Chocolate and Coffee can be Toxic to Cats

There is a nice cat picture on Flickr that the author kindly allows people to publish of her cat munching away on a bar of Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate. Her cat likes it but she warns of the dangers of a cat eating chocolate. I am surprised that a cat wants to eat chocolate. As for coffee…I can never foresee a cat wanting a cappuccino with chocolate dusted over the frothy top. The fact these human products ‘can’ be toxic to cats indicates that it depends on the individual cat and the amount that he ingests.

The cat in the picture by Alex Goodey is a Maine Coon by the way. Do Maine Coons like chocolate? Is this a Maine Coon trait!?

Maine Coon Cat Eating Chocolate

Maine Coon Cat Eating Chocolate. Photo by Alex Goodey (Flickr)

The toxicity to cats from these products comes from the stimulants they contain. These are theobromine in chocolate and caffeine in coffee.  Symptoms of illness on eating chocolate include:

  • excitability
  • weakness
  • rapid breathing
  • possible (rare?) death¹.

If death is possible, this is a serious situation. If you suspect that your cat has eaten chocolate you are meant to induce vomiting and administering activated charcoal can assist as well.  A vet might administer fluid therapy to flush the poisons out of the cat’s system. Induced vomiting helps prevent absorption of the poison.

Personally I would ring the veterinarian and get a priority appointment, meaning immediate.  For the sake of a completeness here are some notes on inducing vomiting:

  • You’ll need hydrogen peroxide. It should be administered in a 3% solution (3 parts per 100 of water) and at 1 teaspoon (5 ml) for each 10 pounds the cat weighs. Max amount 3 teaspoons. Walking around and gently shaking your cat helps induce vomiting.
  • Activated charcoal can follow after vomiting¹.

As I said, my gut feeling (excuse the pun) is that you are best contacting your vet as a matter of urgency. I say this because you’ll have to have these products available which seems unlikely and then administer them, which may prove difficult and you can go wrong as well. Best play safe, I would say.

The comments on this page about cat poison on my site (a subdomain) might shock you because a lot of people deliberately poison cats.


Reference:

  1. Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook ISBN 978-0-470-09530-0
Facebook Discussion

Comments

Chocolate and Coffee can be Toxic to Cats — 3 Comments

  1. “Walking around and gently shaking your cat helps to induce vomiting.” Wow, that just does not sound like a good time. Best to just keep any and all substances that could poison your cat well out of reach!

  2. Forget the chocolate, that cat in the picture is going to get feline diabetes from the sugar in the candy bar. Cats are not equipped to digest refined sugars. My mom gave my previous cat Mittens her own dish of ice cream every night when my parents would have some. She died of complications from feline diabetes at age 13.

    • That is a sad story. I have never heard of a cat eating ice cream but it is a dairy product so if is melted a cat would like it. Good warning about feeding human food.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please only upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks.