Sometimes our cats get really curious about what we have, and they try to eat it. You might wonder if cats are like dogs and if they can’t have chocolate.
Can cats eat chocolate? The short answer is no, and here, we’ll dive into why you shouldn’t give your cat chocolate.
You may wonder why cats can’t have chocolate, and we’ll touch on this issue as well in this post.
Do Cats Even Like Chocolate?
One thing that’s kind of nice about cats is that typically, they don’t bother with food unless they really want it. Cats don’t normally like chocolate, and they won’t eat it voluntarily.
But, how would a cat even eat chocolate in the first place then?
Well, some owners are kind of bad towards their cats, and they may do the following:
- They may coax the cats to eat it
- They may provide it in a treat
Usually, it’s the result of poor pet ownership, but occasionally you’ve got the curious feeling that wants to eat something, and it can be fatal for a cat.
The Chemical that Causes Problems
The reason why chocolate is so dangerous to cats is that it contains one singular chemical that’s a poison for most animals, and that is theobromine.
If a cat eats this, it can lead to many different medical issues, including the following:
- Abnormal heart rhythm
Obviously, you don’t want this, and as a pet owner, it’s why you should keep chocolate out of a cat’s mouth.
There is more to This
Yes, there are actually other ingredients that are a threat to a cat’s health. They are as follows;
Caffeine is actually toxic for cats, and theobromine is actually toxic to most animals. While it might seem like a yummy delicacy for humans, this is very dangerous for cats.
So what does caffeine do to a cat’s body? Well, it simply does the following:
- Cats are sensitive to it
- When it’s absorbed in the body, it’s so much more potent than it is in humans
- It can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst
- It also can cause restlessness and a higher heart rate
In the same vein, theobromine actually does the same thing to cats as well, and similar symptoms.
So, combine that together and you’ve got a surefire recipe for disaster.
Pet owners may not realize that caffeine is too much danger to the pet. They also do not understand that many foods that humans casually consume could be poisonous to their cat pets. Caffeine is commonly first on the list. Caffeine’s not only as chocolates but even on any other forms can cause sickness to your pet cat. The energy drinks, coffee, soda, or any other types of caffeine ingredients may be the problem causing. Even when you give the diet pills, you may have to check if it contains these counter products in them. That is how most owners don’t realize what is given to their pets. Sometimes owners often assume that flavored ice creams, candy bars, liqueurs, and other sources of these could be a treat to the pet, but it is the biggest threat.
What happens when cats take caffeine?
Caffeine is a stimulant that helps to keep the pets awake. The chemical reaction in the body is the same as the human. However, it passes more toxicity in the body. Just imagine how you feel after three cups full of coffee, and now imagine what happens to your pet cats. The experience that you undergo is triple the time for the cats.
Firstly, they will have an increased heart rate, and the cat becomes hyperactive. Slowly, they get jittery, and restlessness, however, does not want to lie still. They may have paced a little and suddenly vocalize excessively, just like caffeine-laden people who talk a lot even the feline counterpart meow a lot.
The second phase of this is when the blood pressure increases and causes cardiac arrhythmias. When this happens suddenly, they will lose muscle control and have tremors and seizures. Since it directly affects the GI tracts, your feline friends will have various side effects like vomiting and diarrhea. The pets tend to urinate more just like humans respond after a couple of sodas.
When the kittens usually undergo this caffeine toxicity, they may run a fever and becomes weak. In severe cases, the pets may collapse or direct into a coma. There have been cases where these cases could not be treated, and the cat may even have died.
Thus, cats are extremely sensitive to caffeine. While they are taking a sip of caffeine in any product form, they will feel adverse, and it can lead to fatal problems only. Symptoms usually start after 30 minutes of ingestion, which will last for more than 12 hours. Your cat can lead to various medical conditions during this time.
Just like caffeine, sugars can cause inflammation in the pancreas. It is also one of the serious medical condition. The vets prove that no cats can actually taste the sugar anyway. The indirect sugar form, when offered to cats, does not give them any sweetness. There is no real reason why you must not be giving them sugar. However, it does not mean that your cats can’t eat sugar at all. But you need to know the fact it does not bring any difference. When consumed in other forms like chocolates, it becomes dangerous for their health.
