The quick answer: Chocolate is toxic to cats and can cause vomiting, rapid heartbeat, seizures, and death.
Chocolate contains caffeine as well as a component called theobromine. Though chocolate is harmless to humans, it can be very dangerous to cats (and dogs, as most know).
The higher the percentage of chocolate (the darker and more bitter), the more toxic it is to a cat because it contains greater concentrations of caffeine and theobromine. White chocolate, though it does not contain these components, is still bad for cats because it is made up of mostly fat and sugar.
Signs of chocolate poisoning will vary from mild to severe, depending on how dark the chocolate was that the cat ate and how much they consumed. Symptoms include:
If you notice symptoms, call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 and be prepared to provide information about your cat’s weight as well as how much and what kind of chocolate he ate. You can also contact your local veterinarian or emergency vet who will determine if your pet requires emergency care based on this information.
In the case that your cat requires emergency care, try to keep him as calm and still as possible. Treatment of cat chocolate poisoning includes inducing vomiting, activated charcoal, IV fluids, and anti-seizure drugs.
Fortunately, most cats aren’t quite as tempted by chocolate as humans are, especially in comparison to some freshly cooked meat or fish. However, it’s important to take preventative measures to avoid an emergency.
Keep chocolate wrapped up and out of reach to avoid tempting your cat. Be especially vigilant around the holidays when chocolate is consumed more frequently, such as Halloween and Christmas. When baking with chocolate or cocoa powder, clean up any spills immediately and keep your kitty out of the batter or dough.
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