Luckily Cats Don't Have a Sweet Tooth Because Chocolate Is a No-No

There is good news wrapped up in this story about chocolate poisoning. Cats don't enjoy sweets as much as dogs do - they lack a taste receptor for sweet, so it's unlikely your cat will get into a box of chocolate. We know dogs love chocolate so we have a lot of experience with what to do!

Don't give into those big eyes, even a small bite can cause harm. If you suspect your cat is sick we've included the symptoms below to watch out for. Take your cat to the emergency vet or your vet immediately to receive treatment.

Why is chocolate bad for cats?

Theobromine found in chocolate and caffeine pose no risk to humans, but can cause serious problems in both dogs and cats.

Theobromine, which is naturally metabolized in the human body, is not in cats and leads to a toxic build-up of the substance, leading to serious symptoms, particularly liver failure. 

What are the toxic levels of chocolate for a cat?

We get asked a lot about how much chocolate it takes to make a cat ill. This absolutely includes your cat's size and weight, and the kind of chocolate they have eaten. Dark, chocolate has a far higher theobromine content than milk or white chocolate! 

What are the symptoms?

It's super important to take your cat to the vet if you suspect your cat got into something that contains chocolate! Don't emit vomiting even though you may read on some pet site that this is appropriate action to take. You can do more harm than good so defer to your vet on immediate next steps.

The symptoms to look out for include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Hyperactivity
  • Restlessness
  • Increased body temperature
  • Rapid breathing or panting
  • Muscle tremors or twitching
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Coma

The worst types of chocolate?

Catser tells us that there are many types of chocolate from most (the worst chocolate for cats) to least toxic for cats:

  1. Unsweetened dry cocoa powder
  2. Baking chocolate
  3. Dark chocolate (above 60 percent cacao)
  4. Semi-sweet/bittersweet chocolate
  5. Milk chocolate
  6. White chocolate (white chocolate is not a problem, as it contains none of the dangerous methylxanthines found in true chocolate products)

Human food should generally be off limits for our animals. Different types of chocolate will cause varying levels of damage to organs but kidney failure is imminent if too much is consumed. Your DVM or vet will guide you through the treatment process so some digestive upset is a clear symptom as chocolate IS a dangerous food. As a pet owner, you should have the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center on speed dial.

Have you ever needed to rush your cat to the emergency vet because they ate chocolate by accident? Leave us a comment if we missed anything in this post that would be helpful to readers.

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