Clinical signs of poisoning can occur between 6-10 hours after ingestion. High amounts of the toxin called theobromine can be lethal to cats.
What about other chocolate foods, such as chocolate ice cream? Although cats can enjoy a very small amount of yogurt and ice cream, you must avoid any chocolate flavoring. Cocoa is toxic for cats so no matter what the food, if it contains cocoa it’s a big no-no.
How Much Chocolate Is Toxic To Cats?
Chocolate can have a deadly effect on our feline friends. Yes deadly!
Toxic dose amounts of theobromine can be as little as 20mg dose of theobromine per kilo of your cats weight.
That’s about 3 squares or blocks or chocolate that could cause cardiac failure and mean a trip to the emergency clinic.
While it does depend on your cats weight and age, the type of chocolate can also determine the level of toxicity. In any case, pet owners should avoid giving chocolate or cacao plant to any pet.
Why Is Chocolate Toxic To Cats?
If we take a look at the ingredients used to make chocolate, we can begin to understand why chocolate poisoning can occur in our pets. Chocolate is made using cacao, sugar, milk powder, caffeine and the alkaloid theobromine. It can also contain phenylethylamine and flavonoids.
One look at that list and you start to see why it’s toxic.
The ingredients that give us humans that oh so good feeling are the same ingredients that cause our furry friends so much trouble. While they release serotonin in humans they act as a stimulant for our feline friends.
This over stimulation of the heart, causes stress, raise body temperature, cause anxiety and can lead to heart failure in cats.
How To Treat Chocolate Toxicity In Cats
If you notice any signs of chocolate poisioning, you must bring them to your local vet immediately. On the way or while waiting, try to keep your cat cool, calm and quiet. You’ll want to avoid any increase in stress, raising their heart rate is the last thing you want to do.
Try to guage the amounts of chocolate your cat might have eaten, this can help assist in a medical emergency. It’s worth having the poison control centre and animal hospital phone number handy.
If you live far from your local vet, call them and have them suggest a course of action. Your vet will perform tests such as a physical exam, ECG, blood profile and an electrolyte panel, these tests will determine if your cat is overdosing on caffeine or theobromine.
You’ll want to keep your cats water intake up over the next three days as well as feed them a bland diet that’s easy for them to consume.
Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning
The following symptoms can be observed when your cat has ingested anything toxic. They’re not limited to just chocolate.DiarrheaVomitingRapid BreathingHigh Body TempIncreased heart RateSeizures
Symptoms can also vary depending on the type of chocolate eaten and the amount.
Chocolates that are especially toxic to cats are baking chocolate, sweetened chocolate and milk chocolate.
What Types Of Chocolate Is Most Dangerous
Yes, some chocolates pose a bigger risk to your cat than others. The biggest danger to your cat is easily dry cocoa powder, the kind you’d use for baking or making a hot chocolate. This powder contains about 8 times more theobromine than milk chocolate.
If as little as a teaspoon is ingested, it could be fatal for your cat.
Dark chocolate is also very potent, if your cat ingests as little as 2 squares to cause a toxic reaction. Think of it like this, the darker the chocolate product the more dangerous.
White chocolate poses the least threat to your cat, however, in no circumstances should you let them have it. And if they do manage to ingest some, keep a close eye on them for any symptoms.
Cats are usually picky when it comes to food and they will generally avoid anything bad for them. At times they can succumb to their curiosity, and because of the sweet smell of chocolate they can at times be tempted to take a bite.
Prevention is key, keep all chocolate products out of their reach and in a secure container.
Your kitten would prefer to eating high quality cat food. You can find a list of the best kitten food here!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is white chocolate bad for cats?
White chocolate still contains small amounts of caffeine and theobromine, and should still be avoided.
How much chocolate will kill a cat?
Chocolate toxicity can be occur at just 20 milligrams per kilo of of body weight for your cat. It can prove fatal at 20mg to 40mg per kilo of body weight or about 3 cubes of chocolate.
How long after eating chocolate will a cat get sick?
Veterinary medicine practitioners suggest that clinical signs typically happen within 6-10 hours of ingestion. The potential for toxicity can last up to three days.