Most of us are well aware that eating a bar of chocolate can result in poisoning in almost 90% of canine companions. But you might wonder if this is the same for cats? Can cats eat chocolate? Do small amounts of chocolate also become toxic for cats? What is the reason that makes chocolate toxic to our fur babies? What are the signs of chocolate poisoning in cats? These are some common queries that most pet owners have in their minds who want to treat their fur babies with something chocolaty! Scroll below to know all about chocolate toxicity and its effects on your furry little fellows;
Your cat can also suffer from chocolate toxicity same as your canines do! But this seems to be a lesser common problem in felines when compared to the canines because the cats lack their sense to taste sweet things. However, if a cat does so, this ingestion can be as toxic to her as in dogs. It can even become fatal if the quantity exceeds too much.
What Makes Chocolate Toxic To Cats?
A substance called theobromine and caffeine is present in chocolate, which is toxic to cats if they consume it in large quantities. The absorbance of theobromine in cats is much slower in cats than humans making only a small quantity of chocolate toxic for smaller sized cats. Like theobromine, caffeine also has more stimulatory effects on a cat than humans making the cats more sensitive to it.
Only a small quantity of chocolate can have its toxic effect on your furry friend, so you need to take this sweet out of sight and, of course, out of reach of your pet cats. One can not tell how much chocolate can be toxic; however, it is still believed that many factors can have their role in it. These are;
- Size of your cat
- Weight of your furry friend
- Kind of chocolate
When we talk about the kind of chocolate, that means whether the chocolate is dark and bitter or white or milk chocolate. Of the two, the former is more problematic as it does have a higher theobromine content.
Signs that your cat is going through chocolate poisoning?
If you fear your cat has ingested chocolate, look for the following signs and symptoms;
- Increase in breathing rate
- Tachycardia ( increase in heart rate)
- Increase in normal body temperature
- Increase in thirst
- Rigidity of muscles
In the beginning, you will see only diarrhoea and vomiting with an increase in the cat’s activity levels. However, other severe symptoms like restlessness, increase in thirst, tremors, and increase in sensitivity levels can occur if you fail to provide proper treatment in time. A cat may even die if it ingests a large quantity of chocolate. Contact your vet ASAP If you observe any similar signs in your cat.
What are the levels of chocolate toxicity in cats?
Can cats eat chocolate? Chocolate in any form and any quantity is harmful to your cat. Different forms of chocolate like chocolate cocoa powder, dark chocolate baking chocolate, semi-sweet, white chocolate and even milk chocolate are hazardous. Out of these, baking chocolate is the most dangerous, with its highest theobromine levels among all.
The below mentioned tabular data explains different chocolate’s toxicity levels among cats.
LEVELS OF CHOCOLATE TOXICITY IN CATS
|Chocolate Type||The minimum amount that can be toxic to a cat weighing 8 pounds, in oz|
A dose of 200mg/kg body weight is enough for causing toxicity in a cat. However, it usually varies with the type of chocolate, as you can see from the table above. White chocolate has the least concerns regarding toxicity as it doesn’t contain caffeine and theobromine toxicity causing cocoa solids at all, making it safe for the cat.
Your cat has ingested chocolate. What should you do?
Keep your cat in close observation if your fear she has ingested chocolate. Try to keep her indoors for at least a day to observe if she develops any signs and symptoms of poisoning, especially if it is an outdoor cat.
Take your cat to the veterinary hospital in no time if you catch her while eating chocolate. This is important because the minimum time you take to rush to the vet, the highest chances are that he can save your cat by inducing vomiting. Induced vomiting can help your cat by not allowing the toxic elements in the chocolate to build up in the body system. Sometimes the cat, after eating chocolate, starts vomiting herself, but if not, don’t try that out at home without the vet advice.
Try to figure out the amount and kind of chocolate that your cat has consumed. For this purpose, saving the wrappers can help. You can take these wrappers to the vet while going for your cat’s examination. It will help the veterinarian to estimate the amount of risk your cat has been exposed to.
Your vet will perform several tests for Diagnosing the toxicity. The primary step is to have a complete physical examination of your cat and take a urine sample. An ECG will help you to find out any abnormalities in the heart rate of the furry feline. Once the cat starts exhibiting the symptoms, treatment is not possible as a cure, but only supportive treatment can help. If the liver is affected, treatment will involve liver diseases.
What Treatment Options Do You Have?
In case of urgency, hydrogen peroxide is a great option. You can use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in the cat but don’t try it without veterinarian advice. Hydrogen peroxide helps to vomit up the stomach contents and make the toxic effects less likely to occur. It is difficult to make your cat drink hydrogen peroxide, especially if you don’t have a syringe at your home. In that case, don’t try out any experiments on your beloved pet because it can cause her to lose her life, leaving you in all grief.
How To Prevent Chocolate Mishaps To Happen?
Avoiding all the possible chances of ingestion is the best practice, like in any other toxicity. Keep all the stock of your favourite chocolates in a cat-proof cabinet where your feline friend can not reach. Moreover, take great care when you are baking something in your kitchen. Don’t ever let your baking items unattended on the kitchen shelves. If you can’t do so, at least try to keep your cat away from the kitchen or else lock the door to avoid any accidental intake of cocoa powder.
What Alternatives Options Can You Offer Your Cat?
Your cat doesn’t have taste ability for the sweets, which is a great favour for you. However, even if she develops it, don’t even try to offer her human food. Always try to behave vigilant when it comes to chocolate and other human foods as you now know the consequences you can face. Instead, try to find out commercially available specially designed treats for cats. Chocolate so far has never been a good idea to treat a cat.
Nowadays, many commercial treats are available in the market that provides health benefits, but your furry friend also likes them due to their pleasant taste. It would be best if you found out a treat that has the following benefits:
- Ensure great dental health
- Does have nutrients that benefit your feline
- Have appetising ability
Lastly, you should know that treating your cat is not everything you have to do. Rather, pour out your love, affection, attention and time to your feline friend, and it will feel no less than a chocolatey treat to her!