and beneficial for your cat. Chocolate just isn’t one of them.