Let’s face it: having a cat is like taking care of a small child that’s never really going to grow up.
That reality can add to the overall experience of ownership, or it can take away from it. It really depends on each individual’s ability to pay attention to detail.
Responsible pet owners end up asking themselves all sort of questions such as: Does my pet have any allergies? Am I allergic to it even? How much exercise is enough really, and can it be too much? How long will house-training take? (Hopefully not too long, *fingers crossed*)
Many of the most important aspects and questions revolve around diet though.
No matter how often you slide some scraps from the dinner table or get tempted to do so, we all know that isn’t the best way to feed your little friend.
Different animals have different requirements when it comes to appropriate caloric intake, as well as what vitamins and nutrients are essential as well for proper health and optimal function.
The differences in diet between us humans and the animals we lovingly accept into our homes can be subtle at times and especially in the beginning, but not always.
Take the age-old history of dogs and chocolate for example.
It is pretty well known that the delicious sweet is considered poison for our canine counterparts.
But what about our feline friends on the other hand?
Can cats eat chocolate?
No, they should not have it.
And, more importantly, what should you do if your cat does eat chocolate for some reason?
Why is Chocolate Bad for Cats?
Chocolate, and the cocoa plant in general contain some caffeine.
This popular stimulant is harmful to most organisms, even human beings.
We just happen to be resilient enough to ingest it as we please.
Now, that does not mean caffeine is bad for us daily and you don’t have to worry or stop drinking your morning cup of coffee.
Too much though is known to be bad for us.
But even if we can tolerate this special ingredient, the same can’t be said for cats who quickly become ill from it.
Along side caffeine, there is also a compound called theobromine which is problematic to felines as well. (1.)
People are able to break it down naturally with relative ease and without too much trouble.
When it comes to cats however, theobromide can easily build up to toxic and dangerous levels when they have chocolate. (2.)
Once this point is reached, you can expect to see some deadly symptoms in your cat, including organ failure.
The liver in cats gets hit pretty hard for example.
Since even the tiniest amounts of the chemical can prove to be incredibly harmful to them, make sure to always keep your Snickers bars far out of reach from your cat at all times. No exception.
Every animal will have at least a slightly different metabolism as they are all unique.
This means that it is not possible to determine the exact amount of chocolate a kitty can eat before it starts to experience the symptoms.
Something that does make a big difference when it comes to this is the type of chocolate in question.
Darker, more bitter chocolate usually possesses significantly higher amounts of theobromine than you would normally find in white or milk chocolate.
Let’s take a closer look at how your pet will react when they start experiencing these symptoms of toxicity.
If you have any reason to believe that your little cat has had chocolate, keep a close eye on it and look out for these symptoms:
Cats Chocolate Poison Symptoms
This is a common known symptoms animals can experience when they attempt (and fail) to process a substance which contains dairy.
Therefore, this particular symptom is more likely to be observed when a cat has milk chocolate.
As the chocolate itself may remain partially intact when it exits the body, it might be visible in the stool.
This can help one determine whether or not the diarrhea stems from the ingestion of chocolate or something else.
Similar to diarrhea, dairy is a typical culprit responsible for this symptom in animals such as cats.
It may not be the reason why you decided to bring a cat home, but don’t be afraid to examine the goop for bits of chocolate to get a better grasp on just what it was that caused your kitty to puke.
Due to the fact that caffeine has such a powerful impact on smaller creatures, even a little bit of it can leave your pets jittery and unable to keep still. This isn’t the most unique symptom, so don’t rely on it more than the rest.
Also keep an eye out for:
- Increased temperature
- rapid breathing
- faster paced heart rate
- rigid muscles
Also read: What is a tabby cat?
What do I do if my cat ate chocolate?
Once you are sure that something is out of the ordinary, the next step is to get in touch with the vet as soon as possible.
Remember, you don’t want to take any chances and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
No matter what, you want to look more closely after your cat for the time being.
For outdoor cats, make sure they stay inside for at least a full day so you can see how they are doing.
Doing this and keeping them inside will help limit the likelihood that any impending symptoms will have originated from some source other than the eaten chocolate.
Shut every window and close all doors, and ensure that you don’t let the little guy slip out of the door after you when you enter or leave the house.
If you do see your cat trying to snarf down some chocolate, take them to the veterinarian at once.
If you move quickly enough, the vet might be able to get your cat to vomit up the bad stuff before any real harm is done.
So don’t waste any time if you have a bad feeling.
Some felines will throw up the toxic sludge by themselves, but you can’t count on this to happen.
Don’t try to make this happen yourself and leave it to the professionals when it comes down to it.
If you are eating chocolate around your cat, make sure not to accidentally leave the wrapping lying around where they can get to it.