The second main reason is that most adult cats may acquire diabetes. It may be due to genetically acquiring just like humans. It would make it very obvious that sugar becomes very determined in affecting their health if they happen to have it. Importantly, owners may never realize that their pet cat has such a condition unless they run for some test one fine day. Until then, whatever you feed them may cause a lot of imbalance to their insulin levels. Especially when they have diabetes, it can cause too much damage to their entire body if they consistently keep eating sugar.
In this case, rather than the normal sugar, cats must be fed with a lot of high-protein sugars that are directly absorbed from the food they eat. For instance, they can eat vegetables that contain sugar that is necessary for the body.
The table sugar is lacking in nutrition while they eventually offer a lot of calories that your cats may not need. The adult cats need more calories per day, and with sugar, they acquire calories that are named as “Empty calories.” It will eventually cause only obesity in the body. When there is obesity, there will be no ability for the cat to leads a normal happy life ever. It would become very much difficult to burn down the acquired fat. They will start gaining the habit of laziness to move and ultimately become immobilized. Thus it is not advised for any pet cats to be fed with the table sugar.
The following table will help you understand the sugar and caffeine levels in various products.
|Cakes and Puddings||2%||63-80%|
Oral health problems
While we are talking more on the long term issues and internal body functional problems in cats, we must forget that the sugars and sweetness directly cause oral problems primarily. Too much sugar eventually damage the oral health of the animals. Giving too much cat sugar may increase the chances of all types of infections. They acquire cavities, gingivitis, and other gum problems. The worst-case scenario is that the bacteria from oral infections enter into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, liver, kidney, and heart. Especially as an owner, when you don’t pay too much attention in cleaning or taking to vet regularly, the cat’s teeth itself can cause numerous problems overall.
First of all, it is always recommended that you regularly brush your cat’s teeth. Just like humans, even for animals, the mouth is the home of all bacteria. Thus you should brush their mouth daily. Only when you put them in the routine, they will get practiced for long term. Second, take your kitty to the vet to clean the mouth at least once in two months. Therefore you can avoid a lot of future problems. As an owner, you may have a lot of difficulty in cleaning deeply. But the vets are well equipped, and they can perform deep cleaning. It not only helps to keep good oral hygiene but also protects the teeth and gums well.
Saying all that the owners must be very cautious in what they offer to their pet cats, be aware of caffeine and sugars. Similar to these, there are other foods that you must avoid for your cats as it can be harmful or poisonous. Check the following table to understand the toxic foods for cats, which has some great sugar levels.
|Try to avoid these foods for cats||Why should cats avoid this food?|
|Onion||Onion contains compounds known ad disulfides and thiosulphates. Cats cannot consume these compounds. It causes anemia while they break the red types of blood severely. Onion in all forms, which includes raw, cooked, dehydrated, powdered, and even squashed for the sauce, could be dangerous to your feline friend. Eating large quantities or small tomatoes frequently can become poisonous to cats. Thus it is never advisable for you to feed cats with the onion-based food.|
|Raw fish||As many owners would have noticed that cats love fish. But it is highly unsafe to feed cats with raw fish. It can cause various gastrointestinal problems and can destroy the vitamin absorption capacity in cats. It especially affects thiamine, which is necessary for the cat to feel hungry and be active. Also, when you have not cleaned the fish properly, it will cause some sickness or illness in cats automatically.|
|Potatoes||Unfortunately, cats have only minimal capacity to digest vegetables. Especially with vegetables like potatoes, they feel reluctant, and before the proteins get converted into the body from these vegetables, it becomes a compound itself. Thus you have to be very careful in choosing the food items for them. Your cat can have a harder time digesting, and the accumulation of compounds in the body can cause kidney problems.|
|Yeast dough||There is an important reason why cats should not eat yeast dough. If you have ever made pizza or any other bakery products at home, you see that your dough gets raised when you add the yeast. When cats consume this, the rising occurs inside their stomach. The cats cannot digest this and will suffer from severe abdominal pain. It will keep expanding until the entire yeast settles at the stomach, which causes terrible pain.|
|Raw eggs||Feeding raw eggs to the cats is never recommended. Even though it has all the proteins do not feed them raw. Because while feeding raw eggs regularly may lead to a disease called salmonella. It will have various symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy. Also, the uncooked eggs contain the enzyme called avidin, which can decrease the absorption of vitamins.|
|Green tomatoes||Green tomatoes contain Glycoalkoid Solanine, which is very toxic and causes various gastrointestinal problems. There is some canned cat food that contains green tomatoes, which could be harmful to them. The people who bring up cats as a vegan cat may prefer to choose these products, but biologically it does not support them at all. You can use for a small number of ripped tomatoes, but cats cannot eat them raw. You may have to mix them with regular foods to give them.|
|Dairy products||It may sound surprising. But to be honest, even though cats consume milk, they shouldn’t drink or take milk products often. The lactose in the milk can cause digestive troubles, and it makes them sick. Also, there is an ongoing debate that if the cats might be lactose intolerant. Since they do not possess an essential element to digest the milk products, it’s highly advisable not to feed them with it.|
|Grapes and Raisins||Within 12 hours of consumption, the grapes and raisins cause some serious trouble in cats. The rapid development of these food items can even lead to kidney problems. Even when taken in a small amount can cause lethargy, vomiting, reduced apatite, abdominal pain, etc.|
These are an important reason why you need to be careful while choosing the food items for your cats.
