Excited Cats is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Can Cats Eat Carob Chocolate Substitute? Facts & FAQ

Chocolate is well-known for being toxic to dogs but most cat owners are aware that it is toxic to cats, too. If you are familiar with carob, a natural substitute for chocolate, you may be wondering if it also comes with those dreaded toxic effects.

Like chocolate, carob is derived from a plant, but carob does not pose the danger of toxicity in the way that chocolate does. So, if your cat has ingested some carob chocolate substitute you do not have to worry about poisoning your cat, but we’ll go over the ins and outs of carob and take a closer look into whether it’s healthy for cats.

cat face divider 2 What Is Carob, Exactly?

The carob is a flowering evergreen tree that is native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The tree is often used as an ornamental tree for landscaping, but it is also widely cultivated for its pods, which is where the chocolate substitute comes in.

The carob fruit resembles a brown-colored pea pod and includes pulp and seeds. It has been used as a health food for centuries and its use has been traced back to ancient Greece. Nowadays, carob is commonly used and grown all over the world. It can be bought in the form of powder, chips, extract, and syrup, and is a dietary supplement form.

When used as a chocolate substitute, the powder is used as a replacement for cocoa powder and can be used in a variety of recipes or even turned into carob chips. Carob gum is also a common food additive that works as a gelling agent and thickening agent.

Health Benefits of Carob (For Humans)

Carob has some pretty impressive health benefits for humans, which is another reason it is beloved among chocolate lovers looking for a healthy alternative. Here’s a look at some of the health benefits and advantages carob has to offer:

  • Low in sodium
  • Low in fat content
  • Has calcium without the oxalates
  • Rich in fiber
  • Caffeine-free
  • Can treat diarrhea
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Contains no tyramine

What Makes Carob Safer Than Chocolate for Cats?

American shorthair cat eating at home
Image Credit: Apicha Bas, Shutterstock

Now we’ll switch the subject back to our feline friends. We know that carob makes for a healthy chocolate alternative for human consumption but when it comes to cats, there are a couple of key factors that are different about carob when comparing it to chocolate that makes it safe for cats.

Carob lacks both the theobromine and caffeine you will find in chocolate. These two substances are highly toxic to cats and are potentially fatal in large amounts, which is why chocolate is considered such a danger to pets. Thankfully, the carob chocolate substitute should cause you no worry if your cat were to ingest some.

Is Carob Healthy for Cats?

Just because something is safe for your cat to eat, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily healthy for them. Carob is not dangerous or poses any risk of toxicity for cats but it’s not something that fits into their natural diet.

Cats are obligate carnivores that get all their needed nutrients directly from meat sources. Carob is plant-derived and cats do not have a need for much plant material.

Too much plant material could potentially lead to digestive disturbances and cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea if consumed in large amounts. There’s no need to supplement your cat’s diet with carob since they would do better with a meat-based treat.

Proper Dietary and Nutritional Needs of Cats

siamese cat eating
Image Credit: Axel Bueckert, Shutterstock

Cats are naturally obligate carnivores, which means they rely on the nutrients found in prey animals. Cats are highly evolved hunters that consume much of their prey and get most of their hydration from it as well. Their diet is high in protein, and moderate fat, and contains minimal carbohydrates.

Many years of domestication have not changed their overall dietary needs. Most commercial foods on the market are designed to fit their dietary needs but some do contain higher amounts of carbohydrates and non-meat-based sources, especially dry kibble.  All foods do not come with the same level of quality so it’s important to read labels and check ingredients before deciding on food.

It is recommended to feed your cat high-quality cat food that does not contain harmful chemicals, dyes, or other unnecessary additives. Chat with your veterinarian about the best meal plan for your cat, as they are up to speed on their current health condition and needs.

Cats should always be provided with fresh, clean water since commercial food sources typically do not provide them with the level of hydration needed. They can be offered treats on occasion, but it is best to do so in moderation to avoid obesity and related health concerns. Treats should be meat-based and unsalted.

Healthy Treat Options for Cats

  • Cooked, unsalted lean meats (small amounts)
  • Dried liver
  • Pieces of Kibble
  • Small bits of wet food
  • High-quality commercial treats

cat face divider 2 Conclusion

Carob chocolate substitute is not toxic to cats and is perfectly safe if ingested. It does not contain theobromine or caffeine, which are the substances in chocolate that makes it so toxic to both cats and dogs. While carob is safe for cats, it is plant-based and does not fit into their usual dietary needs so there is no reason to offer your cat carob. There are plenty of different meat-based treat sources to offer your cat if you would like to offer them the occasional snacks or treats.

thematic break

Featured Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay