Cats love eating, especially when it’s the kind of foods that they aren’t used to getting every day. Most of us know that chocolate is bad for cats, however, so what should you do if your cat ate chocolate cake?
Chocolate toxicity is very much a real thing for cats and dogs, so your best bet is to get your cat to the veterinarian immediately. As little as .2 ounces of chocolate can be seriously toxic for an 8 pound cat due to a chemical called Theobromine and a vet will be needed to flush this from your cat’s system.
In this article we’re going to take a look at why chocolate is so dangerous, which chocolate types are more toxic than others, whether or not getting your cat to vomit can help, and more. Let’s talk about chocolate toxicity and what you need to know if your cat has ingested cocoa products.
Table of Contents
Why is chocolate so bad for cats?
Aside from the fats, sugars, and the caffeine, chocolate has a chemical called Theobromine which is extremely toxic for cats and dogs. Their bodies have problems processing this chemical, which basically results in the poison being recycled consistently in their systems and only diluting very slowly.
Within 6 to 12 hours, signs of chocolate toxicity can occur, and these can last for up to 3 days. Increased thirst, vomiting, and diarrhea are among the symptoms, but in more extreme cases it can lead to a coma and even death.
Vet assistance is required so that intravenous fluids may be introduced in order to help properly cycle the poison out of your cat’s system and other methods, such as charcoal, may be used to bind with the poison so that it may be safely removed from the body.
The toxicity amount will also vary with different chocolates, so that some in the homes are very much more toxic for your cat. Let’s take a look at these so that you can get an idea of just how serious chocolate toxicity can be for cats and dogs.
How much chocolate is dangerous?
Baking chocolate is probably the worst kind of chocolate for pets, as all it takes is .2 ounces of chocolate ingested for it to be dangerously toxic to an 8 pound cat. With dark and semi-sweet varieties, that amount id about .5 ounces, while milk chocolate is 1.14 ounces to become dangerously toxic for a feline.
White chocolate is the least toxic, and while it is likely to give your cat a horrible tummyache, it is much less likely to be lethal. This is because this type of chocolate still have Theobromine, but in most cases no actual cacao is used in making the product.
As you can see, it really doesn’t take much chocolate at all to be very dangerous to your cat. Thankfully, most cats will leave it alone, but if your pet has eaten some then it is vital to get them to the vet as soon as possible – you might just be saving their life.
Should I make my cat vomit if they ate chocolate?
No, making your cat vomit if you don’t have veterinary training is not recommended. You could accidentally harm your cat in the process and there’s no guarantee that you’re going to get enough chocolate out to be helpful.
The best thing to do is to get them to the vet right away, but if you are unable to do so then the next best thing is going to be contacting the ASPCA poison control line. The toll-free number for the ASPCA poison control line is 888-426-4435. We recommend keeping this number on the refrigerator in caase of emergencies.
This line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they are even open on holidays, so if your cat has ingested chocolate and you cannot get them to the vet right away then do not hesitate to call. They may be able to help you in the meantime until you can get your cat in for veterinary assistance.
Is there a safe type of chocolate for cats?
If you are looking for a substitute that you can share with your cat, you should consider looking into carob. This chocolate substitute does not contain Theobromine or caffeine and it comes in a powder form that you can use for making a safe ‘kitty birthday cake’ or simply a snack to share with your cat.
That said, we really recommend sticking with more traditional snacks such as dried fish or boiled chicken. Even with ‘cat safe cakes’, the amounts which they can eat are going to be small, as their bodies really aren’t designed for eating these kinds of foods.
Cats can’t actually taste ‘sweet’, as they lack the taste receptors, so candies and the like are only ingested by cats for the fats, proteins, and any interesting textures that they might have. Also, and obligate carnivores, they can’t convert the same vegetables that we can into vitamins.
As such, cakes are really inefficient foods for cats, whose bodies are designed to extract vitamins directly from meat – not vegetables – so at best these types of foods are exotic and more for the human owners than for their beloved felines.
In conclusion: Get your vet involved right away
Chocolate seems harmless, as it’s an everyday treat for us, but it can be lethal if your cat has ingested enough of it. As the amounts are very small indeed, this is not something that you want to wait on. If you can’t get them to the vet right away, then contact the ASPCA poison control line at 888-426-4435.
They are there to help 24/7 and are open on holidays, so don’t hesitate to call if your little one has ingested some chocolate. They can provide assistance to help your cat until you can get them in to the vet.
If you want an alternative that you can safely eat around your cat, then carob is recommended, but it’s really better to keep anything like chocolate or cake away from your cats – they simply aren’t designed to eat these foods and with chocolate, it can even be lethal.