Are you enjoying a chocolate bar while lying on the couch? As you watch your favorite show, your cat decides to join you on the couch. Instead of sitting at your feet and curling up, she positions herself in your lap, looking directly at you while you enjoy a square of Lindt.
What gives? Why is the cat’s attention on you all of a sudden? Does she need dinner? No, you fed her an hour ago. Does she need to go outdoors? We doubt it; it’s snowing outside. Could it be that your kitty wants to try some of your creamy chocolate goodness?
Is that a thing? Do cats even like chocolate? Can cats eat chocolate? Should you break her off a square to try? It might be funny to see how she reacts to the taste of the chocolate.
Why Is Chocolate Toxic to My Cat?
Before you give your cat a square of chocolate, it’s time to do some research. You’ll be glad you do because chocolate is indeed toxic to cats, much like it is to dogs. Feeding your kitty that square could end up costing her life.
Chocolate is toxic to cats thanks to the caffeine and theobromine present in cocoa. Theobromine accumulates to toxic levels in cats because it digests much slower than it does in humans. The stimulant effect of the caffeine in chocolate may also alter your cat’s behavior, making them edgy, anxious, and irritable.
If your cat ends up eating too much chocolate, it may result in severe digestive distress and even death. If you suspect your kitty is chowing down on chocolate, it’s best to observe them and get them to the vet immediately if they start displaying symptoms of chocolate toxicity.
The effects of chocolate toxicity in cats vary depending on the amount of chocolate they eat and the cat’s size. Typically, cats don’t enjoy eating chocolate. They’ll take a bite and spit it out.
If that’s the case, you don’t have anything to worry about, and the chances of your kitty exhibiting signs of chocolate toxicity are minimal.
However, if your cat hasn’t eaten in a while, they might find the flavor of the chocolate or protein bar appealing. As a result, they may eat more of it than they normally would before giving up on the idea. IF that’s the case, your kitty could start showing the signs of chocolate toxicity.
What are the Symptoms and Signs of Chocolate Toxicity in My Cat?
Some of the signs and symptoms of chocolate toxicity in your cat include the following.
- Hyperactivity and restlessness.
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
- An increase in thirst.
- Tremors and seizures.
- Increases in the reflex response.
- Muscle stiffness.
- Rapid shallow breathing
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms of chocolate toxicity in your cat, it means they ate a significant amount of it. Call your vet immediately, and take your cat through to the animal hospital right away.
Chocolate Toxicity Levels in Cats
The following is the LD50 number of typical types of chocolate that cause the onset of chocolate poisoning in cats. We use an average 8-pound cat as an example for this exercise.
- Milk Chocolate – 1.14 oz
- Dark Chocolate – 0.5 oz
- Semisweet Chocolate – 0.5 oz
- Baking Chocolate – 0.2 oz
- White Chocolate – Does not cause any toxicity.
Cats experience the onset of chocolate toxicity with exposure to more than 200mg of theobromine per kilogram (2.2-lbs) of body weight. Different types of chocolate have different quantities of theobromine, so refer to the amounts above for the lethal dose of each type of chocolate in cats.
Milk chocolate is the least problematic, with dark and baking chocolate types being the worst. It’s interesting to note that white chocolate does not affect your cat’s digestive system.
That’s because white chocolate actually isn’t chocolate. It doesn’t contain any cocoa solids, so there’s no caffeine or theobromine present in the sweet treat.
Milk chocolate has the least caffeine and theobromine, requiring your cat to eat 1.1-oz or more to achieve a toxic effect. That’s around the equivalent of eight Hershey’s Kisses. While that’s nothing for the seasoned human chocolate lover to devour, it’s quite a feat for your kitty.
What Do I Do If My Cat Eats Chocolate?
The reality is that if your cat eats chocolate, the chances are they aren’t going to eat enough to give themselves a lethal dose. However, they probably will eat enough to provide themselves with some impressive digestive discomfort.
If you think your cat ate some chocolate, or you saw them eat chocolate, keep an eye on them to monitor the situation. What them for signs of chocolate toxicity, and keep them indoors as much as possible.
How Does the Vet Treat Chocolate Toxicity in Cats?
If your cat shows signs of chocolate toxicity, it’s time to take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. The vet may ask you to induce vomiting in the animal before bringing her in, or they will probably do it themselves when you arrive.
Your vet may induce vomiting by feeding some diluted hydrogen peroxide to your cat using a syringe and tube to get the liquid down.
Your vet will ask you how much chocolate they ate, what type of chocolate, and when the cat ate it. Make sure you have all of that information on hand.
Depending on the situation, your vet may hook your cat up to a drip to rehydrate her, and they may want to keep her overnight for observation and ECG tests.
Provided the cat didn’t eat too much chocolate, and you get her to the vet in time, she should make a full recovery.
How Do I Prevent My Cat from Eating Chocolate?
As you know, cats are curious animals. Therefore, if you’re eating a chocolate bar, make sure you put it away if you don’t fish it.
Please don’t leave it lying around on the couch or the coffee table where your cat can find it. Be a responsible cat owner, and keep your cat away from all sources of chocolate.