Can Cats Eat Popcorn?

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You’re watching your favorite movie after a long day at work. On one side, you have a bowl of popcorn, and on the other, you have a cat. Your attention is drawn to the screen and you unintentionally throw a handful of popcorn into your mouth, a few kernels of which fall into your lap.

An unexpected crunching sound catches your ear, and you turn down to find the cat gnawing on one of the kernels. You mumble, “Can cats eat popcorn?” and almost forget everything about your favorite movie. Before any such thing happens to you (which is tragic), just read on to know can cats have popcorn or not. 

Can Cats Eat Popcorn?

There are two answers to this question: yes and no. However, when cooked without any additives, it is not harmful to cats, but it may cause choking hazards and other health-related problems for them if any additives are added.

Popcorn does not appear on the ASPCA’s list of poisonous foods, but because most popcorn is coated in butter and salt, it can cause a variety of health problems in the long run.

In contrast to an omnivorous diet (dogs and humans are omnivores), cats’ digestive systems are not designed to digest grains in the same manner that ours are designed to do

Grain consumption in small amounts can be acceptable in a well-balanced diet, although it is recommended that they be limited to a bare minimum.

Another issue with popcorn is the prepared, microwavable kinds that can be bought in most grocery shops nowadays.

However, many microwave bags contain perfluorooctanoic acid, which has been related to ADHD and thyroid issues in people, despite its convenience.

In addition, microwaveable popcorn typically contains a high concentration of fake butter. Artificial butter includes diacetyl, a substance that, when inhaled by animals, has been found to induce lung illness in those animals.

Is Popcorn Harmful for Cats?

It is the chemicals in popcorn, particularly microwave popcorn, that make it harmful, if not lethal, for cats. Microwave popcorn, in particular, is quick and easy to prepare. Maintain strong control over your cat’s access to pre-made kinds of popcorn.

Pay particular attention to whether the popcorn contains considerable amounts of salt, garlic, butter, or onion. Gourmet popcorn that has been covered in caramel or chocolate, as well as variants that have been liberally sprinkled with cheese flavorings, is also prohibited. All of these additions and flavors work together to completely negate any potential health advantages that your cat would gain from eating untreated popcorn.

Cats, on the other hand, are OK with air-popped popcorn that has been newly prepared and is still warm when it is placed in their food dish. When it comes to air-popped popcorn, the warmth and aroma provide exciting characteristics that cats are naturally receptive to.

Popcorn, when consumed in tiny quantities — a few bits at a time — can be quite safe for your cat to chew on and absolutely safe for him to play with. Even the most basic popcorn does not provide much in the way of nutritional value to your cat, but it also does not pose a significant health concern.

Snacks That Are Safe for Your Cats

If you’re looking to branch out and try something new, veggies are a great place to start. Not all cats may eat veggies but they are nutritional and healthy. 

According to the ASPCA, the following vegetables are not hazardous to cats:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Celery 
  • Green beans 
  • Green bell peppers 
  • Peas 
  • Pumpkin 
  • Spinach 
  • Zucchini

Sources: 1, 2