Can Cats Eat Chocolate Ice Cream? Could it Kill My Cat?

can cats eat chocolate ice cream

Can cats eat chocolate ice cream?

I have stopped buying chocolate ice cream because I have two pets at home – a cat and a dog. Both pets aren’t allowed to eat chocolate ice cream simply because it can be toxic to them.

My dog is okay, he understands. But my cat does not. She has the habit of jumping up on counters and licking things – things she isn’t meant to lick. And that can include empty chocolate ice cream bowls too.

Resultantly, I have stopped buying chocolate ice cream.

If you are wondering why cats should not eat chocolate ice cream, then read on – this post is for you. Please share this information with other cat parents too – it might save a life!

Can Cats Eat Chocolate Ice Cream?

can cats eat chocolate ice cream

No cats, should never eat chocolate ice cream.

Chocolate is toxic to cats and it can trigger bouts of vomiting in them and, in severe cases, could even cause seizures.

 It is very important for all cat parents to know this – especially if you are in the habit of feeding human foods to your kitty.

Always remember that chocolate and all foods items containing chocolate could make your cat very sick.

No matter how much your cat begs to lick that ice cream bowl of yours, you must not let it. Cats and chocolate simply do not mix.

In the next section, I will tell you the reasons why Cats should never eat chocolate ice cream.

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Why Should Cats Never Eat Chocolate Ice Cream?

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Your cat might beg you to give it some of that sweet, cold, delicious ice cream treat. However, the following reasons will help reinforce why a cat should never ever eat chocolate ice cream or any chocolate based treats:

1. It is toxic to your pet

Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine which is downright poisonous to cats.

Moreover, it contains caffeine which is one of the prohibited human foods to never feed a cat.

Dogs and cats cannot metabolize both theobromine and caffeine. These ingredients can then affect your pet’s organs and cause debilitating symptoms like diarrhea, upset stomach, and vomiting in the process.

2. Cats are lactose intolerant

Most people do not know that cats are mostly lactose intolerant.

Ice cream is made of milk and many cats are unable to digest milk properly. Their body simply does not have the necessary enzymes needed for digesting lactose.

This is another reason why the answer to the question ‘Can cats eat chocolate ice cream’ is no.

3. It contains artificial flavors, preservatives, and ingredients

Chocolate ice cream is often made with artificial flavors and ingredients like chocolate extracts, chemicals, preservatives, etc. These ingredients can be tough to digest, especially for a kitty that has sensitive digestion.

That is why, it is best to never let your cat eat chocolate ice cream.

Also Read: Best Sensitive Stomach Wet Cat Food

4. It contains sugar and/or xylitol

Many frozen dairy treats including chocolate ice cream contain tons of sugar. Sugar is never a good thing to feed for cats as it can cause a spike in their blood-sugar levels and, in the long run, could cause diabetes.

Additionally, chocolate ice cream also contains xylitol – an artificial sweetener which is known to cause xylitol toxicity in cats and dogs. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in cats also include vomiting, diarrhea, gastric disturbances, etc.

5. Could cause weight gain in your kitty

Even if your cat eats frozen treats like chocolate and vanilla ice cream without suffering from the aforementioned adverse reactions, in the long run, all that sugar could lead to obesity and weight gain.

Being overweight might make your cat look cute and funny, but it can cause many health troubles including joint aches, arthritis, and even heart-related ailments.

That is why, it is best not to feed sugar-laden foods like chocolate ice cream to your kitty.

Also Read: Best Cat Food for Overweight Indoor Cats

6. Could result in brain freeze

Cats can also suffer from brain freeze when they eat very cold and frozen treats like ice cream, sorbet etc. Brain freeze is not harmful but it can lead to headache and sometimes, may cause an intense pain in some cats.

If your cat starts pressing its head against the wall or becomes lethargic, it could be brain freeze and may need medical help.

What Are Signs and Symptoms of Theobromine Poisoning in Cats?

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In large quantities, chocolate ice cream can lead to theobromine toxicity in felines. This is characterized by the following signs and symptoms:

  • Your cat is unable to metabolize caffeine and theobromine in the chocolate ice cream. So, the first sign of toxicity is often restlessness, pain in the abdomen, vomiting, and diarrhea. Your pet might dry retch and try to bring out all its stomach contents.
  • In addition to these upset stomach symptoms, theobromine also affects your cat’s gut, heart, central nervous system, liver, and kidneys.
  • In advanced stages, you might see blood in your cat’s vomit and stools.
  • Your pet might show signs of distress, hyperactivity, racing heart, rapid and shallow breathing, panting, muscle tension, incoordination, and seizures.

The signs and symptoms of theobromine poisoning will also depend on your cat’s weight, age, and the quantity of chocolate ice cream it has eaten.

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What to Do if Your Cat Eats Chocolate Ice Cream?

Your cat might need urgent treatment depending on how much chocolate ice cream it has eaten.

But, it is always best to err on the side of caution and speak to a vet if you suspect that your cat has eaten chocolate ice cream.

You can also call ASPCA Poison Center and give them the following information:

  • Your cat’s age and weight
  • Type of chocolate ice cream it has eaten (with its ingredient list, which type of chocolate it contains)
  • How long ago did it eat the ice cream
  • Symptoms present if any.

