Cat Ate Chocolate Syrup (Now What? Is It Safe?)
If your cat has consumed some chocolate syrup you may be wondering if this is a real problem or not. And, if it is what do you need to do.
Can cats eat chocolate syrup?
To answer the question bluntly: no. Your cat cannot eat chocolate syrup. Do not under any circumstances feed your cat any type of chocolate or chocolate syrup as a treat. Large quantities of chocolate can be lethal to a cat.
So, now you know that they shouldn’t eat it, how can you prevent them from eating it? Why is it so bad, exactly? Can cats appreciate any sweet food? Keep reading for these answers and so much more…
Will a small amount of chocolate syrup be dangerous?
With that being said, according to this site, there is normally no need to fret if your cat ate just a little bit of chocolate syrup. Cats are generally less sensitive to chocolate than dogs. So, the argument is a small amount of chocolate syrup should not harm your cat. But, it’s best to double-check with your vet.
Still, bitter semisweet or dark chocolate in large amounts will harm your cat. Make sure your cat does not ingest a lot of chocolate at one time.
Obviously, you shouldn’t feed your cat chocolate syrup. After all, it is not good for them. Still, you don’t need to panic if your cat gets a lick or two of your chocolate syrup. The only time that chocolate syrup will harm a cat is if it is eaten in very large quantities.
What is chocolate syrup?
Just about any child can tell you that chocolate syrup is a sweet, chocolate-flavored condiment that is often used as a dessert topping. Chocolate syrup is a favorite on top of ice cream or mixed in milk to make chocolate milk. Better yet, it can be blended with both milk and ice cream to create a delicious chocolate shake.
The simplest chocolate syrup will include cocoa powder, sweetener, and water. Commercial chocolate syrup, on the other hand, will also include ingredients like corn syrup, malt, salt, preservatives, and flavorings.
Can cats appreciate sweet foods?
Unlike you and I, cats cannot appreciate sweet food. They actually lack the ability to taste sweetness. Crazy enough, cats are the only mammal to date that can’t taste sweetness. That’s because cats lack the amino acids that are required to taste sweetness.
Some scientists believe that cats never developed these amino acids since they eat meat exclusively. They never needed to develop taste buds for sweetness in the first place. So, why should they?
This causes many people to wonder what cat treats taste like. While human treats are typically loaded with sugar, cat treats almost always taste like meat or fish. Although that doesn’t sound like a treat to us, cats love it since it is what they are biologically trained to taste and love.
This will make it much easier to deny your cat the taste of chocolate. They can’t taste it anyway, so why bother giving it to them? It can only cause harm.
How can you prevent your cat from eating chocolate syrup?
The easiest way to prevent your cat from eating chocolate syrup is to keep it out of reach. Make sure to put on the lid rather tightly and place it in a pantry with the pantry door firmly shut. If the chocolate syrup has already been opened, then you should put it in the refrigerator. Cats won’t be able to get in there.
Being diligent to keep the chocolate syrup in a place where the cat can’t reach is very important. Since cats are so intelligent, they can easily start eating things they shouldn’t, simply due to their curiosity. Make sure to keep the chocolate syrup up and out of the way so your cat can’t eat it.
Also, do not feed your cat sweets or chocolate as a treat, and do not let any of your guests do that either. Not only will the cat not taste the sweetness, but it can and will harm them.
Why is chocolate bad for cats?
All kinds of chocolate include a toxic agent called theobromine. Though white chocolate has this ingredient too, dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate have the highest amounts of it. It is the theobromine that makes chocolate bad for cats.
It can cause abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, tremors, and even death if eaten in large quantities. Luckily, cats don’t normally eat chocolate on their own since they can’t taste sweetness. They will eat it, however, if coaxed to eat it by their owners. For this reason, do not coax your cat into eating chocolate.
What is theobromine?
What exactly makes theobromine so dangerous to cats and other animals? Firstly, theobromine is a bitter alkaloid that can be found in the cocoa plant, as well as other plants like the tea plant and kola plant. It has a chemical formula of C₇H₈N₄O₂.
In many ways, theobromine has the same effect on the nervous system as caffeine. This is a problem for animals because it takes much longer for them to metabolize the ingredient. As a result, animals, including cats, can get theobromine poisoning if eaten enough since it stays in their systems for longer.
How much theobromine is dangerous for cats?
Cats are less sensitive to theobromine than dogs, but they still cannot eat large quantities of it. For a cat to be intoxicated by theobromine, they would need to ingest about 1 ounce of milk chocolate per pound of their body weight. Similarly, intoxication could be caused by 1/3 of an ounce of dark chocolate per pound of body weight.
This may make more sense with an example. Assume that your cat weighs 10 pounds. They would need to consume 10 ounces of chocolate milk to get intoxicated. Similarly, they would need to consume about 3 ounces of dark chocolate to be intoxicated.
Intoxication will show up through agitation, tremors, seizure, or even death. However, there are way more symptoms to look out for. Scroll to the bottom to see a comprehensive list of potential symptoms.
Why is caffeine bad for cats?
Caffeine is bad for cats for the same reason chocolate is. Just so you don’t have to scroll up, theobromine is more difficult for cats to metabolize. This means that the chemical stays in their system longer, which can lead to poisoning and intoxication.
Chemically speaking, caffeine is very similar to theobromine. It too is harder for cats to metabolize, meaning that the caffeine remains in the cat’s system for long periods of time. Once again, this means that the cat can be poisoned and intoxicated by the caffeine.
Does chocolate syrup contain caffeine?
Yes. chocolate syrup does contain caffeine. For about 100 grams of chocolate syrup, there is on average 18 milligrams of caffeine. 100 grams of chocolate will also contain about 163 milligrams of theobromine.
What are the symptoms of chocolate contamination?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of symptoms to look out for when it comes to chocolate toxicity. Some of the symptoms are minor, whereas others are lethal. Here are the most popular symptoms of chocolate toxicity:
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Tremors/muscle twitching
- Excessive panting
- Increased blood pressure
If your cat has ingested chocolate and is showing any of the previous signs, take them immediately to an animal emergency room or the vet. If the cat has ingested the chocolate recently, the vet can administer charcoal or induce vomiting to get the side effects under control.
For more serious intoxication cases, your cat may need to be incubated, put on a ventilator, and monitored. The vet will specifically lookout for cardiac activity.