Can cats eat avocado?
No – avocados contain a compound called persin. Persin is toxic to cats. So, it is unsafe for cats to eat avocados.
All parts of the avocado plant contain persin. If a cat accidentally eats some avocado, contact their vet straight away.
Let’s find out more about what happens if cats eat avocado.
Cats and Avocados
Avocado is a delicious and popular fruit. But is it beneficial for your cat?
We know that avocados offer plenty of nutritional benefits for people.
But not all of the foods we eat are good for our four-legged friends.
Unfortunately, this is true for avocados, which can be toxic for cats.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at cats and avocados. And if you want to find out about other safe fruits, just take a look at this article.
Where Does Avocado Come From?
The fruit with the bumpy skin and creamy texture has a long and rich history.
It’s believed that avocados originated some 10,000 years ago in Puebla, Mexico.
Believe it or not, this nutrient-dense fruit is actually a berry.
There are different varieties of avocados. But the rich and buttery Hass type is by far the most popular.
Many of us think of guacamole when we talk about avocados. But they’re also popular in salads, sliced onto sandwiches, and mashed on toast.
Another great salad fruit is tomato – but make sure to read about that here before giving it to your cat.
There are plenty of reasons why avocados are a superfood. They contain fiber, high-quality protein, and healthy omega fatty acids.
Avocados are also packed with vitamins and minerals. They are rich in antioxidants.
In fact, studies have shown that phytochemicals extracted from the avocado fruit may actually help prevent cancer. So it’s easy to see why we’d want to pass on these benefits to our pets.
What is a Natural Cat Diet?
Cats are obligate carnivores. So, they need more protein than most other animals.
This is because a cat’s metabolism breaks down the amino acids in protein at a very high rate.
The protein in avocado contains 9 essential amino acids. But they’re not found in sufficient amounts for a cat’s requirements.
Plant-based proteins simply don’t contain the same protein profile as those found in meat.
Deficiencies of certain essential amino acids can cause serious health problems in cats.
For example, the amino acid taurine is not found in plant products.
Can Cats Eat Avocado Meat?
Avocados contain a fungicidal toxin called persin.
It doesn’t affect humans. Plus, recent findings show it kills breast cancer cells, which is great news. But, avocados can cause problems for cats and other animals.
Avocados can cause fluids to accumulate in the lungs and chest. This leads to difficulty breathing and death from lack of oxygen.
Fluids can also deposit in the heart, pancreas, and abdomen.
The high fat content of avocados can also lead to pancreatitis.
It should be noted that Guatemalan avocados, in particular, are most commonly associated with toxicosis. This is due to a higher persin content.
A small amount of avocado is unlikely to cause a healthy, adult cat serious problems. But, they could suffer from symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.
Avocados are more dangerous for kittens, older cats, and those with existing health problems.
Can Cats Eat Avocado Oil?
Avocado oil is the edible oil pressed from the pulp of an avocado. It’s not used only for eating.
You can find it in all kinds of skincare products, such as shampoos, moisturizers, and sunscreens.
That’s because avocado oil is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, D, and E. These are nourishing and moisturizing for hair and skin.
You may even see products for cats that contain avocado oil.
This may seem strange since avocados contain an ingredient that’s toxic for cats. However, persin is not found in avocado extracts.
Avocado oil is made from ripe avocado fruit. Plus, the concentration of persin is known to decrease during ripening.
Therefore, avocado oil is safe for cats.
Can Cats Eat Avocado Leaves?
Avocado leaves are another story. The meat, seed, skin, bark, and other parts of the plant all contain persin. But the highest concentration of this oil-soluble compound is in the leaves.
This makes it the most toxic part for cats.
Chewing on avocado leaves can damage your cat’s mammary glands.
As this study shows, lactating livestock who eat avocado leaves are subject to mammary inflammation and the inability to secrete milk.
You should contact your vet immediately if your cat eats avocado leaves.
Can Cats Eat Avocado Seeds?
Each avocado has a single large, golf ball-sized seed in the center. It comprises approximately 15% of the entire fruit.
This golf-ball sized seed is an attractive toy to a cat.
But under no circumstances let your cat play with an avocado pit.
Aside from the toxic persin that it contains, this large, hard pit also poses a serious choking hazard for pets. If swallowed it could obstruct their esophagus or respiratory tract.
Chewing on the pit could be dangerous, especially if a chunk is swallowed.
It could become lodged in their stomach and intestinal tract and need to be surgically removed.
Signs that your cat has ingested an avocado seed include coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, trouble breathing, and collapse.
