Can I Give My Cat Avocados?
It’s rare that a fruit can be enjoyed not only whole and in smoothies, but also as the perfect addition to tacos, sandwiches, puddings, cakes, brownies, pastas, and even pizzas. When it comes to sheer creamy, delicious versatility, it’s tough to beat the avocado. Avocados are rich and decadent, but they are also incredibly good for our health. Many of us love to use avocado as a substitute for mayonnaise or other fatty, less healthful spreads and dips. Avocado is one of the few meal additions for which we will pay without batting an eyelash. Yes—we know guac is extra!
Since avocados are so good for us, it may seem harmless to share them with our pets from time to time. It helps that many of our four-legged friends seem to love the creamy, fatty taste of this unique green fruit. But a quick Google search reveals differing opinions on the subject of cats and avocados. So, what’s the verdict? Can cats have avocados?
The answer is yes, cats can eat avocados. Though some sources spout worrying claims that avocados are poisonous to cats, these sources are misguided. This is because avocados contain a chemical called persin, which is highly poisonous to rabbits, birds, horses, and goats. For many of these animals, eating avocados can put them at risk of suffering from liver or kidney failure.
This is not the case for cats, who can stomach moderate amounts of persin with little trouble. Though they should not be a regular component of your feline friend’s diet, avocados can serve as a rare, healthy treat for many cats. Just make sure that you feed your cat fresh, unseasoned avocado, because many avocado products (like guacamole) may contain ingredients that are toxic to your cat like garlic.
So, What are the Health Benefits of Avocados?
For cats, one of the biggest benefits can also be one of the biggest detriments: the high fat content. Avocados are full of healthy fats and omega fatty acids, which are crucial for overall health. Healthy fats like those found in avocado flesh may help alleviate dry, itchy skin, as well as improve coat health. Adequate fat consumption is crucial to feline health. Cats who are deficient in healthy fats may experience hair loss, dull or dry fur, and skin problems. Healthy fats are the key to a shiny, luxurious coat.
Avocados are also high in antioxidants, powerful, disease-fighting agents that can reduce your cat’s risk of chronic illness, improve quality of life, and potentially increase your cat’s lifespan. Antioxidants fight disease by destroying dangerous, highly-charged particles (called free radicals) in the body. Left unchecked, free radicals can cause cell damage that may result in illnesses like cancer.
This creamy, nutritious fruit also boasts anti-inflammatory properties that can protect your cat’s health. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your cat’s diet is an excellent way to prevent inflammatory illnesses, improve immunity, and even alleviate the symptoms of existing inflammatory diseases. Animals suffering from arthritis who eat anti-inflammatory foods may experience a reduction in pain and an increase in mobility. That said, if your cat is suffering due to arthritis, seek your vet’s advice before playing with their diet.
As previously mentioned, avocados’ high fat content are also a reason to make sure you only give this food to your cat in moderation. Avocados pack a huge caloric punch, which means that it can be very easy for your cat to take in more calories than they expend in a day. If this becomes a habit, your cat can wind up overweight or even obese.
Things to keep in Mind
In addition, though the persin in avocado flesh is not likely to hurt your cat, it may upset their stomach in large amounts. If your cat suffers from vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation after eating avocados, you may want to look for an alternate treat idea. Some cats will tolerate this food better than others.
Though some pet owners claim that avocados contain deadly toxins, this risk of poisoning applies more to horses, rabbits, and goats than it does to your feline friend. If your cat is at a healthy weight and does not suffer from allergies, it should be perfectly safe to treat them to a slice of creamy avocado every now and then—and, as a bonus, it may support their immune and skin health.