Can cats eat avocado?
No, cats cannot eat avocados. Avocados contain a toxin called persin. While cats are rarely affected by persin, cat keepers should be careful about feeding avocado to their cats.
Scientifically known as Persea Americana and often called alligator pears, avocados have been around for thousands of years. But in recent decades, they have come to enjoy an explosion of popularity in the United States. Only 436 million pounds of avocado were domestically consumed by Americans in 1985; in 2020, we consumed over 2.6 billion pounds of avocado.
With around 20 different minerals and vitamins, high levels of fibers and monounsaturated fat, and being cholesterol and sodium-free, no wonder avocados are among the most popular fruits on earth.
Before delving into details, let’s take a closer look at avocadoes’ toxicity level for cats.
Is Avocado Poisonous to Cats?
You might have heard that avocados are toxic for cats, dogs, and other pets as they contain a fungicidal toxin called persin.
Indeed, avocados contain the toxin persin.
But you need not panic if your cat or dog has consumed avocado. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, it is ‘mildly toxic‘ to cats and dogs and rarely affects them. However, persin can be deadly for certain birds, such as parakeets, cockatiels, and animals, such as cows and sheep. Therefore, if you have a bird friend in your house, you will have to keep yourself from sharing the superfood with your little birdie.
Can Cats Eat Avocados?
As stated above, cats cannot eat avocados. Technically, avocado flesh is safe and healthy for cats as it contains many healthy nutrients. In fact, looking at the benefits, avocado would have also been considered a superfood for cats.
But that’s not the case, as avocados come with their fair share of cat problems. Even if listed as mildly toxic, they still pose a threat, though not life-threatening, to cats.
Can Kittens Eat Avocado?
While adult cats can safely consume avocado flesh, vets advise keeping your kittens away from avocados. The reason being is their less developed immune systems. Kittens’ stomachs are very sensitive; therefore, even traces of toxic persin can upset their stomachs. You should be extra cautious about discarding avocado skin and pit when a small kitten is in the house.
Is Avocado Oil Safe for Cats?
Yes, avocado oil is safe for cats—but only if it is purely derived from avocado flesh. If whole avocados, including their pit and skin, are used to produce avocado oil, you should not give it to your cat as there could be a higher concentration of toxic persin in the oil. Some healthy alternatives to avocado oil include sunflower oil, canola oil, olive oil, and fish oil.
Is Avocado Good for Cats?
We know that avocado is not poisonous to cats but is it any good for our feline friends? To understand if avocados have to offer any health benefits to cats, take a quick look at the following nutrient profile of avocados.
|Nutrient||Amount per 100 g|
|Dietary fibers||6.7 g|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids||9.8 g|
|Vitamin B-6||0.257 mg|
|Vitamin E||2.07 mg|
|Vitamin A||7 µg|
Health Benefits of Avocados for Cats
Just like avocado is a healthy and nutritious treat for humans, it can also offer numerous nutritional benefits to our feline fellas. Avocado flesh is a good source of healthy fats, amino acids, fibers, and vitamins not only for humans but also for cats.
Following are some of the reasons that make avocados the ultimate superfood for cats.
The Protein Content
Including the eight essential amino acids, avocados contain 18 amino acids in total. Avocados are a good source of protein for vegetarians as well as obligate carnivores like cats that require a huge amount of protein to stay in good health.
The Dietary Fibers
Dietary fibers are essential for an efficient and smooth bowel movement in felines. The dietary fibers present in avocados help cats with constipation and weight loss and promote better cardiac health.
The Healthy Fats
In addition to fibers and amino acids, avocados also contain monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. These healthy fatty acids provide an anti-inflammatory effect and help cats maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Avocados are packed with antioxidants like beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help our cats prevent free radical damage. They also help reduce the risk of cancer in cats by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells in cats. Many of the antioxidants found in avocados are known to be beneficial for cats’ eyes.
Avocados are brimming with useful vitamins, including vitamin A, B6, C, and E. These vitamins offer our cats “a boost of goodness to the skin and hair,” according to Catster. They are necessary for healthy cat skin and for the proper functioning of the body as they also help maintain muscle and nerve functioning.
Health Hazards of Avocados for Cats
While avocado flesh is nutritionally beneficent for cats, other parts such as seeds, peel, leaves, and stems could be deadly for your cat. The reason is, as mentioned earlier, the higher percentage of persin. In addition to toxin concerns, letting your cat bite on a whole avocado can also be dangerous. This way, your cat is prone to taking big bites that are hard to chew—which can cause her to choke.
Can Cats Have Guacamole?
Eating avocados in the form of guacamole is one of the most common ways of consuming avocados among humans. But where eating raw avocado flesh is healthy for cats, guacamole is not. This is because avocadoes mashed into guacamole contain many other ingredients, such as onion, garlic, lemon juice, tomatoes, spices, etc. These ingredients are often toxic for cats and may cause stomach aches and irritation in cats. Therefore, you are advised not to share guac with your cats. You can mash some pieces of avocado flesh for your cat instead.
Can Cats Eat the Avocado Pit?
No! You should discard the avocado pit right away. Neither you nor should your cat eat avocado pit. Though the avocado pit only contains a smaller amount of persin, it can cause digestion stress for your feline friend. However, it’s not the content of the avocado pit that makes it dangerous for cats but the gulping of a whole pit. It can cause choking and intestinal blockage.
Can Cats Safely Eat the Avocado Peel?
Just like the avocado pit, avocado skin is also a big no-no for cats. In addition to containing a higher percentage of toxic persin, it also poses a choking risk to your fluff ball. The consumption of avocado peel may also cause vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea in your cat. Therefore, you should always peel off avocado before giving it to your cat.
The Final Verdict: Can Cats Eat Avocado?
Yes, cats can eat avocados—avocado flesh but not the peel and pit. Avocados are loaded with useful nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fibers, which make avocados a superfood for cats. But at the same time, avocados also contain the toxin persin, which could be harmful to cats if ingested in large amounts. Besides persin, the high-fat content of avocados also poses a risk of pancreatitis in cats. So, you should only offer avocado flesh to cats in moderate amounts, occasionally as a treat.
Find out what other foods cats can eat or not eat: