Can Cats Eat Popcorn? (All You Need to Know)

Popcorn is not toxic to cats but it could be toxic and a health hazard if it is mixed with certain ingredients, such as butter & salt. They can also harm your cat if you serve it in a large amount and frequency. One should be more cautious with packed popcorn as they are loaded with damaging additives & hydrogenated oils. Your cat can suffer from vomiting or diarrhea if you fail to be careful. 

Is it good for cats to eat popcorn? 

Can cats eat popcorn,? Yes, your cats can eat popcorn but there is a catch. There is no harm in feeding your cat popcorn as long as the popcorn is air-popped with zero seasonings. Seasonings like salt, butter, caramel, and other spices and ingredients like garlic powder can definitely create health issues for your cat. Butter contains a heavy amount of fat from which your cat can easily get sick. A few puffy pieces of fresh popcorn are fine for your cat but you would still want to be careful about the amount. Popcorn doesn’t contain many nutrients, therefore, it is only going to fill up your cat’s tummy without providing much protein or vitamins back. 

Which ingredients of popcorn are bad for cats? 

Popcorns are often seasoned with onion and garlic, which can be extremely bad for your cat. Onion, shallots, garlic, and scallions could cause harm to your cat as they tend to damage the red blood cells. Giving them such food can also lead to anemia. Such kinds of food are usually poisonous if consumed in large amounts. If your cat even consumes concentrated forms of garlic or onion, like garlic powder or onion soup, it can create tummy issues for your cat. If your cat has symptoms like reduced appetite, weakness, pale gums, lethargy, or reddish urine, it must seek a doctor’s help immediately. 

Which foods are good and which are bad for the cat? 

When it comes to feeding your cat, you might want to ensure that your cat has the best types of food which will provide for its nutritional needs. Here is some food that you might want to give:

Cats are born meat eaters, plain & simple. It is important for cats to consume meat as it is loaded with protein. It helps to keep their heart strong, have a clear vision & a good reproductive system. Cooked chicken, beef, turkey, and small quantities of lean deli meats are always good choices for cats. Whereas, spoiled or raw meat can make your cat extremely sick. 

Bowl of salty popcorns on a yellow background
Bowl of salty popcorns – not for your cat

Whole grains 

Oats contain a huge amount of protein per calorie, and they are also effortless to make. Many cats love polenta, and corn because of the texture as it is a coarsely ground cornmeal. You can also feed your cat brown rice, wheat berries, and barley but first, you should mash them. Cats love smaller grains such as couscous and millet. You should also remember to cook the rice before feeding them to your cat, or else it might be tough for them to digest. Breadcrumbs, especially those made with whole wheat, are also good for your cat. 


Fish are extremely good for your cat as it contains omega-3 fatty acids. It helps to keep your cat’s eyes sharp, prevent heart disorders, and keep kidney diseases away. Cooked or canned fish is not bad for a small treat but do not ever feed them raw fish. Raw fish is never a good choice. 


Another good source from which your cat can get protein is eggs but they should be fully cooked just like raw fish and meat, raw eggs can also make your cat sick. 


When it comes to veggies, very few cats like to have vegetables but some like to have fruits. Fruits like felines are a good source of fiber & water which help the cats in digestion, they are also filled with vitamins. The only con with this fruit is it is not sweet in taste. You can also try fresh cucumber, steamed broccoli, cantaloupe, or asparagus. 


Another food that you can feed your cat is cheese. It might sound weird but cheese is high in protein and it is good for your cat if given in small quantities. Compared to meat, fish, and eggs, cheese contains less amount of protein. But before feeding your cat cheese, you need to make sure that your cat is okay with the dairy products as not all cats can handle dairy products. 

Cat thinking about Popcorn
Cat thinking about Popcorn

Foods to avoid

Dog food

Dog food is not harmful to your cat but it is very different from cat food. Your cat needs food that is filled with vitamin A, arachidonic acid, taurine, and protein but dog food contains very low amounts of such nutrients. Dogs could survive with low amounts of vitamin A & protein, while your cat needs them in large quantities. Dogs are capable of producing arachidonic acid & taurine whereas a cat can not produce them. Insufficient quantities of taurine can lead to heart diseases, and dental and vision issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of popcorn can I feed my cat? 
While air-popped and plain popcorn are safe for cats, it needs to be given in a small amount. If they consume it in a large amount, then they face issues like choking even if it’s not seasoned. 

What food is toxic to cats?
Garlic, onions, shallots, chives, leeks, and scallions are toxic for cats. These kinds of food belong to allium species and cats are extremely sensitive to such chemical compounds. 

Is it natural for cats to be fond of popcorn?
The scent & warmth of popcorn produces intriguing qualities that cats are extremely attracted to. You can feed your cat popcorn in low quantities. 


Cats are easily attracted to popcorn because of its puffy and chewy qualities but you might want to make sure that your cat doesn’t consume it in a large quantity as it can create various health issues.

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