Can Cats Eat Chocolate?

Cat sniffing milk chocolate

If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, it’s taking a bite from your favorite bar of chocolate. So it’s only natural that you’d want to share this delightful treat with your furry friend. The question is, should you?

Cats cannot and should not eat chocolate. They’re less likely to try and swipe some from under your nose as a dog would, but they are still at risk if you leave open packets of chocolate lying around. Chocolate is toxic to cats, and if you think your pet has ingested even a small quantity, it’s good to call your vet immediately.

Continue reading to explore why chocolate is toxic to cats and which type is the worst for them. Discover how much chocolate your feline can consume before it begins to harm them and the steps to take if your cat is poisoned.

Can Cats Eat Chocolate?

Most pet owners know that their dogs can’t eat chocolate, but did you know that this delightful foodstuff is just as dangerous for cats? As chocolate is toxic to your feline friend, even a tiny amount can induce vomiting, seizures, or even death.

Why Is Chocolate Toxic To Cats?

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are toxic to cats in large quantities. Theobromine is a plant molecule that cats absorb far more slowly than humans, meaning that even a tiny amount can cause problems for them.

How Much Chocolate Is Toxic To Cats?

For cats, a toxic dose of theobromine is around 200mg/kg, but every type of chocolate is different. Below is a rough guide to the toxic level of chocolate consumption by type.

Chocolate TypeMinimum amount for chocolate toxicity to occur in an 8lb cat.Lethal Dose
Milk1.14 oz3.45 oz
Dark0.5 oz1.47 oz
WhiteNot a concern200 oz
Baking0.2 oz0.9 oz

In general, baking chocolate poses the most significant risk to your feline, thanks to increased cocoa solids. In contrast, white chocolate carries a low risk because its concentration of toxic chemicals is minimal.

Milk chocolate tends to be the most common variety, with Cadbury Dairy Milk the most searched for chocolate globally. And your cat would need to consume around five squares of this candy for it to become toxic.

How To Calculate Chocolate Toxicity In Cats

To work out the level of chocolate toxicity, you need four pieces of information: the weight of your cat, the amount of chocolate that they ate, the theobromine concentration per gram of chocolate, and the caffeine concentration per gram of chocolate.

To work out the theobromine dose, complete the following calculation:

(Theobromine concentration * amount eaten) / weight of the cat

To work out the caffeine dose, complete the following calculation:

(Caffeine concentration * amount eaten) / weight of cat

Add these two numbers together to calculate the total dose.

Total dose = theobromine dose + caffeine dose.

Less than 15.00 mg/kgYour cat should be okay – monitor them for 24 hours to see if they present any symptoms.
15.01 – 34.00 mg/kgYour cat will likely suffer from vomiting and diarrhea – symptoms should clear after 24 to 72 hours.
34.01 – 45 mg/kgAt this level, the dose starts to become dangerous for your pet’s health, and they may begin to experience a rapid heartbeat.
45.01 – 55 mg/kgWith this much theobromine and caffeine in your cat’s system, they will start to experience seizures and tremors that can be fatal.
More than 55 mg/kgThis is considered a lethal dose and is extremely harmful to your pet. This dosage could kill your cat.

Can Cats Eat White Chocolate?

No. White chocolate is less dangerous to your feline thanks to lower levels of cocoa and caffeine, but it still contains toxic ingredients.

There is no good reason to give chocolate to your cat, but numerous reasons why you shouldn’t. Even small amounts of toxic compounds can harm a cat, so you should take it seriously if your cat ingests chocolate of any kind. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Chocolate Toxicity In Cats?

There are various symptoms that your cat may present after they consume chocolate. Every feline will have a different level of sensitivity and tolerance, but if you suspect they have ingested this sweet foodstuff, you should contact your vet immediately.

Meanwhile, keep an eye out for common symptoms of chocolate toxicity:

  • Restlessness or hyperactivity.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Increased thirst levels.
  • Rigid muscles.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Seizures or tremors.

Due to the often high level of sensitivity, your cat may present with symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea even if they have only ingested a small amount of chocolate. But, if they’ve consumed a large enough quantity, their symptoms may worsen to seizures, tremors, or breathing difficulties.

Can Cats Eat A Little Bit Of Chocolate?

If your cat eats a tiny bit of chocolate, it’s unlikely to do any real damage. However, you should never encourage your cat to eat chocolate.

Theobromine is the most worrying ingredient as far as cats are concerned, but the other components of chocolate aren’t particularly great either. Caffeine can threaten your cat’s health, while sugar, fat, and xylitol can negatively impact their general health.

Can Cats Lick Chocolate Ice Cream?

Cat’s should not lick chocolate ice cream; much like its solid form, this tasty treat contains cocoa infused with the toxic ingredients theobromine and caffeine.

In addition, cats are lactose intolerant, so they shouldn’t consume dairy products no matter how much the milky consistency lures them. If you allow your cat to drink milk or cream, it will often cause vomiting or diarrhea.

If you really want to share this summer treat with your feline, look for cat-specific varieties. A good alternative is to give your cat an ice cube. Not only will they find it fascinating to play with, but it’s good for hydration in hot weather. You can even infuse the ice cube with a substance such as catnip.

Your fur baby doesn’t have to miss out on ice cream altogether; it’s just about you finding a suitable alternative for them to enjoy.

Why Are Cat Lactose Intolerant?

Cats are synonymous with drinking bowls of milk, but this is not actually the case. Though they drink their mother’s milk as kittens, they quickly lose the enzyme that allows them to digest lactose.

As an adult cat, this substance builds up and starts to ferment in the gut, where it can cause a stomach upset for your cat.

What To Do If My Cat Eats Chocolate

If you suspect that your cat has eaten chocolate, you should immediately call your vet or emergency animal doctor. Many will instruct you to induce vomiting in your cat before taking it into the clinic.

A standard method to induce vomiting in cats is to give them one to two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide, which will make them vomit the contents of their stomach. But this can be difficult to do, especially if you don’t have a syringe at home.

In addition, never take any steps to induce vomiting in your cat unless a medical professional explicitly tells you to do so.

Working out what type of chocolate and the quantity that your cat ate will help your vet determine the best course of action. Knowing the weight of your cat is also helpful.

How Long After A Cat Eats Chocolate Will Symptoms Show?

Your cat’s toxicity symptoms will usually begin within four hours of consuming the chocolate. Even if they don’t show any signs, monitoring your cat for at least 24 hours is essential.

Once symptoms present, they can last for up to 72 hours.

Can A Cat Survive After Eating Chocolate?

If your cat consumes a significant amount of chocolate, you must take them to the vet or emergency center as soon as possible. Here, vets can keep your feline hydrated while administering blood and urine tests.

They can also perform an ECG to check that your cat’s heartbeat is normal. This is a crucial process that could save your cat’s life. 

Your cat will most likely survive a small taste of chocolate as long as you follow the proper steps to monitor and look after them.

How Can I Prevent Chocolate Toxicity In My Cat?

The only way to prevent chocolate toxicity in your cat is to prevent them from eating it in the first place. Keep your chocolate in cat-proof containers out of reach to your feline. 

Remember that any cocoa product can be harmful to your cat, so store all of the foods out of reach of your feline. This includes:

  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa
  • Cookies
  • Brownies
  • Donuts

What Are The Best Alternative Treats For My Cat?

Just because your cat can’t eat chocolate doesn’t mean that you don’t want to give them a tasty treat every once in a while. Instead of offering up toxic chocolate, opt for a specially-manufactured treat for your fur baby to enjoy that is healthy for them.

Many cat treats are tasty for your feline and provide numerous health benefits.

If you want to treat your feline with a small amount of human food, try one of the following:

  • Cooked chicken or turkey with the skin removed
  • Unseasoned rice
  • A small piece of tuna
  • Banana

Final Thoughts

Chocolate is a delicious treat, but only for humans. Our bodies can metabolize theobromine, while felines cannot. For this reason, even a tiny amount of chocolate can cause significant harm to your fur baby.

There are plenty of alternative treats that you can give to your cat, knowing they get as much joy from their food as you do from yours.

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