Can cats eat chocolate? Here are the facts
Chocolate is one of the most consumed and appreciated delicacies in the world, there are even people who consider themselves addicted to this food. But the question is ‘can cats eat chocolate?‘. Because it’s so delicious, some guardians sometimes want to share this food with their little companions without wondering if cats can eat chocolate.
In this article Can cats eat chocolate? we explain why cats cannot eat chocolate so that you can get to know your feline companion better and provide him with optimal nutrition.
Can cats eat chocolate?
Can cats eat chocolate? This is the question and what will happen? While there are some human foods that cats can eat, chocolate is one of the prohibited foods for them and can seriously affect their health and well-being. For this reason, we must never offer or leave within the reach of our felines any food or drink containing chocolate and/or its derivatives. Thus, chocolate is dangerous for cats.
Chocolate is one of the foods you shouldn’t feed your cat like:
- Salty foods
- Milk and dairy products
- Lemon and vinegar
- Onion, leek, garlic
- The dried fruit
- The sweets
Next, we will explain to you why chocolate is dangerous for cats and what to do if chocolate is swallowed in this article Can cats eat chocolate?
Why is chocolate dangerous for cats?
The main reason cats cannot eat chocolate is that this food contains two substances that their body is not ready to digest, caffeine and theobromine.
The first substance, caffeine, is well known to be present in many foods and drinks that we consume on a daily basis, especially in coffee and its derivatives. Theobromine, on the other hand, is a less popular compound that occurs naturally in cocoa beans and can also be added artificially to chocolate and chocolate products during industrial manufacturing.
Why is theobromine added to chocolate? Basically because, together with caffeine, this substance is responsible for that feeling of happiness, pleasure, relaxation, or stimulation that we experience when we consume these foods. Although less potent than caffeine, theobromine has a longer effect and acts directly on the nervous system, which has an additional impact on cardiac, respiratory, and muscle functions.
In humans, moderate consumption of chocolate can provide stimulating, antidepressant or energizing action. But cats and dogs don’t have enzymes to digest chocolate or metabolize these two substances already mentioned. For this reason, drinks and foods containing chocolate or cocoa can poison the bodies of our friendly cats.
We must not forget either that chocolate contains sugars and fats in its preparation, which gives it a high energy value. Therefore, consumption can also lead to rapid weight gain, as well as possible elevation of blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
What’s more, commercial chocolates often include milk in their nutritional formula, so they can cause allergies in cats as well. Remember that, contrary to what legends claim, milk is not a portion of suitable food for cats, since the vast majority of adult cats are lactose intolerant.
Effects of chocolate on the cat
Symptoms of poisoning in cats from chocolate
What if my cat is eating chocolate?
Since cats do not perceive the sweet taste and have developed a natural rejection of this type of food, it is very likely that your cat will not eat this food in your absence, even if you leave it within their reach. However, since cats are particularly curious, we advise you to avoid leaving chocolate or any other potentially toxic or allergenic product, food, drink, or substance within reach.
But if for some reason you suspect your cat has eaten any food or drink containing chocolate, the best thing you can do is take her to the vet immediately. In a veterinary clinic, the professional will be able to examine your cat’s state of health, detect any symptoms related to this intake, and establish an appropriate treatment.
Logically, the treatment will depend on the state of health of each cat and the amount of chocolate consumed. If the dose is low and harmless, only clinical observation may be necessary to ensure the cat is free from more severe symptoms and remains healthy.
But if your cat has ingested large doses, the vet will analyze the possibility of gastric lavage, as well as the possibility of administering medication to control symptoms that may occur, such as seizures or cardiorespiratory arrhythmias.
My cat ate chocolate, what should I do?
When they perceive that their cat has consumed a potentially toxic substance, such as chocolate, many guardians immediately think of making them vomit. However, inducing him to vomit is only recommended when only 1 or 2 hours have passed since ingestion, although this should also be considered the substance or food the cat has consumed. After this time, inducing vomiting in cats is not effective or helpful in removing toxic substances and may damage their digestive tract.
Logically, it is essential to know the first aid in case of poisoning to act effectively and safely if our cats or kittens consume food or toxic substances. However, since we usually don’t know exactly how much time has passed since ingestion of a substance, the best thing we can do is take our cat to the vet clinic immediately.
In the case of a kitten, veterinary care will be essential, regardless of the time elapsed since consumption and the amount of chocolate ingested.