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Chocolate Poisoning in Cats

 Submitted by Michael Adams on April 12, 2010

Chocolate is one of the most enjoyable foods for humans. However it is completely unsuitable for cats. Chocolate is toxic for cats as it contains certain chemicals that are harmful for most animals.

Cats do find chocolate to be extremely tasty and hence it is important to keep it away from them, as they may continue to eat it until it poisons them.
Chocolate is considered to be one of the toxic foods for cats due to the compound theobromine contained in it. Theobromine serves as cardiac stimulant and a diuretic.

When ingested, it can cause an elevation in the heart rate or irregular heart beat in the cat. This can be extremely dangerous to the pet. The amount of theobromine contained in chocolate depends on the type of chocolate. Milk chocolate contains lower quantities of theobromine than dark chocolate. As a result dark chocolate should never be fed to a pet. Feeding chocolate to a cat can give rise to various health problems. Chocolate is rich in calories and hence can result in excessive weight gain in the cat. The appetite for other foods is also likely to be hampered due to the chocolate.

However, the main problem of ingesting chocolate arises due to the presence of theobromine. Cats are not able to eliminate theobromine properly from their systems and hence the compound tends to builds up, thereby posing potentially lethal risks for the animal. Chocolate poisoning can also lead to an increase in urine production or dieresis, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, tremors and depression. Pet owners must be able to recognize these symptoms so that the cat can be prevented from consuming any more chocolate.  

If chocolate poisoning reached an advanced stage, the treatment can prove to be quite unpleasant for the pet and owner. As such it is advisable to prevent your cat from consuming excess chocolate. If you suspect that your cat may have ingested a large amount of chocolate, consult your veterinarian immediately. Detecting and identifying the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats in the early stages is always better as it prevents further complications and increases the cat’s chances of survival. There are some cat food manufacturers that produce alternate cat treats which appear and taste like chocolate. These treats usually contain vegetable substitutes which are made to look and taste like chocolate. In some cases, the theobromine is removed or reduced from the chocolate. However since chocolate is categorized as one of the poisonous foods for cat, it is better to avoid feeding the cat any chocolate at all.

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