The answer to the question “can cats eat popcorn” is not a simple yes or no. When your cat tries to steal any kind of food, you always wonder if it is safe for cats. What is more normal than being concerned for the health and safety of your little friend?
Giving a little bit of this and a little bit of that might not seem like a big issue but when you sum it up, it might become a big pile of unhealthy food for your cat. You may think that you gave only a little of something but keeping the size of your cat’s stomach in mind, what is “just a little” for you might be a filling meal for your cat. Also, something that is healthy for you might be unhealthy for them.
Is Popcorn Safe for Cats?
The popcorn itself is safe for cats when given in small amounts however I already mentioned that the answer is not simple. There are a few things to watch out.
First of all we like eating popcorn with toppings or seasonings. Those things can be unhealthy and even toxic for cats, including salt, sugar, butter, chocolate, caramel, spices, etc. If your cat really wants to eat some popcorn, you should give just plain old air-popped popcorn, NO SEASONINGS, NO TOPPINGS!
Also when safety is concerned you should be careful not to give your cat any unpopped kernels as these might be hard for your cat to swallow or digest. There are even cats that choke on those little trouble makers so keep an eye on what your cat might be chewing off the ground when you pop some yummy popcorns.
If your cat consumed some kernels, watch out for dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, or other indications of digestive distress. Depending on how severe the issue is, you may want to consult your veterinarian for longer periods of digestive distress as it might have some other causes.
Nutritional Benefits of Popcorn to Cats
I will be direct here. Although popcorns include fiber, carbohydrates, protein, fat and sugar, the amount of popcorns your cat can have is so small that the benefits are negligible. So if you want to give popcorns to your cat for the health benefits, I am sorry but you need to check some other alternatives.
I can already hear some people saying that there is corn in most of the pet food and if they don’t hold any nutritional benefit, why are they there? First of all, the corn that is in the pet food is a different type of corn called field corn. Field corn is different than the sweetcorn and popping corn you are used to eat.
I must add it is still corn and perfectly healthy for human consumption as it is the corn used in the production of corn cereal, corn starch, corn oil and corn syrup and obviously safe for cats to consume but they are just different types of the same plant.
Secondly, the field corn that is in the pet food is not there for its nutritional value. It is there because it is cheap. When you prepare a pet food, especially a dry food, you need an agent that bonds everything you put in together and keep them together, that is our good old friend field corn.
Also, commercially speaking, you need a filler. You can’t just use a lot of meat and expect to make a profit if what you are selling is cheap dry cat food. The same applies to the very food that you consume yourself, there are pieces of vegetables and other stuff in processed food that is safe for you but also you just wouldn’t put in if you cooked or prepared the same food at home.
I wish it wasn’t like that but this is the awful truth. I am a farmer, I produce food, I know what I am talking about. I can tell you all about it for a hundred pages and the subject would still be missing a lot of headlines. But that’s for another discussion. For now let’s keep it at “it is safe for your kitty” but it is a filler.
Let’s Sum It Up!
Popcorn is safe for cats to consume when given in small amounts and without any seasonings or toppings. A few popcorns every now and then should not harm your cat.
Although popcorn has some nutrients in it, the amount of popcorn that a cat can consume is so little that it is negligible.
Unpopped kernels may be troubling for the little fella as they are hard to swallow and hard to digest.
Your cat is a carnivore. You really should not replace its meat based diet with a plant based diet. Popcorns can only be occasional snacks and not meals for your cat.
And as always have a purrderful day!!!