Can Cats Eat Popcorn

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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If cats eat popcorn, it can present a worrying situation for cat owners, but before you rush to the vet, it is important to understand the basics.

Can Cats Eat Popcorn & Corn?

As most people know, popcorn is made from corn, and corn by itself is not dangerous to cats. In fact, ground corn is a common ingredient in many cat foods, since it does provide a filling form of carbohydrates in the food. As with any human food, however, there is no need to feed cats corn because their diets are already complete with the nutrients they have.

When it comes to popcorn, a few kernels here and there shouldn’t be a major problem, provided there isn’t an excessive amount of salt, butter, onion or garlic on the kernels. Also, microwave and candied popcorn should be avoided. If you have a kitten or an older cat, popcorn can also represent a major choking hazard, so it should be avoided.

A cat squatting in front of a feed bowl full of popcorn on a wooden floor

Can cats eat popcorn? Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Benefits of Popcorn & Corn for Cats

In terms of benefits for cats, the amount of nutrients that would be consumed in a few kernels is negligible, and will only contain small levels of fiber and minerals. Corn, as already mentioned, is commonly included in cat foods as a filler agent, and can help aid in their digestion in small ways. However, the benefits are quite limited, and the majority of a feline diet should be meat-based, so an excessive amount of corn would do more harm than good.

Precautions for Cats Eating Popcorn

If you are feeding your cats popcorn that has any sort of flavoring or coating on it, it can cause the following:

Furthermore, if it is covered in salt, you can drive up your feline friend’s blood pressure and may even stimulate heart failure. Again, plain popcorn cooked from the kernels is the only safe form of popcorn your cat could eat.

Cats are also highly susceptible to corn allergies, so if you do choose to give your cat corn, start with a small amount and monitor their reaction carefully for up to 24 hours.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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