Can Cats Eat Popcorn?
If your household is anything like mine, you have attempted to quietly open a bag of popcorn and enjoy it before your little feline friend comes bolting at you to share. Anyone else is the same boat. If so, then you’ve caught yourself wondering, is it okay for my cat to eat popcorn? Is popcorn safe for cats?
When I first thought about it, like many other cat parents, I brushed it off. They eaten it for so long without any issues, it should be safe for cats. Right? And that’s where my anxious and crazy brain took over convinced I was slowly killing my cat without even knowing it.
We’ve all been there right?! So I’m about to break it down into every part so you can feel safe to know, can cats eat popcorn?
Is Popcorn Safe For Cats?
Truthfully, there’s more to the answer than just a simple yes or no. As you may have learned from my posts about honey, bacon, and even almonds, cat’s nutritional needs are very different from us humans.
Fortunately, that doesn’t mean popcorn is toxic to cats (although some types of popcorn toppings could pose a danger). But that’s another topic for later.
Is Popcorn Healthy For Cats?
While I was initially starting my anxious and crazy cat mom research, one thing I heard from others was that they argued popcorn is healthy for cats! AM I THE EPITOME OF HEALTHY CATS?! Well, I’m sure I’m not continuing on.
They argue that corn is found in a lot of different cat foods, especially dry cat food. And since popcorn is a type of corn, it should be good for your precious fluffy feline kitty, correct? Eh, kind of.
As carnivores, kitties get their primary nutrition from meat. This doesn’t mean that meat is their only source of nutrients. They also can benefit from the fiber, protein, and carbs in veggies and fruits. Part of the reason why different vegetables, such as corn are found in a lot of dry cat food.
Let’s talk about this special corn a little bit. This is not your grandma’s corn. (Or maybe it is, I don’t know). It is the corn found in cat food. The type of corn is typically field corn, not the sweet corn you and I eat from the can or off the cob. Field corn is rich in moisture, sugars, protein, and carbs.
If Corn is Safe For Cats, Isn’t Popcorn?
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. Just like it won’t be enough for humans to safely live off of either.
So, no, you can’t classify any type of corn or popcorn as a truly healthy treat for your furball. It’s more of a eat-in-moderation treat and special occasions.
When possible, it’s always recommended 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.
How many of you are rolling your eyes at me right now, but I rolled my eyes as I typed this. It’s just like our moms telling us that we shouldn’t eat sweets and stick to fruits and vegetables. We all KNOW that’s what we should do, but where’s the fun in that.
If you feed your cat healthy cat food, be with wet cat food, or dry cat food, let them have popcorn every once in a while. Give a toddler some CAKE! Live a little!
Why Is Corn in So Many Cat Foods?
Back to your regularly scheduled reasonable advice. If it is not recommended for cats to have corn or popcorn, why is it all over our cat foods that we are buying? 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.
Therefore, corn isn’t necessarily bad for your pet, but as a food ingredient, it doesn’t put any significant advantages on the table.
And let’s face it, popcorn is even less nutritious.
Is popcorn toxic to cats?
I just told you guys to live a little and give your cats popcorn from time to time. So why am I adding a section asking if popcorn is 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” because it can’t meet your pet’s dietary requirements.
However, when we get down to the meat of it, plain popcorn is purrfectly safe for your kitty’s healthy and body. As long as they don’t get overweight.
Are Popcorn Toppings Safe For Cats?
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. Blissful ignorance is the state I prefer to be in with these wonderfully delicious toppings.
The sugary and spicy seasonings are the worst option for cats. They can indeed cause a toxic reaction and digestive problems. Giving your cat popcorn regularly, with these flavorings, can cause your cat to develop high blood pressure and develop other complications. I don’t recommend using the salty toppings either.
The “best” kind of popcorn for your cats is the type that I eat. Low calorie, low carb, plain with just a little salt popcorn. Listen, it sucks, but I put cheese on it so it’s better. Another topic I will cover here soon.
Why are the popcorn toppings so harmful for your furball? Cats don’t have a strong sense of dehydration and high sodium concentrations can cause some nasty complications for them.
I would have to be a crazy, liar of a cat mom to tell you to never feed your cat popcorn.
We all know they will attempt to steal a few kernels of popcorn from you! Thanks to its tasty smell, warmth and crunchy texture popcorn are quite appealing to feline furballs. More importantly, they want it when you’re eating it makes your pet even more curious.
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 – trust me, you need that in your life! 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). But even if it’s plain and unseasoned, you should only give it to your pet rarely and in small amounts as a treat.