Can Cats Eat Corn?

Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP
By Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP on Dec. 1, 2023
white cat looking up at corn on the cob

In This Article

Is Corn Good for Cats?

Corn is a favorite veggie for humans, whether creamed, on the cob, raw in salads, or made into a chowder. But can cats eat corn too?

Though corn is a common ingredient in cat food, the types that humans eat are a different story. Here’s what to know about sharing corn with cats.

Is Corn Good for Cats?

Fortunately, corn is not considered toxic to cats. But it really isn’t good for them either.

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need to obtain the majority of their nutrients from meat-based protein. Corn is often included in cat food primarily as a source of fatty acids and is specially processed to ensure the food is maximally digestible.

But this does not mean that the corn you and I enjoy will be good to feed to your cat—if the corn isn’t thoroughly processed like it is in cat food, it can be very difficult for kitties to digest.

Can Corn Be Bad for Cats?

Corn contains a large amount of carbs that cats don’t need. It can also cause problems with digestion and may even lead to obesity and contribute to diabetes in your cat over time. Some animals can also become allergic to corn with repeated exposures over time. 

Because corn has little to no nutritional value for cats, it qualifies as empty calories and should not be offered as a regular treat.

Can Cats Eat Corn on the Cob?

Corn cobs can create additional problems for cats. If your feline accidentally ingests any of the cob, it may be too large to pass through their digestive system, resulting in a gastrointestinal blockage and emergency surgery. Smaller pieces of the cob can also be a choking hazard. 

Because of these risks, never let your cat eat corn on the cob. If your cat manages to gnaw on a cob when you’re not looking, call your veterinarian for recommendations on what to do. If your cat becomes lethargic, begins vomiting or having diarrhea, or seems like they’re not feeling well, visit a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Can Cats Eat Corn Husks?

Corn husks are another no-no for cats. While many felines love to play and chew on the fibers, this material is indigestible and has the potential to result in a gastrointestinal blockage. Additionally, the husks are very rough and can irritate the intestinal tract’s lining as it passes through, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. 

If your kitty is playing with a corn husk, take it away quickly and give them a more appropriate cat toy to bat around. Talk to your veterinarian for advice if you suspect your cat ate some of the corn husk.

How Much Corn Can Cats Eat?

In general, eating plain, cooked corn (with no butter or spices) will cause little more than vomiting and diarrhea in cats. If your kitty enjoys eating corn and doesn’t experience negative side effects, you should still keep portions small. Limit the amounts to less than 1 tablespoon of fresh, plain, cooked corn per week.

What Corn Snacks Are OK for Cats?

Not all corn products are created equally. Although cooked plain corn may be safe to feed cats in very small quantities, the same may not be true for other corn products you might have at home.

Sweet Corn

Sweet corn is one of the common forms of corn on the cob. Small amounts of plain, cooked sweet corn removed from the cob are safe for most cats.

Canned Corn

Canned corn often contains other ingredients that might not be OK for your kitty to eat. For example, canned corn often contains a large amount of added salt. If you wish to share canned corn with your cat, make sure it is entirely plain and rinse it thoroughly to remove as much added salt as possible.


Cornbread generally has added ingredients such as sugar, butter, and spices that are not good for your cat. This means it’s not a good corn product to share with your kitty.


Popcorn can easily result in choking, and it’s rough on the intestinal tract. While it’s probably OK if your kitty snags a piece that dropped on the floor, popcorn shouldn’t be an offered snack—especially if it has any toppings, including butter or salt.

Corn Chips

Corn chips have all kinds of added ingredients, such as spices, which are likely not to sit well with your cat’s digestive system. It’s best to avoid corn chips altogether.

Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas fall in the same category as corn chips—they are high in carbohydrates and low in nutrients, plus they have additives and flavorings that aren’t likely safe for cats. Don’t feed your cat corn tortillas.

Corn Dogs

Corn dogs are not OK to share with your cat. While you might think that the addition of a meat protein improves the corn dog’s nutritional picture, it really doesn’t. The processed meat products used in corn dogs are usually full of additional ingredients such as spices, sugars, and preservatives—all of which are not good for cats.

What To Feed Your Cat Instead of Corn

If you’re looking to share some people food with your kitty, there are healthier choices than corn. Look to meat-based foods, such as lean cooked chicken, turkey, beef, tuna, or salmon.  Almost any meat-based protein will be safe to share with your cat—as long as it’s properly cooked.

Featured Image: colnihko/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP


Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP


Sandra Mitchell is a 1995 graduate of the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation, she has worked in many fields...

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