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Can cats eat popcorn? Read first

There is no better combination than a good movie and freshly popped popcorn. It is, without a doubt, a perfect experience. A dark cozy room with nothing to disturb you, and the warm popcorn with a delicious aroma envelops your whole house. Everything is incredible. The movie has turned out better than you expected. You even drop some popcorn on the floor and don’t pick it up, so you don’t miss a second of the plot. Suddenly, you look up and see your cat eating one of the popcorn you dropped, and you immediately get worried and start questioning whether or not your cat can eat them. Can cats eat popcorn?

Has this ever happened to you? To prevent these terror episodes from happening again, I did a little research to solve the doubt.

Can cats have popcorn? It’s complicated

Long story short, yes, but they shouldn’t. If we are specific, popcorn is not on the list of toxic foods for cats. However, it is not recommended at all to feed it to your cat, and I will tell you why.

can cats eat popcorn - nutrition

Harmful additives

Natural popcorn, in theory, should not affect the cat’s health. However, most popcorn contains additives such as butter, oils, salt, cheese, or caramel, which have elements that the cat’s body doesn’t need and are challenging to process. As the cat’s stomach is not used to digesting these foods, its organism will likely react badly, causing vomiting, diarrhea, or even dehydration when the cases are more severe.

You should avoid microwave popcorn because in addition to the salt and butter they may contain, even if they are without artificial flavors, they include products that are harmful to the health (cats and humans). Nothing wrong will likely happen to the cat (or you) by eating a single popcorn, but it is better not to create habits that carry health risks.

  • Perfluorooctanoic acid: This chemical activates when we heat popcorn. Scientists suspect that it can cause cancer and hypothyroidism when consumed regularly.
  • Diacetyl: Although it is no longer supposed to be used, this component causes what is known as popcorn lungs. This chemical can damage this organ to the point of impeding air passage, creating irreversible respiratory problems.

Risk of choking

Popcorn poses a choking hazard to anyone who eats it because it has a dry texture, and the corn husk can be very rough and, being so thin, can easily stick to the walls of the throat.

can cats eat popcorn - choking

In the case of cats, the risk is more significant because these animals have tiny mouths for which even a small popcorn is large. So if your cat has eaten popcorn and you hear him coughing, help him by massaging his neck or, if you know how to do it, carefully perform the Heimlich maneuver. Don’t confuse choking with a cat panting, though.

Can cats eat corn?

If you review the essential ingredients of dry cat food, you’ll notice that almost every brand includes corn, and you may wonder why. Corn, as such, is a whole grain with multiple health benefits as a natural source of fiber, but on top of that, it’s incredibly inexpensive and available in any season. Corn is used as a component of cat food, as well as being an excellent bonding element. It helps to hold all the ingredients together.

While your cat can eat corn, it is vital not to be the main component of its diet, as it is merely a filler and can lead to obesity. Your cat’s diet must contain meat, as it is an omnivorous animal. Everything else, be it vegetables or corn, is an additional supplement.

Alternative Healthy Snacks

Popcorn is a healthy snack for humans because it is low in calories and, if homemade, contains hardly any toxic chemicals. However, the nutritional value it represents for a cat is meager because it does not provide anything else beyond containing fiber. It only fills the stomach.

can cats have popcorn - alternative snacks

If you are looking for the ideal snack for your kitten, I recommend these options; they are much better.

  • Apples (Filled with fiber and vitamin C)
  • Bananas (sweet source of potassium and soluble fiber)
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Celery (they will love the crunchy texture)
  • Cooked Eggs (perfect for protein and vitamin B)
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Oatmeal (with fiber and vitamin B!)
  • Pumpkin (lots of fiber)
  • Spinach (filled with vitamin A, C, and K, iron, and calcium)
  • Salmon (A great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini

It is important to remember that whenever you introduce new food to your cat’s diet, it is necessary to do it in small amounts and ensure that it does not cause an allergic reaction or stomach upset.

Can cats eat popcorn? Final words

Now you have many options to offer a healthy snack to your cat, so there is no need to give him popcorn. Now don’t freak out if your cat ate popcorn. As we said before, a single popcorn will not kill him, but it is better not to create habits that carry health risks.

We hope this article has been helpful and informative. If you have any questions or want to share your experience with us, leave us a comment below! Do you have a cat that loves popcorn? Tell us about it!

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