Can cats eat popcorn? If you’ve been snacking on a bowl of popcorn while binge watching the latest TV series, you might have wondered whether you can share some popped kernels with your cat. If humans can eat popcorn, can cats safely eat it, too?
There isn’t a quick yes or no answer. While popcorn by itself isn’t toxic to cats, many of the toppings and additives commonly used on popcorn can be. Popcorn kernels can also present a choking hazard to cats.
As always, you must ask your veterinarian before sharing human foods with your feline friend, including popcorn. Here’s what you need to know about popcorn and cats.
When Is Popcorn Okay For Cats To Eat?
Corn by itself isn’t poisonous for cats, and many commercial brands of cat food use it as a filler ingredient. While corn doesn’t really confer much in the way of vital nutrition to an obligate carnivore like a feline, it won’t necessarily hurt your cat to eat some.
So if you air-pop some popcorn at home, and restrain from putting any additional toppings on it — whether savory or sweet — then it’s probably okay to let your cat snack on a couple of bites if they show any interest in popcorn. In fact, some kitties actually enjoy playing with popcorn as a toy!
Just consult your regular vet first if you do decide to add popcorn — or any human food — to your feline’s diet.
When Is Popcorn Unsafe For Cats?
The problem with popcorn and cats is that nearly all commercially produced popcorn you can buy at a store involves extra toppings and spices on it. Whether salted, spicy, buttery, or sugary, you should avoid feeding these types of popcorn to your cat in the interests of maintaining a healthy diet and weight.
If you’re not air popping the popcorn without the addition of any extra oils, do not feed it to your kitty.
Also, if you’re living with a very young or very old cat, be aware that popcorn kernels can sometimes become choking hazards. So either monitor your cat attempting to eat popcorn very closely, or err on the side of caution and refrain from feeding your cat any popcorn.
Have you seen your cat eating popcorn? Do you ever let your favorite feline sneak some of your plain, air popped popcorn snack? Let us know in the comments below!