One of the most nutritious foods vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike enjoy is corn. Sweet, salty, spicy, popped, boiled, grilled… the list goes on and on.
Packed with essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber it’s a great snack, side dish or even main course meal. Not to mention the delicious flavor it has on its own. So it should come no surprise that with all of these advantages corn can be found in a plethora of cat food items for everyday usage.
But what types of corn can cats eat? And can corn be bad for your cat? After all, it comes in many forms and not all of them can fall under the same category.
Can Cats Eat Corn?
Cats can technically eat corn, and it will not immediately hurt them. In fact, it is a common ingredient in many cat foods.
However, cats should not eat corn, because it is not a biologically appropriate food for them! Cats thrive on meat, and meat alone, and corn is always a cheap filler ingredient when found in cat foods.
If you give your cat a taste of fresh corn for a treat, he can eat it without any problems. But prolonged exposure to corn (particularly the lower quality corn used in cat food), can cause digestive upset, and lower absorption of other important nutrients.
Soy yes, cats can eat most types of corn (though not healthily), and some can be quite toxic to them, especially if they are enhanced with seasoning.
The corn in cat food serves as a filler agent – not as nutrition. It doesn’t provide substantial amounts of protein or vitamins, unlike real meat does. What’s more, some kitties shouldn’t eat cat food with corn and other grains like soy, wheat, etc. depending on their overall health.
But corn outside of kibble and canned foods is a whole different story. Here’s a quick breakdown on the most common types of corn-related items, which cats can or can’t eat.
Chips like Doritos and Tortilla, which are made out of corn instead of potatoes, must be off limits for cats. It’s not the corn in them – it’s everything else. These snacks are so heavy on the seasoning (mainly salt, but also the rest of the spices in them) that they can indeed be toxic for feline furballs.
Tacos and breads
Any type of bread should be a no-no for your kitty, including tacos, tortillas, quesadillas and so forth. They focus on carbs instead of on protein, vitamins or other healthy nutrients. If your pet happens to chew on some bread, don’t panic. The bread in corn tortillas and tacos doesn’t have the same type of gluten as other types of bread. If it’s unseasoned and in tiny amounts, it won’t do anything bad to your cat’s organism. But still, don’t offer tortillas to your pet as snacks.
Corndogs and other cornmeal snacks
Speaking of snacks, here’s a quite popular one – cornbread. This type of delicious comfort food must be off-limits for cats. Sure, it does have meat in the center and cats thrive mainly on meat. Nevertheless, that fried corn batter isn’t healthy, to say the least. The same goes for other snacks made with cornmeal. And lastly, the sausage in the corndog is definitely among the worst types of meat you can give to your precious furball.
Funnily enough, cats find popcorn quite appealing. It’s warm, crunchy and awesome to play with. Check out my article on popcorn for cats if you want to find out more about whether cats can eat popcorn or if it’s bad for them.
Similarly to cornmeal, polenta is made out of dried, ground maize or corn flour. And it’s not good for cats. Not only does polenta feature various types of potentially poisonous seasoning, but it also doesn’t meet the feline dietary requirements. Think of it as filling up your kitty’s tummy with harmful junk food.
Grilled/ boiled corn
Out of all types of corn the grilled or boiled ones are probably the safest options for your feline friend. Not only do they lack fats, but they retain most of the healthy nutrients of natural corn. In other words, it’s the safest snack of all corn snacks. Again – you need to make sure it’s unseasoned before feeding it to your cat.
The worst – I repeat – the worst type of corn for cats is the one that comes in pre-packaged fried corn kernel snacks! These can ruin your pet’s health in no time! Highly concentrated in fats and sodium, fried kernels must be off-limits for your furry pal.
If served boiled, grilled and without heavy seasoning, sweet corn doesn’t pose threat to your kitty. Of course, you need to be careful with the amount you’re feeding it with. Cats are carnivores and can’t get the vital nutrition they need from any type of corn.
Plant and husks
Some cats may find corn husks or other parts of the corn plant appealing for one reason or another. Don’t ever let your furball eat them. They aren’t exactly toxic, but will cause problems like diarrhea, loss of appetite, excessive drooling and vomiting.
Even if you opt for the healthy versions of corn, try to remember that it is a grain crop. With all of its B-group vitamins, essential minerals and notable amounts of protein, it’s not substantial enough to meet any feline out there’s nutritional requirements. In other words, if you really, really want to share your corn with your kitty, just be moderate and stick to the healthy options.