Nutritional Value of Popcorn:
Popcorn is one of the most loved, popular, and healthiest whole grain snacks of all. It has a very rich nutritional value. Any kind of natural air-popped popcorn or plain popcorn provides a very little amount of calories and fat and hence is one of the highly recommended foods by nutritionists. The grain of popcorn has a very rich amount of fiber and antioxidants.
It produces carbohydrates too. Apart from these, popcorn grains contain Iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, and Vitamin B6 with zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and copper. It means popcorn is very rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fiber is very useful for weight loss. Popcorn contains no such saturated fat which is harmful to health. Natural or plain popcorn grains have no sugar or any other additive ingredients in them.
Now a day, ready-made microwave-cooked popcorn is available in the market. This kind of ready-made microwave-cooked popcorn contains many additives and is hence not good for health at all. Though it tastes very good, it actually very dangerous for not only cats but for the human being too. This ready-made popcorn generally contains extra salt, sugar, color, or different kinds of flavors which is very much unhealthy for cats.
Quick Table of Contents
- Can Popcorn Be given To a Cat?
- What Will Happen If a Cat Eats Popcorn By Mistake?
- Why Is Popcorn Bad For A Cat?
- Can a Cat Eat Ready-Made Popcorn Available In the Market?
- Salt In Popcorn Is Bad for Cat:
- Popcorn with Other Flavorings and Additives:
- Know More About the Cats Stomach and Their Capabilities
Can Popcorn Be given To a Cat?
Though popcorn has a very rich nutritional value, yet whether it can be given to a cat or not can be said directly. Before going to answer this query, let’s make it clear whether the nutrition of a popcorn grain has anything to do with a cat and cat’s health? Does a cat require such vitamins, fiber, and minerals available in popcorn to be a healthy pet?
And interestingly the answer is NO. A cat does not require any of those vitamins or minerals or even fiber to be a healthy pet. So naturally, popcorn is not qualified as a healthy food for a cat as popcorn’s nutritional value does not fulfill the requirement of a cat. So the question arises what will happen if a cat eats some kernels of popcorn by mistake?
Is popcorn harmful to cats? And again the answer is not a straight one. Whether popcorn is harmful to a cat cannot be answered in one sentence. Therefore, before going to answer let’s observe the pros and cons of popcorn about what happens to the cat if a cat eats it
What Will Happen If a Cat Eats Popcorn By Mistake?
A cat, by nature, is a predator and a picky animal. It loves to hunt and play. It eats and sniffs things whatever they see. So if by mistake a cat eats some kernels of popcorn, the question arises, will it be harmful to the animal? Will it cause any serious problem to the animal?
Majority of the dry food of cat contain some amount of ground yellow corn which provides some amount of energy, fiber, and protein to the animal. However, there is a big difference between ground yellow corn and popped-up corn.
Popped-up corn is not so beneficial for a cat-like the ground yellow corn. However, it does not mean that popcorn is bad for the cat. The vitamins, fiber, protein contains in popcorn are not harmful to a cat. So a little amount or some kernels of popcorn won’t do much harm to a cat as long as the cat is fit and healthy. At the same time, any number of grains of popcorn would not do any good to the animal as well. The problem lies in the fact that corn produces carbohydrates, and the cat’s digestive system is unable to digest carbohydrates.
A cat does not produce a number of enzymes in the saliva required to digest carbohydrates. So these grains of undigested popcorn may upset the stomach of a cat. However, if a cat eats a little bit of popcorn by mistake then there is nothing to be worried about. A very small amount of popcorn or two-three kernels of it won’t be harmful to a cat as long as its digestive system works well with it.
So in this regard, it can be said that if a cat eats some amount of popcorn, it will not be harmful to the animal. But it should not be added to the diet of the animal or should not make a habit of the animal. An occasional treat of popcorn won’t cause any serious problem.
But then also there arises another issue. And the issue is that popcorn may cause a choking problem in the throats of the cats. The rough and non-popped kernels of popcorn may get stuck in the tiny throat of the animal which may lead to a serious choking problem. So, to avoid such situations, popcorn should not be given to a cat.
Why Is Popcorn Bad For A Cat?
So, it is clear that popcorn’s nutritional value does not have anything to do with a cat’s health. A cat, to grow up well does not need any of those vitamins or carbohydrates,s or fiber that contains in a grain of popcorn. Then also, if popcorn is cooked at home and the cat shows interest in eating it, then a little amount of popcorn can be given to the cat, mainly because it is cooked at home.
But the popcorn should be popped well. Otherwise, the non-popped kernel may get stuck in the tiny throat of the kitten, which may cause a choking problem in the throat of the animal. So except for this problem, a little amount of homemade as well as fully popped-up popcorn can be given to a cat.
Can a Cat Eat Ready-Made Popcorn Available In the Market?
So, it can be said that natural air-popped popcorn, which is prepared at home is not bad for cat and it’s a safe food for the animal. But again the safety depends on the process of how popcorn is prepared. A cat can eat fresh homemade popcorns which are prepared without adding any flavor or topping on them. The ready-made popcorn which is available in the market should never be given to a cat as these contain a large amount of fat, salt, flavor, and calorie, which are harmful to the cat.
