Without the addition of cheese, salt, pepper, or anything else, there are precious few foods that are both healthy and delicious.
With the disclaimer that everything said up until this point is entirely the author’s opinion, avocado is one of those foods.
The avocado is the best of the human super foods because it contains so many beneficial nutrients in one convenient fruit.
Although guacamole and avocado toast are healthy, we shouldn’t make them staples in our diets because they’re good for cats too.
Cats can safely eat the meat (or flesh) of an avocado. Avocado meal, produced from the pulp left over after avocado oil is extracted, has been shown in some studies to be a viable fiber source in commercial cat foods.
You can’t be sure that your picky cat will enjoy the avocado’s rich flavor and smooth texture, but you can try feeding it to them by offering a few tiny pieces.
Is Avocado Safe for Cats?
This is an unusually divisive topic. You can find arguments for and against giving avocado to pets all over the internet. There is validity to arguments on both sides, further clouding the issue.
It wasn’t until the 1940s that researchers began publishing evidence that feeding farm animals the leaves of the avocado plant could have toxic effects. It seems that birds are especially vulnerable, and it’s possible that the fruit is toxic to birds as well as the leaves.
It has also been reported that two dogs, both of which lived on farms with avocado trees, were suspected of suffering from avocado toxicity after consuming large amounts of the fruit.
Although cats are frequently included in general statements about avocado toxicity along with dogs, there are few documented cases of feline avocado toxicity.
Signs of toxicity in nonhuman animals typically involve the cardiopulmonary system and include dyspnea and heart failure. The toxin, called persin, was discovered and named in 1995.
The avocado tree’s leaves and bark contain the highest levels of persin, but the seed and skin also contain trace amounts, which may seep into the fruit.
The persin content of avocados, and thus their toxicity, varies among cultivars. There is no evidence of toxicity in cats fed avocado at this time, despite the fact that avocado skins and seeds contain persin and contamination of the fruit is possible.
Feeding your cat a small amount (no more than 15 grams) of ripe avocado is probably safe if it enjoys the fruit. However, it is not recommended that avocados be given to cats in any form.
It is not advised to intentionally feed avocado to cats due to the presence of a known toxin found in avocado. There is a lack of data showing a safe intake level for cats, just as there is a lack of data showing toxic effects.
Is Avocado Oil Safe for Cats?
The potential health benefits of avocado oil have contributed to its widespread popularity. Since avocados are the primary source of the oil, it should be fine to give it to cats.
However, commercial avocado oils do contain negligible amounts of oil derived from avocado seeds. The seed contains a higher concentration of the toxin persin, making it more dangerous to cats.
Avocado oils containing fractions from the avocado seed have been shown to be harmful in laboratory studies with rats. Until its safety has been established, avocado oil shouldn’t be given to cats.
In moderation, you can replace avocado oil with oils like sunflower, safflower, and canola for your cat’s diet.
Benefits of Avocado for Cats
As of now, there is no proof that avocado is beneficial for cats.
However, one study looked at the use of avocado pulp in feline diets, and it came from a reputable pet nutrition research institution.
Avocado meal, made from the pulp that remains after the oil is extracted, was fed to cats in the experiment for three weeks. The researchers concluded that avocado meal might be safe for use in cat diets because they did not find any negative effects.
As of now, veterinarians and veterinary nutritionists lack sufficient information to say whether or not avocado is beneficial for cats, but it is possible that small amounts of avocado fed to cats or included in cat foods could convey similar beneficial properties as they do for humans.
Risks of Avocado for Cats
There are no documented benefits to feeding avocado to cats, and there are no known dangers either.
Although avocados are known to contain trace amounts of the toxin persin, there is no evidence to suggest that this is also toxic to cats. Persin levels are highest in the seed and skin, so they should be avoided.
Even though most avocado seeds are too big for a cat to swallow whole, even tiny seeds or bits of bitten-off seeds can be dangerous.
Cats shouldn’t be fed more than 10 percent of their daily calorie allotment in avocado because of its high fat and calorie content.
In healthy cats, the fat itself poses little danger and is not likely to cause pancreatitis. This is in stark contrast to dogs. However, overweight cats shouldn’t eat foods so high in fat.
What Makes Avocado Bad for Cats?
Ingestion of large quantities of avocado flesh, due to its high fat content, may lead to gastrointestinal distress. Avoid feeding avocado to cats if they have a history of stomach problems or have been diagnosed with gastritis or pancreatitis.
Dr. Autumn Vetter, clinical assistant professor at the University of Georgia Pet Health Center, recommends keeping an eye out for signs such as vomiting and diarrhea to determine if your otherwise healthy cat has an adverse reaction to avocado.
The pit, peel, leaves, and stems of an avocado are all toxic to cats. These components are poisonous due to the presence of persin, which causes respiratory distress and cardiac arrest in canines and avian species.
As persin is most concentrated in avocado pit oils, it’s best to steer clear of avocado oil as well. Dr. Vetter warns against using persin oil, even though it doesn’t seem to have any negative effects on cats.
Last but not least, never order guacamole. While the avocado flesh is perfectly fine for cats to eat, the possibility of onions and garlic in the recipe makes us think twice about feeding it to our feline friends.
What Should I Do If My Cat Eats Avocado?
The most likely reaction to feeding your cat a small amount of avocado flesh is an upset stomach. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center if your cat eats an entire avocado (without peeling it first).
Choking hazards don’t stop with pits of avocados. Dr. Vetter explains that because avocado pits are so big, it’s possible that your cat won’t try to eat one. They risk having it become lodged in their windpipe if they do. You should take your cat to the emergency vet if you think it has swallowed a whole pit.