Can Cats Eat Popcorn?
Can cats eat popcorn? That’s the cat food question we are looking into today. To get straight to the point, cats can eat popcorn, however they should not make a habit out of doing so, and only a little should be given to them at any one time.
The essential ingredient of popcorn (obviously being corn) is not particularly high in nutritional value when it comes to our feline companions.
Furthermore, the flavorings that popcorn is often served with are in many cases out right bad for cats.
Cats and Popcorn – The Precautions
Cat’s digestive systems are actually quite sensitive. A sudden change of diet can lead to problems. Even swapping one cat food brand to another is enough to unsettle them. Introducing human foods into their diet will often have the same result.
A cat would normally be fine with a small amount of plain popcorn, there is nothing there that is toxic to them.
However, corn is a starched based grain and heavy in carbohydrates. Cats do not have a biological need for grain. In fact cats do not produce the necessary enzymes, (amylase) in their saliva to properly digest carbohydrates in this form.
In the wild only around 10% of a cat’s diet comes from plant based food. The grain they do consume is already part digested in the stomachs of their prey.
Because of this, too much carbohydrate (in the form of popcorn) can affect your cats delicate digestive system. There is also chance of the undigested corn fermenting within their stomachs leading to abdominal pain and flatulence.
Easing Your Cats Diarrhoea
If your cat ends up with an upset stomach or diarrhoea, as a result of eating to much popcorn or other high carb foods, one of the best ways of stopping the symptoms is to have some cat probiotics on hand.
One we highly recommend is a product from Pet Ultimates. Their Probiotics for Cats is available on Amazon.com, and has a gained a lot of positive feedback.
Popcorn Ingredients – Harmful to cats
And now we move on to the ingredients. Too much salt is a big no, no for cats. A high sodium diet can lead to heart and blood issues such as Hypernatremia – a term used to describe too much sodium in the blood stream.
Sodium plays a part in many critical bodily functions, including the regulation of blood pressure, blood volume as well as balancing the acid base within the body. If too much sodium is present, these balances can be disturbed leading to long term health issues such as high blood pressure and heart failure.
Similar dangers exist if a cat has too much sugary in their diet. If sugar or sticky treacle coats your popcorn, and you feed you cat some, they are getting too high a dose of foods that are not good for them. A high sugar diet can lead to conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Too major health problems for cats.
Can Cats Eat Popcorn – Any Benefits?
If you’ve read this far you will appreciate that there is very little benefits to adding popcorn to your cats diet. There is argument that the little bit of fiber contained in the corn can help bind their stool. However, with the other potential adverse affects there are certainly better ways of making sure your cat gets the fiber they need.
There is of course the delight that one may get in sharing their foods with the feline friend, while curled up in front of the sofa and watching a film. But this does not have your cat’s best health interests at heart, and that should always be an owners priority.
Cats Eating Popcorn – The bottom Line
On other websites you may get the full green light for cats eating popcorn. And while we are of the opinion a tiny amount of popcorn will not harm your cat, foods that lack any nutritional benefit are always best avoided. For one it is a rather unnecessary habit to get into.
If you really feel the need to do so, air popped corn will be okay as long as it is plain. No salt, sugar or other sweet toppings should be in place.
And remember there could be side affects if your cat eats too much. Which does raise the question – why bother?