Can cats eat avocado?
Cats can eat the ripe fruit of the avocado. The Pet Poison Helpline lists avocado as mildly toxic to cats due to persin which is found in the leaves, bark and seed. However, the fruit only contains low concentrations of persin which makes it safe for cats to eat in moderation.
Cattle, goats, horses, mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, sheep, budgerigars, canaries, cockatiels, ostriches, chickens, turkeys, and fish are most susceptible to persin. Ingestion can cause sterile mastitis in lactating mammals as well as damage to the mammary glands and the heart. Mild gastrointestinal upset may occur.
A small amount of the ripe fruit will not harm a cat as long as it is fed as an occasional treat only.
What is avocado?
Avocado (scientific name Persea americana) is a popular fruit that has been embraced by cafes as a breakfast favourite smashed on toast, the main ingredient of guacamole and a popular salad ingredient. Its rich flesh is a good source of monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, fibre, amino acids, potassium, magnesium, sodium, vitamins A, B1, 2, 3, 6, 12, C, E and K.
When not to give a cat avocado
- Cats with a known allergy to avocado
- Cats who are on a prescription diet to manage an underlying condition or a food elimination trial. Additional foods can have an impact on therapeutic diets
- Obese cats – Unless recommended by a veterinarian, any treats add extra calories which can be counterproductive in cats who need to lose weight
- Lactating cats – Avocado has been linked to sterile mastitis in several species of animal, therefore, it is safer to avoid
- Cats who have previously experienced mild gastrointestinal upset after avocado ingestion
Only feed the flesh and in small amounts. Do not allow cats to eat any other parts of the avocado.
Discard the skin and seed in the garbage. The seed is too large for a cat to swallow, but can cause gastrointestinal obstruction in dogs.
Do not feed avocado to pet birds.