Cat Care, Food and Nutrition

Can Cats Eat Popcorn? Is Popcorn Good For Cats?

A lot of human foods have passed the test to be in a casual feline diet plan, so many that some cat...

Written by mypettutor · 8 min read >
Can Cats Eat Popcorn

A lot of human foods have passed the test to be in a casual feline diet plan, so many that some cat owners don’t bother anymore. Questions like, “can cats eat popcorn?” become irrelevant.

Nevertheless, if you are a meticulous cat parent, you’d examine every treat before handing them over. Yes, even popcorn. You might find it cute that your little friend is munching on your favorite snack, but certain things must be considered.

It is easy to look over the DOs and DONTs of cat nutrition because they seem so agile and ready to handle it all. However, if the right care for your pet is sidelined, the result will have you shocked to the bones.

Let’s dive right into some popcorn knowledge. This article will let you know if these cats can eat popcorn and all you need to know about the silver snack.

Can Cats Eat Popcorn?

Yes, cats can eat popcorn. Though you must pay attention to the kind of popcorn your cat is munching on. That crunchy goodness you grab each time the movies come on may not be the best option for your feline companion.

Plain popcorn is the only safe form of popcorn cats can eat. The major source of concern is the additives in popcorn, particularly those found in microwave popcorn. These extra ingredients make it hazardous for cats to consume. 

In essence, keep the ready-made forms of popcorn away from your pet. More so, if the popcorn has a lot of salt, butter, onion, or garlic. 

Additionally, caramelized gourmet popcorn, chocolate-coated popcorn, and kinds that have cheese flavor thickly powdered are not permitted. These flavors and ingredients work together to negate whatever health advantages popcorn might have for your cat.

Similar article: Can Cats Eat Whipped Cream? Is Whipped Cream Good For Cats?

How Much Popcorn Can Cats Eat?

Cats can eat popcorn in very little quantities. Although it does not offer so many nutrients, popcorn on its own is safe enough for those kitties to eat in small amounts.

This will be better if the cat chews a couple of pieces at a time. It’s wise to limit the serving amount of high-sodium popcorn to 2–5 kernels if your cat wants a sample.

Products containing corn and comparable fillers, like rice and wheat, include 30–50% carbohydrates, which, if ingested frequently, may cause feline obesity and diabetes.

Although eating two to ten kernels of buttered popcorn won’t hurt your cat, don’t give it to them often as a snack.

Veterinarians advise to feed cats a high-protein (at least 50%), a grain-free wet diet that contains entire meat and organs. For the best health, cats should consume wet food frequently, and snacks shouldn’t account for over 10% of daily meals.

Is Popcorn Good For Cats?

Popcorn may not be toxic, but is it good for cats? This animal is a very complex entity, and this makes it difficult to ascertain all that is good for them.

Due to their complexity, cats need different nutrients than people need to grow and prosper. As a result, what is good for us may not be so good for feline furballs.

Thankfully, this does not imply that popcorn is harmful to cats. Though when not prepared plain, it could pose some threats. 

It is also quite difficult to chew, and for some cats, this could cause a choking effect. Now we can further understand how complicated it is to know if popcorn is good for cats.

Some would even contend that it contains remnants of nutritious food. You can notice that corn is a common element in cat food by looking at the ingredient list. Furthermore, as popcorn is a sort of maize, it must be healthy for your beloved fluffy buddy.

However, you should only offer it to your pet as a treat seldom and in little amounts, even if it is plain and unseasoned.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Cornbread? Is Cornbread Good for Dogs?

Health Benefits Of Popcorn

The nutritional benefits of popcorn are almost non-existent and insignificant. While some kitties find this very interesting, it can only be considered suitable when properly prepared. That the popcorn cats can eat differ, as additives to this treat can cause harm to your feline buddy.

In essence, one cup of popcorn contains about 1.03g of protein, 0.37g of fat, 6.2g of carbohydrate, 1.15g of fiber, 0.07g of sugar, and trace measures of calcium and iron.

