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Can Cats Eat Chocolate?

5 min read

While they’re not quite as likely to gate crash the Easter egg stash and gobble the lot like a dog might, cats can sometimes get a taste for chocolate. Most owners know that chocolate is bad for dogs, but do you know if cats can eat chocolate?


Can cats eat chocolate?

No, cats should not eat chocolate. Even though they’re less likely to try and steal it away from under your nose, chocolate is still bad for cats, just as it is for dogs. While a chocolate bar may not appeal to them, any kind of milk-based chocolate drink can certainly be a risk around any feline!

Why is chocolate bad for cats?

If you're wondering why cats and chocolate don't mix, it's because chocolate and cocoa contain an ingredient called theobromine, which is naturally metabolised in the human body, but not in cats or dogs. This leads to a toxic build-up of the substance, which can lead to some very serious symptoms, particularly liver failure.

Your cat doesn’t have to eat a great deal of chocolate to suffer problems as a result, so try to keep it out of reach, and out of sight, of all your pets.

How much chocolate is toxic to cats? 

It’s impossible to calculate exactly how much chocolate it takes to make a cat ill, as every animal’s metabolism is different, but there are some factors that you can take into account. This includes your pet’s size and weight, and the kind of chocolate they have eaten. 

Can cats eat chocolate chips?

No, cats should not eat chocolate chips or any other chocolate treats. If your cat ingested a chocolate chip, call the vet and ask for advice. Make sure you monitor your cat and look out for any unusual symptoms you get to your vet appointment.

Can cats eat chocolate raisins?

No. Raisins and grapes can be toxic to cats and dogs, and cause them kidney failure. Both chocolate and raisins are toxic to cats, meaning they can cause them serious harm if ingested. If you think your cat has eaten chocolate raisins, you should seek medical advice immediately.

Can my cat eat chocolate-flavoured food?

Foods that contain cocoa powder, such as cakes, ice cream, chocolate cooking and biscuits or icing can cause your cat some discomfort. The cocoa in these foods tends to be mixed with sugar and lactose which is heavy on your cat’s stomach and can cause them discomfort if ingested. 

Can cats drink chocolate milk?

No, cats become lactose intolerant after a few months old, meaning they will often become ill after drinking milk regardless. Chocolate milk contains a large amount of chocolate however, this is diluted due to the amount of sugar and milk in the drink. Diluted chocolate is not as harmful to your cat as pure cocoa, but can still cause them discomfort.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats

If you suspect your cat has eaten chocolate, watch out for any of the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased rate of breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heightened temperature
  • Seizures
  • Muscle rigidity

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, contact a vet as soon as possible.


What to do if your cat ate chocolate

Keep an eye on your cat

The best thing that you can do if you notice that your cat has eaten chocolate is to keep a close eye on them. If your cat is usually allowed outdoors, keep them inside for at least 24 hours to ensure that they don’t develop any symptoms: be sure to keep doors and windows closed, and watch out for your cat as you come and go from the house.

Ask your vet for help

If you catch your cat in the act of eating chocolate, take them to a vet as soon as possible. If caught early enough, a vet can induce vomiting to try to rid the toxic element from your pet’s system before it builds up. It may be that your cat naturally vomits after eating chocolate but don’t try to induce vomiting by yourself at home without the express advice of a qualified vet.

When visiting a vet, they will probably perform a number of tests, including a full physical exam and probably taking a urine sample. They may also conduct an ECG (heart test) to determine whether there are any abnormalities in your pet’s heart rate. Once symptoms are exhibited, there is no ‘cure’ other than treating the symptoms. It is likely that IV fluids will be administered, and if the liver has been affected, your cat will be treated for liver disease.

Determine the quantity and type of chocolate your cat has consumed

Try to determine exactly how much, and what kind, of chocolate your cat has consumed: saving the wrappers or packets can be useful for this. When visiting your vet, bring any packaging you can find with you, as it will help them to determine the level of risk to your cat. Knowing your cat’s size and weight will also be helpful when speaking with a vet over the phone: this another useful way of assessing the risk to your cat.

Know your cats' weight

Knowing your cat’s size and your cat's weight will also be helpful when speaking with a vet over the phone: this is another useful way of assessing the risk to your cat, and thus being able to give them the right treatment. 

How is chocolate poisoning diagnosed?

Your vet will diagnose chocolate poisoning depending on the symptoms your cat is showing. It is also useful for your vet if you can provide the type of chocolate your cat has consumed, and how much, if you can. Your cat will be given a full examination so that your vet can determine the best treatment options. 

How is chocolate poisoning treated?

It is important that your cat is seen by a vet as soon as you notice any symptoms of chocolate poisoning. There are three possible treatments that your vet will conduct depending on your cat’s condition.

Close observation

Your vet may decide to keep your cat in the surgery overnight for observation. This decision will be made if your cat is showing severe signs of chocolate poisoning. Following this, they will ask you to continue to closely monitor their body language and symptoms when you take them home. Your vet will ask you to contact them immediately if you notice a change in symptoms or behaviour.

Vomit-inducing medication 

Depending on how soon your cat is seen after they have eaten chocolate your vet may decide to inject them with a vomit-inducing medication to empty their stomachs. However, you should never try to induce vomiting at home, this should always be done by a vet.

Fluid drip 

If your cat has eaten a substantial amount of chocolate, or their condition is worsening rapidly your vet may put them on a fluid drip to help them flush out the toxins. Your feline friend may also be at risk of dehydration depending on how bad their condition is, therefore a fluid drip will help prevent this and will support their vital organs, too. 

Alternatives to chocolate for cats

The answer to the question ‘can cats eat chocolate’ is no, so even in the unlikely event that a cat develops a taste for chocolate, you should never give in to the urge to treat them with this human food. Instead, find specially formulated and feline-safe treats to give them: chocolate for cats is never a good idea! 

There are many cat treats available that not only appeal to your pet’s tastes and sense of smell, but also offer a range of health benefits. Find cat treats that are not only appetising, but also contain additional nutrients to support your cat’s diet and help with dental care. And remember—treating your cat isn’t just about food. Giving them time, attention, and love can be just as good as a chocolatey treat in their eyes!

Discover what cat treats you can offer your feline friend to keep them safe, happy and a bit spoiled, next. 

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