Is Popcorn Bad For Cats? [ Here’s The Answer ]

Few special things can hit the spot in a movie theatre or while cuddling into a couch binge-watching your favorite show. A crunchy thing is an outstanding option for a movie or an afternoon treat. Popcorn acts as the go-to food for several people who look after calorie intake because of its exciting health benefits.

Popcorn proves to be a temporary filler before a good meal. Meanwhile, the sight of their cats holding enough popcorn in their paws and their munching of popcorn could be adorable. But, there are various things to know if you decide to share popcorn with your cat.

Is popcorn bad for cats?

For several cats, the short answer could be yes or no. While watching your favorite show, you have a bowl of popcorn on one side, and on the other side, your cat is there. Accidentally, you tossed up a handful of popcorn into your mouth, and some of it launched on your lap. Meanwhile, a crunching sound comes, and you look down to see that your cat is munching those fallen kernels.

Alarmingly, you shout, “Is popcorn bad or good for cats.” It means popcorn could be harmful and beneficial and entirely depends on the popcorn preparation ways. It is also dependent on whether it includes additives or nutritional substances. Now, let us look over why popcorn is bad and good for cats?

If popcorn includes additives and is easy to make in the microwave, that makes it toxic, and most probably, dangerous for cats. Keep your cat away from pre-made popcorn varieties, particularly when they include enough garlic, onion, salt, and butter.

Popcorn with candied gourmet is also not for your cat, along with popcorn coated with chocolate, caramel, cheese flavorings, and heavily powdered materials. Overall, these types of additives and toppings worsen your cat’s potential health and cause indigestion in your cat.

On either side, freshly prepared, air-popped popcorn, and still hot when it comes into the bowl, is best for cats. Cats got rapidly attracted to the intriguing qualities of popcorn due to its scent and warmth.

Small amounts of popcorn, only a few pieces at a time, are safe for your cat to consume and play with. Though plain popcorn does not provide any nutritional value, it does not offer any risk type.

Cats come under obligate omnivores. So like an omnivore diet, cats’ digestive systems do not digest grains in the same way as dogs and humans do.

Unpopped popcorn can be difficult for your cat to chew and, if taken in large numbers, might become tough to make its way through the cat’s digestive tract. Have a close watch over your cat, whether it has swallowed any untended popcorn piece on the floor or couch.

What if my cat eats popcorn?

Does your cat chew a few kernels of popcorn? No need to worry if your cat has consumed popcorn. But, pet owners need to keep in mind that you should never introduce popcorns in your cat’s daily diet. According to research, if you give a high popcorn amount to your cat, it can destroy their system. Popcorn loaded with butter and preservatives could stick to their stomach and cause immense harm.

So, be cautious of food that will make its way down into your cat’s stomach, as that specific food can turn out to be their biggest disadvantage. If given in excess amounts, popcorn cannot kill the cats but could lead to several adverse effects, nearly offering fatal issues to them. Popcorn does not include any nutritional value and ends up giving difficulties to your cat.

By chance, if your cat consumes microwavable popcorn that includes a massive amount of artificial butter, it could cause harm to your cat. Artificial butter has a chemical named diacetyl, and this enzyme could cause lung diseases in your cat if taken frequently.

But if you give popcorns with whole grains to the cat and that too in small numbers, along with wholewheat breadcrumbs, cornmeal, oats, polenta, and barley, that would be good for your cat. As long as you properly cook the popcorn, this type of wholesome food becomes easy for your cat to digest, and it also can have some nutritional benefits.

Popcorn alternatives for your cat

To prevent the side effects of microwavable popcorn, your cat should mostly take balanced cat food. If you desire to try out some alternative treats for your cat or want to share snacks with them, there are various options they can eat without any risk like – indigestion and choking problems.

In that case, pet owners should offer vegetables in treats or food. But not all cats will take it. Your cat would get perfect nutrition through vegetables and a part of a balanced meal. As per ASPCA, vegetables that are not harmful to cats are as follows.

  • Zucchini.
  • Carrots.
  • Celery (cats love its crunchiness).
  • Green bell peppers.
  • Green beans.
  • Spinach (enriched with vitamin K, C, and A).
  • Peas (found in various prepackaged food for dogs and cats as a source of vitamin).
  • Beets.
  • Bananas.
  • Broccoli.
  • Cantaloupe.
  • Cucumber.
  • Strawberries.
  • Corn.
  • Squash.
  • Pumpkin (a type of food that adds fiber to your cat’s diet).

Generally, treats do not act as a balanced diet and should not make up a significant portion of your cat’s daily intake. Always give your cat a moderate amount, but check with your vet first to ensure its safety.

High-quality cat food should be their primary source of nutrition and calories that could treat any indulgence. However, to test varying healthy snacks for your cat can act as a fun bonding experience between you and your vet. Thus, you should never replace Corn, popcorn, and other vegetables with meals. As cats are carnivores, they require nutrients from properly cooked cat food.

So, if you are binge-watching a movie cuddling with your cat, do not worry if your cat chews up a few kernels of popcorn. Cats can consume Corn, but only in tiny amounts. Just talk with your vet before giving any food item, as their digestive system is quite sensitive to various dietary changes.

Moreover, formulated cat food includes a sufficient amount of protein that offers support to your cat’s tendons, bones, and ligaments. Balanced cat food also improves the functioning of several enzymes and hormones present in your cat.

Cats also require vitamins to boost immunity, fatty acids to boost energy, and minerals to promote cell protection and formation. All these vital elements are present in none other than properly formulated cat food.

What to do if your cat eats popcorn?

Once you notice that your cat has eaten some kernel of popcorn, keenly monitor your cat for any choking. It is a vital practice for every cat, irrespective of age.

Observe your cat for any gastrointestinal complications after they eat popcorn. For instance, popcorn toppings or excess salt could result in constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. Ensure to feed your cat correctly and observe whether they have high body temperature or loss of appetite.

If your cat does not showcase any complications or symptoms, it would be better to make an appointment with a vet for observation purposes.

Hence, since popcorn does not offer any nutritional value, your cat could get long-term complications if taken in large amounts. It is a mandatory step to take if your cat eats popcorn. Ensure to brush your cat’s teeth to get rid of stuck fragments just after your cat eats popcorn.


Now, as you have realized that popcorn could cause harm to your cat, you need to take some preventive measures as follows.

  • Never entertain your cat’s demands.
  • Cover up the popcorn bowl or place them in a closed container.
  • Ensure not to eat popcorn when your cat is around you.
  • Offer less amount of human food to your cat.

Final Thoughts

Do you love your cat? Then, keep your cat away from any item that could harm them. Do not keep any unwanted things around their sight, and never make the things accessible to them as even an extra amount can lead to various damaging health issues.

Feed your cat with a few kernels of plain popcorn that needs to get correctly cooked without any unpopped kernels. While the popcorn is not harmful, flavorings topped over popcorn tend to be unhealthy for your cat. Never give popcorn to kittens as it could lead to severe health issues in them.