What Amount is too Much?
The answer is any amount is actually toxic for a cat, and in any form or medium, especially the following:
- Cocoa powder
- Baking chocolate
- Dark chocolate
- Semi-sweet chocolate
- White chocolate
- Milk chocolate
White chocolate is probably the least dangerous, due to the lowered percentage of cocoa, but the most dangerous is certainly the baking chocolate since it’s got a ton of theobromine in it.
But, the toxicity also depends on how much a cat has. To put it into perspective, consider the following:
- If you have a 1- pound cat, one square of chocolate can do as much harm as 23 chocolate drops
- It doesn’t matter how much, a little is incredibly dangerous for cats
So, plain and simple, don’t give your cat chocolate. They’re going to get sick, and it could threaten their life, so you need to be careful as a pet owner to put it away.
What to do if a cat does Eat Chocolate
Sometimes, we as pet owners don’t suspect that our cats would eat chocolate. They usually are better than this, but sometimes, they might get ahold of something they shouldn’t be, and then bam, they have chocolate.
Common ways cats could potentially get ahold of chocolate to include the following:
- There’s plastic from a brownie or chocolate you had
- Your cat likes to eat plastic bags
- They might have found a bread tie used to seal bags
You might not even think about this, because let’s face it, we kind of expect cats to be better than this. But, cats sometimes get curious, and sometimes that curiosity can majorly harm them.
Typically, if you see a cat experiencing chocolate poisoning, you’ll notice the following happen:
- Extreme thirst or excessive thirst
- Higher body temperature
- Muscles twitching or tremors
- Diarrhea or the poop just seems weird
- Higher heart rate
- More urination
- Rapid panting or breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Your cat seems to be having a seizure
- Cardiac failure or weakness
If you notice this, chances are your cat had something poisonous. Chocolate that’s either milk, semi-sweet, or baking chocolate will have the most profound effects on a cat’s health.
So if your cat somehow got into this, what do you do? Well, I’ll give you the answer in the following section on how to adequately treat this condition, and the best thing to do.
How to React
First thing’s first is to remain calm and be as calm as possible. You need to do this because of the following:
- Your cat is already riled up, and you getting upset is only going to make it worse
- You won’t be able to react rationally
- You won’t be able to react fast enough
- Your cat will sense that you’re freaking out, which won’t help the situation
So, you need to keep them calm, and you need to make sure that you get your cat to the vet as possible.
If you called the vet and they allow you to come in right away, do the following in order to prevent the symptoms from escalating:
- Put that cat in a cool place
- Put the cat in a place where there aren’t too many distractions
- Limit the loudness of anything around, especially other people, or other animals
- Keep quiet and calm, you need to
Once you get to the vet, you’re going to get a diagnosis, and it’s very important that you listen to what they have to say. They will help you through this.
The biggest thing you must do is stay calm, and don’t worry about your cat. Always be the stronger one in a situation like this, because it’s traumatic for them, and it can be quite shocking for you.
