Can Cats Eat Popcorn? Why Is It Bad For Cats?

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It’s not uncommon for cat owners to try giving human foods to their pets. Popcorn is one of those. But you may wonder, can cats eat popcorn? Is it safe enough for them?

Popcorn can be easily tossed by cat lovers to their felines. Our fave pets can also stick their paws in a bowl to grab some pieces.

Should you feed your cat with popcorn?

The answer to this question is both yes as well as no.

Cats are known to be picky with food but you can’t blame some of them for taking a liking to popcorn. It has a wonderful smell so our feline friends may be tempted to take a bite. And cats are responsive to salty foods like popcorn.

Cats may tolerate a few pieces of popcorn, but giving them more than that may prove to be disadvantageous. Popcorn should only be given as a treat, meaning cats should be fed with them on very few occasions.

You should never make popcorn a part of your kitty’s daily diet. Aside from not having any nutritional value for cats, popcorn may also pose health problems for your furry friend.

( Here, you can read about. can cats eat strawberries )

Dangers of popcorn in felines

Cat with 3D glass

Why is popcorn harmful for cats? The high amount of salt in popcorns, for one, make it such a dangerous food for our feline friends.

Did you know that a bag of butter-flavored popcorn can have around 500 to 600 milligrams of salt? An average sized cat should only consume around 21 milligrams of salt a day.

When a cat consumes too much salt, she could suffer from sodium poisoning. Or she could be excessively thirsty. She may also experience excessive urination.

Other signs that your cat may have consumed a lot of salt include:

There’s even the possibility that your cat may die as a result of eating too many salty foods.

Popcorn is also high in calories, which makes it harmful to cats. A cup of popcorn sold in movie theaters has about 60 total calories, way above the 25 to 30 daily calorie limits in felines.

While your cat won’t likely be consuming that much popcorn, you still don’t want to increase her calorie intake, right?

Popcorn also contains a lot of additives that could be very harmful to your cat.

Diacetyl is one of these additives. This gives microwave popcorn the distinctive taste and smell that make it appealing to humans and certain cats. It is also used in other foods like candy, chips, and cookies.

Popcorn can also contains hydrogenated oil. This gives it the buttery flavor that we all love. But it can also pose a health problem for cats. This toxic ingredient is poorly digested by cats, and can potentially lead to hepatic lipidosis.

Also known as fatty liver, hepatic lipidosis has the following symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy

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Choking and digestion problems

Cat looking the owner with remote television

Aside from the aforementioned diseases that may be caused by feeding cats with popcorn, choking and digestion problems may also arise.

Kernels that didn’t pop are considered choking hazards to cats. Plus there is the danger that the kernel can trigger airway blockage.

Popcorns that come with cheese and butter toppings can also cause digestive problems to our furry friends. Cheese and butter have milk. Cats are known to be lactose intolerant, meaning they can’t digest milk properly.

Lactose intolerance usually triggers upset stomach and diarrhea.

Sure, giving your cat a few pieces of popcorn every now and then may not necessarily result to hepatic lipidosis and sodium poisoning. It may not even result to choking and digestion problems.

But why should you take your chances, right?

What’s more, your cat won’t really get anything out of those few pieces of popcorn. Yes, she might find the food tasty and crunchy, but it’s not as if popcorn has the proteins your active pet would need.

Cats get the nutrients that they need from animal-based protein sources, and not plant-based sources.

How to prevent cats from eating popcorn

Cat touching the camera

Now that you realize how dangerous popcorn is for our feline friends, here are some pointers to ensure that your cat won’t be chomping on the said snack anytime soon:

  • Don’t give in to her demands. No matter how frequent her yowling is, don’t give her even a few pieces of popcorn!
  • Cover your popcorn if you put it on the table.
  • Don’t eat popcorn in front of your pet.


There’s no question that popcorn is a very popular snack for humans but there’s really no reason to share this snack with cats. Popcorn is too salty for cats, and there is a chance that felines may suffer from sodium poisoning if they are fed with popcorn.

The additives in popcorn can also be very harmful to cats. Plus, popcorn has no nutritional value for felines. Why would you give her something that won’t do her any good?

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