Thursday, April 14, 2011

Poison

So a bit of googling and calculating brings me this result; if my cat of 3kg did any of these:
  • ate 220g milk chocolate (as a reference, one bar is usually around 200g)
  • drank 12 cans of normal coke (or 8 half-liter bottles, or 2 big 2-liter bottles) 
  • drank one 50ml cup of Starbucks coffee (pure, not some latte shit) 
  • ate 28g of dark, unsweetened baking chocolate
he would most likely die. I strongly, very strongly, doubt he could fit 4l of coke, or 220g choclate, in his tiny stomach, or that he'd venture to drink strong, black coffee, but the baking chocolate could be a possible scenario I guess. Also he would get kinda sick before it got lethal. This is in one quick dose, but that doesn't mean it's fully safe eating smaller amounts. If it's done often it can also be dangerous since cats take up things again automatically from their own urine and so the poison could stay for a long time in their bodies and build up.

(As a side note, poisonous doses are almost always based on weight, and that's the case in this case. So dogs would have to eat a whole lot more to get sick. An adult, average German shepherd weighs about 11-13 times as much as my cat; that's 11-13 bars of chocolate. I don't know if they do the whole taking up nutrients from their own urine thing, because if they don't the poison also leaves their bodies faster.)

I also found out that the reason cats hate, and I mean *hate*, the smell of citrus fruits is because eating them makes them vomit.  They'd have to eat a damned lot of citrus fruit for it to get dangerous, and most likely they'd have thrown up long before that. Unfortunately for them they can't smell the poison (it's not just the caffeine) in coffee, tea or chocolate, that's actually more dangerous, and they don't always vomit it up if they eat enough to get seriously sick either.

So keep the baking chocolate away from the cat, or the cat away from the chocolate. Considering the nature of cats, I strongly suspect the first is easier.

9 comments:

Alex said...

Does this mean i will die from 5.1kg of chocolate, 280 cans of coke, 23.3 cups of starbucks coffee or 650g of dark chocolate?

Just thinking about consuming those amounts makes my stomach twist abit.

(no bonus points for reverse engineering my weight xD )

Nallenon said...

Yes Alex, it is not impossible for you to die if you put 25 chocolate bars, 280 cans of coke and 23 cups of strong coffee (and also six and a half bars of dark chocolate) in your stomach, all at once.
Cause of death: Probably cancer.

Yeonni said...

The substances in chocolate and coffee we're talking about heightens heart rate and affect the nervous system and kidneys, among other things. Yes, if you consume any of that and somehow survive the other twenty thousand ways that should kill you, then you'd die from heart issues or seizures, just like the animals.

The toxic dose is about the same, a little higher threshold for humans, but the main reason poisoning ever happens to animals is because they metabolize it slower and so can build up more poison over time. Few people would drink 23 cups of coffee in a short time; the toxicity levels halves in 6 hours in humans but much longer in animals.

Small children, as it happens, also metabolize it slower than adults, so there are cases of kids being poisoned by chocolate or coffee.

ShadoWolf said...

So, I've always been very curious about what would happen if I ate all the 120 caffeine pills I've got in one go. Does this mean it would kill me and not just make things extremely uncomfortable for a while before everything go back to normal?

Nallenon said...

In all likelihood your heart would flutter and you might die. I've seen the effect of a big guy eating ten of those in a few hours, and that was as speeded as a person can get, pretty much, while still being reasonably healthy. A smaller person eating twelve times that amount sounds like a remarkably bad idea, to be honest :P

Yeonni said...

I'll have to agree with Nalle :p remarkably bad. It's probably not very comfortable either, disregarding death.

Fresh Garden said...

That's informative!
Thanks for sharing.

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