Chances are your cat has been curious about the foods that wind up on your plate or in front of your face, and one of the most commonly searched questions about cats is: can cats eat chocolate? While it's a sweet treat that humans enjoy, cats cannot eat chocolate. In fact, chocolate is toxic, and potentially deadly for cats.
Can cats eat chocolate?
Many of us may be familiar that chocolate is toxic to dogs, and the same is true for cats. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, the dried and fermented seeds of the cacao tree. Chocolate naturally contains caffeine and theobromine, both substances that can be harmful to cats. Caffeine alone in large quantities can be fatal for cats, as there is no antidote or way to treat consumption of the compound. Caffeine poisoning symptoms can include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, and muscle tremors. In addition to chocolate, caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, colas and energy drinks.
Theobromine is the secondary compound that makes chocolate very dangerous for cats. Present in all chocolate forms—especially dark and baking chocolate, theobromine is also a stimulant that cats metabolize more slowly, making even the smallest amount of chocolate toxic to cats.
The combination of theobromine and caffeine makes chocolate incredibly dangerous for cats and under no circumstances should be given to a cat intentionally. If your cat has eaten chocolate you should contact your veterinarian immediately, even if you don't feel like your cat consumed very much.
Symptoms of chocolate toxicity in cats
- Increased thirst
- Increased reflex responses
- Muscle rigidity
- Rapid breathing
Cats are much more sensitive to the components of chocolate than humans, so obvious symptoms will be observed even if your cat eats a small amount. Initial symptoms may include vomiting and diarrhea, along with hyperactivity, increased thirst, and tremors. Consumption of large amounts of chocolate and if treatment is not received, a cat may have seizures, stiffness, rapid breathing, and even die.
Can cats eat food with chocolate in them?
If your cat is curious about trying your chocolate chip cookie or snagging a lick of your chocolate flavored ice cream, it's best to not share these types of food with them. While having chocolate ice cream is less likely to kill your cat, there could still be harm done to their overall health, and make them sick for a few hours. Chocolate ice cream contains not only chocolate, but sugar, and milk—neither of which are good for cats.
The bottom line: Cats cannot eat chocolate.
Cats should never have chocolate, or foods containing chocolate as an ingredient. If you believe your cat has consumed chocolate, call your veterinarian or bring your cat to an emergency clinic for treatment immediately.
[#BeginTLDR#]Have you ever wondered if you could share a sweet treat like chocolate with your cat?[#SplitTLDR#]Cats cannot have chocolate. In fact, chocolate and other cocoa products are highly toxic—even deadly—to cats.[#SplitTLDR#]If you believe your cat has consumed chocolate, contact your veterinarian or visit an emergency clinic for treatment immediately.[#EndTLDR#]