Can Cats Eat Popcorn Or Is It Bad For Them?
Have you ever caught your cat stealing a bunch of popcorn kernels while you’re watching a movie in front of the TV or computer? And have you wondered if it’s okay for your cat to eat popcorn? You’re not the only one! In fact, many pet parents ask themselves if cats can eat popping corn, standard corn, air-fried popcorn, unseasoned popcorn and other versions of this tasty snack.
Truthfully, there’s more to the answer than just a simple yes or no.
Cats are complex creatures and the nutrients their organisms require are slightly different than what a human’s organism needs in order to thrive and prosper. As such, what’s healthy for us is not as healthy for feline furballs.
Fortunately, that doesn’t mean popcorn is toxic to cats (although some types of popcorn toppings could pose danger). In some ways it’s safe and some people might even argue that it offers traces of healthy nutrition. After all, you can see that corn is listed among the ingredients in many cat food items, right? And since popcorn is a type of corn, it should be good for your precious fluffy friend, correct?
Corn vs. Popcorn vs. Cats
As carnivores kitties get their primary nutrition from meat. However, they also benefit significantly from the fiber, protein and carbs in veggies, fruits and various crops.
- Cats will want to eat both types of corn.
- Field corn is rich in moisture, sugars, protein and carbs.
- Popcorn is low in protein, fiber and sugars, but still has a lot of carbs and calories.
No type of corn, be it field, sweet, sour, processed, fried, steamed, boiled, microwave popped, air popped or stovetop popped, can provide enough nourishment to your kitty.
So, no, you can’t use any type of corn or popcorn as a truly healthy treat.
It’s way more appropriate to stick to specialized cat treats or real meat. These types of snacks will offer benefits to your pet’s overall health, as well as to its taste buds. Then why is corn in so many cat foods if it’s not good for your pet?
Corn is used as a filler agent in wet and dry cat food. Grain free foods lack corn and other similar fillers, which is what makes them healthier and more expensive. Corn isn’t necessarily bad for your pet, but as a food ingredient it doesn’t put any significant advantages on the table. And truth be told, popcorn is even less nutritious.
Is popcorn toxic to cats?
As I mentioned in the beginning, this is a complicated matter that goes beyond the simple yes or no answer.
Popcorn on its own isn’t toxic to cats of any breed or age.
It’s not a good option for a snack, be it frequent or not, because it can’t meet your pet’s dietary requirements. However, kernels of plain popcorn are purrfectly safe for your feline friend’s body.
Popcorn toppings on the other hand can indeed be toxic to cats and other pets.
We often overlook this, but the extremely high amounts of salt, butter, sugar, caramel, spicy seasoning and other types of popcorn flavoring can be more unhealthy than the popcorn itself. Buying plain popcorn and seasoning it by yourself is better, but it’s still not good for your kitty.
The sugary and spicy seasonings are the worst option for cats. They can indeed cause a toxic reaction. I don’t recommend using the salty toppings either. Cats don’t have a strong sense of dehydration and high sodium concentrations can cause some nasty complications for them.
Do cats eat popcorn?
Of course they do!
Just because you have a finicky eater on your hands, don’t assume it won’t attempt to steal a few kernels of popcorn from you! Thanks to its tasty smell, warmth and crunchy texture popcorn is quite appealing to feline furballs. What’s more, the fact that you’re eating it makes your pet want to try it even more.
You can test this theory with some plain air popped popcorn since it’s the safest option available on the market.
If your cat doesn’t want to eat the popcorn for some reason or another, the kernels will make great toys for a play session. Just check out some videos of cats playing with popcorn kernels if you don’t believe me – you’ll be laughing out loud!
To sum it up – yes, cats can eat popcorn. It’s not toxic for them if it’s air popped or if it doesn’t have strong seasonings (salty, sweet, spicy and so forth). And even if it’s plain and unseasoned, you should only give it to your pet rarely in tiny quantities as a treat, especially if your cat is getting a big kick out of playing with the kernels before eating them.
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