Cat eating chocolate

Can cats eat chocolate? What about chocolate-flavored foods like ice cream? Is a little chocolate okay? There are many delicious foods that humans enjoy that can be poisonous to cats. In the realm of pet poisonings, you hear more about dogs and food toxicity because they comprise the majority of the cases. But there are several food-related poisonings that occur with our cat companions each year. 

Your friends at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services take a closer look at the foods that are off limits to cats and answer the question, can my cat eat chocolate?

Can Cats Eat Chocolate?

Most pet owners know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but the same is true for cats. Chocolate contains the ingredients caffeine and theobromine, both of which are harmful to cats. In large amounts, it can cause death. Dark and baker’s quality chocolate are more toxic because they contain a higher level of cocoa, which includes those toxic compounds.

Can cats eat chocolate ice cream? Although chocolate ice cream is unlikely to kill your cat, it isn’t good for them and may make them ill for a few hours. It contains not only the harmful ingredients in chocolate but sugar and lactose from the milk as well–neither of which are good for cats. 

Signs of chocolate toxicity in cats include:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Lack of appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Panting
  • Tremors
  • Seizure
  • Coma

If your cat ate chocolate, call us right away, since symptoms can progress rapidly.

Toxic Foods

There are other favorite foods that can harm cats when ingested. Since the holidays are on the horizon, it’s a good time to discuss pet food toxicity. Even if your pet isn’t all that interested in what you eat, never leave a pet alone with food they can access. 

Here are some foods that are toxic or unhealthy to cats.

  • Grapes and raisins
  • Alcohol
  • Onions, garlic, leeks
  • Avocado
  • Raw dough
  • Raw meat and bones
  • Uncooked eggs
  • Milk

Healthier Food Choices for Your Cat

While it is never a good idea to overindulge your cat in your own food choices, you may wish to give them a small amount of appropriate foods. This is especially true during the holidays when you want to give your fur friend something special. 

Try the following:

  • A small amount of tuna
  • Diced, cooked chicken or turkey (without the skin)
  • Berries
  • Unseasoned rice
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Bananas
  • Catnip or broth frozen into an ice cube

Can cats eat chocolate? The bottom line is they shouldn’t have chocolate or foods that contain chocolate, especially foods with sugar, artificial sweeteners and dairy. If you have any questions about food toxicity in cats, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us.