Cats are known for being stealth creatures. They can lift food from your plate or gobble up crumbs from the floor without you even noticing. The cast of Ocean’s Eleven wishes they had that kind of game. But while it’s cute to regale friends with how sneaky your cat is, nobody wants to see their furbaby get sick, or worse. If you’re eating avocado, should you be worried if your cat consumes some?
As a cat owner, have you ever wondered Can cats eat avocados? And if they can, should they? Keep reading and we’ll tell you all you need to know when it comes to cats and avocados!
Where There’s a Cat, There’s Probably An Avocado Nearby
The avocado is one of the oldest fruits on the planet, with estimates for its genesis reaching as far back as 7,000 BC. But it seems to have peaked in popularity only recently. Today, you can’t throw an avocado without hitting a Super Bowl party or a sushi-making party. At the turn of the century, we consumed about 500 million pounds of avocados annually. Today, that number is north of 2 billion.
Cats have had a similar trajectory. They went from being the domain of crazy old ladies to the toast of the internet, launching endless memes. Millennials in particular have taken a strong interest in felines, sending their popularity soaring during the pandemic. As a result, there’s a strong chance that if you own a cat, he or she will come into contact with avocado.
So what happens when our favorite food and our favorite animal meet?
Can Cats Eat Avocado?
The short answer is yes.
If cats lick up a little bit of avocado flesh, they will be okay. With cats, moderation is key. Licking up some smudges of avocado on your plate is fine, but don’t try feeding them full slices of the fruit. (And yes, avocado is a fruit not a vegetable)
Avocados have three parts to them: the green flesh, the black skin, and the big, brown pit at the middle. Keep the skin and pit away from the cat. Cats can’t digest either of them. If you want to be creative, the pit could be a fun toy for the cat to chase. It’s pretty much a ball they can push around.
The skin is where things get tricky. Avocados contain an oil-soluble compound called persin. Structurally, it’s similar to a fatty acid. Persin is poisonous if consumed in large quantities. If the cat does swallow a few flecks of skin, they will most likely be fine. They may experience some stomach upset which could lead to them throwing it up. But what haven’t they thrown up, right? Or it’ll translate into a fun surprise in their litter box.
Since persin is a toxic element, it’s not something you want to be exposing them to. A once or twice slip up isn’t an issue, but repeated exposure to persin could lead to the toxin actually sinking its metaphorical hooks into your kitty. Cats who’ve ingested substantial amounts of persin have had heart problems. If you’re growing avocado trees, keep cats away, as persin exists on the leaves and bark.
Can Cats Eat Avocado Oil and Guac?
Avocados can be consumed in different ways. Avocado oil is rising in popularity along with avocados in general. Since avocado oil doesn’t contain any avocado skin, you don’t need to worry about persin, so the oil is safe if consumed. But it’s not something you should be feeding to your cats. Consult your vet before adding it to their diets.
Guacamole is the lifeblood of Chipotle burritos and Super Bowl watch parties. Humans love it. Will cats? Because it contains additional seasoning and spices, guacamole could be more appetizing than plain avocado to your cat. They may be more aggressive about licking some.
Before you let your cat lick up some extra guacamole, make sure you know what else is in the recipe. Cats can’t eat spicy foods. The ingredient capsaicin, found in spicy foods like jalapenos, is toxic to cats. Cats also don’t do well with salt, which can cause dehydration and lethargy if overconsumed. Just because your cat is meowing to share your chips and guac does not mean they can have some.
Why Does My Cat Even Like Avocado?
Cats can smell fat and protein in food, both of which avocados have in spades. They also may be more inclined to try avocado because of its creamery, mushy consistency. They tend to like creamy because it reminds them of dairy products, and it’s easy to lick. If your cat does show a fondness for avocado, be sure to monitor their intake.
Cats are natural foragers. They evolved to be on the hunt for food twenty-four hours a day. Many of their unique features spring from the need to find food. They didn’t evolve to be pampered house pets.
As a bug of this odd relationship, they aren’t good at limiting food intake. Since cats are programmed to be on the hunt, they will eat any and all food since their bodies don’t know when they’ll eat again. They aren’t able to limit how much they eat. This is why we have tons of fat housecats.
More importantly, this is why you need to be mindful about them eating avocados and guacamole. If your cat likes avocado, they will eat as much as what you offer, and if you offer too much, then it can cause digestive issues. It’s on you to moderate, because they won’t.
Cats are nosy creatures. They want to know what we’re eating. It’s common for a cat to want to sniff human food. Often, once they have a taste of human food, they want more. If you let cats eat avocado with you, and they like it, they will meow for it whenever it’s around.
Cats can be very territorial and curious. In addition to looking out for their health, you want to moderate their behavior. Sharing your food with them could create new habits and behaviors that throw a wrench in your relationship.
What Should I Do If My Cat Eats Avocado?
Don’t panic. There are likely two scenarios.
The first is that they licked up a small amount of avocado, no more than half a slice. They’ll either digest it fine or throw it up. In some instances, they may get very sick. If their symptoms last more than 72 hours, then reach out to the vet.
The second is that they had a lot of avocado. If that happens, continue to monitor them. See if they’re going to the bathroom regularly. They may throw up, but note if it continues to happen. It could all pass in a few days, and you’re in the clear. But if their behavior is off, like not eating or not going to the bathroom or being lethargic, then it’s worth a visit to the vet.
A major benefit of cats, aside from the cute pics, is that they’re very routine animals. If they deviate from their routine for a prolonged amount of time, it’s a sign to you that something is off.
Should I Add Avocados To My Cat’s Diet?
No. Unlike with humans, there are few health benefits to cats eating avocados. They aren’t meant for cat consumption. Cat are obligate carnivores. They are supposed to live on a meat-based diet. Their bodies don’t require the nutrients from plants. They will stay away from most vegetables for that reason. If you want your cat to live a healthier life, you can limit what they eat, switch them to organic food, and make sure they are active every day.
Additionally, avocados are expensive! Trying to get your cat to eat them is not the best financial decision.
In conclusion, cats can eat avocados, but they shouldn’t. A few licks here or there is fine, but you shouldn’t try to purposefully incorporate avocados into their diet without first speaking with your vet.
To learn what other fruits are and aren’t safe for your feline family member, read our other “Cat Cats Eat” blog posts for all you need to know.