Can Cats Eat Chocolate?

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Curious about whether your feline friend can enjoy some chocolate? Read on to find out the answer!

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Introduction

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that their bodies are designed to digest and use only animal-based proteins. In the wild, cats eat mostly small prey–a diet that’s relatively high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. Chocolate, like all sweets, is very high in carbs.

The Toxic Components of Chocolate

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, as well as caffeine. Theobromine is a bitter alkaloid that is found in the cacao plant. It is similar to caffeine, but it takes the body longer to process and eliminate it. For this reason, theobromine can accumulate in the body and cause toxicity.

Theobromine

Theobromine is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, found in chocolate, tea, cola and other foods. It is poisonous to many animals, including dogs and cats. Theobromine affects the central nervous system, heart and kidneys. Symptoms of theobromine poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, muscle tremors and seizures. In severe cases, it can be fatal.

The toxicity of theobromine to animals is due to its inability to be metabolized effectively. It is slowly metabolized by the liver and excreted in the urine. The half-life in cats is 18-24 hours, which means it takes that long for half of the ingested amount to be eliminated from the body. In dogs, the half-life is somewhat longer at 24-36 hours. Because of this slow elimination process, small amounts of chocolate can result in poisoning over a period of days.

Caffeine

Chocolate contains caffeine, theobromine, and other methylxanthines. Methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, panting, restlessness and an irregular heart rate in dogs. They can also cause tremors, seizures and death in severe cases. Theobromine is the predominant methylxanthine in chocolate. It’s what causes chocolate’s bitter taste, and it’s also more toxic to dogs than caffeine.

Fat

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic to cats in large amounts. Theobromine is similar to caffeine and can cause vomiting, increased heart rate, and restlessness in cats. It can even be fatal in large doses. Chocolate also contains fat, which can lead to pancreatitis in cats if they eat too much of it.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether or not to give your cat chocolate. If you do decide to give it a try, make sure to monitor your cat closely and consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books