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Can Cats Eat Corn? Vet-Approved Nutritional Facts & FAQ

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 30, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Can Cats Eat Corn

Can Cats Eat Corn? Vet-Approved Nutritional Facts & FAQ


Dr. Maja Platisa Photo


Dr. Maja Platisa

DVM MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Corn is a common side dish in many culinary traditions. It’s sweet, delicious, and healthy, making it a favorite among people worldwide. You might have noticed that corn is also a common ingredient in many cat foods. Still, you know that it’s always a good idea to check if a new food is safe before giving it to your pet. 

In this case, yes, cats can eat corn, depending on the way it has been prepared, as it’s not toxic for them. However, your cat will not benefit from eating corn in the slightest, and it is generally best avoided. Although it won’t hurt a cat in small doses, it’s not a great food for them to eat regularly.

Before offering your cat any new food or human food ingredients, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian, as the safety recommendations may differ based on your cat’s age, underlying health issues, and ongoing medication.

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Is Corn Safe for Your Cat?

Cats are obligate carnivores. They get all of the nutrients they need from eating animal protein. As such, corn is not a part of their regular diet in the wild. It’s not something they need, and because of their status as obligate carnivores, they’re not very efficient at digesting grains like corn unless they are processed during production of commercial cat food, increasing its digestibility.

Despite all this, a very small and rare serving of corn when prepared adequately poses no significant threat to your cat’s health in most cases. But it’s basically empty calories for your cat and can even cause an upset stomach if over consumed. So, it’s recommended that corn be reserved as an occasional treat for cats, if at all.

Image Credit: keem1201, Pixabay

Should You Feed Corn to Your Cat?

Cats don’t have dietary requirements for carbohydrates and have lower enzyme activity when it comes to digesting certain types of carbs in comparison to dogs. Their diet is based on animal protein and fat. Corn is rich in carbs and despite containing protein as well, it’s not close to enough to be counted as an adequate protein source for a cat, as it does not contain all of the essential amino acids cats require from their diet.

In truth, most cats probably won’t like corn, anyway. They’re known for being picky eaters, and with no health benefit and a sweet flavor overall, corn isn’t likely to entice cats to come back for seconds. If your cat doesn’t like corn, then definitely don’t try to force it on them. But if your cat does seem to like corn, you can give them a few kernels without guilt. Just don’t make it a regular habit.

Dangers Associated With Cats Eating Corn

Corn kernels should never be offered to cats raw. They may pose a choking hazard for some cats, or lead to an obstruction of the digestive tract if ingested in excess. Raw corn can lead to a stomach upset, as it’s not the type of food cats would usually eat. Generally, corn is not very digestible for cats and is likely to lead to a digestive upset, particularly if eaten in excess.

Corn on the cob should also be avoided in cats by all means, as pieces of the cob can lead to choking, or if swallowed, may cause a gastrointestinal blockage that may require surgery or endoscopy. Corn husks are too rough to be offered to cats and may lead to gastrointestinal irritation and blockage, or signs of a stomach upset.

Canned corn often contains various additives, sweeteners, salt, and flavorings, some of which may be harmful to cats, depending on the amount.

3 cat face dividerDoes Corn Have Benefits for Cats?

For humans, corn is a healthy vegetable packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. But felines are quite different. Cats have quite different fiber requirements, and their bodies digest carbohydrates differently than ours, making corn a poor snacking choice for any cat. In truth, felines won’t get any health benefits from eating corn. On the contrary, corn can contribute to an overweight cat and is likely to cause an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea if over-consumed.

cat is eating corn_Grizanda_shutterstock
Image Credit: Grizanda, Shutterstock

Why Is Corn in So Many Cat Foods?

So, if corn isn’t a great food for cats to eat, why is it an ingredient in so many commercial cat foods? The truth is that commercial cat foods often contain processed corn as a source of digestible carbs and energy, alongside fiber, fatty acids, and valuable vitamins and minerals. In that sense, corn is not considered just a filler, as it does have a certain nutritional value.

Of course, there are various commercial cat foods on the market, some of which are not using the highest quality ingredients. Speak to your veterinarian about the best food option for your cat that follows the AAFCO recommendations.

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There’s no reason to worry if your cat happens to sneak a few pieces of plain cooked corn from your plate. If your cat seems interested in your corn, you could safely feed them a few kernels without worry, but make it a very rare special treat. Corn is not a great food to feed your cat regularly, and it shouldn’t be a staple in their diet.

Corn isn’t easy for a cat to digest, potentially leading to a stomach upset. It’s rich in carbs and it doesn’t pose any health benefits for your kitty, so it’s best to avoid giving too much or any at all to your cat. Always consult with a veterinarian when making any decisions about your cat’s diet.

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