Is it Safe for Cats to Drink Coffee?

Is it Safe for Cats to Drink Coffee

Every morning I sit on my sofa with my cat and my coffee.  And, no matter how many times my cat tries to dip her nose in my mug, I will not give her any of my coffee.

Is it safe for cats to drink coffee?  Coffee is not safe for cats to drink because coffee has caffeine and a large amount of caffeine is too much for their body sizes.  Although a couple of lapses might not be significant enough to cause poisoning, even a small amount of caffeine in coffee can be fatal for a small cat, or dog. 

Coffee contains caffeine and both contain the chemical theobromine which, if too much is consumed, can cause you to jitter and shake. 

What Happens When Cats Drink Coffee

Cat in the weeds

In cats, the amount of coffee ingested can cause immediate symptoms and can be fatal.  Depending on the quantity consumed, your cat can begin to experience symptoms with one-to-two hours.  Some symptoms to look for if your cat consumes large amounts of coffee or caffeine include:

  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness (hyperactive)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Tremors or seizures

If you suspect that your cat is experiencing any of the symptoms above, call your vet. 

Depending on how much coffee your cat consumed, your vet can diagnose the severity of the poisoning and can recommend the proper treatment such as flushing out their system or giving your cat liquid charcoal.

Because I own two cats and am an avid coffee drinker, understanding why coffee is bad for my cat is important. Additionally, coffee is not the only thing that is dangerous for cats.  So, I also found a few healthy alternatives that your cat might enjoy and included some information on additional human foods and drinks that are dangerous for cats to consume, as noted on petmd.com

Why is Coffee Bad for my Cat?

Coffee can cause increased hyperactivity, increased heart rate as well as death.

Even a small amount of coffee is bad for cats because of their small bodies.  Their body size cannot handle large amounts of caffeine.  And, depending on their body size, the caffeine in the coffee can be fatal. 

Also, depending on how much your cat consumed coffee, the side effects and symptoms will take affect quickly.

Additionally, coffee and caffeine are made up of a chemical called theobromine. 

  • Theobromine is a compound that stimulates the body the way that caffeine does, it makes you hyperactive.  That means that the more caffeine that is ingested in the body, the more stimulation you will feel and the side effects and symptoms will be greater.

Although a cup of coffee gives people the extra push that we need to tackle on the day, our body size can tolerate the amount of theobromine we consume.

What Symptoms Should I Look For If My Cat Drinks Coffee?

Two cats sleeping in the garden

A cat that has consumed coffee will show symptoms in as little as 30 minutes. 

Since coffee has caffeine and caffeine gives you a burst of energy, the most common symptom to look for you in your cat is restlessness (if they appear to be hyperactive). 

You might want to feel your cat’s heart beat to see how fast it is beating.

In addition to being hyperactive, your cat may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

It is important to document the types of symptoms and the time that your cat starts showing signs of coffee toxicity.  This information can help your vet understand their symptoms and a better viewpoint on the severity of the poisoning.

What Do I Do if My Cat Eats Toxic Foods?

It is important to act quickly if you feel that your cat has ingested something toxic and call your vet.

You can call pet poison control helpline to get assistance and guidance on what to do. 

Pet poison control is a service for pet owners and veterinary professionals and is available 24 hours 7 days a week.

Some things you can do to prepare for your trip to the vet, or phone call to pet poison control, is to:

  • Find out exactly what your cat ate and how much was eaten.
  • Look for any symptoms that your cat may be experiencing.
  • Try to move your cat to a ventilated area.
  • Do not induce vomiting without consulting your vet.
  • Do not give medication to your cat without consulting your vet.

How Will My Vet Treat My Cat?

It is important to take you cat to the vet as soon as possible. 

If your vet can diagnose your cat in the early stages, your cat can receive the easiest and quickest treatment. 

Depending on the severity of the poisoning, your vet will assess how severe the toxicity levels are and recommended treatment for your cat.

Sometimes your vet will recommend:

  • Induce vomiting
  • Prescribing medication
  • Hospitalization 

Your vet may also recommend flushing the toxins out of your cats system or can give your cat liquid charcoal.  To treat diarrhea and upset stomach, your vet might also recommend antacids.

If your cat is experience a worse level of poisoning, your vet might want to give your cat sedatives or heart medications to slow down increased heart rate and blood pressure symptoms.

If your cat experiences a seizure, your vet can also prescribe anticonvulsant medication.

Taking your cat to the vet timely will also be less costly!

How Can I Prevent my Cat from Coffee Poisoning?

The first step in preventing your cat from getting coffee poisoning is to keep your coffee safe and out of reach of your cats.

Though this may be the most obvious way of prevention, it is easy to leave your cup of coffee unattended and available for your curious cat to dip into your cup.

Also, it is important to learn what other human foods and liquids are toxic to your cat.

As with coffee, any and all toxic foods should be kept hidden and away from your cat’s reach.

Also, it is best to educate your family and friends what types of food or liquids are not allowed to give to your cat.

You should also not make it a habit and get your cat used to eating human food.  Any acceptable human food for animals to eat could be given to your cat as a treat and not a meal.

Best Food for Cat’s is Meat

Cats are meat eaters and need protein, the best sources for them is chicken and beef. The common food to give our cats is wet food and biscuits that have been manufactured. If you plan on giving your cat your own cooked meat make sure it doesn’t include tuna, instead aim for foods like:

  • Cooked beef
  • Cooked chicken
  • Cooked turkey

How to Keep a Happy Cat?

You cat will be happy with love and treats!

Although your cat will run to you every time you serve yourself a cup of coffee or have any other harmful foods/drinks, please remember not to let your cat have a taste.

It is important to know which human foods and liquids are poison for your cat.  And, it is a good idea to keep acceptable and healthy foods in your fridge to give to your cat as a treat.

Keeping your cat safe from toxins will avoid trips to your vet.  It will also be light on your pocket.

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