Who doesn’t love chocolate? So what could be nicer than sharing one of life’s joys with our furry friends? I know, our Boo would be very keen to indulge, given the opportunity. So, can cats eat chocolate? Sadly no. The sugary brown goodness that most of us love can be deadly for cats, and is quite simply a no go treat.
Why is chocolate so bad for cats?
Ignoring the adverse effect of adding unwanted sugar and fat to your cat’s diet, chocolate is unsafe for cats due to its key ingredient cocoa and the caffeine that is found naturally in the bean. Cocoa contains a naturally occurring chemical called theobromine, which naturally metabolises in humans but not in our four-legged friends. Lucky for us, we humans have no trouble processing it, but our pets certainly do (sorry Boo, no chocolate for you!). As this toxic substance builds up in our furry friends it can lead to severe symptoms such as liver failure.
Can you feed a small amount of chocolate?
Even a small amount of chocolate can have detrimental effects for our kitties’ health and a lot can be fatal. The impact depends on a number of factors.
- Pet size and weight is very important. Our feline friends are naturally much smaller and petite than we are so it’s best to keep even the tiniest amount of chocolate well clear of them at all times (remembering that they can gracefully manoeuvre their way to the top of a shelf with ease and tear through most packaging so it's probably best to leave your chocolate stash locked away in a drawer or cupboard!).
- The type of chocolate is also something to consider. Dark, bitter chocolate contains a lot more theobromine than milk chocolate or white chocolate making it even more dangerous.
My cat ate chocolate, what should I do?
If you suspect your cat has eaten any chocolate, first of all don’t panic, cats can pick up on their human’s emotions and therefore might become stressed exacerbating the problem. Keep a close eye on your kitty making sure to look out for any of the following symptoms:
- Increased rate of breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Heightened temperature
- Muscle rigidity
You should contact a vet as soon as you come across any of these symptoms. If you actually catch your cat in the act of eating chocolate, take them to a vet who may be able to induce some vomiting and rid your pet of most toxins. It is also helpful to show the vet the packaging of the chocolate and if you can how much they’ve eaten to help them better understand how much risk your cat is in and the best course of action to take.
So does that mean cats can’t have treats?
Absolutely not! Whilst cats can't eat chocolate, there’s a great selection of cat friendly goodies out there. When fed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, treats can help keep your cat happy and healthy. Choose from a whole host of natural cat treats, those with functional benefits to offer a variety of textures and tastes for your cats. Be sure to check the ingredients fully avoiding artificial nonsense or difficult to digest ingredients like dairy, yes cheese is off the list too!
Don’t forget, bonding time with your kitty can be better than treats to keep them happy and health, so consider digging through the toy box.