Technically, there should be no issue feeding your cat popcorn, but it’s not quite that simple. It’s not so much a case of, Can cats eat popcorn, but can your cats eat your popcorn and in most cases the answer is a resounding “no” while in other cases it’s closer to “why bother?”.
Read on to get a better idea of just what we’re talking about.
Can Cats Eat Popcorn?
The main issue with popcorn is the fact that it can be a choking hazard for young cats. This is not a serious issue as they don’t choke as easily as we do, but it’s still not a pleasant sight for you or a pleasant experience for them. Popcorn is soft, oddly shaped and it has the tendency to melt in the mouth, which can make it hard to swallow for an animal that likes to chew once and then swallow whole.
And if the popcorn is not soft then it means it is likely covered in caramel, nuts, sugar or other extras, which brings us to the second reason why you should avoid giving your cats popcorn.
Popcorn is Unhealthy for Cats
Cats should subsist on a diet that mainly consists of protein, as well as the essential vitamins and minerals that go along with it. They don’t need a lot of carbs, nor should they consume them, and they certainly don’t need processed foods and additives. Not only can they cause digestive upset, but in larger doses they can cause serious harm and may result in your cat becoming very ill.
Popcorn can be a very simple, straightforward and relatively healthy foodstuff, but it can also be one of the unhealthiest snack foods there is. The “butter” that they squirt on it at the cinema is not actual butter. It is a synthetic ingredient hat has been known to cause a condition called Popcorn Lung, whereby consumption of a large quantity leads to breathing problems not because of consumption, but because the fumes are being breathed in while it is being consumed.
Add to this the preservatives, colorants, sweeteners and everything else that is loaded onto store-bought popcorn and you have something that should not go anywhere near your cat. Your human body might be resilient to this sort of food, but the same can’t be said for your little furry friend.
Even if the popcorn is relatively natural and additive free, it may still contain salt or sugar. Let’s be honest, while popcorn free of all additives may be okay for your cat, it’s probably not okay for you.
Should I Worry if My Cat Steals Popcorn?
If it is loaded with additives and they have consumed a large amount then there could be some digestive discomfort and you should definitely keep a close eye on them. If you notice any immediate change then consult your vet immediately. If, however, they consume popcorn without additives or they consumed a very small amount then they will likely be okay, assuming there are no allergies present.
In any case, make sure you keep a close eye on them and seek medical attention if you notice any worrying changes in their behavior.