Happy Cinco de Mayo! We hope you’re enjoying the holiday with a hearty bowl of all-you-can eat guacamole and tortilla chips. Avocado is a healthy staple in many of our diets, but have you ever wondered: Can cats eat avocado? It turns out that avocado flesh is generally safe for cats, while other parts of the fruit can potentially cause harm. Learn more below.
Anatomy of an avocado
As all avocado lovers know, there’s more to the fruit than meets the eye. There’s the skin (exocarp), the flesh (mesocarp), the thin inner layer (endocarp) between the flesh and the pit, and the pit (seed). Most people eat the flesh of an avocado and discard the skin and the pit.
So, can cats eat avocado?
Veterinarians agree that cats can safely ingest small amounts of avocado flesh. Avocado flesh provides health benefits for cats as it does for people, including being rich in healthy fats, amino acids, and vitamins E, A, and B6. In addition to the nutritional benefits, consuming the fruit might translate to healthier skin and hair for your cat.
Do not give avocado to cats with a history of gastritis or pancreatitis. Dr. Rebello, Emergency Medical Director with NorthStar VETS, explains that “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.”
Which parts of an avocado should cats avoid?
Don’t let your cat ingest any parts of an avocado that you wouldn’t typically eat—including the skin and the pit. Why?
The skin of an avocado contains persin, an organic compound that is considered mildly toxic to cats and dogs. (It is not considered toxic to humans.) Persin is more potent in Guatemalan avocados than those from other regions. Note: Avocados are considered very harmful to certain animal species due to persin content, including birds, rabbits, horses, and goats.
The pit of an avocado also contains persin, in addition to being a choking hazard for your cat. Choking or intestinal blockage is more commonly an issue when feeding avocado to dogs, so be sure to supervise anytime you’re giving your furry friend a taste of this fruit!
How much avocado is too much?
While you want to avoid giving your cat the skin and pit from an avocado, you should also keep in mind that consuming too much avocado flesh can cause gastrointestinal distress in cats. This might include upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.
We recommend slicing off a small piece of avocado flesh (no more than a tablespoon) and mixing that with your cat’s food. You can also offer this small amount as a standalone treat if your kitty is interested.
Can cats eat guacamole?
So, we’ve answered the question, can cats eat avocado? You might also be wondering, given that it’s Cinco de Mayo: Can cats eat guacamole?
Cats should never eat guacamole. Why? Because guacamole is very likely to contain ingredients such as garlic and onions, which are highly toxic to cats. Read more about that here.
So, there you have it: Cats can eat avocado flesh in moderation, but they should never eat guacamole. Enjoy Cinco de Mayo by keeping your snacks to yourself!
Cover photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash