Chocolate Toxicity in Cats
Although they’re not normally as curious about people foods as dogs are, cat (and kittens in particular) can sometimes eat things they aren’t supposed to eat, including chocolate. Derived from the roasted seeds of the cacao plant, certain properties in chocolate can be toxic to cats when they’re ingested, specifically, caffeine and theobromine. Eating these ingredients can lead to a number of medical complications—some of which may be serious—in your cat. Learn more about the symptoms and treatment of chocolate poisoning in cats, below.
Symptoms and Causes
If your cat is experiencing chocolate poisoning, it may have one of the following symptoms:
- Increased body temperature
- Increased reflex responses
- Muscle rigidity
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Advanced signs (cardiac failure, weakness, and coma)
These symptoms will vary based on the amount and type of chocolate that is ingested and can influence the severity of the condition. Varieties of chocolate that can be especially poisonous to cats are milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and baking chocolate.
If you suspect your cat has ingested chocolate and is experiencing any of the above symptoms, bring it to your veterinarian immediately. You can expect your vet to perform a complete physical exam, including a chemical blood profile, an electrolyte panel, and a urinalysis to help determine if your cat has overdosed on caffeine and theobromine.
Your veterinarian may also perform an ECG to help determine if the heart is showing any abnormalities in rhythm or conduction of heart beats.