Nothing smells better than the aroma of freshly brewed coffee in the morning. As I sit sipping on my steaming cup of joe, I see my cat looking up.
It leaves me questioning whether my furry friend would enjoy some as well. What would happen if you offered a little java to your curious cat?
Is coffee bad for cats? It sounds like a silly thing to wonder, but when your cat is bugging you for something, it gets you thinking.
In fact, coffee is bad for cats. It is not only bad but can be toxic and life-threatening if a cat ingests a high amount of coffee.
Caffeine is harmful to cats
Occasionally, I make the mistake of leaving my mug unattended and coming back to see my cat peering into my cup. Thankfully, my cat hasn’t actually had any coffee.
Even so, this has me thinking about what would have happened if he did? Is it bad for cats to drink coffee?
Yes, yes, and yes! Coffee is bad for cats, and cat owners should be cautious when drinking some around their kitty!
The smell of coffee can be appealing to some cats, especially when mixed with milk. The ingredient that makes coffee so effective for humans is the same thing that is harmful to cats: Caffeine.
Coffee contains a high amount of caffeine, which is a stimulant that can cause many health problems for your cat! It can result in caffeine poisoning, which can be fatal.
The severity of caffeine poisoning depends on the amount consumed and the cat’s size. A sip or two may not have much of an effect on an adult cat but more of one on a kitten.
You will find that symptoms typically occur when 9mg/pound of caffeine is consumed. More serious symptoms may occur when consuming 20mg/pound of caffeine. Ingesting 70-100mg/pound of coffee may even result in life-threatening symptoms.
What I’m trying to say here is, not even a single drop of coffee is wise for your cat to have.
Symptoms of caffeine poisoning in cats
When a person has had some coffee, they are likely more awake, and their energy levels are high. Cats on coffee have those same effects but at a higher intensity.
Cats can’t metabolize caffeine; they become hyperactive and restless. Coffee will increase their heart rate, and you might see them all over the place.
Some common symptoms include:
- Increased Heart Rate
- Increased Blood Pressure
- Abnormal Heart Rhythm
Caffeine raises blood pressure which causes abnormal heart rhythm. Tremors and seizures are the results of losing muscle control.
Coffee is typically made with cream, sugar, and caffeine, which can upset a cat’s stomach, leading to vomiting and diarrhea.
Symptoms may occur 30 minutes after consumption and persist for up to 12 hours. These symptoms must be taken seriously and may be fatal if left untreated.
There is also a chance the pancreas might get inflamed and result in pancreatitis. Feline pancreatitis is extremely dangerous, painful, and may become fatal as well.
How is caffeine poisoning treated?
If your cat has had coffee, the first thing you should do is call your vet. It’s important even if you aren’t sure that your cat has consumed any.
This is because the earlier your cat gets treated, the less damage the caffeine will be able to do. There are a few treatment options for cats that have had coffee.
The first thing vets normally do is induce vomiting. By doing this, your cat will be rid of its stomach contents.
Getting the caffeine out of their system is always the best option. Inducing vomiting is done by the injection of medication.
This medicine’s designed to make cats feel sick and throw up. However, inducing vomiting can only be done within 1-2 hours after the consumption of coffee.
Otherwise, the coffee may have already made its way into the bloodstream.
Another method your vet might use is to give your cat activated charcoal. No, it’s not like that kind you use to get the grill going.
Activated charcoal is a powerful black powder that traps toxins and prevents absorption. This stops the caffeine from doing further damage.
Its goal is to keep toxins in the stomach and prevent it from entering the bloodstream. Activated charcoal is a powder administered in liquid form by mixing it with water.
Your vet may tell you that they wish to place your cat on fluids by way of an IV. Since symptoms of caffeine poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration is expected.
If your cat has become dehydrated, an IV will provide the liquids needed to keep them healthy.
This will help support proper kidney function. IV fluids also help to flush out toxins from the body and clear the system.
For cats that have suffered from severe symptoms, medications may be prescribed. This will help treat symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and abnormal heart rhythm.
These medications should help stabilize your kitty so they can regain their health!
As scary as it may be to leave your cat at the hospital, it may be what your cat needs. Some vets may need to keep your cat for a few days to ensure proper healing.
During hospitalization, cats are monitored for abnormalities. This may include irregular heart rate or low blood pressure.
While hospitalized, it is likely your cat will be on a catheter. This is done to keep caffeine from being reabsorbed into the bladder.
Treating your cat at home
A vet must be called as soon as it becomes known that your cat has had coffee. You should never try to practice treatment on your own.
It may worsen your cat’s condition rather than help. Many people try inducing vomiting at home, which is an extremely dangerous thing to do.
It is always best to follow the exact instructions of your vet before attempting to do anything to your cat. Taking matters into your own hands rather than going to the vet may cost your cat its life.
Tips on prevention cat from consuming coffee
Tip #1: Keep out of furry paws
Many of us have a selection of coffee in the cupboard and laying on the counter. There never seems like a reason to think twice about where we place it, but cats surprise us every day.
Cats are very nosy creatures, and they need to know what everything is. Sometimes they do this by eating things.
If your bag of coffee beans is on the counter, they can easily jump on and bite through the bag! Hey, my cat has done crazier things.
So putting things away in a proper place where cats can’t get to them is critical.
Tip #2 Watch for wandering eyes
Cats also love to be there when their owner is eating, and when they step away, that’s their chance to have at it. Covering your food or taking it with you somewhere else is a good practice.
Some cats are actually intrigued by the smell of coffee, so be careful! It’s wise to clean up any coffee spills.
Accidental spills are bound to make your cat curious enough to lick up the milky substance on the floor.
Tip #3 Monitor other caffeine substances
Another thing to keep in mind is the thing that makes coffee so dangerous is caffeine. Caffeine is in many things!
Teas, sodas, cocoa, sports drinks, and certain medications. While keeping an eye out for coffee, it’s also great to look out for these things!
While America Runs on Dunkin’, cats most certainly do not. To answer the question of whether coffee is bad for cats or not, it is a resounding yes. Coffee contains caffeine which is detrimental to a cat’s health.
Not to mention all the sugar and other additives that are usually mixed in coffee. A cat getting some coffee may result in caffeine poisoning and, if not treated aptly, can be fatal.
There are different methods that can be used to treat a cat that has had coffee. The vet should be called immediately if you suspect your cat has had coffee.
Never try to perform any type of treatment on your cat yourself because you might worsen their condition. Be aware of the coffee sitting in your house to prevent your cat from having some.
The only drink that should be offered to cats is water. If your cat seems to want a rush, how about trying catnip?