4 min read

Can Cats Eat Corn?


By Aurus Sy

Published: 06/21/2022, edited: 01/19/2023

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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Versatile and delicious, corn or maize is one of the most popular vegetables in the US. If you’re planning to serve corn at your next family dinner or backyard barbecue, you may be wondering if you can share it with your feline friend. 

Is corn safe for cats to eat? The answer is yes, and your cat may already be eating this starchy vegetable as it is often used as a filler in commercial cat foods. Most cats like the taste and texture of corn when it is fed directly; however, you should only give it to your furry pal as an occasional treat. Let's take a more in-depth look at the benefits of corn. 

Do cats like corn?

Cats like munching on many human foods, including corn. Though most felines enjoy its sweet taste and soft texture, not every cat likes corn. This is probably because cats, being obligate carnivores, lack the taste receptors for sweetness. 

If your cat is among those who aren’t too keen on corn, don’t fret. It isn’t supposed to be a major part of their diet, so they’re not really missing out on anything. Your cat should be getting their protein and nutrients from their meat rich cat food, which is what the feline body is designed to process most efficiently. But if your cat does like corn, you may be wondering if it's even good for them. 

Corn cob next to a bowl of corn kernels - can cats eat corn

Health benefits of corn for cats

What health benefits could your furbaby get from eating corn? Let's take a look at a few.

Helps digestion

Corn contains dietary fiber which helps digest food and regulate bowel movements. It also supports healthy gut bacteria, thereby sustaining a healthy gut environment and reducing the risk of obesity, diabetes, diarrhea, constipation, and hairballs. 

Reduces risk of certain diseases

Corn is also the source of many antioxidants which may potentially reduce the risk of some cancers, arthritis, heart disease, strokes, cataracts, and atherosclerosis. Lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamin E in particular provide protection against cell damage.

Provides several vitamins and minerals

Full of carbohydrates and containing a fair amount of protein, corn also offers essential fatty acids which promote a healthy skin and coat, as well as serving key roles in the immune system and central nervous system. What else does corn have? Here is the nutritional value of 100 grams of yellow sweet corn that has been boiled without salt and then drained:

  • Energy: 96 kilocalories
  • Protein: 3.41 grams
  • Total fat: 1.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 21 grams
  • Fiber: 2.4 grams
  • Sugars: 4.54 grams
  • Vitamin A: 13 micrograms
  • Vitamin E: 0.09 milligrams
  • Vitamin B5: 0.792 milligrams
  • Magnesium: 26 milligrams
  • Manganese: 0.167 milligrams
  • Phosphorus: 77 milligrams
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids: 0.374 grams
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 0.603 grams

To make sure your cat can easily absorb corn’s important nutrients, you can offer them cooked ground corn, which is highly digestible. That said, cats are obligate carnivores as mentioned earlier, so they get most of the nutrients they need from meat. Despite containing a fair amount of protein, corn lacks many of the amino acids that felines require. 

So while adding a small amount of corn to your cat’s diet is neither toxic nor harmful to them, it does not provide substantial nutritional value. In other words, it’s fine to give your furbaby some corn, but keep in mind that there are other foods that are healthier and more suitable for them.

How much corn can I give my cat?

Although corn is safe for cats to eat, it should be given in moderation like almost all human foods. Treats and snacks should make up only a maximum of 10% of your cat’s daily food intake; 1 teaspoon of corn once a week should be more than enough for most felines. 

Corn is filling but not the most nutritionally balanced food for cats. Feeding too much corn could fill your cat up quickly and leave little room in their tummy for anything else, which could lead them to skip their meals. Too much corn could also cause an upset stomach. 

The best way to give your cat corn is to feed it completely plain. Boiled or grilled and removed from the cob are the safest options as they retain most of the nutrients and will not cause any tummy problems. Make sure the corn is unseasoned before offering it to your kitty, and never give them anything with salt, butter, seasonings, or other additives which can be harmful.

Row of corn partially in husk on wooden surface

Can cats eat corn chips?

While your cat eating a small piece of corn chip shouldn’t be a cause for concern, you should never give your cat corn chips on purpose. These crunchy snacks usually have a lot of salt, which can cause severe dehydration and illness in felines. Additionally, corn chips may contain spices, cheese, preservatives, and other ingredients that can be harmful to your cat. 

Other corn-based snacks that you should avoid giving your kitty are:

  • Popcorn, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea if it contains butter or seasoning.
  • Tortillas and cornbread, which are devoid of any nutritional value and can quickly fill up small cat stomachs.
  • Corn flakes and kettle corn, which have high sugar and fat content. Too much sugar can lead to obesity and pancreatitis. 
  • Polenta, which offers no nutritional value and contains seasonings that are dangerous to cats. 

Treating your cat to some corn once in a while can be a yummy treat, in moderation, as can other safe whole foods like strawberries, pumpkin, or even watermelon for some pawrific summer hydration. So go ahead and let your kitty have a taste, and let the purrs begin!

A high-quality diet is essential for keeping your cat happy and healthy. Digestive problems and food allergies can be expensive to treat. Compare pet health insurance plans to save more than $270 a year on vet care.

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