Vitamins B, A, E, and K are also found in tiny levels in popcorn. Although it contains nutrients, popcorn is not a nutritious food for cats because they are obligate carnivores and should only eat fish, meat, poultry, and crustaceans. Some veterinary professionals advise that popping popcorn in your cat’s mouth can help remove tartar buildup and enhance their dental health.

Popcorn is a good source of fiber and polyphenols, which are antioxidants connected to better digestion, improved blood circulation, and a possible reduction in the risk of several malignancies.

The great satiety of popcorn is another health benefit. Popcorn is regarded as having a low energy density, low-calorie count, and high fiber content.

This further affirms that it could be a good snack, but mostly for an overweight feline.

What Kind of Popcorn Can Cats Eat?

If you notice your cat is attracted to some air-popped, unsweetened, and free of possibly hazardous additive popcorns, this is no cause to panic. Cats can eat them. This might not sound interesting but, cats can only eat popcorn that is 100% plain and unflavoured.

Nevertheless, when we indulge in popcorn or any other uncommon — for cats — snack delights, it is important to keep in mind our cats and their digestion patterns.

The popcorn you feed your cat should be Air-popped, unbuttered, and either seasoned mildly or not seasoned at all.

Cats should not eat salted popcorns. Although salt enhances the flavor of popcorn, it is hazardous to cats if they eat it in big quantities. Gagging, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and tremors are the first symptoms of salt toxicosis. In extreme circumstances, it can kill your cat in less than 24 hours.

Can Cats Eat Buttered Popcorn?

Giving your cats buttered popcorn to eat can be considered a bad idea. Yes, though cats can eat popcorn, butter popcorn is not the way to go.

Regardless, popcorn has few calories, adding butter makes it a fat and cholesterol bomb. In cats, eating oily food can result in digestive problems like vomiting and diarrhea.

Buttery popcorn is ineluctably going to make you gain weight, get your arteries blocked, and have heart disease if you eat it frequently.

Although a couple of kernels of buttered popcorn won’t hurt your cat, don’t give it to them often as a snack.

What Happens If A Cat Eats Popcorn?

Additionally, there isn’t much occurring nutritionally. This implies that popcorn won’t provide much in the way of vitamins or protein. Instead, it will just take up a lot of room in your cat’s stomach.

Cats are drawn to the warmth and aroma of air-popped popcorn because it has interesting properties. Popcorn can be generally safe for your cat to chew on and is suitable for play, in very little quantities—a few pieces at a time.

However, while most cats can safely eat tiny amounts of popcorn, this isn’t true if your cat is extremely young or very elderly. If your cat falls into one of those categories, you should avoid giving it popcorn since it can make kittens or senior cats choke.

Unpopped kernels may be too tough for cats to chew on and, if consumed in large quantities, may be difficult for cats to pass through their digestive tracts naturally.

Many of these half-cooked popcorns may get dislodged in their teeth and even cause gagging or choking effects.

Popcorn is a peculiar food. Even the most basic popcorn has little in the way of nutritional benefit for your cat, but it also poses little danger.

Risks Of Popcorn For Cats

Some risks associated with cats eating popcorn range from dire consequences to mild and almost insignificant effects. Some of them are:

  • Choking hazards. The irregular shape of popcorn and its rough texture make it a risky food for cats to eat as they can choke on it. Some species, more than others, have a higher tendency to choke on popcorn because of their face and mouth structures.
  • Allergies. Some cats may experience signs of a corn or grain allergy. These signs could be: itchy, red eyes, loose stools, abnormal loss of skin, weight loss, appetite disorders, etc. Note that severe allergic reactions might result in anaphylaxis or even death.

It’s wise to start with a small amount of any new snack if you want your cat to sample it to prevent a major allergic reaction.

  • Gastrointestinal issues. Kittens who consume unpopped kernels in large quantities may experience a variety of gastrointestinal issues, including bloating, inappetence, constipation, and weakened digestion.
  • Overdosing on fiber. Popcorn is high in fiber, so consuming too many kernels might make it difficult for cats to absorb nutrients and cause digestive problems. Dietary fiber is irrelevant to cats’ nutrition.
  • Dental conditions. Popcorn kernels that don’t pop properly can be bone-hard. This might harm your cat’s dental roots if it chews on them too forcefully, leading to chipped, dislocated, or shattered teeth.

