Cats Eating Chocolate
Chocolates come under the group of foods that should not be fed to cats. If you try to feed a cat small piece of chocolate it will surely try it out, though they are finicky about what they eat. It is a known fact that you should not feed chocolates to dogs, but in case of cats the same rule applies due to various other reasons. Cats and kittens do tend to eat or at least try out things that they are not supposed to consume without even knowing the dangers of eating them. Chocolate is one such food that is not suitable for cat.
Can cats eat chocolate?
The simple answer to this question is no. The reason being chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine and if consumed in huge quantities it can be harmful for cats. Cats are not able to break down theobromine and eliminate them like humans. What is theobromine? Theobromine is an alkaloid, which is usually found in chocolates, cola, and beverages like tea. Cats have less ability to metabolize theobromine compared to humans and can lead to chocolate poisoning.
Cats are less likely to eat chocolates on their own as they cannot taste the sweetness. This stimulant in chocolates can affect the nervous and cardiac systems if consumed in excess quantities. Theobromine is a diuretic and causes the body to lose fluids. Chocolates are toxic for cats and never feed your cat anything made from chocolate even as treats.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Cats
Chocolate poisoning in cats vary from each cat and according to their age. Kittens are more prone to chocolate poisoning as compared to adult cats. The quantity of chocolate consumed also plays a very important role in deciding the level of symptoms. It can even lead to death in cats if they consume it in higher quantities. Some of the most common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, abdominal tenderness, and constant urge to urinate. Some severe symptoms of chocolate poisoning are coma, death, seizures, rapid heartbeat, and muscle tremors.
The levels of theobromine are different in different kinds of chocolate. The level of theobromine is highest in cocoa and cooking chocolate, which is followed by milk chocolate, white chocolate and dark chocolates. Vets have noticed increased instances of chocolate poisoning during the Easter and Christmas seasons when many pet owners try to feed their pets with treats.
How to Diagnose Chocolate Poisoning in Cats?
Diagnosis of chocolate or theobromine poisoning is determined by the amount of chocolate consumed, any physical symptoms, detection of alkaloids in the stomach, and by testing the blood, urine or serum. Some vets may suggest that you get a sample of your cats vomit for diagnosis.
Treatment for Chocolate Poisoning
If you suspect your cat has ingested chocolates, then you need to take him to a vet as soon as possible to get him examined thoroughly. Depending on the severity of the condition your vet will start the treatment. The vet may usually induce vomiting to prevent the chemicals from getting absorbed and digested in the body. This is done to prevent seizures from occurring. Vet might sometimes administer charcoal to prevent theobromine from getting absorbed in the body. Medications may be provided to control the symptoms and side-effects. In some serious cases your cat will have to be intubated, placed on ventilator support for monitoring the cardiac activity.
There is no antidote for theobromine. It is ideal to not give any chocolates as treats to your feline friends. Cats have a strong sense of smell and they can easily detect places where you have hidden the chocolate bars. As far as possible, keep chocolates away from your pet cat. Chocolates are extremely lethal for your cats health you can show your affection by feeding him foods that are safe for his health. Any chocolate based products should be avoided at any cost to prevent intoxication in cats. These include brownies, candies, and cookies.
Cats generally do not have sweet tooth and are not prone to attack chocolates. Chocolate toxicity is caused only when cat owners feed them chocolates as treats without knowing how harmful it is for them. If you love your cat, then keep him away from chocolates for the sake of your pet’s health.