There are many benefits that humans can derive from eating avocado.
Whether you prefer to have your avocado on toast, as a tasty guacamole dip, or mixed into a salad, eating avocado in the proper quantities will help you to get your daily dose of healthy fatty acids, as well as vitamins K, C, E, and B6.
Avocados are also excellent sources of potassium, magnesium, folate, and other essential minerals.
However, it can be difficult to know whether the foods that benefit us as human beings will have the same impact on our furry friends.
Many cat owners want to know whether their cats can consume avocado and whether feeding a cat avocado would be helpful or harmful.
We’ll be answering that question in this article.
Should Cats Eat Avocado?
Because avocado can be so beneficial for us as humans, it’s understandable that many well-meaning owners would assume that there would be no harm in feeding avocado to their cats.
It seems natural to assume that the same nutritional benefits would also apply to our feline friends.
However, you should definitely avoid feeding or allowing your cat to eat avocado in any form.
This is because avocado contains a substance called Persin, which is a toxin that is harmful to both cats and dogs.
While Persin is not toxic enough to have life-threatening effects in cats, it can certainly make your cat feel unwell.
Moreover, cats could potentially choke on the avocado pit if this is left exposed for them to eat.
It should be noted that although Persin won’t be fatal to your cat, if you own any birds or horses, you should keep avocado away from them at all costs because Persin consumption has been known to cause death even in small amounts for these animals.
What Should You Do If Your Cat Eats Avocado?
If your cat has consumed a small amount of avocado, don’t panic.
While it’s likely that your cat will feel sick for a few hours to a couple of days, it is unlikely that they will suffer any serious side effects.
With that being said, you should be on the lookout for symptoms.
Usually, a cat who has eaten avocado will suffer from an upset stomach, which usually includes diarrhea and vomiting.
If your cat vomits or has diarrhea more than once, you should call your vet on an urgent basis before dehydration occurs.
If your cat has consumed a large amount of avocado, it’s best to contact your veterinarian straight away.
This is because consuming avocado in large quantities can come with more serious symptoms.
Although it’s best not to wait for the onset of symptoms if you know that your cat has eaten too much avocado, there are some warning signs you should know about, including:
- Difficulty defecating
- Labored breathing
- Inability to swallow
- Racing heartbeat
- Abdominal swelling or sensitivity
All of the above are signs that your cat may have swallowed the avocado pit, resulting in an intestinal blockage.
This is much more serious than your average stomach upset and should be treated as an emergency because blockages can be fatal for cats if not treated.
If your cat is showing any of these blockage symptoms after consuming avocado, call your vet immediately on their emergency line.
Alternatively, call your local pet poison helpline.
Additionally, if a cat is already suffering from or at risk of pancreatitis, the stomach upset from Persin consumption could trigger an inflammation of the pancreas.
Symptoms of pancreatitis in cats include:
- Reduced appetite
- Tender abdomen
Although vomiting and diarrhea are to be expected after a cat eats avocado, if these symptoms persist or if you notice any other symptoms from the list above, you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible to make sure that there is no pancreatic damage.
It is also worth noting that if your cat has eaten avocado-based guacamole that also contains garlic, onion, or tomato, you should have your cat seen by a vet at the earliest opportunity.
This is because garlic and onion are both toxic to cats and tomatoes contain solanine which can result in toxicity.
Avocado Alternatives For Cats
There are plenty of vegetables that you can safely give your cat as an alternative to avocado if they enjoy healthy human snacks.
Cat-friendly avocado alternatives include:
- Green bell pepper
It might also be okay to feed your cat tiny amounts of avocado oil by mixing it into their favorite brand of cat food.
This way, your cat can enjoy the benefits of avocado (including all the healthy fats) with lower levels of Persin than would be found in the fruit itself.
With that being said, you should always consult your vet before introducing avocado oil into your cat’s diet.
Your vet will be able to advise you about dosages and safe brands to try.
Never, ever give your cat more avocado oil than your vet recommends.
Avocado oil, for all its benefits, is very high in fat. Even if these fats are healthful, too much can be detrimental to your cat’s health.
Moreover, if your cat suffers from gastrointestinal issues or pancreatitis, it’s best to avoid avocado oil altogether just to be on the safe side since even smaller amounts of Persin can be dangerous for cats with these conditions.
Despite avocado’s numerous benefits as part of a human diet, you should never feed avocado to your cat because it contains Persin, which will likely cause a stomach upset for your feline friend.
If your cat accidentally eats a small amount of avocado, they might vomit and have diarrhea, but there will probably not be any serious consequences.
However, ingestion of larger quantities can result in more serious symptoms and may even trigger pancreatitis in cats.
If your cat has consumed a lot of avocado or has swallowed the pit, you should call an emergency veterinary service immediately.
A visit to the vet is also important if your cat has eaten guacamole because this probably contains garlic or onions.
Luckily, there are many other vegetables your cat can safely eat, and you could also give your cat small amounts of avocado oil if your vet agrees.