The most random question pops up when you need it the least – can cats eat popcorn? You’ve probably asked yourself this one and here you are reading about it.
Is it finally that time of the week when you can relax a bit and have some me-time? Did you decide to binge-watch your favorite TV series or watch a movie? Whatever you decide, there’s one perfect snack for either option. Yup, you guessed it! Popcorn!
But there’s a little problem, which one to choose? Butter, white cheddar cheese, or caramel? Maybe plain popcorn will be the best this time? Whenever I have this problem, I simply go to the cupboard and take the first pack. I guess you do the same thing.
Popcorn is known as one of the healthiest indulgent snacks for humans and is addictively delicious. I honestly don’t know anyone who would turn down some freshly popped corn, do you?
Want proof that popcorn mania is a real thing? January 19 is celebrated as National Popcorn Day and Americans consume 13 billion quarts of popcorn a year! The best way to celebrate this interesting holiday is to lay back and enjoy a big bowl of popcorn. Perfect, isn’t it?
So, you decided which flavor suits your mood, took your blanket, and found your spot on the couch.
This is the moment when your night changed and the reason you now ended up reading this article. Once you were all settled and ready to finally start watching, your furbaby jumped in your lap and – poof! Most of your popcorn ended up on the floor. Damn…
While you were busy cleaning up the mess, your mischievous little devil was munching on a puffy white kernel. Wonderful. One problem after the next.
Can cats eat popcorn safely?
Your mind’s now racing because you don’t know if cats can eat popcorn, so you’ve googled it. Take a deep breath and don’t worry. I got your back.
Even though there is no clear answer to this question, there’s nothing toxic in popcorn that can possibly be harmful to your cat. The only threats here are all those different toppings and seasonings.
Why am I saying this?
Popcorn is actually very beneficial to people and is one of the best sources of fiber. It is full of B vitamins and different minerals like zinc, magnesium, and potassium. Also, it contains polyphenol antioxidants linked to helping circulation, digestive issues, and reducing the risk of cancer.
However, when we’re talking about cats, it’s not the same. They are obligate carnivores and so their digestive system digests grains differently than ours. Everything they need for a healthy diet can be found in meat, therefore most cats won’t even bother to try human food.
They naturally have no need for carbohydrates, but your adorable feline may want to try it. The white puffy treat will grab her interest and she’ll try to hold it with her cute little paws. Purrfect, isn’t it?
Now, when it comes to all those extras that make popcorn so lip-smackingly good, that’s where the complications occur. Food additives in general are not healthy for cats. Also, there are a lot of possible allergens that can be found in our favorite popcorn toppings.
Another thing that is questionable is microwave popcorn. They are super convenient, there’s no disputing that. However, most of them contain perfluorooctanoic acid, which is linked to some health issues people are facing.
Additionally, this kind of popcorn mostly has large doses of artificial butter which contains diacetyl, a chemical that is somehow related to lung disease in animals.
But will eating one kernel from time to time cause your cat to have serious health issues? The answer is no.
What can possibly go wrong if cats eat popcorn?
So what’s the catch? What could possibly go wrong if your fur buddy somehow eats popcorn?
Well, we’ve mentioned earlier that popcorn has no nutritive value for cats, therefore it will occupy space in their little stomach and they won’t be able to eat something healthy. Other than that, plain popcorn is actually a pretty good snack every now and then.
When it comes to all those flavored popcorns, depending on the flavors added, it can be tricky. Almost every adult cat is lactose intolerant, which makes popcorn with cheese a pretty bad option.
Also, since felines can’t actually taste sweetness, you can forget about feeding your feline that sweetened popcorn. You know what I’m talking about, right? All those different toppings that you can either find on the shelves or prepared at home.
Then, make sure you only serve small kernels to your cat if you give her popcorn as a treat. That way you’ll prevent a possible choking scenario, which none of us wants to happen. And be super cautious about the unpopped kernels.
