can cat eat popcorn

Can Cats Eat Popcorn? The Surprising Answer


f you’re watching a movie with your cat and a bowl of popcorn, while on this page, you’re probably asking yourself, can cats eat popcorn? Cats can safely eat quite a few human foods, that’s no secret, but it’s important to know what exactly they can’t have.

It’s extremely important to know what we can and can’t feed our cats to ensure that we are not putting their health at risk. Though sharing your snack can be a great bonding experience, giving them something from the “No” list is very dangerous.

We’ve put together this answer article to ensure that the question “can cats eat popcorn” is thoroughly answered.

Can Cats Eat Popcorn?

  • The answer to this question is both yes and no. Where “no” is concerned, there are many reasons as to why cats can’t, and shouldn’t, have popcorn. Most, if not all, of these reasons relate directly to their health.
can cat eat popcorn

In fact, popcorn is actually very bad for cats to eat. Popcorn has no nutritional value in general to humans or cats, but the reasons why cats can’t have it is very different compared to why humans can.

Cats can have plain, unsalted, unflavored popcorn in very minimal, micro amounts, but unless you are popping untouched kernels yourself finding this type of popcorn is near impossible to find.

The Top 3 Reasons
Why Cats Can’t Have Popcorn

Because the answer to the question “can cats eat popcorn” is both yes and no, we will need to delve deeper into the reasons why cats can’t have popcorn to better understand why this is the case.

  • Cats Have Sensitive Stomachs.
  • Flavored/Seasoned Popcorn is Toxic for Cats.
  • Popcorn is a Choking Hazard.

1. Cats Have Sensitive Stomachs


A cat’s digestive system is actually very sensitive. In fact, even the slightest dietary change, such as a brand of food, for example, can cause immediate issues. Like switching their regular food brand, adding human foods can lead to the same thing.

Cats are not programmed biologically to have a need for grain. Popcorn is, obviously, corn, which isn’t high in nutritional value whatsoever. It doesn’t even have much value for humans, either.

Cats do not have amylase, a necessary enzyme within their saliva count that digests carbohydrates in certain forms properly. Popcorn is a prime example of a food that needs amylase to be digested properly, which cats do not have and, therefore, can’t do.

  • Too many carbs will run rampant on a cat’s digestive system, especially where undigested corn is concerned, and can lead to flatulence and even abdominal pain.

2. Flavored/Seasoned Popcorn is Toxic for Cats

Interestingly enough, microwavable popcorn is actually incredibly toxic for a cat. This is because of the many additives that are found in popcorn, especially where the microwavable kind are concerned.


Varieties with flavorings, such as butter or cheese, are extremely bad for a cat’s system and eliminate any health benefits, if any at all, that may have potential where untreated popcorn is the case.

A lot of microwavable popcorn contains salt, butter, garlic, onion, and much more additives and seasonings, which cats simply cannot have. Even the smallest amount could seriously screw up your cat’s system.

Sodium, for example, is one of the worst things that a cat could have, which is often seen in the ingredient list of flavored and/or seasoned popcorn. A high sodium intake can lead to Hypernatremia, which causes issues with the blood and the heart.

Sodium causes problems with a cat’s acid base, blood volume, and blood pressure. Long term issues, including heart failure and high blood pressure, are also major results as a result of too much sodium present in a cat’s system.

  • Ergo, unless you have prepared it by popping the kernels yourself, avoid sharing any of it with your cat. Although, even untreated popcorn should rarely be given, if at all.

3. Popcorn is a Choking Hazard


This may be pretty obvious, but you would be surprised at how often this reasoning specifically behind why cats can’t have popcorn is ignored. Popcorn is small enough in size that cats can actually choke on it.

Popcorn is both a digestive and a choking hazard, which should be more than enough to keep it away from your cat. The unpopped kernels, especially, should be kept away from your cat to avoid him trying to ingest them when you’re not paying attention.

  • Cats are curious creatures by nature, that’s obvious, so ensure that you keep any popcorn pieces and unpopped kernels as far away from them as possible to avoid the worst.

Can Cats Eat Popcorn?

cat funny

The big answer, in short, to “can cats eat popcorn” is yes and no, but more no than anything. Popcorn is actually very dangerous for cats to have, so keep it away from them entirely.

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