coffee explained

Is Coffee Toxic To Cats


Coffee is one of the most popular morning beverages in the world, but pet owners may be wondering whether it is toxic to cats. Unfortunately, due to cats’ unique anatomy, caffeine can cause serious and potentially fatal health issues when consumed by them.

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee that can cause symptoms such as hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death in cats if consumed in large amounts. Coffee also contains certain acids which can damage a cat’s intestinal lining and other acids which are difficult for them to completely digest. Furthermore, the scent of coffee can be offensive to cats and may cause them discomfort.

For these reasons it is generally not recommended that cats are given coffee or any caffeine-containing products. If you think your cat has consumed a large quantity of coffee or other caffeinated beverage then it is important that you contact your veterinarian immediately as serious symptoms can occur within minutes of ingestion.

Caffeine Content

Coffee contains caffeine, which is a chemical compound found in plants such as coffee beans and tea leaves. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can increase concentration and alertness. The amount of caffeine in any given serving of coffee can vary significantly depending on its origin, brewing method, and roasting process. Espresso contains the most amount of caffeine per unit volume compared to other types of brewed coffee. On average, an eight-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains approximately 95 mg of caffeine while the same-sized cup of espresso has approximately 77 mg.

Cats are very sensitive to caffeine and it should be avoided as much as possible. The ASPCA recommends that pet owners not give their cats any type of caffeinated food or beverage as it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, increased heart rate, and other health problems. Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing anything new into your pet’s diet.

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Health Benefits

Coffee contains caffeine, which can have adverse effects on your feline’s health when ingested in large doses. Coffee also contains molecules known as N-alkanoly-5-hydroxytryptamides, or AH5HTs, which are not present in decaffeinated coffee and can cause cats to feel a sense of “high” after consuming it.

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Although a small amount of coffee may provide a temporary burst of energy for your cat, regular consumption is not recommended as it could lead to disruptive behavior such as hyperactivity and lethargy. In addition, the ingestion of large amounts of caffeine could contribute to kidney failure and digestive issues.

For humans, however, there are several potential health benefits associated with consuming coffee in moderation. Studies suggest that drinking up to four cups per day is unlikely to be harmful and may even offer some positive effects on the body. In addition to its potential energizing effects and aiding concentration and alertness due to the caffeine content, coffee itself is packed with antioxidants which help protect against inflammation and boost overall immunity. Studies further suggest that habitual moderate coffee consumption can reduce inflammation symptoms in those suffering from diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Coffee & Cats

Coffee is a popular beverage that people love to drink but it can be toxic to cats. Many people don’t realize that even a small amount of caffeine can harm cats and cause serious side effects.

In this section, we will discuss caffeine’s effects on cats and the potential dangers it poses.

Toxic Effects

Although cats are carnivores, many are also inquisitive and willing to snack on small treats offered by their owners. One of the more common beverages – coffee – might be appealing to some cats, given its pleasing aroma, sweet aftertaste, and energizing effects. But is coffee bad for cats? Unfortunately, it is – here’s why.

Cats can develop toxicosis (poisoning) from ingesting too much caffeine. The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, a powerful stimulant drug that is toxic to both canine and feline bodies in large amounts. Trouble first begins once ingested—signs of caffeine poisoning can occur within 15-30 minutes after ingestion, depending on the amount taken in and the size/vitality of the cat. Signs include:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Muscle twitching or spasms
  • Restlessness or excitability (hyperactivity)
  • Increased heart rate/blood pressure/respiratory rate
  • Higher body temperature
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If left untreated these symptoms could become progressively worse leading to seizures or even death. It’s important to know that a single dose of espresso could cause poisoning in an adult cat that weighs as little as 2 kilograms (4 lbs). It takes only 47mg/kg of caffeine to cause clinical signs!

