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With Halloween just around the corner, your family is probably looking forward to the treats more than the tricks. Those colourful, sugary delights can also be a temptation to your feline family members, but cats and sweets can be a dangerous combination. For your cat’s safety, it's important to keep your kitty away from the sweets stash.
Dangerous Foods for Cats
Some ingredients found in Halloween sweets and other treats can cause an upset stomach, while others can be downright toxic and dangerous to ingest. PetMD warns that it's especially important to keep your kitty away from these treats:
Chocolate contains the compound theobromine, which can cause serious reactions in cats that include heart arrhythmia, muscle tremors, and seizures. Cats should also be kept away from caffeine, another ingredient found in chocolate that can also induce muscle tremors, as well as heart palpitations and restlessness.
Cats are lactose intolerant, so while ingesting sweets that contain dairy isn't likely to be lethal, it could cause an upset stomach, resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea.
This sweetener is used as a sugar substitute in many sugar-free sweets and chewing gums. In dogs, this ingredient is known to raise insulin levels and cause a severe drop in blood sugar and can lead to liver failure. While there has never been an official case of this occurring with cats, it's better to be safe than sorry and keep your cat away from sugar-free treats.
There's always that one house that hands out boxes of raisins. What's meant to be a healthier treat for your kids could be deadly to your pets. Raisins, along with grapes, are known to cause kidney failure in dogs. Again, while there's never been a known case of this happening with cats–possibly because cats are pickier eaters than dogs–it's best to err on the side of caution and keep them away from your cat at all costs.
Toxicity isn't the only danger that comes from mixing cats and sweets. Your cat is actually less likely to be tempted by the sweet itself than she is by colourful, crinkly wrappers, which can be a choking hazard, warn Cat Behavior Associates. If your cat manages to ingest a wrapper without choking on it, it could cause an intestinal blockage. Paper sticks left over from lollipops and hard sweets could also become choking hazards. So to keep your kitty safe, it's best to keep all types of sweets shut up in a safe place where a cat can't get to it, as well as discarding wrappers properly.
If Your Cat Ingests Sweets or Chocolates
PetMD recommends taking the following actions if you think your cat might have eaten some:
- If possible, determine what has been eaten and how much
Call your veterinarian, who can advise you whether you should observe your cat for symptoms, induce vomiting to clear the stomach, or bring in for treatment.
- If you can't reach your vet, call the nearest emergency vet or animal hospital instead.
If you have small children in the house, it is a good idea to manage their sweet intake (for multiple reasons), so that you can ensure they aren't tempted to share their tasty sweets with the cat, or leave any wrappers lying around. If you're worried that your cat will feel left out on Halloween, have some favourite cat treats or kibbles on hand to distract from the Halloween treats.
Jean Marie Bauhaus
Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger, and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.