Saturday, 7 July 2018

Why is chocolate poisonous for cats?

A bar of chocolate may be a tasty treat for us humans, but you should never share it with your cat.

Chocolate contains a chemical compound called theobromine which is toxic for cats and dogs. It acts as a stimulant to increase their heart rate and a diuretic to increase the loss of their bodily fluids, both of which can prove fatal.

Credit: iStock.com/cunfek
In fact, theobromine is actually toxic for us too, but because our bodies can process it more effectively, we would need to eat around 70 grams to reach a lethal dose. That equates to eating around 35 kilograms of milk chocolate in one go, which isn’t easy for us to do!

Cats and dogs are not as good at processing theobromine, so it stays in their bloodstream for much longer and can accumulate to dangerous levels more easily. Therefore, eating just a couple of grams of chocolate can be fatal for a cat.

Dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa content will contain more theobromine than milk or white chocolate, but all are dangerous. If your moggy has scoffed any of your chocolate stash you should take them to a vet straight away.

Some the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats you should look out for are:
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • excessive urination
  • irregular heartbeat
  • seizures
The severity of these symptoms will depend on your cat’s weight and how much chocolate they have eaten, but if you’re worried it’s best not to wait for the signs to appear before taking them to the vet.

Luckily, your cat is unlikely to want to try your chocolate anyway, as they lack the ability to taste sweetness like most other mammals can. However, you should still always keep it out of their reach just in case they get curious.

Your cat may not be able to enjoy a chocolate treat, but you can! Find out how to make some purrfect chocolate paw print cupcakes in our video below:



To find out more about what you should and shouldn’t feed your cat, take a look at our handy guide.

For more advice about your cat’s diet, visit the Cats Protection website.

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