A straightforward answer to this query would be a big ‘NO’. If you are a conscientious pet owner who has the well-being of the feline at heart, then you must keep your cat away from chocolates and vice versa.
Cats are universally known and admired for their inquisitive nature, but sometimes it is this very nature that can lead them to trouble. They are likely to go round the dwelling sniffing every corner and by chance if they do come across chocolates lying around somewhere, you can be sure that the goodies will soon be on their way to your cat’s tummy. Likewise, you might be helping yourself to some chocolate cake or brownie and are unable to resist sharing it with your feline companion who might be hovering around you in expectation of a bite.
Keen though you may be to share a luscious and delicious chocolate with your cat, it would pay to remember that it can truly harm your pet. Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolates has numerous health benefits for human beings, but unfortunately the same cannot be said of its impact on cats.
Why Is Chocolate Harmful for Cats
The chocolate meant for human consumption is a by-product of cocoa which is naturally enriched with caffeine and theobromine, a chemical compound classified as an alkaloid. Contrary to its name, it does not have any bromine but is a complex combination of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen atoms. When your cat eats chocolate, this component remains untouched in its bloodstream because a feline’s system is unable to synthesize it. As a result, it keeps on accumulating to the point of causing, illness, poisoning and even death.
What pet owners need to understand is that while it is easy for humans to digest chocolate, cats cannot digest it at all and often suffer the adverse consequences. In fact eating a chocolate would benefit you in terms of lowering your blood pressure, stimulating your senses and relaxing your muscles. But if your cat eats a piece of chocolate, it would experience a rapid increase in heart beat and excessive loss of fluid, both of which could quickly turn fatal.
Are All Chocolates Equally Harmful?
Not all chocolates are born equal when it comes to having an adverse impact on the cat’s health. To this effect, degree of poisoning is directly proportional to the percentage of theobromine in the chocolate. Going by this logic, the darker the chocolate is, the higher will be its theobromine content and the more toxic it will be for your cat.
Varieties of chocolate that can seriously harm your cat are cocoa powder, dark chocolate and baking chocolate. This implies that if your cat might have consumed a square of dark chocolate, a slice of chocolate cake or licked some chocolate syrup, it is time for you to press the panic button and seek advice from a vet.
Semi-sweet chocolates and milk chocolates are not as harmful and white chocolates are the east harmful, thus rendering them ideal as occasional treats for your feline.
Tell-Tale Signs That Your Cat Has Eaten Chocolate
In case your cat does manage to swallow chocolate despite all precautions, following are some tell-tle signs that it would exhibit –
- Inexplicable nausea, followed by either vomiting or diarrhea or both;
- Contrary to humans, chocolate causes rigidity of muscles in cats accompanied by a sudden rise in body temperature;
- Sudden drop in blood pressure, leading to lethargy;
- Rapid breathing and racing heart-beat leading to restlessness;
- Onset of seizure;
In extreme cases, your cat could slip into coma, suffer from cardiac arrest and internal bleeding and even lose its life. Therefore, the onus is on you to avoid such a situation by keeping a tab on your tabby’s chocolate binging tendency.
Dos’ and Don’ts If Your Cat Has Eaten Chocolates
Time is of essence when you find that your kitty might have swallowed some chocolate. At this point it is advisable not to wait for the symptoms to appear because manifestation depends on the sensitivity of the cat in question. Felines that are more sensitive will begin to exhibit symptoms almost immediately while sturdier breeds will sustain for a certain length of time before expressing discomfort.
What you must do:
- In such a situation immediately take the pet to a vet so that it can be attended to on a priority;
- The vet would try an induce vomiting by using various ways and means, a tried and tested formula being administering activated charcoal to your cat;
- When given in liquid form, the activated charcoal binds with chocolate and restrains its absorption into the bloodstream;
- Net, the vet would chalk out a treatment plan to flush out the theobromine from the cat’s body;
- Depending on the severity of poisoning the cat would be kept under observation over the following days till it stabilizes;
What you must not do:
- Do not try to induce vomiting at home as it could prove to be dangerous for your pet;
- Refrain from trying any home remedies as it could further aggravate the situation;
Prevention is better than cure and you would be doing your feline companion a big favor by keeping chocolates out of its reach. That being said, cats do have a way of fishing things out, particularly those that are forbidden and chocolates are no exception to this rule. To avoid being consumed by your feline, store your chocolates in tightly closed containers or the refrigerator wherein your cat would be unable to eat it.
By nature, cats are not chocolate eaters since unlike dogs they do not have a sweet tooth. At the same time, cats are also unpredictable and might decide to try it out one day just for the sake of seeking your attention or simply as a form of rebellion. It is these situations that you need to be guard against in order to keep your pet healthy and safe.
A good way of keeping your cat off chocolates would be to opt for alternative options which are healthier and not as worrisome. Simply showering the cat with sufficient love and attention would also ensure that your cat does not take any interest in chocolates and hence its health is preserved.