What Happens if a Cat Drinks Coffee?

Cats are very curious creatures and are often intrigued by new things they encounter, including coffee. While a cat’s natural instinct is to avoid anything that smells bitter, some cats may be curious enough to take a sip of their owner’s coffee. So, what happens if a cat drinks coffee?

What Happens if a Cat Drinks Coffee?

If a cat drinks coffee, the caffeine will affect them and likely cause hyperactivity, increased heart rate, and restlessness. In severe cases, it can lead to seizures and death. Coffee beans, grounds, and brewed coffee all.

An image of cat that is about to drink from a coffee cup

If you think your cat has consumed coffee, it is important to seek veterinary attention immediately as they may need to be hospitalized for supportive care. Do not do anything rushed such as inducing vomiting or giving the cat medication. Here are some things you should do as soon as you realize that your cat has drunk coffee:

  • Keep them away from the coffee: If you have a pot of coffee brewing or unfinished cups of coffee around, it’s important to keep your cat away from the area.
  • Find out how much coffee they drank: It’s important to find out how much coffee your cat drank so that the veterinarian can provide proper treatment.
  • Check if the cat is okay: Take a look at your cat and see if they seem to be having any adverse effects. Check out for signs of hyperactivity, increased heart rate, or restlessness.
  • Call the vet: Even if your cat seems okay, it is always best to err on the side of caution and call your veterinarian. They will likely want you to bring your cat in for a check-up to make sure they are okay.
  • Do not induce vomiting: It is important not to try and make your cat vomit as they could aspirate (inhale) the coffee and cause pneumonitis. Better leave this to the vet.
  • Do not give them any drugs: Do not give your cat any type of medication unless it is prescribed by the veterinarian.
  • Bring them to the vet: Once you have determined how much coffee your cat drank and whether or not they are showing any signs of distress, it’s time to bring them to the vet. At the vet, they will likely do a physical exam and may want to do some diagnostic tests such as x-rays or bloodwork. They will also provide treatment based on the severity of your cat’s condition.

Why Is Coffee Bad for Cats?

Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant. When cats consume caffeine, it causes their heart rate to increase and can lead to restlessness, hyperactivity, and in some cases, death.

Coffee also contains other chemicals that can be harmful to cats including tannins. Tannins are astringent compounds that can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats including vomiting and diarrhea.

Additionally, if your cat drinks coffee with milk such as a latte, they could also develop gastrointestinal issues due to the lactose in milk.

How Much Coffee Is Toxic to Cats?

The toxic dose of caffeine for cats is around 80-150mg/kg. This means that a 10-pound cat would only need to consume 8-15mg of caffeine to be at risk for toxicity. A cup of coffee typically contains around 95mg of caffeine, so it doesn’t take much coffee for a cat to reach the toxic dose.

According to the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists, Most cats between 1 to 10 pounds might be affected by as low as 1.5 ounces of regular coffee and more than 45 ounces of decaffeinated coffee. On the hand, large cats ( 11 to 25 pounds) may have to slurp on more than 38.5 ounces or 500 ounces of regular and decaffeinated coffee respectively.

However, it’s important to remember that each cat is different and some may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others. Additionally, the type of coffee (e.g. instant, regular, decaf) and how it is prepared (e.g. with milk or sugar) can also play a role in the amount of caffeine your cat ingests.

A cat that wants to drink from the coffee

What Are the Symptoms of Caffeine Toxicity in Cats?

The symptoms of caffeine toxicity in cats can vary depending on the amount of coffee they consume and the sensitivity of the individual cat. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include:

  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panting
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures

Related Questions

Can Coffee Kill Cats?

Yes, coffee can kill cats. A small amount of coffee can contain enough caffeine to be toxic to a cat and potentially cause death. It is important to seek veterinary attention immediately if you think your cat has consumed coffee.

How Long Does It Take for Coffee to Affect Cats?

The symptoms of caffeine toxicity in cats can occur within 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion. However, some symptoms may not be apparent for 24 hours or more.


If your cat has consumed coffee, it is important to seek veterinary attention immediately. Caffeine toxicity can cause a range of symptoms from mild to severe and can potentially be fatal. Never try to make your cat vomit and do not give them any medication unless you are told to do so by a veterinarian.