Is Popcorn Safe For Dogs And Cats?

Cats of any breed or age are not harmful when given popcorn on their own. They are safe enough that cats can eat them when offered properly.

Because it cannot satisfy your pet’s dietary needs, it is not a good choice for a snack, whether or not it is regular. Popcorn kernels are completely harmless to your cat friend’s body.

On the other side, popcorn toppings can be harmful to cats and other animals.

We frequently forget that excessive amounts of salt, butter, sugar, caramel, spice, and other popcorn flavorings can be more harmful to the animal’s health than the popcorn itself.

It’s preferable to get plain popcorn and season it on your own, but it’s still not good for your cat.

You might want to read: Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? Is Shrimp Good for Dogs?

Will Popcorn Hurt My Cat?

If you are a conservative pet owner, some foods can be quite controversial for you and your pet. You might want to know if popcorn will hurt your cat and if they can eat it at all.

You just have to be careful and watch out for a couple of things. Butter, salt, caramel, and a range of spices and flavors, such as garlic, are toppings that may cause health issues for your cat. Your cat could easily become ill from eating such things. Watch out for vomiting, stomach upset, or diarrhea.

Also, remember to check the popcorn flake for any potential obstructions or remaining kernels before giving it to your cat. Keep a watchful eye on your cat if it comes across an unattended bit of popcorn on the sofa or floor to observe whether it feels any discomfort. 

If you brush your cat’s teeth at home, keep a finger brush nearby and make sure there is a water dish available in case the cat experiences any swallowing issues.


Is popcorn bad for cats?

Plain popcorn eating in moderation is relatively safe for your cats to eat. Though popcorn has no significant health and nutritional benefit to cats, it can be given occasionally as snacks.
The issue in cats eating popcorn comes in when additives are included. These flavors and additions work together to negate any health advantages untreated popcorn might have for your cat.

Why is my cat obsessed with popcorn?

Your cat might love popcorn that deeply because it is attracted by the nice smell. Any meal that smells delicious to cats will draw them in. 
Fresh popcorn has a strong aroma that cats find attractive, especially buttered or cheese-flavored items, since felines enjoy fatty foods. Your cat might still eat plain popcorn despite its dull flavor to enjoy its crispy texture.

Can cats have microwave popcorn?

Cats can eat microwave popcorn if it is plain and fresh. Air-popped popcorn in moderation is okay for cats as long as it is newly produced and still warm when it is served.

Can cats eat sweet and salty popcorn?

No, they can result in a toxic reaction and stomach issues. A cat of average size should only be allowed about 42 mg of salt in their system per day.
Sweet and salty popcorn will just end up increasing the salt level in your feline’s body. In a worst-case scenario, it can end up killing your cat.

Can cats eat popcorn with butter?

No, butter does not have a good effect on cats. Your pet shouldn’t eat popcorn with butter or any greasy or oily ingredient. Buttered popcorn contains so much fat and calories that are not healthy for your cats.

Can cats eat popcorn kernels?

Cats can eat about 2-5 kernels of popcorn without a cause for alarm. However, popcorn does not nutritionally benefit cats enough to be considered a food item. There are also certain risks to look out for. As such, it is best given occasionally as snacks.


Yes, it is established that cats can eat popcorn. No matter how irrelevant the dietary benefits are, cats still find this attractive and an interesting snack.

Although popcorn is poisonous to cats, it can pose a health risk if served in large quantities or coupled with undesirable components. Avoid ready-made popcorn at all costs because they frequently include unhealthy additives and hydrogenated oils. Your cat may experience a bad case of vomiting or diarrhea if you are not careful.

However, you should only give it little amounts of this treat sometimes and not in excess. Just keep in mind that popcorn has no nutritional value for your cat.


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