Can Cats Eat Popcorn?

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There is no better snack for binging a favorite show or watching a good movie than popcorn. With so many different kinds and with a tremendous list of toppings, popcorn is a great temporary filler that even has some of its own health benefits. But, can cats eat popcorn?

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Can Cats Eat Popcorn?

It can be alarming to look down and see your feline companion crunching on a kernel or even worse, snacking on a bowl you left on the floor for only a few moments.

Cats process food a lot differently to humans so what we might find tasty and even healthy, could have no nutritional benefits for a cat or even worse, can be dangerous to their development and overall well being.

So if you are wondering whether you should treat your cat to some popcorn while they curl up to watch a movie with you, or if you’re worried about the bowl they just feasted on, we have listed everything you need to know about the dos and don’ts between cats and popcorn.

What Popcorn Is Okay For Cats To Eat?

Owner’s should always stick to their veterinarian’s recommended food for their regular cat diet, these supply all the nutrients required for the little carnivore to stay happy with its meat based kibble or wet food meals.

As tasty as it is, popcorn should therefore never be a replacement for a cat’s regular diet, however for the odd snack, there is some popcorn that cats can eat.

A bowl of popcorn

Freshly popped popcorn, all fluffy and still warm, is the safest way for cats to eat popcorn since there is nothing in fresh popcorn that is toxic to them. The warm smell and aroma can make even the laziest cats jump up with curiosity.

Make sure the pieces are fully popped though, as un-popped kernels can be tough for cats to chew on and can have trouble traveling through their digestive system. If your cat has only nibbled the occasional kennel on the floor though, there is no need to fear.

If you do intend on giving your cat a few pieces of regular popcorn, try not to go over the top and only feed them in very small quantities. It shouldn’t be a regular habit since there are no real nutritional benefits in popcorn for cats.

Popcorn can also be a choking hazard which is another reason to avoid feeding it to cats too regularly, especially among very young or old cats who can be more prone to choking.

A cat sitting in a popcorn tub

What Popcorn Can Be Dangerous To Cats

Because corn is a common ingredient in much cat food it can be easy to think that this works the same with popcorn, however the two work a bit differently.

Ground yellow corn in cat food works to bring together all ingredients while popcorn is its own unique strain containing high levels of calories and carbohydrates.

Probably the worst part about popcorn however is the toppings. We love sprinkling salt, butter or even caramel onto our pastime snack to give it some extra flavor, however to cats, these ingredients can cause some nasty side effects and can even be toxic.

Cat sniffing popcorn

Salt, sugar and spices can cause digestive problems for a cat, and this can be the case with any other extra seasonings and toppings.

Butter can be particularly bad because of how much fat is in it which can give a cat diarrhea, cause them to vomit, or just make them overweight so they exercise even less.

Any of the more gourmet toppings should also be a no-go such as caramel, cheese flavorings and chocolate coverings.

While caramel is non-toxic, it still has high levels of sugar, salt, cream and butter which are not great for a cat’s health.

Cat staring at the camera

Chocolate also contains ingredients of theobromine and caffeine which is absorbed more slowly by cats and can be toxic in large enough quantities.

It is also wise to avoid quick and easy microwaveable popcorn packs as many are made with artificial butter that contains perfluorooctanoic acids and diacetyl which have been linked to cases of lung disease in other animals.

Best Cat Food Options

When it comes to keeping your cat healthy and happy, it’s important to choose the highest quality food. Our team has curated a list of the best cat foods, based on customer reviews, quality ingredients, and price.

Other Similar Snack Options

Other Similar Snack Options

If you find that your cat can’t get enough of the taste of popcorn and keeps stealing from your bowl, the best method is often training them with a firm ‘No!’ or covering the bowl with foil or a blanket.

Another option however, is to find and experiment with alternate crunchy snacks that your cat will still love snacking on. Get them used to snacks that you would feed them regularly so they become accustomed to the taste and can expect to have it more.

Zucchini and Carrots are some similar options that are still crunchy but can be given to cats in bigger bulks than popcorn, with spinach and peas being other good options.

Biscuits are also a great crunchy snack that cats love to feed on every now and again as a curious treat. They can be made easily at home, only requiring whole meal flour, eggs and you can even add some tuna to really satisfy your cat’s taste buds.

Grey cat looking over the edge

Because a cat’s digestive system is sensitive to any changes in diet, for more ideas on snacks that your cat will love, and that may steer them away from munching on popcorn when you’re not looking, it is always worth talking to your veterinarian.

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So, Can Cats Eat Popcorn?

If your cat is giving you sad eyes or meowing while you have a bowl of popcorn on your lap, one or two kernels of popcorn will provide them with a satisfying treat. Its best not to give into the cats demands too regularly and avoid giving them any seasoned popcorn to ensure they stay slim and healthy.

Every cat will beg for food, no matter what it is. It’s up to you to make sure they only eat what is good for them and give treats like popcorn only occasionally.

Stock up on Cat Supplies

Our favorite place to buy pet supplies online is Amazon because you can Subscribe & Save to automatically reorder everything you need at a great discount.
Meow Mix Dry Food (save ~$9) Purina Fancy Feast Pack (save ~$18) Fresh Step Litter (save 5%)
Shop Cat Deals | Shop New Arrivals | Shop Amazon Best Sellers



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A cat eating out of a bowl of popcorn

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