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Can cats eat chocolate?

While most of us have heard that chocolate is bad for dogs, we don't usually hear much about it when it comes to our feline friends. So, is chocolate bad for cats? Today, our vets in Yucaipa discuss chocolate toxicity in cats, the serious symptoms that can occur when a cat eats chocolate, and what you can do to avoid it.

Many people eagerly seek out chocolate as a delicious treat. When our furry friends consume this delicious treat, they may experience serious repercussions. Cats can be poisoned by many foods that humans enjoy! Today, our veterinary team will provide information about the foods to avoid giving your cat and how to handle chocolate poisoning.

Can cats eat chocolate?

No way! Cats can be harmed by the caffeine and theobromine found in chocolate. Stimulants can pose a significant risk to a cat's health if they are absorbed into their body. Cats can be more affected by dark chocolate and baker's chocolate because of the higher levels of cocoa they contain, which can be toxic to them.

Cats & Chocolate Flavored Foods

"Can cats eat chocolate ice cream?" for example. Actually, any form of chocolate, including cocoa powder, milk chocolate, and even white chocolate (which contains a small amount of cocoa), can be harmful to your feline friend. Foods like ice cream or frosting can be "chocolate-flavored," leading some cat guardians to question whether this is suitable for their pet. Although the idea that it's just a flavoring might make you think they can, they'll feel terrible for a few hours. The toxicity of cocoa, mixed with the sugar and lactose in dairy products, is not suited to the feline digestive system.

What are the symptoms of chocolate toxicity in cats?

If you witness your cat eat chocolate or there is any indication that they may have done so, watch for the following symptoms while you contact your vet:

  • Gastrointestinal distress (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
  • Signs of restlessness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fast breathing or panting (this is not usual in cats, who don't pant to cool themselves as dogs do)
  • Seizure
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Coma
No matter your cat's symptoms, you should contact your primary vet or head to the emergency vet immediately if they've eaten chocolate.

What other foods are toxic to cats?

Even if you make sure to keep the KitKats away from the kitty, some other foods you might be surprised to learn are also a no-go for your cat. Some of these foods include:

  • Alcohol
  • Grapes, raisins
  • Cow's milk (many cats are lactose intolerant!)
  • Uncooked eggs, raw meat/bones, raw dough
  • Garlic, onions, leeks
  • Uncooked potatoes, tomatoes

How will the vet diagnose chocolate or food toxicity in cats?

Stay as calm as possible if your cat eats chocolate. Keeping a cool head will help cats stay calm and prevent the symptoms of chocolate poisoning from worsening. Cats are highly sensitive to your emotions, so it's important to stay composed.

Upon your arrival at the veterinary surgery, the vet will conduct a thorough physical assessment of your cat and inquire about the details of its chocolate consumption, including the type and estimated amount.

In certain situations, the veterinarian might induce vomiting in order to prevent your cat's body from absorbing the toxins. Your vet may recommend additional procedures or medications for your cat, and they will also administer fluids.

How can you prevent your cat from experiencing toxicity?

Store your cat in a safe place to protect them from chocolate toxicity. Remember to consider things that are often overlooked, such as a chocolate glazed doughnut left on the counter or bowls of candy left unattended at the Halloween party. Cats exhibit curiosity, playfulness, and unpredictability.

Healthy Treats For Your Cat

While human foods are generally not recommended for cats, there are a few that you may be able to share safely in moderation:

  • Berries (if there are stems and leaves, remove them first)
  • Ripe banana slices
  • Carrots, green beans
  • Diced, unsalted cooked turkey or chicken (without the skin)
  • A small amount of low-sodium tuna
  • Catnip tea or low-sodium chicken broth frozen into ice cubes 

Even if your cat can't enjoy a chocolate bar with you, you can offer plenty of tasty treats in your kitchen, as well as a wide range of pet treats specially designed for your four-legged friend!

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you see that your cat has eaten chocolate or other toxic foods, get in touch with our vets in Yucaipa for emergency care.

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Green Valley Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Yucaipa companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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