If you see these signs, and you’re pretty sure your cat has ingested chocolate, bring it to the vet immediately. Your vet will check on the cat, and look at some of the symptoms.
Some of the tests that your vet will do include the following:
- A complete exam physically
- A chemical blood profile
- A urinalysis to look for the caffeine and theobromine
- An electrolyte panel
- Occasionally an ECG to check for heart abnormalities
Remain calm as you have this happen. Your cat is probably just as traumatized as you are, and while the vet can only do so much, it’s certainly not the best situation for them.
Your vet may, as a treatment measure, include the following:
- Have you induce the vomiting quickly to prevent more chemicals being absorbed
- Control seizures if they occur
- Administer fluids in order to keep your cat hydrated as it improves
- Once your cat keeps food down, give them a bland diet for a few days after it’s been treated
Usually, cats live if they are taken care of immediately, and if the vet can jump on this to help, your furry friend should be okay. But of course, it isn’t fun for you, or for them, that’s for sure.
In some of the more severe cases, you might have to put your cat in a hospital. Sometimes, there are a few things your vet will do, including the following:
- Administer charcoal
- Give them medications to help with the side effects
- Intubate the pet in a serious situation
- Put on a ventilator if you suspect they’re having trouble breathing
- Monitor the cardiac activity
Again, this is usually if you’re in the situation where the pet has had a lot of chocolate, or if they weren’t treated right away. While this tends to be more serious, sometimes your cats can be treated and bounce back from this.
However, regardless of the treatment used, you’ll be able to help your cat, and you’ll be able to help them in the worst of cases.
Cat-Friendly Sweet Treats
There are cat-friendly sweet treats that have a chocolate taste, that some pet owners think that they should give their cats. However, I don’t think this is a good idea.
Why is that? Well, there are a few reasons for that:
- Simply put, cats don’t like sweets
- They’re pickier than dogs, so they might not like it
- They also don’t have sugar detectors on their taste buds, so they won’t taste it
- Cats like meat, not sweets, but commonly they usually get that “sweetness” from the corn and other grains that are in pet food
To put it simply, your cat won’t want these sweet treats, so why should you bother?
Some cats are weird though, and they might eat sweet things. Here is why:
- They like the smell of it, and that is the “flavor” that they’re tasting
- There are salts or amino acids in desserts that are attracting the kitty
- Some other flavor might interest the cat, such as may be the bitterness of dark chocolate
- The cat might like the texture
With humans, we have five different taste buds, and they are sour, meatiness, salty, bitterness, and well, sweet, but cats don’t really care about that. Meat is their friend, so give them some meaty treats.
If you do have a cat that for some reason keeps trying to eat chocolate, in the next section we will highlight some of the different preventative measures to help stop them from having chocolate.
How to Prevent this from Happening
So your cat tried to eat chocolate, or maybe you had a scare. Usually, if this happens one time, it kind f deters them from doing it again.
But, there are a few ways to help you prevent your cat from having chocolate:
- Give them meaty treats as a way to encourage them to have those
- Secure all chocolate in tightly-sealed containers
- Think of anything that contains chocolate, and hide them
- Put candy dishes in places that are hard for cats to get to
- If you notice them close to it, do spray them with a spray bottle on the butt, this will get them to understand
- If they’re really tricky, you can put them in a cupboard and lock it up, or place it on a high enough shelf that they can’t get to, or they can’t open
This is all totally preventable, and you just need to think like how a cat does. The reality of it is cats are super tricky, and they tend to be the types that don’t even realize what they’re doing.
But, as a pet owner, it’s your responsibility, and you can always give them safe cat treats that are well, made for them. Remember too, that cats don’t like sweet things as much as we humans do, so if anything, give them a treat that’s focused more on meat, and less focused on anything sweet that might potentially be in it.
Don’t Give Your Pets Chocolate!
This isn’t just dogs either for cats cant’ have chocolate. Theobromine is a chemical that can kill animals, and the last thing you need to deal with is a trip to the vet’s office because of some negligence.
While cats tend to be pickier eaters than dogs are, it’s still imperative that you watch what you’re doing, and always prevent your pet from having chocolate. It can save their life, and as a pet owner, it’s very important to make sure that you stop this.