Symptoms of Poisoning

If your cat has ingested coffee, it is important to watch for signs of toxicity. Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, so symptoms of poisoning can include:

  • Restlessness and an increased heart rate.
  • Muscle twitching or tremors.
  • Seizures.
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea.
  • Fast breathing and panting due to difficulty regulating their body temperature.

There is a potential for death if not treated in time; caffeine-related deaths have been reported in cats who have consumed large amounts of coffee grounds or beans. If you suspect that your cat has consumed coffee grounds or beans, seek veterinary care immediately.

Prevention & Treatment

When it comes to preventing your cat from drinking coffee, the best thing to do is to make sure coffee and any other caffeinated beverages, including tea and energy drinks, are all out of reach of your cat and ensure that you are careful when discarding coffee waste. If your pet has ingested coffee, then immediate veterinary care is recommended.

In this section, we’ll be exploring the prevention and treatment of coffee ingestion in cats.

Avoid Giving Coffee to Cats

Coffee, whether it’s caffeinated or decaffeinated, can be toxic to cats. While cats don’t typically go out of their way to seek out coffee, a cup of steaming brew can easily grab the attention of curious pets. Ingestion of coffee may result in symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, an increased heart rate, restlessness, and even seizures if consumed in high enough quantities.

Cats experience similar physical reactions to those seen in humans when drinking too much caffeine. Caffeine toxicity can occur if a cat ingests more than 10 mg/kg body weight (10mg per 2.2 lbs). This amount may vary depending on the type of coffee drink ingested and the caffeine content found in foods like chocolate or energy drinks which have already been identified as potentially deadly for cats. Therefore it is wise to keep all caffeinated products out of paws’ reach and away from household pets such as cats!

While avoiding feeding your cat any caffeinated foods or beverages is the best practice for prevention; there are also treatments available should your cat come into contact with coffee before you can intervene. Activated charcoal is most often used as a treatment option; if ingested within 30 minutes this treatment should help prevent the caffeine from being absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract which will then be passed through the animal’s system without causing any harm.

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Seek Veterinary Care Immediately

If your cat has ingested coffee, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Caffeine can cause symptoms of toxicity that can range from mild to severe, depending on the amount of caffeine ingested and the size of the pet. In pets, caffeine can cause excessive thirst and urination, panting, vomiting and diarrhea, tremors and seizures. It can also cause neurologic signs such as restlessness or hyperactivity, trembling or muscle twitching, depression, or an overall change in behavior.

Before seeking emergency care for your cat’s ingestion of coffee, you should first try to determine how much they have consumed. Note the approximate amount by weight if possible. If you do not know how much was consumed or cannot estimate it accurately then try to estimate based on what container size it was stored in (i.e., a one-liter bottle would contain enough for two large cats).

Once you have obtained a reasonable estimate as to how much caffeine was ingested then you should seek veterinary care immediately so that a treatment plan can be formulated. Treatment may range from:

  • Decontamination procedures involve induced vomiting and activated charcoal administration.
  • More intensive treatments such as intravenous fluids or medications depending on the severity of the signs shown by your pet after consuming coffee.


It is important to remember that coffee (particularly the grounds) is toxic to cats, so it’s best to keep coffee in a safe place and out of their reach. When cups of coffee are left unattended, cats have been known to sip them. This could cause digestive upset, leading to vomiting and diarrhea. Even if your cat only takes a few laps, it’s best to consult your veterinarian if you’re concerned about any symptoms they may be experiencing.

In conclusion, while some experts will say small amounts of caffeine-containing products are safe for cats in moderation, it’s best not to give any type of caffeinated beverage or drink to your pet as there are potential risks associated with its consumption.

Some symptoms that may indicate caffeine poisoning or toxicity include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness/hyperactivity
  • Dizziness/weakness/confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you observe any of these signs after your cat has ingested something containing caffeine.

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About the author


Samuel is a coffee lover and a writer. He's travelled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and has soaked up the sun, the culture, and of course - the coffee. He loves to write about his experiences, and he hopes to travel even more in the future.

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