Cats have a very specific metabolism. Their health is endangered by the many food products that people use practically every day: nuts, raisins, onions… These are just a few examples. Sweets are also a big danger – with chocolate being extremely toxic at the forefront. Unfortunately, not all caregivers are aware that treating a cat with sweets exposes her to serious health complications. So when asked: “Can cat eat chocolate?” we answer: Absolutely not!
Can cat eat chocolate? NO! But why?
Cocoa seeds contain many substances that are very dangerous for the health of cats. Methylxanthins: Theobromine, caffeine and theophylline are plant alkaloids derived from xanthine. They are simply poisonous to cats (they also contain tea and yerba mate leaves, coffee beans and Cola nuts, so tea, coffee and Coca-Cola are not allowed).
- Theobromine, like caffeine, accelerates the heart’s work. This threatens to cause trembling, tachycardia and palpitations of the heart. It also has a strong diuretic effect, which is particularly dangerous for cats – we know how fast cats dehydrate and what the consequences are. It also has spasmolytic properties – it relaxes smooth muscles and dilates blood vessels. It stimulates the nervous system. Since animals, especially cats, have a much slower metabolism of this substance, it is extremely dangerous for them. Kittens have virtually zero tolerance for this alkaloid. Theobromine can be present in the cat’s blood for up to 3 days after chocolate consumption!
- Theophylline also causes bronchial and vasodilatation, has a diuretic effect and also relaxes the bile ducts.
- Eating sweetness itself is the cause of obesity and many other diseases it causes (e.g. kidney, liver, pancreas, diabetes mellitus). This risk should not be underestimated. There are more and more overweight cats and most of them suffer from it.
- Eating sweets also means the risk of caries and serious periodontal diseases.
How much chocolate is harmful?
It depends on several factors. First of all, it depends on the type of chocolate. The most dangerous is bitter, because it contains the greatest amount of poisonous substances. Only cocoa powder is more dangerous than dark chocolate. Also important is the age, weight and general health condition of your pet. The degree of toxicity is also influenced by the species of cocoa, the degree of maturity of the cocoa at harvest time and even the way it is processed. The least harmful is white chocolate and milk chocolate.
Symptoms appear after ingestion of about 20 mg of theobromine/kg of body weight. After approximately 40 mg/kg body weight, there is a high probability of cat heart damage and 100 mg/kg is a potentially fatal dose. Approximately 1400 mg of theobromine is found in an average plate of bitter delicacy. These amounts may vary from source to source, but they all agree on one thing: even the smallest amount of chocolate has an unfavourable effect on the cat’s body.
Do cats even like sweets?
Fortunately, the cat’s body has protected itself against poisonous substances and cats simply do not feel the sweet taste. Because of the Tas1r2 gene defect, cats do not have sweet receptors. And fortunately. However, sometimes their curiosity or boredom takes precedence over nature. Therefore, as caregivers, we should make sure that the cat does not have access to sweets. It should be remembered that not only chocolate is toxic, but also:
- Cocoa and products that contain it,
- ice cream, especially chocolate ice cream,
- chocolate pudding,
- candy in chocolate sauce,
- candy with cocoa and coffee filling,
- drinks and chocolate mousse,
- cake with cocoa and coffee mass,
- chocolate bars,
- chocolate yogurt.
What if the cat ate chocolate?
First, try to assess how much product cat have consumed. Check the chocolate ingredients and watch the cat. Try to make him drink more water. If you notice any disturbing symptoms, take him to the vet and be sure to tell what and in what quantity the cat ate. It is true that the cat would have to eat a whole bar of chocolate with a high content of harmful substances to talk about a lethal threat. So can cats eat chocolate? Definitely not! Even small doses of this product cause damage to the digestive system, heart and brain. They also dehydrate the cat’s body, which is especially dangerous.
Large amounts of substances found in chocolate, mainly theobromine, can be harmful even to humans. However, cats, dogs and horses are particularly sensitive to them. There are no indications that these animals eat chocolate, so we should not let them. Even a little “to try” or “because the cat wants, after all, knows what is good for him” can hurt him. That is why we should be reasonable in this topic! Can cats eat chocolate? Absolutely not!