Avocado is one of the most popular fruits around, creating its own memes (avocado toast and millennials, anyone?), a million recipes for putting it in everything from guacamole to pudding, and a generally massive following of people who swear by it as being one of the best superfoods around.
The reason for this is that, unlike most other fruits that are full of carbohydrates, avocado is full of healthy fats, making it particularly good for people who are looking to boost their intake of good fats, potassium, and other nutrients really easily.
But are avocados as good for cats? They don’t have the same fruit sugar and carb issue that most fruits have, and healthy fats are always good things for cats to get in their diet, so it would seem that avocados would be a natural fit in a cat’s healthy diet.
And you would probably be absolutely correct in thinking that. Cats can absolutely eat avocado, although in very small amounts and as a treat, not as part of their regular diet.
Do Cats Like Avocado?
I don’t eat avocado myself, so I’ve never had cats exposed to it. But many people swear their cats really like it, mostly for the texture and even more because they see humans eating them and get curious. There probably are cats that do like avocado just as there are cats who like carrots – it’s all a matter of preference.
Do Cats Hate Avocado?
Just as there are cats that like avocado, there are cats that would turn their noses up at the fruit and walk away if you offer it to them. (or they may sniff it and then wander off, curiosity sated).
You don’t need to force avocado on your cat if it’s not interested. Avocado has health benefits, but cats can get those same health benefits from their cat food and their favorite treats, so they won’t miss anything by skipping out on avocado.
Can Avocado Kill Cats?
One of the big worries that people have around avocados and cats is that avocado contains persin. Persin is very poisonous to many other animals like birds, horses, and goats, but it rarely poses a problem for cats or dogs. Otherwise, your main concerns with avocado and cats are:
- The choking hazard that the pit poses to cats, as well as the risk of becoming a blockage in the stomach.
- Difficulty with the skin, namely that it too can be a choking hazard or cause a blockage.
- Too much avocado can lead to diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues because of the richness of the fruit and the amount of fat.
- In older cats that aren’t used to avocado, it can cause vomiting or diarrhea.
Cats can also have problems with certain parts of the avocado and if they are young kittens, elderly, or have pre-existing medical conditions. The stems, leaves, rind, and pits of some avocado (like the Guatemalan variety) are toxic to cats.
Older cats and kittens may simply not be able to digest avocado very well and so can have a stomach issue around it. And some cats may simply not have a good reaction to it, period, causing itchiness, swelling, vomiting, and diarrhea. If this happens, discontinue feeding your cat avocado and call your vet.
As long as you are just feeding a small amount of the meat of the avocado, it’s unlikely it will make your cat even sick, let alone kill your cat.
How Much Avocado is Safe for My Cat?
Cats don’t need to eat a lot of avocados, and in fact, eating too much can lead to a stomachache or other intestinal issues due to the high level of fats. But most cats can handle up to a small slice of avocado once in a while (Though a part of a slice would be better since avocados are relatively high in calories).
Remember that a cat’s treat diet should only comprise 10% of their total daily calorie allowance. Half an avocado has about 160 calories, so figure about one-tenth of that to fulfill the treat calorie portion of a cat’s day. It’s also not something you want to give to cats every day as they aren’t really built to digest fruit.
Instead of the fruit of avocado, you can look for cat food that has been infused with avocado oil. This gives your cat the same benefits as a slice, but carefully measured and added to their usual food so that you don’t have to worry about your pet overeating or missing out on their meals.
Avocados are pretty filling, so if you feed your cat too much, it will probably want to skip its next meal or two and that isn’t good for cats either. By purchasing food with avocado oil in it, you can mitigate that worry.
It’s not a good idea to give a cat guacamole (unless you make it yourself and know exactly what’s in it!) Guacamole usually has too much salt, peppers, and other ingredients that make it unsafe or even toxic for cats to eat.
Benefits of Avocado for Your Cat
Avocado has plenty of benefits for humans and those benefits transfer over to cats just as much! Avocado is good for most parts of the cat, from the skin and fur (especially the oil), to the heart. Avocado benefits include:
- Promoting a healthy heart. Being rich in potassium, avocados can help to reduce blood pressure and promote a healthy heart.
- Lots of healthy fats, primarily oleic acid which is anti-inflammatory. It’s really good for helping cats deal with injury-related inflammation.
- Lots of fiber to deal with constipation and promote weight loss by making cats feel fuller, longer.
- Antioxidants that benefit the eyes and help prevent cancer.
- Can help prevent osteoarthritis (when used in conjunction with other good fats and a healthy overall lifestyle)
- Lowering cholesterol
- Loaded with Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6, and vitamin E
- Zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus are also found in avocados, albeit in trace amounts.
Avocado oil is also easily absorbed by a cat’s digestive system and the oil can help with dry, flaking, itchy skin.
Again though, it’s important to note that very young cats and very old cats should avoid avocado as it’s usually too rich for their systems and can lead to a cat feeling pretty sick.
Out of all of the fruit, avocado is probably one of the best ones for cats to have. It’s not high in sugars or carbohydrates and the fatty acids it has are all really good for cats. It also has more of a texture and flavor that cats prefer and so they may actually enjoy eating it as opposed to just being curious.
Avocado has many health benefits for cats to enjoy and most healthy adult cats won’t have any problems with it. Just be sure to only give your cat a small amount and avoid giving it things like guacamole.
Does your cat enjoy avocado?