Can Cats Eat Avocado Skin?
Avocados have bumpy skin that’s bright green when not fully ripe.
It changes to a darker shade of green when ready to eat and turns almost black and mushy when overripe.
Although the skin typically isn’t eaten, it’s not toxic to humans unless consumed in large amounts.
However, it’s thick, leathery texture has a very bitter taste that’s not terribly appealing to most people.
Like the rest of the avocado, the skin contains persin and can be toxic for cats to eat.
If your cat eats avocado skin they should see the vet straight away.
Is Avocado Good For Cats?
Avocados have lots of healthy goodness.
And we’ve looked at the question “can cats eat avocado?”. But do avocados have any potential benefits for cats?
It’s important to only give avocado in small amounts and with precaution. But this fruit has some potential health benefits for cats.
Felines who don’t get enough fat in their diet may have dry, itchy skin and a poor quality coat.
The type of fat found in avocados is rich in omega fatty acids. It could have beneficial effects like healthy skin and a glossy coat.
The fat in avocados is a healthy fat. But it’s still high in calories. Which is another reason to feed it to your cat in moderation.
Besides helping the skin and coat, there are other potential benefits.
The antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in avocados help strengthen the immune system.
This can prevent and even reverse cell damage resulting from injury, illness, aging, and environmental factors.
Is Avocado Bad For Cats?
Avocados contain persin, which can be toxic to cats.
Guatemalan avocados, in particular, contain more persin than other types.
If given in very small amounts, the meat should not affect a healthy adult cat.
But never give your cat an entire avocado or any part of the avocado plant to eat. This includes the leaves, seeds, and skin.
The high fat content in avocados can cause diarrhea and other forms of gastrointestinal problems.
It can also lead to pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
Here are serious symptoms to watch for:
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
If your cat suffers from any of these signs after eating avocado, he should be seen by a vet.
Do Cats Like Avocado?
We all like a little variety in our diet.
If your cat sees you enjoying avocado, they may be curious. They may want to try some for themselves.
Whether or not cats like avocados will depend on the individual cat.
Some cats can be finicky when it comes to food. Just like people, what one will love, another will hate.
Since avocados aren’t the best choice for cats, there’s no need to feed it to them.
Can Cats Eat Avocado?
So, can cats eat avocado? Feeding your cat a small slice of avocado will probably have no ill effects.
But since they contain a toxic ingredient, is it worth taking the risk?
Make sure that your cat has no way of getting a hold of the seed, skin or leaves. As these are the most toxic parts of the avocado.
If you do choose to give your cat a small amount, monitor them for any reaction.
Seniors, kittens, and cats with health issues are more sensitive. They should not eat avocado.
Have you ever given your cat avocado? Tell us about your cat and avocado experiences in the comments below.
Curious About Other Foods?
So, what other human foods can cats eat? There are lots of human treats we want to share with our feline friends. But not all of them are safe!
Find out about what other foods are safe in the articles below:
- Can Cats Eat Carrots?
- Can Cats Eat Peanuts?
- Is Broccoli safe for cats?
- Are Bananas Safe for Cats?
- Can Cats Eat Corn?
- Can cats eat shrimp?
References and Resources
Bergh, B., “The Avocado and Human Nutrition. I. Some Human Health Aspects of the Avocado,” Proc. of Second World Avocado Congress, 1992
Ding, H., “Chemopreventive characteristics of avocado fruit,” Seminars in Cancer Biology, 2007
Chen, H., et al., “Tracing the Geographic Origins of Major Avocado Cultivars,” Journal of Heredity, 2009
Zoran, DL, et al., “The Carnivore Connection to Nutrition in Cats,” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2002
Kovalkovičová, N., et al., “Some food toxic for pets,” Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 2009
De Cock, HEV, et al., “Prevalence and Histopathologic Characteristics of Pancreatitis in Cats,” Veterinary Pathology, 2007
Laidlaw, SA, et al., “The taurine content of common foodstuffs,” Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 1990
Knopf, K., et al., “Taurine: An Essential Nutrient for the Cat,” The Journal of Nutrition, 1978
Morris, JG, “Unique nutrient requirements of cats appear to be diet-induced evolutionary adaptations,” Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of California, 2001
Gwaltney-Brant, Merck Veterinary Manual
Woolf, A., et al., “Avocado Oil,” Research Gate, 2009
Oelriches, PB, et al., “Isolation and identification of a compound from avocado (Persea americana) leaves which causes necrosis of the acinar epithelium of the lactating mammary gland and the myocardium,” Natural Toxins, 1995
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