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Can Cats Drink Coffee? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Precautions

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on May 2, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


Can Cats Drink Coffee? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Precautions


Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo


Dr. Karyn Kanowski

Veterinarian, BVSc MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cats are curious creatures, and they tend to investigate everything that they encounter. If your cat is like most, they have stuck their noses in their fair share of cups and bowls in your kitchen! There is nothing to worry about if your cup contains water, but it’s a different story if that cup is filled with coffee. What if your kitty finds your cooled-down coffee interesting and drinks some of it? Is that something to worry about? Is it okay for cats to drink coffee?

The short answer is no, cats shouldn’t be drinking coffee. Coffee is a dangerous substance for cats, so they shouldn’t be exposed to it. While a lick or two of your coffee is not likely a cause for alarm, it’s best to keep your feline family member away from coffee (and caffeine substances overall) as much as possible. Coffee grounds are just as dangerous, if not more so. Here is what you should know.

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It’s All About the Ingredients

The reason that coffee is potentially dangerous to cats is its caffeine concentration. Cats (and dogs too) are more sensitive to caffeine than humans are, and they are also smaller in size and stature. Therefore, they don’t need much caffeine to feel its effects. Also, most coffee contains creamer and sugar, neither of which is good for your cat to consume.

Another ingredient found in coffee that is not good for cats is theobromine. This compound is what makes chocolate so dangerous for cats and dogs, as it’s a toxic stimulant. While coffee in general is a danger and should always be off-limits, coffee grounds and beans are concentrated and should definitely be kept from your pet at all costs.

Coffee bean
Image Credit: Pixabay

The Dose Makes The Poison

As is the case with all toxins and poisons, how severe the damage will be will depend on how much of the substance has been consumed.

In the case of caffeine:
  • 2 caffeine tablets (100mg) can be a fatal dose to cats and small dogs.
  • The average cup of coffee contains around 57mg of caffeine.

If a cat were to drink an entire cup of coffee, they would be in quite a lot of trouble, but if they only steal a few licks, their risk of side effects is low. If they consume a teaspoon or more of coffee granules, you definitely need to phone the vet.

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Signs That Cats With Coffee Poisoning Might Display

If a cat consumes enough coffee or its grounds, they may show signs of poisoning that indicate the need to seek immediate medical treatment.

These include:
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Hyperactivity
  • Excessive pacing
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

If you see your cat drink a significant amount of coffee, call your veterinarian immediately for guidance. Depending on the timing and amount of coffee consumed, they may advise monitoring, or they may ask you to bring your cat in to make them vomit or start other detoxification and supportive treatments. If you aren’t sure whether your cat consumed enough caffeine to be harmful—or any at all, for that matter—watch out for signs of caffeine poisoning and call your vet right away if you spot any.

close up of cat meowing
Image By: ClaraMD, Pixabay

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Other Products Containing Caffeine That Cats Shouldn’t Consume

Coffee is not the only concerning product that has enough caffeine in it to be worrisome for cat owners. There are various items that your cat should not have access to, as they could cause caffeine toxicity.

These include:
  • Soda
  • Green and black tea
  • Energy drinks
  • Weight-loss pills
  • Dietary supplements
  • Workout supplements
  • Guarana extract

If you use any of these things at home, keep them in a cupboard away from any place that your cat frequents.

Is Decaffeinated Coffee Dangerous for Cats?

Decaffeinated coffee has a small fraction of the amount of caffeine that a regular cup of coffee has, but it is still not a healthy substance for your cat to consume. There is still caffeine in it, and it can affect your kitty’s nervous system in one way or another. It’s best to keep your cat’s bowl filled with nothing but water, and everything else should stay out of reach.

sick cat
Image Credit: Flickr

What Is the Treatment for Caffeine Poisoning?

If a cat experiences caffeine poisoning, your veterinarian may employ several treatments, including the use of activated charcoal to neutralize the caffeine, the administration of intravenous fluids to help flush out the caffeine and hydrate the body, and even the use of blood pressure medication. It all depends on the severity of the poisoning.


A Quick Wrap-Up

Caffeine is not a safe substance for cats to consume, so all types of coffee and anything else that contains even a small amount of caffeine should be kept away from your furry companion. While it might not hurt your cat when they take a sip of your coffee, the risks are not worth the experience for them.

Featured Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

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