Nowadays, ready-made microwave-cooked popcorns are available in the market. This kind of ready-made microwave-cooked popcorn contains many additives and is hence not good for health at all. In such easy-to-make popcorns, there may be some preservatives or toxic chemicals in the corn kernel, which may harm the pet.
Cat’s digestive system is very sensitive. Hence its food habits and diet chart should not be changed suddenly. Changing its food from one to another may cause various health-related problems to the cat. Introducing a new food like popcorn may cause an upset stomach of the animal. Moreover, if a cat eats popcorn for the first time, then a very small amount of popcorn should be given to it and which should be plain i.e. without any flavorings.
Plain popcorn is not harmful to a cat as it contains no such toxic chemicals or other preservatives. Hence, naturally, air-popped popcorn without any topping on it can be given to a cat.
Popcorn With Flavorings:
Salt In Popcorn Is Bad for Cat:
As mentioned above, the cat should never be given the ready-made popcorn as these popcorns contain excessive salt, butter, and different kinds of flavors and additives. The popcorn which is bought at a movie theater is also not at all good for a cat as these too contain different kinds of flavors, salt, and calorie. Cat requires a very small amount of salt. An excess amount of salt is injurious to the health of a cat.
Generally, the normal amount of salt required by a cat is provided in the foods of a cat. So it does not require an additional amount of salt. And giving an excess cat amount of salt may cause heart problems or blood-related problems specially hypernatremia to the pet. It may also cause an imbalance in the bodily functions of the cat.
An average-sized cat consumes only 21 milligrams of salt per day, and a bag of popcorn with butter flavor has around 500 to 600 milligrams of salt in it. So the popcorn which is found in the movie theater contains excessive salt and a high amount of salt may cause sodium poisoning in the cat.
Apart from this, the cat after consuming excessive salt may suffer from excessive thirst, and it may cause excessive urination as a result of it. Consuming an excess amount of salt may cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and high body temperature to the cat. And sometimes even these symptoms lead to the death of the cat too.
Popcorn with Other Flavorings and Additives:
Till now it has been clear that plain popcorn can be given to a cat though in a small amount and without making it a habit of the cat. It should not be added to the daily diet chart of the cat. An occasional treat of fresh as well as natural air-popped popcorn to the cat won’t be harmful as long as the cat’s digestive system works well with it.
But the popcorns which are prepared with many other additives and flavors should never be given to a cat. These additives may be butter or cheese, which is a rich source of fat and calorie. Butter is the rich source of fat that is used for flavor in cooking popcorn.
After eating such popcorn, the cat may suffer from digestion problems, which may cause an upset stomach for the animal. The calorie is also produced by the butter which is used to prepare the popcorn. So popcorn bought at the theatre should never be given to a cat as it is harmful to the cat.
Apart from this, the gourmet popcorn, which taste is so good is also harmful to the cat. These popcorns use crushed cheese and chocolate as the topping of the popcorn. Such popcorns with a chocolate topping or cheese flavor should not be fed to the cat. Cheese, butter, etc contain milk and it is a known fact that a cat cannot digest milk. So these ingredients should be avoidable for a cat. Otherwise, it will harm the digestive system of the animal.
Among the additives which are used to prepare popcorn in the market, Diacetyl is one, which gives an appealing smell to the popcorn. This kind of artificial additive is harmful to the health of a cat.
Moreover, popcorn contains hydrogenated oil which gives it a buttery flavor. These kinds of artificial toxic additives cannot be digested by a cat and hence cause many health problems leading to hepatic lipidosis. Hepatic lipidosis is also known as fatty liver. The symptoms of this are poor appetite, weight loss, vomiting, etc.
Know More About the Cats Stomach and Their Capabilities:
A cat’s stomach is highly sensitive to garlic. Apart from garlic, sugar, chocolates are also bad for the cat. In movie theatres, popcorn contains a large amount of salt. Often butter or salt is added to the popcorns for flavor.
These are added only to enhance the taste of the popcorn. Though it tastes very good, and it smells very well, yet such flavored popcorn is actually very dangerous for the not only cat but for human being too.
However naturally air-popped popcorn does not contain such hazardous ingredients. So, naturally popped popcorns can be given to a cat, though in a little amount, as it may lead to choking problems as well as a problem in its digestive system.
Cat’s digestive system is very sensitive. However, plain popcorn without any flavor or topping is not harmful to the cat if given in a very little amount. Since it doesn’t contain any toxic so plain popcorn is not bad for the cat. But it should not be in cat’s regular diet food on a regular basis. Popcorn is very rich in calories and more amount of calories may be harmful to a cat.
So, at last, it can be concluded that whether popcorn is bad or good for the cat, whether it should be given to a cat or not can’t be said in one sentence. Before going to any conclusion, one must know all the pros and cons of popcorn.
Popcorn in its plain form and which are naturally air popped at home is popcorn bad for cats. A small amount of homemade popcorn can be given to a cat, but popcorn which is prepared with different additives, toppings, and flavors is harmful to cats and should be avoidable.