Often confused as a vegetable, avocados are an extremely popular fruit, and not just for millennials! From guacamole to avocado toast, Americans import 1.73 billion pounds of avocados from Mexico (the primary exporter of avocados) each year. With 20 vitamins and minerals, low sugar content and high levels of monounsaturated fat, it’s no wonder that avocados are so popular. Essentially, avocados are delicious and healthy for humans but what about for our feline companions? Can cats enjoy avocados as well?
One of the great things about avocados is that they are safe for cats to eat. Dr. Rebello, Emergency Medical Director with NorthStar VETS advises that while avocados are safe for cats (and dogs), they are highly toxic to birds, especially the pit and the skin. So, if you have bird friends, you’ll want to avoid sharing the avocado. But if your cat nibbles a bit of avocado off your sandwich, it isn’t anything to worry about. In fact, after talking with the experts, we learned you might even want to think about adding avocado into your cat’s diet!
We know that avocado isn’t toxic to cats, but is it actually good for them? Embrace Pet Insurance Claims Director Jenna Mahan explained that “avocado is good for cats in the same way it is good for humans.” Specifically, avocado is rich in healthy fats, amino acids and vitamin E, A and B6. She advises that if added to a cat’s diet, avocado can give cats “a boost of goodness to the skin and hair” in addition to the other nutritional benefits.
The avocado pit or seed is generally discarded and not eaten by people, and it’s advised that you should keep the pit away from your cat as well. The good news is that the pit itself isn’t poisonous (although it could cause minor digestive distress for your cat); however, it’s still not something that you want to allow your cat (or any other pet in your household) to play with or eat. The real danger with avocado pits is that if your cat were to ingest one it could cause an intestinal blockage which could be very serious.
Like the pit, the skin of avocados is generally composted or thrown away, and not eaten. If you are sharing avocado with your cat, don’t let him eat the avocado skin. As Dr. Rebello explains, the skin can cause stomach upset or obstruction for cats that consume it.
One of the most popular ways people consume avocados is in guacamole. But Jenna advises that this is one form of avocado you want to avoid sharing with your cat, because guac often contains garlic, onion and a variety of spices that may be harmful or irritating to your cat’s system.
If your cat is a fan of avocado, it’s safe to begin incorporating the fruit into your cat’s diet. The easiest way to feed avocado to your cat is to slice the fruit into small pieces. These small pieces can be offered directly to your cat as treats or mixed into or onto their food at mealtime. Like with any new treat, keep the amount of avocado small to prevent any digestive upset for your cat. Dr. Rebello specifically cautions that any cat who has a history of gastritis or pancreatitis should not eat avocado. Because avocados are high in fat, they could upset a cat’s stomach or increase the risk of pancreatic inflammation returning for cats with those preexisting conditions.
Have you shared avocado with your cat? Let us know in the comments what your cat thinks of this fruit!
Sassafras Lowrey is a celebrated author and cat lover who has written for pet lifestyle magazines for over a decade. Sassafras lives and writes in Portland, Oregon, with two 19-year-old cats who rule the house, and a 5-year-old cat she rescued as a kitten from the streets of New York City. Learn more at SassafrasLowrey.com.