You may even have some problems while eating them, now imagine your poor little baby eating that. If it happens that she takes it, regardless, make sure that you monitor her while she’s eating. That way you’ll be able to prevent any problems that may occur.
Last but not least, the majority of popcorn toppings can cause your cat to have some gastrointestinal issues. In case you notice that she’s having some complications, do not restrain from calling your vet or asking for medical assistance in case it’s more serious.
These problems may happen if your cat has some allergies that you may not be aware of just yet. So, if she starts to vomit, displays abdominal discomfort, or has diarrhea or constipation, something is clearly off. Get her checked out as soon as possible.
Is buttered popcorn bad for cats?
“Can cats eat popcorn covered by delicious golden delicacy, its majesty – butter?”
I cannot put it more simply – yes. That doesn’t mean that your feline friend won’t be attracted to it, though. Au contraire. Buttery things will hook her.
Cats naturally enjoy fatty food, so when she smells butter, I guarantee you she’ll want to stick her little nose into your popcorn bowl. However, these are absolutely a no-go.
This kind of popcorn is full of cholesterol, which can lead to all sorts of health problems. If she consumes butter regularly, it can lead to drastic weight gain, severe problems with arteries, and even heart disease.
Now, if she’s managed to steal one buttered popcorn kernel, it’s not the end of the world for your pet. Just be more vigilant next time.
Can cats eat white cheddar popcorn?
Since these contain cheese, they are not recommended in large doses because most adult cats are actually lactose intolerant. This means that white cheddar popcorn may cause some gastrointestinal problems.
Also, this popcorn contains a great amount of salt, which is absolutely not healthy for your furbaby. Sodium poisoning is a real concern in cats, as anything more than a mere 21 milligrams of salt per day can trigger it.
If your pet has salt poisoning, she will likely show symptoms such as cramps, diarrhea, and/or vomiting. Her body temperature may rise as well. So as soon as you notice some change and you know your cat ate some white cheddar popcorn, check with your vet about what to do next.
Dairy products are generally not recommended for your adorable kitty, at least not in large doses. She may gain some nutrition out of it since she grew up on milk, but make sure you don’t include it in her regular meals as much.
Can cats eat caramel popcorn?
It’s great to offer your cat a variety of food and to even try to feed her what we, as human beings, are consuming. I love experimenting as well, so I don’t hold back on giving my cat what I snack on that day. But I’m always well aware of what’s happening with her and you have to be too.
Feeding your furbaby caramel popcorn is not a good thing. Besides the health implications of introducing unnecessary sugar to her diet (diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay, to name a few), cats cannot even taste sweetened food since their taste buds are unable to detect sweetness.
She’s not after the sweetness, she just wants to have what you’re having! So prepare some plain popcorn for her separately and she’ll be just as grateful to munch on it while watching your favorite TV Netflix show.
What about corn?
Did you notice how a lot of cat food commercials actually have corn featured in them? Are you wondering if it’s good for them? Well, unfortunately, not really.
Corn is usually added as a filler and to bind all the other ingredients together. When you add something as a filler to the food you’re feeding a carnivore, that means you’re adding something that doesn’t have any particular nutritional value.
The only benefit from corn that cats actually get is that it gives them a little bit of energy in the form of carbohydrates and it helps them to digest other food a bit faster.
If you really want to introduce corn to your feline’s diet, you can do that by adding a bit of it in forms like polenta and cornmeal, or you can serve a small portion of it together with other nutritive grains such as oats, barley, and wheat.
What are some healthy alternative snacks?
If there’s nothing you’d rather do than share your downtime with your pet and snack on something together, there are a couple of healthier alternatives than popcorn.
First of all, not all human food is adequate to feed our pets, but you can still find something that both of you will be able to enjoy. You can always go and serve some spinach, broccoli, zucchini, celery, or greens in general. Also, bananas, strawberries, and cantaloupe are good choices.
That said, don’t forget that there are a lot of cat snacks that she’ll greatly enjoy. And always double-check with your vet before you give her any human food.