Avocados are one of the all time favorite fruits. It is indeed a super fruit with lots of health benefits. But what about our cats? Can cats eat avocado, too?
I don’t just like avocados, I love them! Unfortunately, the climate I have is not suitable to avocado trees. Also, there are other reasons why I would not grow avocado trees as an animal lover and I will tell you why in a minute. The main question here is can cats eat avocado? To be honest, the answer is yes, cats can eat avocado but there are a few tricks to it.
You may have encountered a lot of posts that claim avocados are toxic to cats or others claiming that they are safe. As usual, when the source of the information is internet, both have some truth to them. But we are lucky because there are scientists working on these issues and they have complete answers rather than a simple yes or no.
Are Avocados Safe For Cats?
The most common statement you may find around is that avocados contain an oil-soluble compound called “persin” which is toxic to a lot of animals. While this sentence is 100% true, the information it lacks is that persin is found only in the bark of the avocado tree, its leaves, the skin and the pit of the fruit so no persin in the flesh of the fruit itself.
The reports about the toxicity of the avocados to animals were first started to be heard in the 1940s when avocado plant leaves were started to be fed to farm animals. The discovery of the toxic compound persin wasn’t until 1995.
According to Colorado State University “GUIDE TO POISONOUS PLANTS“, the high toxicity of persin has been shown for many animals including cattle, horses, goats, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, canaries, budgerigars, cockatiels, ostriches, chickens, turkeys, and fish. However, case reports of cats suffering from avocado toxicity are lacking. Pet Poison Helpline also agrees that “dogs and cats are rarely affected by persin“.
So we can say that avocado flesh is safe for cats. But this does not mean that we can feed our cats avocado all the time. There are more than one reason why avocado can only be an occasional treat that may be given in moderation to cats. First of all avocado includes high amounts of fiber which can upset your kitties stomach and cause gastrointestinal issues. Also, always keep in mind that cats are obligate carnivores which means that they rely on nutrients found only in meat.
There are also reports of cats getting sick after consuming high amounts of avocado so as always: too much of a good thing can become a bad thing!
Can I Give Avocado Oil or Guacamole to My Cat?
Avocado oil is substracted from the flesh of the fruit therefore it needs to be safe for cat consumption however a lot of the commercial avocado oils sold in the market today also include traces of oil from the seeds. Since we already know that the seeds contain persin, giving avocado oil to your cat might not be a very good idea just to be on the safe side.
On the other hand if you know that the manufacturer does not include any seed oil to their product, there is no harm in giving avocado oil to your little friend once in a while.
Guacamole, on the other hand, should NEVER EVER be given to cats. Guacamole often contains onion, garlic and spices which are not good for cats. Also it has tomatoes and lemons which can cause damage to your cat’s stomach and heart.
Benefits of Avocados to Cats
Avocados are rich in healthy fats, amino acids and vitamin E, A and B6. These are beneficial to humans as well as cats. Cats that have occasional avocados may have a boost to their skin and hair health in addition to other health benefits of the fruit.
They are also great sources of proteins and antioxidants but the animal proteins and plant based proteins contain different types and levels of amino acids so don’t expect avocados or any other plant based proteins to provide all the protein needs of your cat.
Avocados are still being researched in terms of health benefits to cats and there is no certain health benefit shown in a particular research but the observations from veterinarians tell us that they are healthy for cats as long as given in moderation.
Cats have small mouths compared to to the size of many avocado fruits but they can still chock on fragments of seeds that are broken or bitten off. They may like playing with the seed but seeds can be a chocking hazard so giving seeds is not really recommended.
In addition, avocados are high in calories and the avocado intake of a cat should not exceed 10% of the daily calorie intake of a cat. The risk here is not the fat avocado contains but rather the calories so it should be avoided especially for overweight cats.