Is chocolate really all that bad for cats?
If you suspect your cat has consumed chocolate, please call your vet immediately! Or call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661.
Humans love chocolate. Sometimes our pets do to – but it is very toxic to them. There are ingredients derived from the cacao plant which are particularly toxic to cats. Theobromine and caffeine can lead to serious medical issues. Cats did not evolve to digest these types of foods like humans can, so even a tiny amount can lead to toxicity.
The toxic dose of theobromine in cats is 200 mg/kg but different types of chocolate have different amounts of theobromine in it. The darker the chocolate the more theobromine is contained in it. Baking chocolate or popular super dark chocolate bars have the highest content. These would put a cat at a much higher risk for death than the same oz of milk chocolate. For example a common size chocolate bar is 3oz – it only takes 0.2oz to put your cat into extreme danger.
The most common time that pets get into your chocolate stash is during the holidays, such as Easter, Halloween, and Christmas – so be extra vigilant to keep your chocolates locked up during these times, and keep your cat out of the kitchen as you bake your holiday treats. Child safety locks on the cabinet where you keep your chocolates are a very inexpensive way to ensure the safety of your furr-baby.
Cats cannot taste ‘sweet’ so they typically don’t get into the chocolates as frequently as dogs do, but they may be attracted to the shiny and crinkly wrappers and inadvertently eat it. The design of the cat’s tongue does not allow them to spit something out. Once it’s in their mouth they have to swallow it - of course unless it’s medicine, then they figure out how to spit that pill out!
Another danger can be the wrapper the cat may have also consumed along with the chocolate, which could cause serious issues in its digestive tract.
It’s helpful to have the following information ready, if possible:
- When the ingestion occurred
- The name of the specific product that was ingested (wrappers are ALWAYS helpful if you can bring them)
- The amount of chocolate you think your cat ate
- The weight of your cat
- List of clinical signs you’ve noticed
Again, if you think your pet has consumed chocolate or candies, it’s best to seek medical attention asap!