Fruit and vegetables are not really necessary for feline health. Even high-protein vegetables like beans avocado aren’t terribly useful for felines, since a cat’s digestion can’t process them.
If you’re already feeding your cat a good brand of food, you don’t really need to worry too much about her nutrition. My boys and my domestic shorthair girl get two to three helpings of high-quality grain-free food each day, usually duck, chicken or rabbit. Occasionally, though, I like to add a little fruit or vegetables to the mix. This provides variety, additional fluid, and one or two extra nutrients.
Is avocado bad for cats? No, avocado is safe for cats in moderate quantities. Small amounts of avocado can provide a few benefits for your cat’s health. While large amounts of vegetables or fruits will cause gastric distress, small quantities of avocado alongside your cat’s regular food are fine.
You’ve landed on this page because you have questions about feeding avocado to your cat. Maybe your cat snagged a chunk of avocado while you were cutting it up, and now you’re worried that she might get sick. Maybe your cat has been begging for avocado while you were eating it, and you want to know if it’s safe to give her some as a treat. Maybe you’ve heard rumours about avocado and cats — either that it’s toxic, or that it can be healthy.
Whatever your concerns, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find all the answers you’re looking for.
Is Avocado Bad for Cats?
In fact, avocado may actually be quite good for some cats. There’s nothing in avocados that is toxic or directly harmful to the feline system. Most human foods are a bad idea for pets, but there are some foods that can be a positive addition to your pet’s diet.
First of all, some cats really love avocado. I’m not really sure what it might taste like to a cat, but something about the texture really appeals to them. The high fat content of avocados gives them a creamy mouthfeel that some cats really appreciate.
The next question should be: is avocado good for cats? Many things are not directly toxic, but don’t give your cat anything she needs (and can sometimes cause health problems if eaten frequently). The answer is yes… with caveats.
Cats are prone to heart disease and cardiovascular issues, and some of the nutrients found in avocados can help prevent this. Avocados are high in potassium, which can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Avocados are also high in healthy fats. While most cats don’t need any additional fats in their diets, small quantities of healthy fats are good for them. It’s important to manage your cat’s fat intake, especially if she’s on the heavy side, but small amounts of healthy fats may be beneficial.
In particular, avocados contain a type of monounsaturated fatty acid termed oleic acid. Oleic acid is particularly noted for its anti-inflammatory properties, making it potentially beneficial for cats with inflammatory conditions like arthritis. This is quite common in feline, especially older cats, and anything that can reduce its impact on their lives is worth considering.
While it’s not really possible to prevent the development of arthritis altogether, and while severe cases will still require help from your vet, anything that makes life easier for an arthritic cat is a plus.
Oleic acid may also be helpful if your cat is recovering from an injury, as it can reduce the swelling and make the cat more comfortable while she’s healing.
Avocados contain antioxidants in quite high levels. These have health benefits for most mammals, helping to reduce levels of free radicals in the body and protect against cell damage. The carotenoids found in avocados may be of particular benefit in protecting against both cataracts and macular degeneration — both conditions that can afflict cats later in their lives.
In human studies, avocados have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. It’s been surmised that they may have a similar effect on cholesterol levels in cats, although at present we don’t have much evidence to go on. In humans, avocados also increase levels of “good” (LDL) cholesterol, so they might do the same for a cat.
While it can be hard for your cat to absorb vitamins and minerals from vegetable material, it’s probable that she will be able to benefit from at least some of the avocado’s nutrient content. Avocados are packed with a whole alphabet of vitamins, as well as trace minerals.
Are Avocados Poisonous?
Some animals really should not eat avocados at all. These fruits contain a chemical called persin, which is very toxic to some species. It’s highly dangerous to horses, goats, birds, rabbits — in fact, most domesticated animals should not consume foods that contain persin. Persin can cause serious problems with a susceptible animal’s kidneys, making them very sick if treatment isn’t given promptly. In advanced cases, some animals may even suffer complete kidney failure.
Cats, however, are not affected by persin. In general, cats are highly resistant to poisoning. This is fortunate, given the feline appetite for things they really should not be eating (plastic bags, paint chips — I could go on). Cats are very resilient and can shrug off toxins that would seriously harm many other animals.
Even so, it’s a good idea to avoid certain types of avocado. The types most commonly sold in stores don’t have especially high levels of persin, but some, like the Guatemalan avocado, have levels high enough that they should probably be avoided just to be on the safe side.
The pit in an avocado is hard to miss. It’s large, round and sometimes about the size of a squash ball. Unfortunately, cats tend to bolt their food and there’s an outside chance that a pit could be ingested. It’s not likely, but you should make sure the pit is removed before you give any of the fruit to your cat.
If your cat somehow does manage to eat an avocado pit, there could be some nasty consequences. Choking is a distinct possibility. If the pit is swallowed, the cat may start to show a number of symptoms. She may wheeze or cough, or have trouble breathing and swallowing. Her heart rate may become elevated, and she may vomit or develop diarrhoea. She may show signs of abdominal pains. If you see any of these symptoms, check in with your vet. Your cat might require medical intervention.
This is a good rule in general when you’re giving fruits or vegetables to a cat. Seeds and pits should be removed, as these can offer all kinds of hazards. As well as choking or breaking teeth, some fruit seeds and pits contain toxic compounds like cyanide.
How to Give Your Cat Avocado
Avocado should only be given to your cat in small quantities, as large amounts may upset her stomach. You should only ever give your cat raw avocado, since avocado that’s been mixed with other ingredients may no longer be safe for her to eat. I would, for instance, not let a cat eat guacamole dip.
The pit should be removed and the fruit should be peeled. It’s important to remove all of the peel, as it may contain pesticides or waxes sprayed on the fruit to improve its appearance. You can then mash the flesh, or offer it in small slices. If this is the first time you’ve given your cat avocado, you should keep an eye on her in case she develops any kind of a reaction to it. While the fruit itself may be innocuous, Some cats have food sensitivities or allergies that could be set off by eating avocado.
If you wish, you could also try finding one of the cat food brands out there that are enriched with avocado. They tend to be hard to find and rather expensive, though, so preparing your own avocado at home is usually a better idea. Some cats absolutely love those foods, so they might be worth tracking down as a treat.
Not all cats will enjoy avocado. My domestic shorthair girl really likes it, while my boys prefer melon or banana. It depends on the cat.