Can Cats Eat Popcorn? All You Need To Know

Cats and popcorn seem like a good combination. But Can Cats Eat Popcorn? Imagine making your cat jump for a popcorn kernel from one arm of your couch to the other. While that may paint a happy picture, should you really be feeding your cats popcorn?

We answer your queries about feeding your pet cat popcorn and more in this extensive article! Keep reading to maybe feed (or not) popcorn!

Can Cats Eat Popcorn?

Well, yes, cats can eat popcorn. But, they probably should not have too much of it. Therefore, while you can toss the occasional kernel toward your cat, try to keep it just that – an occasional treat!

can cats eat popcorn

Popcorn is essentially a source of empty calories and is, as a result, harmful for your pet cat. Further, they may even prove to be poisonous for your pet cat when taken in large quantities!

The occasional treat won’t harm your pet cat, but going entirely or even moderately overboard can cause serious damage to your pet cat’s overall health!

Nutritional Facts About Popcorn

The fact is that popcorn is easily one of the easiest snacks to prepare in the world and isn’t entirely unhealthy to eat.

Not to mention the fact that whether you butter it up or sprinkle powdered cheese or even drizzle some caramel over it, popcorn is delicious in every form and flavor.

Essentially, you can make popcorn by heating the unpopped kernels that are starch-filled, hard seeds and popping them. You can count on this easy preparation style whenever you feel like you need some light snacking!

Popcorn in bowl

This crunchy wholesome snack contains a lot of nutritious goodness for humans. Popcorn is a whole grain food, which means it has a lot of health benefits, according to nutritionists.

Popcorn is one of the best sources of fiber for your body, as well as vitamins B along with minerals like zinc, magnesium, and potassium.

Polyphenol antioxidants found in popcorn have been linked to improved circulation, digestive issues, and a lower risk of prostate and breast cancer.

While polyphenols can be found in many fruits and vegetables, this compound is frequently diluted by the water in production.

Because popcorn contains only 4% water, it contains a concentrated amount of this beneficial cancer fighter.

Health Concerns Of Popcorn For Cats

As we said, popcorn is not particularly harmful by itself. But it isn’t particularly healthy either. The reason is that popcorn is a source of empty calories for both humans and cats. This only holds if you feed your cat fresh and unflavored popcorn.

However, cats can pose severe health concerns if you feed popcorn to your cat indiscriminately, especially if you’re offering your flavored cat versions of popcorn.

Cats are typically carnivorous animals. However, the most commercially available cat kibble is created with grains such as oatmeal or corn.

The main reason for this specific composition is that corn is a cheap ingredient that provides dietary fiber to animals and acts as a chemically bonding agent to hold the other kibble ingredients together.

Cat eating. Grapes on plate

However, the ideal diet for your pet cat should be a carnivorous one rich in animal sources of protein and micronutrients. Feeding popcorn to your pet cat will mean that your cat will consume nutritionless food and miss out on crucial nutrients.

Additionally, consuming too much popcorn can result in nutritional deficiencies in cats. There are also other health concerns associated with popcorn. One such prominent hazard is that of choking.

The texture of popcorn is such that it can very easily stick to your cat’s palate or throat and end up blocking your cat’s airways. It is an extremely bad idea to allow your cat to eat popcorn in an unsupervised environment.

If your cat consumes fully popped kernels, keep an eye out for dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, or other signs of digestive anguish.

Can Baby Cats Eat Popcorn?

Baby cat

It is not advisable to feed baby cats or kittens popcorn. Simply put, they would be much healthier if they snacked on healthy alternatives instead. Popcorn, by itself, adds no value to their daily diet and health but does pose the risk of being a choking hazard.

Therefore, if you wish to feed your baby cat popcorn, ensure that you do so in a supervised environment and with extremely limited quantities.

Can Cats Eat Caramel Popcorn or Cheese Popcorn?

No, cats can’t eat caramel popcorn or cheese popcorn. Caramel popcorn can cause your cat to load up on unhealthy carbohydrates and processing chemicals. Moreover, sugar is not a part of a cat’s natural diet.

The same principle also applies to cheese. Since milk and dairy are not something that cats have evolved to digest properly, they can cause severe gastric issues such as nausea, vomiting, loose motions, and indigestion.

Can Cats Eat Plain or Salted Popcorn? 

Plain popcorn is acceptable for your pet cat as a rare treat. However, salted popcorn is a big no-no, and the main reason is that large amounts of salt are toxic to cats. It is poisonous, and the effects are detrimental to your cat’s overall health.

Cats who consume too much salt may develop kidney problems and even tremors. In more severe cases, a cat who regularly consumes an excessive amount of salt may develop brain swelling.

All of this can result in physical issues, such as your cat’s inability to balance or use the litter box properly.

Do Cats Like Popcorn?

The fact is that cats are highly curious creatures that enjoy exploring as many things as possible. Popcorn is certainly one of them.

Cat staring

If you have a bowl of warm popcorn that has been freshly prepared, the scent is very likely to attract your cat. However, ultimately whether a cat enjoys eating popcorn or not is subjective to the dietary preferences of each cat.

How Much Popcorn Can A Cat Eat?

You should feed your cat only a few kernels of freshly popped and unflavored popcorn as a rare treat. Feeding your excessive cat amounts of popcorn can result in digestive issues for your cat along with deprivation of an appetite for the real healthy foods in its diet!

How To Feed Popcorn To Cats?

If you must feed popcorn to your cats, a safe way to do so is to prepare a bowl of air-popped, oil-free popcorn that is also completely free of additives such as butter, salt, caramel, cheese, or any spices.

Once the popcorn has cooled down a little, you can feed a few kernels of it to your pet cat. Exceeding a few kernels can result in your cat feeling full and unwilling to eat its nutritious meals.

Make sure your cat eats the popcorn under your supervision since it can also get stuck in your pet cat’s airway and end up choking it.

Does Popcorn Affect The Digestive System Of Cats?

Yes, popcorn can affect the digestive system of cats, especially if it is cheese coated or powdered with cheese. Popcorn, by itself, is a rich source of fiber, and eating too much of it can cause your cat to experience loose motions, vomiting, or general digestive issues.

Final Thoughts

Popcorn and cats aren’t the best combinations. Quite frankly, popcorn does more harm to your cat than it does any good.

Not only does it fill up your cat’s stomach with empty and useless calories, but it also poses serious health risks such as acute digestive distress and loss of appetite due to it. Therefore, you should certainly avoid feeding popcorn to your cats.

If, however, you must give in to your pet cat’s adorable look of expectation, you should only offer a few kernels of unflavored and air-popped popcorn as a treat from time to time.

If you notice your cat vomiting or experiencing any form of physical discomfort, you should immediately contact your veterinarian for further guidance.


Can cats eat white cheddar popcorn?

No, cats can’t eat white cheddar popcorn.

Can cats eat microwave popcorn?

Yes, cats can eat microwave popcorn as an occasional treat but only if it is free of butter and other additives.

Can cats eat cheddar popcorn?

No, cats can’t eat cheddar popcorn.

Can cats eat buttered popcorn?

No, buttered popcorn can be harmful to your cat’s overall health.

Can cats eat organic popcorn?

While organic popcorn does offer the benefit of being free of chemicals, the presence of other flavorings and additives makes it unhealthy for your pet cat anyway. Therefore, unless it is plain popcorn, cats shouldn’t eat even organic popcorn.

About the author

I'm Gulshan, a passionate pet enthusiast. Dive into my world where I share tips, stories, and snapshots of my animal adventures. Here, pets are more than just animals; they're heartbeats that enrich our lives. Join our journey!