Is Coffee Bad For Cats

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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 at me. It leaves me questioning whether my furry friend would enjoy some as well.

There are many human foods that are no good for cats, but I wonder if coffee is an exception. My cat tends to join me for breakfast and sits by me while I eat.

On occasion, I make the mistake of leaving my mug unattended and come back to see my cat peering into my cup. Thankfully, my cat hasn’t actually had any coffee.

Even so, this has me thinking what would have happened if he did? Is it bad for cats to drink coffee?

Coffee is what gets lots of people up and running in the morning. 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 pestering you for some, it gets you thinking.

It might be funny to see your sluggish cat bounce off the walls for a change. Despite the intrigue, coffee isn’t the best choice of beverage for your cat.

In fact, coffee is bad for cats. It is not only bad but can be toxic. If a cat ingests a high amount of coffee it can be life-threatening.

Is Coffee Bad For Cats?

Yes, yes, and yes! Coffee is bad for cats and cat owners should be very careful 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.

Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause many health problems for your cat!

Coffee contains a high amount of caffeine. It can result in caffeine poisoning that can be fatal.

The severity of caffeine poisoning depends on the amount a cat has consumed and its 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 20mg/pound of caffeine is consumed.

If 70-100mg/pound of coffee is ingested, it may result in life-threatening symptoms. Even so, a single drop of coffee isn’t wise for your cat to have.

What Symptoms May Occur

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:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Vomiting
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Tremors 
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal Heart Rhythm  
  • Diarrhea 

Caffeine raises the blood pressure which causes abnormal heart rhythm. Tremors and seizures are the results of losing muscle control.

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Not only that, caffeine causes an upset stomach which may lead to vomiting and diarrhea. It’s very important that these symptoms are taken seriously. If left untreated it may be fatal. 

Symptoms may start to take place 30 minutes after consumption, and persist up to 12 hours or more. Coffee is typically made with cream and sugar which is upsetting to a cat’s stomach.

This can cause the pancreas to get inflamed and result in pancreatitis. Feline pancreatitis is extremely dangerous and painful. If not treated correctly, it may become fatal.

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 is able to get treated, the less damage the caffeine will be able to do. There are a few treatment options for cats that have had coffee.

Inducing Vomiting

cats vomitting

The first thing vets normally do is induce vomiting. By doing this, your cat will be rid of the contents of their stomach.

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 1-2 hours after the consumption of coffee.

Otherwise, the coffee may have already made its way into the bloodstream.  

Activated Charcoal 

Another method that might be taken by your vet, 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 is used to trap toxins and prevent 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, but is administered in liquid form by mixing it with water. 

Intravenous Fluids

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.

Intravenous Fluids


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. To ensure proper healing, some vets may need to keep your cat for a few days.

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.

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Treating Your Cat At Home

It is crucial that a vet is 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 and it is an extremely dangerous practice.

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

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 reasonable place where cats can’t get to it is key.

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 to place somewhere else is a good practice.

There are some cats that are actually intrigued by the smell of coffee so be careful! It’s smart 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

Keep these Caffeine Substances away from your cats!

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 great to watch out for these things as well! 


While America Runs on Dunkin’, cats most certainly do not. To answer the question of whether coffee is bad for cats or not, the answer 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 right away if you suspect your cat has had any 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?