Can Cats Eat Popcorn?

Something must have happened to trigger the question, ‘can cats eat popcorn?’ You probably were enjoying Netflix with popcorn on your lap when you spilled some and moments later you heard some munching that wasn’t yours. You cat was in stealth mode cleaning up after you.

While you may have let your cat have its way at that moment (or not), for future reference, you still want to know if cats can eat popcorn.

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Facts to be Aware of

A general rule is to keep popcorn away from your cat’s reach. But why? My cat seems to enjoy it you wonder to yourself. Well, popcorn are potential choking hazards, similar to cats eating watermelon seeds. This is more so when you are dealing with senior cats and kittens.

As for your adult cat, you can give it popcorn. This, however, depends on several factors including how the popcorn has been prepared and whether it contains additives that may upset your cat’s stomach. The amount you intend to feed your cat is also a factor to consider.

If you are to feed your cat with popcorn, I recommend serving it with homemade popcorn. With homemade popcorns, you have control over its additives, toppings, and flavoring that are potential health hazards to your cat. The store-bought popcorns feature a large number of calories and fats which most often than not end up causing obesity and diabetes in your cat.

Ingredients to be Aware of 

I once inspected a packet of kibble and noticed that it included corn as an ingredient. Now corn is an ingredient used to provide cohesion and act as filler in the cat food. A little digging on its nutritional value and I discovered that while it contains carbohydrates, it is in low amounts.

Speaking of carbohydrates, what do popcorn contain? Well, their nutritional value depends on the additives. But generally, they contain iron, fiber, protein and vitamin B. As such, making a popcorn part of your cat's diet will have little to no nutritional value.

In addition to the above, you should remember that popcorn also contain salt. Feeding your cat on a diet rich in sodium may result in blood and heart-related problems including Hypernatremia. Sure sodium is necessary for maintaining and regulating the volume of blood, but like everything else, in excess it is disastrous.

Sugars are no better. Popcorn covered in sugary products can lead to obesity and diabetes. Funny enough these are the two leading medical conditions affecting cats. Now, since cats do not taste sugar, it is useless feeding it to them. It will only harm them, and they will not enjoy it.

So can they Eat it?

Yes, they can. But this is strictly restricted to the fluffy bit. So in essence, popcorn should be completely popped. In the event you feed your cat lots of popcorn containing a large amount of kernel that remains un-popped, there is a chance your cat may experience indigestion, pain, and discomfort.

But here is the thing you cannot possibly expect all of the kernels to pop. As such, with every popcorn batch, you prepare, you should do our due diligence to get rid of the un-popped and resilient kernels.

In the event, your feline friend accidentally gobbles down un-popped kernels be sure to watch it closely, and have lots of water on standby to help clear its throat in case anything gets stuck.

Popcorn, as earlier stated contain a considerable amount of fiber. The fiber can prove to be good for our cat. However, popcorn are not the only source of fiber. Meat is high in fiber and as such is great as the main diet for your cat.

When all is said and done, I realized that while it is okay to feed my cat popcorn, having met some conditions, it generally has close to nil nutritional value in comparison to other foods.

Popcorn – Do They Have Any Benefits?

Now, popcorn has minimal nutrition for cats. But generally, popcorn prepared with flavorings and salt are okay for your cat provided you feed it to them in moderation, and your cat does not have allergies to starch.

Your cat is a carnivorous animal. But you already know this. Bodies of carnivorous animals are built to get nutrition from meat. However, over the years, and courtesy of their domestication, they have since undergone some significant amount of change and adaptation that enables them to extract some nutrients contained in plant foods.

It is for this reason that feeding your feline plant-based foods has little nutritional value to it. It is important to note that popcorn will not provide your cat with minerals or vitamins. Speaking of which, you might want to consider giving your cat vitamin supplements to ensure that it is getting enough of it. Some of the best cat vitamin supplements include Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil and Purina Fortiflora Nutritional Supplements.

  • Popcorn feature fiber which works to aid the digestive system. But their small carnivorous designed bodies only absorb little amounts of it from popcorn. Feeding on meat though, they can get loads of it.
  • Popcorn also has low calories and fat. These are considered harmless to your feline. They, however, have to be given in great moderation to your cat to keep health-related issues at bay.
  • For homemade popcorn, the kind that contains no salt and flavoring is great for cats that feature a low tolerance for sodium. In excess amounts, sodium can cause great damage to your feline friend.

How Should You Serve Your Cat With Popcorn?

While popcorn in itself is healthy for your domestic cat to consume, the artificial ingredients and flavorings might not be. It is for this reason that I encourage cat parents to prepare popcorn for their cats. Popcorn needs to be natural to lower the risks involved in its consumption for cats.

Before leaving your cat to enjoy the popcorn, ensure that all kernels have popped. This will help to keep your cat from choking. One time a kernel got stuck in my cat’s throat, and my beloved cat burst out choking and vomiting. For this reason, you should only feed your cat on the fluffy bits.

Stay away from seasoning and salt. Too much of salt translates to a lot of sodium which leads to high blood pressure and leads to many other complications. Flavorings are also not good for cats as they cause diabetes and obesity.

I did not realize that cats could not taste sweetness until I read up on it. Sugar or no sugar, your cat cannot tell. As such, to be safe, do not feed your cat on sugar.

Bottom line, if you really want to feed your cat popcorn, you should ensure that it is plain and feed it to it in moderation. Bear in mind that popcorn cannot replace a normal carnivorous diet for your cat.


As a cat parent, you surely want to give your cat the very best. This includes giving it proper nutrition. Every time you plan on your cat’s diet, you should leave out any human food. While it may not be harmful or poisonous, your cat may extract the least nutrition. Most of the foods that are great for human beings are not ideal for cats.

So the answer to the question ‘can cats eat popcorn’ is a resounding yes. But to be on the safe side, it should be all natural devoid of flavorings, toppings and salt. It also should be in moderation.

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

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