Can Cats Eat Chocolate? No, and Here’s What To Do if Your Cat Does

You love cats. And you love chocolate. We get it. We do, too. But do cats love chocolate? And can cats eat chocolate safely? The answer, as our vet expert put it, is: “Nooooooooooo!” with exactly 11 “Os.”

Cats may sometimes seem curious about chocolate, but typically, they don’t have a taste for the sweet treat. And that’s good because chocolate isn’t just dangerous for them—it’s life-threatening. Yes, in severe cases, chocolate poisoning can actually be fatal.

Ahead, we break down everything pet parents need to know about chocolate and cats: what makes chocolate toxic for them, what types of chocolate are toxic, and what to do if your cat gets into this beloved human treat.

Expert input provided by Dr. Sarah J. Wooten, DVM, a veterinarian at Sheep Draw Veterinary Hospital in Greeley, Colorado.

Why Is Chocolate Unsafe for Cats?

All brown chocolates, including semi-sweet milk chocolate, baking chocolate, and dark chocolate, contain caffeine and theobromine, which cats can’t metabolize safely, explains Dr. Wooten.

Caffeine and theobromine are alkaloids, or—if you want to get nerdy—naturally occurring chemical compounds that act as stimulants. While caffeine is harmful to all animals, it’s theobromine that carries highly toxic properties for them, and even the smallest amounts should be avoided at all costs.

How Much and What Kind of Chocolate Is Harmful to Cats?

The truth is, cats shouldn’t eat any chocolate of any kind.

  • White chocolate: While it may not be as toxic for cats as brown chocolate, white chocolate still contains milk and sugar, both of which can cause stomach upset and irritation.
  • Brown chocolate: Containing milk and sugar as well as caffeine and theobromine, brown chocolate is a very toxic compound for cats.

How toxic chocolate is really depends on your cat’s size and individual sensitives. Generally speaking, you should contact a vet if your cat eats any kind or amount of chocolate.

However, here are approximations of toxicity based on size and type of chocolate:

    Small cat (
    Medium-size cat (
    Large cat (

    Small cat (

    0.2 oz. of Baker’s chocolate or dry cocoa powder

    Medium-size cat (

    0.4 of Baker’s chocolate

    Large cat (

    0.6 of Baker’s chocolate

    Small cat (

    0.5 oz. of dark or semi-sweet chocolate

    Medium-size cat (

    0.2 oz. of dry cocoa powder

    Large cat (

    0.3 oz. dry cocoa powder

    Small cat (

    1.14 oz. of milk chocolate

    Medium-size cat (

    1 oz. of dark chocolate

    Large cat (

    1.6 oz. of dark chocolate

    Small cat (
    Medium-size cat (

    0.9 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate

    Large cat (

    1.5 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate

    Small cat (
    Medium-size cat (

    3 oz. of milk chocolate

    Large cat (

    3.6 oz. of milk chocolate

    For further information, you can use a chocolate toxicity meter to gauge the level of severity. Dr. Wooten recommends the MSD Manual chocolate toxicity calculator, but emphasizes that, while the calculator may say no treatment is necessary for a small amount of chocolate, it’s still essential to keep chocolate away from cats.

    Uh, Oh—My Cat Ate Chocolate, What Do I Do?

    It happens. Cats are naturally curious and sometimes a little rebellious. But if your feline friend gets their paws on chocolate—be it a chocolate chunk from a cookie, a chocolate bar, or chocolate ice cream—watch for symptoms of chocolate poisoning, including:

    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Loss of appetite
    • Excessive thirst or urination
    • Hyperactivity
    • Increased heart rate
    • Rapid breathing
    • Agitation
    • Muscle tremors or seizures
    • Fainting

    Call your emergency vet, the nearest animal hospital, or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680 right away.

    It really doesn’t matter how much chocolate your cat eats, you should take immediate action and seek professional veterinary care.

    Have more questions about your pet’s behavior? Get expert advice through Chewy’s Connect With a Vet service, available daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.

    How Do I Prevent My Cat From Eating Chocolate?

    Keep it out of reach!

    On high shelves, in airtight containers or stored in a pantry, fridge or freezer should do the trick. (And, of course, promptly throw away all “empty” wrappers after any indulgences of your own.)

    FAQs About Chocolate and Cats

    Dr. Wooten answers more questions pet parents have asked about chocolate and cats.


    What happens if my cat licks chocolate?

    A:Chocolate in any amount, even small, can cause problems for your cat’s body. But the severity of the reaction depends on how much chocolate your cat consumed and your cat’s individual sensitivity. Keep a close watch on your furry feline, and look out for any signs of chocolate toxicity. If your cat shows any signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.


    What other foods contain caffeine and theobromine that should be kept away from cats?

    A:Other foods that contain caffeine and theobromine that should be kept away from cats include:

    • Coffee and coffee beans
    • Tea and tea leaves
    • Cacao beans
    • Chocolate frosting
    • Cocoa powder
    • Some sodas and soft drinks


    Can cats drink chocolate milk?

    A:No, cats should not drink chocolate milk.

    Because most chocolate milk is made from cocoa powder, you should keep chocolate milk away from your cat. The theobromine is toxic to cats. The sugar and milk ingredients are also toxic for cats (many cats are actually lactose intolerant) and can cause them to have stomach issues.


    Should I induce vomiting if my cat gets some chocolate?

    A:No, inducing vomiting is not recommended for cats. Contact your veterinarian to identify the safest next steps.


    Are any cat breeds more sensitive to chocolate than others?

    A:No, chocolate is equally toxic for all cats. Of course, the level of chocolate toxicity depends on the size of your cat, the amount consumed and individual sensitivities.


    Can chocolate toxicity impact long-term health?

    A:As long as chocolate toxicity is addressed immediately, your cat shouldn’t experience any long-term health effects.


    What will a veterinarian do if my cat has chocolate toxicity?

    A:Your vet will personalize treatment based on your cat’s symptoms. They may recommend administering activated charcoal or giving fluid therapy. However, don’t do these protocols at home without a vet!


    Are chocolate-flavored cat treats safe for cats?

    A:Generally speaking, chocolate-flavored cat treats should be safe, as manufacturers know that the ingestion of real chocolate or cocoa is dangerous for cats. But it’s always a good practice to review the ingredient list for anything that could be potentially harmful. When in doubt, ask your vet.
    Just because you can’t share chocolatey treats with your cat doesn’t mean you can’t share anything. Here’s a list of 17 human foods that are safe for cats. And, hey, that just means more chocolate for you!

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