Can cats eat corn?
Many dry and canned cat food manufacturers actually use corn as a filler since it’s much less expensive than animal muscle meat. So yes, your cat can eat it.
But, while corn may not hurt your cat, it does not provide him with the nutrition he needs.
Let’s take an in-depth look at cats and corn.
A Few Facts About Corn
Corn is a cereal grain that was first developed by people in Mexico thousands of years ago.
Today, it’s one of the world’s most widely distributed food crops.
Corn is a good source of fiber which helps aid in digestion. It’s also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, B vitamins, and carotenoids.
If you feed your feline a commercial brand cat food, there’s a good chance that your cat is already eating corn.
You may think that since corn is healthy for humans, that it’s good for cats to eat too.
However, cats’ digestive systems are quite different from ours.
Can Cats Digest Corn?
Do cats like corn? Do cats eat corn in all of its forms? What about a cat eating popcorn?
We’ve got lots of questions to answer. But let’s start with what happens in your cat’s tummy when he eats corn.
Although corn does contain protein, it’s plant-based. So it doesn’t have the amino acids your cat requires.
Since cats are unable to produce most of the essential amino acids within their own bodies, they need to get them from a good animal protein source. Deficiencies in certain amino acids can lead to some serious health problems in cats.
This study found that a cat’s digestibility of carbohydrates ranges from 79% to 97%. And that grinding and cooking made it easier for cats to digest carbs.
Corn also contains natural sugar. This can make it hard for cats to digest, as well.
Can Cats Eat Corn – What About Food Allergies?
Corn is a common allergen for cats.
It’s recommended to only give them a small amount and then wait to see if they show any signs of an allergic reaction.
Itchy, irritated skin is a sign, as are sneezing, wheezing, and coughing.
An estimated 10 % to 15% of affected cats will also exhibit gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
If your cat shows any of these symptoms, it’s recommended to contact your vet.
Even if your cat isn’t allergic, corn should only be given as an occasional treat, not as a regular part of their diet.
Can Cats Eat Popcorn?
It’s not surprising that your cat might find popcorn appealing. After all, what’s movie night without a big bowl of this delicious treat?
You can’t blame your cat for being enticed by the aroma. Not only is popcorn warm and tasty, it’s light and airy and tons of fun for them to play with.
But when it comes to healthy snacks, popcorn has even fewer nutritional benefits than corn does.
It’s unlikely that one or two pieces of plain, popped popcorn will harm your cat.
However, the salt, butter, and other flavoring we put on it are far more dangerous for a feline to digest.
It should also be noted that unpopped kernels can cause damage to a cat’s teeth and could even become a choking hazard.
Can Cats Eat Corn on the Cob?
The idea of a cat eating corn on the cob is awfully cute.
However, it’s better to give them a small portion rather than having them eat off the cob to ensure that they don’t eat too much.
Only give your cat corn on the cob if there’s no salt, butter, or any other seasoning added to it.
Can Cats Eat Sweetcorn?
Like other types of corn, cats can eat sweetcorn in moderation.
This is provided that it’s been cooked and there’s been nothing added to it.
Can Cats Eat Corn Products?
Corn is one of the most versatile foods in existence.
But not all corn products are created equal. Snacks like corn chips and corn nuts should never be given to a cat.
In these cases, corn is the best ingredient involved. That’s simply because these types of snacks are loaded with fat, salt, spices, and artificial colors and flavoring.
These are all things that a cat should never eat.
Feeding your cat corn snack foods is more than likely to cause them tummy troubles.
Can Cats Eat Corn Husks?
Cats are curious creatures. Something as unusual-looking as a corn husk, with long leaves and silky hairs, is sure to capture their attention.
It’s not uncommon for cats to want to chew on plants and grass, so this may also be part of the appeal.
Cats should never consume any part of corn husks.
Although the plants aren’t toxic, they’re not easily digestible.
They could also cause an intestinal blockage.
If a cat eats too much of a corn husk, or they’re prone to upset stomach issues, then they’re likely to suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, or other symptoms.
Alternatives To Corn For Cats
Instead of your cat eating corn, it’s better to offer them animal protein-based treats and snacks.
Shrimp are easy to keep in the refrigerator for an impromptu snack.
Chicken pieces or a couple of slices of hard boiled egg make an enticing change from the norm, too.
Summary: Can Cats Eat Corn?
So, can cats eat corn? Occasionally feeding your cat small amounts of corn probably won’t have any ill effects.
However, corn isn’t providing your feline with any nutritional benefits either. For this reason, corn shouldn’t be a regular part of your cat’s diet.
This also means eliminating commercial cat foods that contain a high corn content.
Many cats are allergic to corn and should never eat it at all. Before you introduce corn into your cat’s diet, give him a small amount and then wait to see if they develop any signs of a food allergy.
No cat should ever be fed corn snacks that have seasoning, salt, butter, or other additives.
Have you ever given your cat corn to eat? Tell us about your cat corn experiences in the comments below.
References And Resources
- Zoran, DL, et al., “The Carnivore Connection to Nutrition in Cats,” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2002
- Buffington, T., “Dry foods and risk of disease in cats,” The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 2008
- Morris JG, “Arginine: An Essential Amino Acid for the Cat,” Journal of Nutrition, 1979
- Hilton, JW, “Carbohydrates in Cat Diets: Digestion and Utilization,” The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 1987
- Mueller, RS, et al., “Critically appraised topic on adverse food reactions of companion animals (2): common food allergen sources in dogs and cats,” BMC Veterinary Research, 2016
- “Food Allergies,” Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Feline Health Center, 2016
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