The avocado is a fruit that is native to Central America but is cultivated in the tropical regions around the world. It’s a popular and lovable food item thanks to the savory taste and the buttery soft flesh. Aside from that, the avocado is quite a versatile food. You can slice and eat it raw in salads, spread on your toast or better still mash into your guacamole. I can go on and on about this delicious addition to our meals but the most important thing is usually the wealth of nutritional value it brings along.
Avocados are packed with dietary fiber, rich in minerals like iron and low in sugar. They also have a high ratio of polyunsaturated fats to the saturated fats. As a matter of fact, many people like to use it as an alternative to fattening foods. It already clear that this fruit is a staple in most households but what about the pets. The avocado might be filled with nutrients and healthy fats but our feline companions may not benefit from it in the same way. As you might have discovered, not all foods that are good for people are also good for the pets. On that note, is avocado bad for cats? We will find out!
Is avocado bad for cats?
There is so much controversy surrounding the question concerning the safety of cats consuming avocados. There is no clear cut margin that avocados are bad for cats or they are not. For one thing, when you take the time to search around the internet, you will find several reports in favor of feeding avocado to cats and others refuting it. This only adds to the confusion especially because each side of the claims has some truth backing it. With that said, there are still no case studies indicating cats suffer from avocado toxicity.
The Pet Poison Helpline warns pet owners that avocados contain a toxin referred to as Persin. Persin is a toxin that was identified in 1995 and it’s mostly concentrated in the leaves and the bark of the avocado tree. Some of it is also present in the seeds and skin of the fruit. Small quantities of it can potentially leach into the flesh of the fruit and contaminate it.
If your pet cat happens to ingest persin, there might be some mild effects. The signs that you should watch out for include diarrhea, vomiting, pancreatitis and obstruction of stool. The levels of persin vary in different avocado varieties hence some of them are less harmful.
To date, there is no scientific evidence proving cats suffer toxicity when fed avocado. That’s why many people are unsure of where they stand with this fruit. For some, there is no doubt avocados are healthy. So it makes sense that your furball will enjoy the same health benefits, right? Well, it’s not that simple especially since this fruit contains a known toxin. In addition, there is no data to help demonstrate the serving of avocado that is safe for cats.
Can cats eat avocado?
The straight answer to that question is yes, cats can eat small amounts of the avocado flesh. It’s better to stick with just the small amounts for safety reasons. Your cat will most likely reap the health benefits of an avocado flesh including the vitamins A, E and B6 and the amino acids. Furthermore, feeding your cat avocado flesh might contribute to a healthier skin and hair. Who wouldn’t a kitty with a shiny, lustrous coat?
With that being said, there are some exceptions. If your cat suffers from pancreatitis or gastritis, avocados should be off limits. Since this fruit is high in fats, feeding it to a cat with a history of such conditions can lead to an upset stomach or worse cause pancreatic inflammation. This will aggravate the preexisting condition.
Another thing is that cats should only eat avocado under your supervision. Remember, you cat is not in a position to determine how much avocado is good for her health. Consuming too much of it can be a recipe for stomach upsets notably diarrhea and vomiting. It’s also not a good idea to feed senior cats avocado because they have the most delicate digestive systems and some suffer from chronic illnesses.
Which parts of an avocado should I keep away from my cat?
Basically, the parts of an avocado that you typically don’t eat should be a no-no for your kitty. These are the skin and the pit. Even when you dispose them of ensure they are out of reach and away from the pets.
The avocado skin contains persin, an organic compound thought to be toxic to both cats and dogs. The Guatemalan avocados have the highest concentration of this toxin. While the effects of persin on cats are mild, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Hence, the skin of an avocado should not be anywhere near your cats.
The pit of an avocado poses a serious choking hazard for your cat. Your cat might be curious enough to chew the on the pit if carelessly disposed. Intestinal blockage or choking is the risks you will be exposing your cat to if they eat the avocado pit.
How much avocado can cats eat?
When your cat consumes too much avocado, there is a high risk of gastrointestinal distress. This can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and an upset stomach. In that case, feed only small amounts of avocado preferably a small slice, the size of a tablespoon and mix it with the cat’s food. It can also be a standalone treat if your kitty loves the creamy, soft delectable taste.
There is no problem with supplementing your cat’s diet with a bit of avocado. However, consult with your vet on advice about how much avocado should be allowed in the cat’s diet. Another great option is to go for products that are specially formulated with avocado oil and fruit. These don’t contain the toxin and you also don’t have to worry about going overboard.