Avocados are extremely nutritious and packed full of fiber, minerals, and vitamins, they seem like the perfect fruit. Personally, I was late coming to the avocado party, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered that I simply love these fruits, and it wasn’t long after this that I discovered that my cat loved them too!
Ever since I caught her red-pawed helping herself to an avocado left on a kitchen worktop, she has become very attentive each time I treat myself to some avocado toast! So, before I decided to whether it was safe to treat her with the odd avocado titbit, I decided to find out if cats can eat avocados.
Before I go into the detail of what my research uncovered, if you are a cat owner whose kitty has a penchant for avocado, then don’t worry. In small doses cats and avocados get along just fine. Indeed, for younger cats and kittens, the high protein content in avocados can be beneficial, but moderation is advised as I learned during my research.
Are avocados bad for cats?
Humans have been eating avocados for millennia, some research claims that we have been enjoying these delicious fruits for nearly 10,000 years. They aren’t just delicious, they are also highly nutritious!
Amongst the beneficial nutrients and compounds in avocados are: –
- High in Fiber
- Vitamins A, E, K, B-6
- Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Pantothenic Acid
Whilst avocados are a great source of these healthy compounds and are beneficial for humans, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the same applies to cats.
During my research, I came across two distinct schools of thought, one said that in no way, shape, or form, should you feed avocados to cats. The other claimed that a little from time to time is perfectly fine.
Why too much avocado can be bad for your cat
The argument centers around a toxin called persin, which is present in small amounts in avocados.
This toxin is also poisonous to humans, and dogs. However, the small amounts present in avocados pose no real threat to humans and although it is harmful to cats, in most instances a little avocado occasionally doesn’t seem to have any unwanted side effects.
Persin is not a life-threatening poison where cats are concerned, but if they ingest too much then they can become quite ill. Some of the symptoms to watch for include: –
- Stool obstruction
I should reiterate that as long as your cat hasn’t ingested massive quantities of the fruit, then they are unlikely to suffer from any major problems. Perhaps a larger issue is the choking hazard that the pit of avocado presents. This hazard is why you should never leave avocados within reach of your cat.
If you do decide to share a little of your avocado with your feline friend, then ensure that all traces of the pit and the skin of the fruit have been removed beforehand.
Do cats derive any benefits from avocados
As I noted earlier, the high protein content in avocados can offer some benefit to still growing cats. However, there are plenty of more “cat-friendly” alternatives available as a source of protein.
Cats are classified as obligate carnivores, as such, they have evolved to satisfy their nutritional needs from a meat-only diet. So, whatever benefits avocados offer to a growing cat, it is still best to ensure that their dietary requirements are met through a cat food that is formulated specifically to meet the nutritional needs of cats.
These days, that doesn’t necessarily need to be a “meat only diet”, there are now plenty of vegetarian options available that are formulated to meet a cat’s dietary requirements.
And given the potential problems that persin can cause, it is better to ensure that their nutritional requirements are satisfied using other sources.
Are there any other fruits that I can safely feed my cats
Apart from avocados, my cat has never shown any fondness for fruit or vegetables of any kind. She simply turns her nose up at any fruit I offer her!
However, cats are individuals and I know of owners who have cats who love both fruits and vegetables.
Luckily, they have always reported that although their cats do enjoy small doses of fruit, they never seemed to overdo it. This seems to be inherent behavior within them, cats are never likely to sit down and tuck into a bowl of fruit salad!
Another thing to bear in mind is that fruits are usually high in sugars and carbohydrates, so if your kitty does love a bit of fruit, then ensure it is always given sparingly. Cats’ digestive systems do not cope well with either sugar or carbs.
If you do decide to try and feed some fruit to your feline companion, then there are some options that cats seem to love, and in moderation won’t cause any ill effects, and there are some fruits that you should ensure your cat never has any access to.
The list of safe fruits is quite limited when it comes to cats, but many owners have reported that strawberries and bananas seem to be the favorite fruits for cats, and in small doses won’t cause any harm.
Fruits that are definitely off the list of “cat-safe fruits” include: –
- Grapes – including dried varieties like raisins and currants, these contain compounds that are toxic to cats
- Citrus Fruits – all citrus fruits contain citric acid, in small doses, this can cause stomach upset and in larger doses can affect the central nervous system
- Coconut – This will cause your cat to suffer from an upset stomach
From my perspective, I decided to stop feeding my cat avocado after researching this article. It seems to me that the risks outweigh any benefits that a little avocado can offer a cat.
But if your cat is an avocado lover, then feeding her a little on occasion is unlikely to cause any lasting harm or nasty side effects.