Used in baking cakes or muffins, made into an herbal remedy, or eaten as a sweet treat, chocolate comes in many forms for human consumption. People can, and often do, ingest a large amount of chocolate, but what about cats?
Cats typically stick to their usual diet, but curiosity may lead them to investigate nearby chocolate or other human snacks. Sharing snacks can be a fun bonding experience with your feline friend, or perhaps your cat may even consume some chocolate without your knowledge.
It’s crucial to understand the health risks involved before feeding your cat chocolate or storing it where it’s easily accessible for your cat to find.
Chocolate is produced from cacao beans, which are grown around the world on trees near the Equator, including West Africa, Southeast Asia and Central and South America. Chocolate was originally bitter and consumed as a beverage until sugar was introduced to the recipe in the 17th century, followed by the creation of sweeter and cheaper chocolate as it became more popular.
Now, chocolate is prevalent throughout the world.
What Does Chocolate Contain?
Chocolate contains several chemical compounds such as theobromine and caffeine, both of which provide a substantial physiological effect on the mind and body of the consumer. Chocolate also contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, iron and vitamins A1, B1, B2, C, D, and E.
All of these components play a factor in chocolate as a “feel good” food for humans, but it may not necessarily be the same for cats.
Things To Consider About Chocolate…And Cats
Though chocolate may serve as a pick-me-up or guilty pleasure for humans, the theobromine and caffeine that it contains does just the opposite for cats. While those chemicals stimulate the heart and nervous system of humans, cats have difficulty coping with the changes to their bodies.
A small amount of chocolate will not harm a cat, but too much can lead to chocolate toxicity in your feline. Though it depends on the size and weight of the cat, as well as the type of chocolate consumed, as little as 20mg of theobromine per pound of pet weight could cause health issues.
Some signs of chocolate toxicity in cats include:
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- abdominal discomfort
- irregular heart rhythm
- increased blood pressure
- high temperature
The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Baking chocolate contains the highest amount of theobromine, followed by dark chocolate and then milk chocolate. White chocolate has smallest potential to harm your cat, but it’s still best to keep it out of reach.
Verdict – Can Cats Eat Chocolate?
In no way should your cat ever consume chocolate, whether intentionally or by accident. The harmful effects of too much chocolate consumption on a cat could result in severe health problems or even death. If you must absolutely feed your cat some form of “chocolate,” there are alternative treats that use vegetable substitute made to taste like chocolate, or they will remove the theobromine that is harmful for cats.