Although chocolate is among the indispensable flavors of many people, this sweet food is extremely dangerous for both dogs and cats. Chocolate and cocoa contain a component called theobromine, which is naturally metabolized in the human body but is not found in cats or dogs. This leads to a toxic buildup of the substance, which can lead to very serious symptoms, especially liver failure.
Your cat does not need to eat too much chocolate to get poisoned. Since the metabolism of each animal is different, it is impossible to calculate exactly how much chocolate a cat should consume for poisoning, but there are some factors you can consider. This will differ depending on the size, weight, and type of chocolate your pet eats. It has a much higher theobromine content than dark, bitter, chocolate, milk, or white chocolate.
Is chocolate poisonous for cats?
Chocolate contains components of caffeine and theobromine, both of which are toxic to cats. Theobromine is a naturally occurring chemical found in the cocoa plant made from chocolate. Unlike humans, cats cannot metabolize theobromine. After ingestion of chocolate, theobromine can remain in the system of a cat for about 24 hours. Moreover, the accumulation of poison causes disease and sometimes death, as the cat’s body is unable to clean it from the system.
Both dry cocoa powder and baking chocolate contain very high levels of theobromine, making them the worst chocolate your cat can consume. However, all chocolates, including dark, semi-sweet, milk, and white, are unsafe for your cat to consume.
My cat accidentally ate chocolate!
Chocolate is definitely one of the foods that are extremely dangerous to share with your cat or dog. As with dogs, chocolate can pose a serious health risk to cats and can be fatal if eaten too much. In fact, chocolate is much more toxic to cats than dogs. However, it is not very common to hear that a cat eats a small amount of chocolate on its own, as cats often do not have the ability to taste ‘sweet’. While prevention is always the best and safest treatment, sometimes accidents can happen. If you suspect that your cat is drinking chocolate, call your vet immediately. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats can include vomiting, diarrhea, thirst, restlessness, and:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased body temperature
- Rapid breathing
- Low blood pressure
In extreme cases, chocolate poisoning can cause seizures, coma, and even death.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats
If you notice that your cat is eating chocolate, the best thing you can do is take a close look at them. If your cat is usually allowed outdoors, keep it inside for at least 24 hours to ensure that they do not develop any symptoms: be sure to keep the doors and windows closed and take care of your cat when you come and go home. If you suspect that your meat is eating chocolate, pay attention to any of the following symptoms:
- Increased breathing rate
- Increased heart rate
- High temperature
- Muscle stiffness
If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.