Avocados have become extremely popular in the past decade or so, mostly because they’re considered a superfood since they are rich in a variety of nutrients. From folate and magnesium to vitamins B5, B6, B2, and B3, avocados are even said to improve bad cholesterol.
But can cats eat avocados? The answer that first comes to mind is a hard no since cats are obligate carnivores. But compared to other fruit and vegetables, avocados might not be as dangerous for our feline friends as you might think.
Can Cats Eat Avocados?
Even though cats are not technically supposed to have fruit and vegetables and, therefore, avocado either, the truth is that a cat that ingests a very small amount of avocado is likely to experience no health issues.
Veterinarians agree that a low quantity is relatively safe so long as the cat doesn’t also eat the skin or the inner layer that covers the pit.
First of all, an avocado’s skin is dangerous as it contains a compound called persin, which is widely known to be toxic to both dogs and cats. What is strange about avocado skin is that it poses no health threat whatsoever to humans.
Although cats and dogs can experience symptoms of mild intoxication after having consumed avocado skin, some species can be particularly sensitive to it, such as goats, horses, and rabbits. Even birds can develop severe health complications if they eat it.
One area where all veterinarians seem to agree is that due to its fat content, avocado should never be given to cats that have a high risk of developing pancreatitis or that already live with this condition.
Obese cats should also not have avocado both because it adds unnecessary calories to their diet but also because it could cause pancreatitis.
What about the quantity? Well, there are no feeding guidelines up to this point, and that’s because cats aren’t actually supposed to have avocado. Less than one teaspoon of avocado per week should be safe for a completely healthy cat.
If your feline buddy is a huge aficionado of avocados, you can give her this small amount as a treat, but only once a week. Treats, in general, should never make up more than 2-5% of a cat’s diet, and for this species, treats do not mean fruit or veggies.
Why Does My Cat Love Avocados?
Cats don’t really like the taste of avocado per se — rather, they appreciate the fat content of this fruit. If you’ve noticed that your cat seems to be interested in other human foods such as ice cream, cream, and even butter, for example, you might be wondering why.
Well, cats don’t perceive taste as we do; they don’t have a palette as generous as ours simply because most of their diet should be composed of animal protein.
They are genetically engineered to like fat, too, also because it provides them with a lot of sustenance and being richer in calories, it makes them withstand periods where they might not have access to food — this is what happens with wild cats.
Can Cats Have Avocado Toast?
Not really. If you make sure that you do not use any spices, condiments, or seasonings on your avocado toast, your cat might be allowed to have a small amount.
However, do keep in mind that cats shouldn’t have bread, in general, which also includes toast. Some sources of fiber, including wheat, barley, and other cereals, can cause significant digestive problems in cats.
So if you only allow your cat to have a small amount of unseasoned mashed avocado, you shouldn’t expect your pet to develop any symptoms of digestive distress. If she has pancreatitis, she shouldn’t have avocado toast or mashed avocado by itself.
Can Cats Have Guacamole?
The answer to this question is a clear no. Depending on the type of guacamole you might have purchased or the ingredients you have used in making it, this type of food can actually be quite dangerous for cats.
On the one hand, it contains lemon, which cats don’t usually appreciate, but it also contains garlic, and in some cases, even onion — both of which our feline companions should not have.
Moreover, people tend to use a lot of spices in their guacamole, and salt, pepper, or other spice and condiment powders are not safe for pets.
Are Avocado Plants Toxic to Cats?
While the flesh of the avocado fruit is relatively safe for cats, the rest of the plant is actually quite dangerous. As such, your pet shouldn’t be allowed to nibble on the plant bark, leaves, or its stem.
My Cat Licked Avocado – What Should I Do?
As you might have noticed from our recommendations in this article, it depends on several factors. If the quantity that your cat ingested is very small — in fact, if she only licked the fruit flesh, you probably have nothing to worry about.
Just to be on the safe side of things, we suggest that you keep a close eye on your cat’s behavior and bathroom habits for at least an hour or two. If something seems to be strange, don’t hesitate to take your pet to the animal hospital.
If you believe your cat also ate a small part of the avocado skin, get to the vet clinic as soon as possible as she could develop a bad case of intoxication.