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 the very little amount of calorie and fat and hence one of the highly recommended foods by the nutritionists. The grain of popcorn has the 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 vitamin, 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 it.
Now a day, ready made microwave cooked popcorn are available in the market. This kind of ready made microwave cooked popcorn contains many additives and hence not good for health at all. Though it tastes very good, but it actually very dangerous for not only cat but for human being too. These ready made popcorn generally contain extra salt, sugar, color or different kinds of flavors which is very much unhealthy for cat.
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 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 the 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 cat? 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 corns.
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 is 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 one. 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 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 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 cat’s health. A cat, to grow up well does not need any of those vitamins or carbohydrate 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 of it is cooked at home. But the popcorn should be popped well. Otherwise 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 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 how popcorn is prepared. A cat can eat fresh homemade pop corns which are prepared without adding any flavor or topping on it. 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 pop corns are available in the market. This kind of ready made microwave cooked popcorn contains many additives and hence not good for health at all. In such easy to make pop corns, there may be some preservatives or toxic chemical 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 the various health related problem 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 such other preservatives. Hence, a 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 pop corns 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 problem or blood-related problem specially hypernatremial to the pet. It may also cause an imbalance in the bodily functions of the cat. An average sized cat consumes only 21 milligram salt per day, and a bag of popcorn with butter flavor have around 500 to 600 milligram of salt in it. So the popcorn which is found in the movie theater, contain excessive salt and high amount of salt may cause sodium poisoning in the cat. Apart from this the cat after consuming excessive salt may suffer from excessive thirsty, and it may cause excessive urination as a result of it. Consuming excess amount of salt may cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and high body temperature to the cat. And some time even these symptoms leads 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 naturally 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 which is used for flavor in cooking popcorn. After eating such popcorn, the cat may suffer from digestion problem, which may cause upset stomach to 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 for the cat.
Apart from this, the gourmet popcorn, which taste is so good is also harmful for 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 for the health of a cat.
Moreover popcorn contains hydrogenated oil which gives it the buttery flavor. These kind of artificial toxic additive 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 towards garlic. Apart from garlic, sugar, chocolates are also bad for the cat. 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 a 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 for 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 calorie and more amount of calorie may be harmful for 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 not bad for cat. A small amount of homemade popcorn can be given to a cat, but popcorn which is prepared with different additives, topping and flavors is harmful for cat and should be avoidable.