Try to trace any amounts of chocolate clinging to the package afterwards and get rid of it, as small amounts can still be dangerous to your cat.
Animals sometimes have very little or no ability to distinguish between safe and dangerous substances to ingest and eat.
There’s more than can be done to try to approximate how much of a problem might be posed by whatever type of chocolate your cat managed to get their paws on.
Hang on to the candy wrapping or the packaging of the sweets, and bring it all with you when you go to the vet.
The ingredients and the nutritional information can help greatly with trying to pinpoint important details.
If you know your cat’s size, weight, etc, then that will save any additional time as well in the rush to check on your pet’s health.
You should expect your vet to conduct a series of tests on your pet, such as:
- Sampling urine
- A full physical
Charcoal can be used to help your cat get through a chocolate-induced bout of thebromide poisoning, but I don’t recommend trying to to this yourself.
Activated charcoal is usually derived from wood and cool among other things.
After being burned at the right temperature, this compound reacts to ambient gasses and begins to expand, and it is at this point that the charcoal is ground into powder and can be given to a sick cat.
Once it is in the bloodstream, the charcoal binds to theobromide and restricts it’s movements in the cat’s system.
This is not the idea treatment.
Cats do not take to it naturally, so getting them to eat some will most likely be a struggle and hard to do.
More often than not, a nasogastric tube will be needed.
The nasal passages are closely linked to the bloodstream, so a connecting tube in that position will help to move the charcoal effectively into the bloodstream where it needs to be.
Don’t try to do something like this at home if you can avoid it, by all means go to the vet instead.
It can be a bit expensive yes, but it can save your cats life when it comes down to it.
Treat the symptoms in your cat as well as possible and give them time.
If the liver is proving problematic, IV fluids for liver disease are sometimes used.
The fact of the matter is, there is really no definite cure for chocolate poisoning once the process has begun.
This is why it is so important to prevent your cat from getting to chocolate in the first place, so this won’t happen!
Taking precaution and being aware of the possible dangers is really the single best thing you can do to keep your cat safe from harm.
It is much easier to simply prevent your cat from getting to chocolate to begin with, than trying to treat the symptoms of a poisoning.
Alternatives to Chocolate
There is nothing wrong with having a bit of a sweet tooth and I have a feeling most of us can relate to that sentiment.
We all want to make our little furry friends as happy as possible, and spoil them with tasty treats from time to time.
Giving your cat treats is also great when you are trying to reinforce positive behavior, but cats respond very well to being rewarded when they are good and behaving as they should.
It feels nice to be able to surprise your cat with some tasty treat, but while this is true you should never give your cat chocolate.
Memorize it now, and don’t forget about it.
Chocolate is bad for cats.
The good news are though, that there are many carefully crafted treats for you to choose from which are completely safe for your cat.
These are a much better choice.
These were made with cats especially in mind, their sense of smell and taste preferences having been considered when making them.
So they should definitely be more to your cat’s liking than some strange brown sugary candy clump humans seem to love having…
Some cat treats are healthy and designed to help your feline stay withing a healthy weight, and to help maintain their dental hygiene as well.
You can throw these treats in with some good old-fashioned tender and loving care which your cat will probably appreciate.
There are even organic, catnip-based treats tweaked to have enticing and alluring chocolate flavor for your cat to enjoy.
Bear in mind, that these special cat treats aren’t exactly considered healthy though, but they are definitely not toxic.
When it comes to sweets that are reminiscent of chocolate in some way but still safe for cats to have, you won’t find anything that comes very close to it.
This is the reason why it is so important to keep your cat from developing a preference or a taste for real chocolate.
Don’t let them get to your snack bars.
Your best bet might be the usual cat treats available for sale in regular pet stores.
You can consider making homemade goods for your cat which could contain things like chicken, it being safe for them.
Cats are carnivores and gravitate towards these sorts of food items naturally and out of instinct.
At the end of the day, many cat owners find themselves locked into a battle of wills when it comes to their four-legged family members.
There is some give and take, like every other relationship has.
As long as you never give in when it comes to chocolate, everything should be fine.
Cat’s generally are not drawn to chocolate which is good considering, so this should not be too much of an issue. (3.)
But if you ever find your kitty being drawn to your candy bar and curiously wanting a taste, be firm about refusing it.
You are looking out for their health and their best interest so don’t feel guilty.
Avoid making eye contact with your cat or petting it when you are eating chocolate, as they may take it as an invitation to join in.
If you keep chocolate out of your cats reach they will never know what they are missing, which is a good thing in their case.
What they would be missing is an unpleasant trip to the vet.
Now that you are finished, you may also enjoy reading our article about how to take care of a Siamese cat.