Avocados are a healthy and nutritious fruit, packed with vitamins and oils. As part of the human diet avocados have long been considered a super food, with healthy fats and skin-enhancing minerals. However, can cats eat avocados? Do cats enjoy eating avocados, and are they toxic to cats?
Experts are still undecided as to whether cats can eat avocados. It is generally believed that a small amount of avocado flesh will not be harmful to cats. The skin and large seed of the avocado fruit do however contain a toxic substance called persin, which may leach into the avocado flesh. It is not known how toxic this substance is to cats but feeding any food which is potentially toxic to your cat is inadvisable.
Luckily, it is unlikely that you will find that your cat raiding the food cupboard for avocados. Cats are carnivores and much more tempted by meat products than fruit. Fruits such as avocados are not part of a cat’s natural diet and cats do not have the taste receptors for these types of foods.
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So, in theory cats may be able to eat small amounts of avocado flesh, but it is unlikely that they will want to. There are many other healthy snacks available which your cat will enjoy, and avocado fruits probably come a long way down the list.
Is Avocado Safe for Cats to Eat?
Although opinion is somewhat undecided, the general view is that avocado is not safe for cats to eat. The skin and large pip of the avocado fruit contains persin, a substance which is known to be toxic. Although persin is not produced in avocado flesh it could potentially be leached into the flesh from the skin and pip.
Research has not been conducted into the toxicity of persin in cats, and it may be that the effects are not as severe as persin toxicity in other species. This has led to some sources stating that it is safe to feed small amounts of avocado flesh to cats, but it would not be advisable to feed any potentially toxic food to your cat.
Can Cats Eat Avocado Meat?
Theoretically, cats should be able to eat the meat or flesh of the avocado fruit. The flesh does not contain the toxic substance persin. It would be advisable to feed only the flesh which has not been in contact with pip or skin to avoid leaching of persin from these surfaces.
Avocado meat is also high in fat and calories, so should only be fed in very small quantities to avoid obesity.
Can Cats Eat Avocado Leaves?
The toxin produced by the avocado plant, persin, is highly concentrated in the leaves of the plant. Cats should not eat avocado leaves otherwise toxic poisoning may occur.
Can Cats Eat Avocado Skin?
Persin, a toxin produced by the avocado plant, is highly concentrated in the skin of the avocado fruit. Eating the skin of the avocado fruit may cause toxic poisoning in cats.
Can Cats Consume Avocado Oil?
Avocado oil is made from the flesh or meat of the avocado, and theoretically should be safe for your cat to consume. However, tests have shown that avocado oil can contain traces of persin, the toxic substance found in the skin and large pip of the avocado fruit.
Laboratory studies have shown that avocado oil is harmful to rats. It would be better to avoid giving avocado oil to your cat to avoid the risk of toxicity.
Is Avocado Poisonous for Cats?
Yes, avocado is poisonous to cats as it contains a toxin called persin. The most toxic part of the avocado is the skin and pip of the avocado fruit, and the leaves of the avocado plant.
The fleshy part of the avocado fruit, also known as avocado meat, does not contain the toxin persin and can be fed to cats in small amounts. Care must be taken to avoid feeding the flesh which lies adjacent to the skin or pip, as pectin may leach into the flesh.
Luckily, persin does not appear to be highly toxic to cats, although this has not been researched thoroughly. Many cat owners regularly feed small amount of avocado flesh to their cats without any toxic side effects.
It is unlikely that a healthy adult cat will die from eating avocado, but they may develop some uncomfortable symptoms such as an upset stomach.
Feeding Avocado to Your Cat
The safest way to feed avocado to your cat is by feeding a specially manufactured diet or cat treat containing avocado extract. These products use a form of avocado which does not contain persin, making them safe for your cat to eat.
Avocado has become popular with pet food manufacturer as it is rich in healthy fats, amino acids and Vitamins E, A and B6. Feeding avocado to your cat as part of a safely manufactured diet gives nutritional benefits such as improved skin and hair condition.
If you wish to feed fresh avocado to your cat, then it should be carefully prepared first. The skin and pip should be removed, along with any flesh which was touching these areas.
A small amount of the flesh can then be fed to your cat, no more than 15g at a time. It is unlikely that this amount of avocado would cause toxic side-effects, but if any symptoms such as vomiting, or diarrhea develop then do not feed avocado to your cat again.
You may find that your cat is keener to eat avocado flesh than other types of fruit and vegetables. This is because the oil-rich creamy flesh of the avocado fruit is more appealing to cats, and the flesh is also easy to chew and lick.
How Often Can Cats Eat Avocado?
The flesh of the avocado fruit is high in fat and high in calories, so it should only be given to cats in small quantities and should never exceed more than 10 percent of a cat’s daily caloric intake.
Due to this high fat content, it would not be advisable to feed avocado to your cat every day, otherwise it may cause gastrointestinal upsets such as vomiting or diarrhea.
So, Is Avocado Safe for Cats?
Although some cat owners and experts are of the opinion that avocado is safe for cats to eat, it would be advisable to never feed a foodstuff to your cat that may be toxic. Even if prepared carefully, it would be impossible to be sure that fresh avocado flesh is free from traces of the toxin persin.