Also use this chocolate toxicity calculator to see if your pet needs hospitalization.

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How Much Chocolate Ice Cream can Cats Eat?

can cats eat chocolate ice cream

My advice would be to never give any chocolate ice cream to your cat – and that also means not allowing it to lick the leftovers.

If you have a small cat or kitten, then even a small amount of theobromine can rapidly cause toxicity symptoms.

Theobromine works even in small doses of 150mg/kg of your pet’s body weight and at this level it can be fatal.

For cats weighing 5 kg (or 11 lb.), even a few tablespoons of chocolate ice cream containing dark chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other distressing symptoms.

Consequently, you want to keep your cat away from chocolate ice cream as far as possible.

What To Do If You Don’t Know How Much Chocolate Ice Cream Your Cat Has Eaten?

can cats eat chocolate ice cream

As stated earlier, it can be sometimes difficult to know exactly how much chocolate ice cream a naughty little house cat has eaten.

If that is the case, please keep your pet under observation. As stated before, it is best to err on the side of caution and call your vet for advice.

Can Chocolate Ice Cream Kill Cats?

can cats eat chocolate ice cream

Chocolate ice cream can cause theobromine toxicity but it is usually not fatal unless your pet has eaten it in a large quantity.

Statistics on cat chocolate ice cream poisoning are also heartening since very few cats have died from consuming chocolate ice cream. Of course, it may be that these deaths have largely gone unreported too.

Cats could die from eating dark chocolate bars but that also depends on how much of chocolate it consumes.

Please see your vet right away so you can get the timely treatment and avoid this painful episode.

Are All Cats at a Risk from Chocolate Ice Cream Poisoning?

It is seen that some cats are at a greater risk to chocolate ice cream and theobromine toxicity than others.

This may be genetic or it may depend on your cat’s age and body weight as well.

Many cats have eaten chocolate ice cream and not had any symptoms while some have shown hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, and even seizures.

Can My Cat Eat Any Other Ice Cream Safely?

can cats eat chocolate ice cream

Yes, some plain vanilla ice cream is okay for your cat to eat.

In fact, last summer, when my cat was sick, and she would not eat or drink anything, our vet advised us to feed her a tablespoon of vanilla ice cream.

This re-hydrated her and gave her the necessary energy to regain her lost strength. Thankfully, she was better within a couple of days.

However, as with chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream could have the following negative effects on your cat, especially when you feed it in a large quantity:

Lactose intolerance

Don’t forget the fact that most cats are lactose intolerant which means they cannot digest milk and milk products.

That is why, it is best to feed vanilla ice cream only in very small quantities to your cat and only after consulting your vet.


We must not forget the fact that vanilla ice cream also contains a lot of sugar which can never do any good to your cat.

Sugar, in excess, can cause diabetes and weight gain.

Brain freeze

Brain freeze is not fatal but it can cause your pet to have a headache for a few minutes. It might shake and shiver if it eats cold food like vanilla ice cream.

Can Cats Eat Chocolate Powder?

Chocolate powder or cocoa powder is also toxic to cats. If your cat weighs about 5 kg or about 11 lb., then even a few grams of cocoa powder can be fatal to your cat.

This is because cocoa powder contains nearly 26 mg of theobromine in one gram.

So, please keep cocoa powder or chocolate powder out of your naughty indoor cat’s reach.

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Can Cats Drink Chocolate Milk?

can cats eat chocolate ice cream

By now you know that there are two things in this question that are wrong for cats: chocolate and milk.

Cats are lactose intolerant and they could suffer gastrointestinal upset due to this ingredient.

Likewise, chocolate milk made using even a few tablespoons of cocoa powder can increase your pet’s risk to theobromine poisoning.

A few sips should be okay, but avoid feeding large quantitiy of chocolate milk or hot chocolate to your kitty.

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FAQs on Can Cats Eat Chocolate Ice Cream

can cats eat chocolate ice cream

1. How do I know if my cat ate chocolate ice cream?

If you have left chocolate ice cream bowls lying around and you see they are spotlessly clean, then chances are that your kitty has been up to mischief.

There is no need to panic – if it is just a tiny amount, your cat should be okay. However, please keep an eye out for diarrhea, vomiting, and other unusual behavior. Most cats show symptoms of poisoning within the first 24 hours.

If your pet is panting, restless, or has signs of muscle tension, then see or call your vet for further advice.

2. Can cats eat white chocolate?

White chocolate does not contain as much theobromine as dark chocolate does. So, if your pet has had a few morsels of white chocolate, it should be fine.

Do remember that white chocolate contains milk and milk solids and cats are mostly lactose intolerant. Also, white chocolate which is high in sugar and fat can cause upset stomach as well as weight gain over the long term.

3. Can even a little bit of chocolate kill a cat?

In small quantities, a bit of chocolate won’t kill a cat but it could cause debilitating symptoms.

 No two cats are the same and some show adverse reactions more than others. It depends on your cat’s weight, age, and also how much chocolate it consumes. The type of chocolate matters too – dark chocolate has more theobromine than other varieties.


Can cats eat chocolate ice cream?

No cats should never be fed chocolate ice cream mainly due to its theobromine content.

Also, it contains a lot of sugar, caffeine, flavorings, extracts, and preservatives which can be tough to digest and could cause upset stomach in your pet.

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