You’ve probable heard that chocolate is very toxic for both cats and dogs, but it’s easy to forget this and to leave your chocolate bar momentarily unintended. So, if your cat ate white chocolate, what should you do?
Luckily, white chocolate is the least toxic type of chocolate. Aside from some brands that include actual cocoa chunks in them, most white chocolate isn’t really chocolate at all – it’s mostly just cocoa butter and sugar. While the chemical Theobromine that makes chocolate toxic is still present, a single white chocolate bar is very far indeed from a lethal dose.
That said, it’s still something that you should not let your cat eat, and today we’ll tell you why. We’ll talk about white chocolate’s toxicity levels, how much white chocolate could be lethal, what you should do if your cat eats it, and more. Let’s discuss why white chocolate is definitely not a treat where your cat is concerned.
Table of Contents
Is white chocolate toxic to cats?
Yes, white chocolate is toxic to cats, it’s simply not AS toxic as regular chocolate. That’s because white chocolate doesn’t really have chocolate in it… at least in most cases (with some varieties incorporating cocoa chunks in them).
White chocolate is largely just made up of cocoa butter and sugar, but it also contains Theobromine and sometimes caffeine is there, as well. Theobromine is what makes regular chocolates toxic for your kitty, so white chocolate should be officially off of the menu where your kitty is concerned.
That said, if your cat manages to get into your white chocolate, the good news is that it won’t be as dangerous as if they’d gotten into your semi-sweet chocolate chips or a dark chocolate bar.
With both of those types of chocolate, only .5 ounces is considered to be when they become dangerously toxic, but baking chocolate being even worse – requiring only .2 ounces!
How much white chocolate can harm a cat?
Well, the good news here is that your cat would have to eat 199.9 ounces of white chocolate for the dose to be lethal, so if they’ve just managed to gnaw on your white chocolate bar then things should be okay. That said, this doesn’t mean that you should let your cat have white chocolate.
What you need to remember is that while the Theobromine amounts are small, that cocoa butter and sugar isn’t doing your cat’s health any favors, and while it’s not present in all white chocolate bars, some do have actual cocoa and many of them have caffeine.
What will most likely happen is that your cat might end up with a tummy ache, diarrhea, or may simply vomit up the sickly-sweet white chocolate. In some cases, your cat might even be sign, but you’ll need to watch them as the Theobromine will stay in their system for at least the next 3 days.
What do I do if my cat eats white chocolate?
If your cat eats white chocolate, do NOT try to make them throw up. Some websites have given info on how to do this and that kind of response should only come from a vet’s recommendation unless it’s a matter of life and death.
What you will want to do instead is to simply make sure that your cat has plenty of access to fresh, clean water to help to flush out their system and if they are currently eating dry food, then switching to wet food for the next 3 days will be easier on your cat’s upset tummy.
If you are worried, you can certainly take them in to the vet, but with white chocolate not being actual chocolate and such large amounts being required to become dangerously toxic, if your cat feels any discomfort at all it will likely be limited to a tummyache and loose stools for a couple of days.
Symptoms of white chocolate ingestion in cats
For the 72 hours that the Theobromine from the white chocolate is in your cat’s system, you’ll want to keep an eye out for any symptoms that they are feeling unwell. Thankfully, these will be quite mild in comparison to regular chocolate, and may include the following:
- Elevated heartbeat
- In some cases, lethargy instead of hyperactivity
When in doubt, always call the vet
Again, usually with white chocolate the effects should be pretty mild, but if your cat seems to be reacting very poorly after eating it then you should go ahead and bring them in to the vet. In some cases, even mild amounts of Theobromine may exasperate an existing health condition, and it’s better to be on the safe side.
If you are unable to reach the vet, you can also call the ASPCA Poison helpline, which is a toll-free call, and they may be reached by dialing (888)426-4435. To keep your cat out of trouble while you are calling, put a little bedding in their crate and a toy for them and go ahead and latch the crate closed.
Let the ASPCA know the amount of white chocolate that your cat has ingested and their body weight, if you have this information handy. They should be able to help by providing the next steps to get your kitty back to feeling better.
Be sure to keep both your vet’s phone number and the ASPCA number somewhere that you can easily use it if you need to. We recommend storing it on your phone and also sticking in on the refrigerator, just in case an emergency arises when you haven’t got a charge.
In Summary: White chocolate is toxic, but only mildly so
White chocolate is nowhere near as dangerous as standard chocolates, but it’s still not good for your cat. Caffeine may be present and with the large amount of cocoa butter in white chocolate, some Theobromine will still be present.
As ingestion of this can still cause vomiting, diarrhea, shakiness, and other unpleasant symptoms, it’s best to keep it away from your cat and find a healthier treat that you can give them as a compromise.
Your kitty might complain — after all, they’re use to getting their way — but with a healthy treat and a little catnip offered as an alternative, they won’t be angry with you for very long!