Corn is very popular. As a result, there are a lot of cat owners out there who want to share one of their favorite foods with their cats. Generally speaking, this should be fine because corn isn’t poisonous for the latter. However, there are a number of reasons why cat owners should be careful about this. Here are some of the most important reasons why cat owners shouldn’t feed their cats more than a small amount of corn:
Corn Isn’t Very Nutritious for Cats
As mentioned earlier, most cats should be able to consume small amounts of corn without issue. Unfortunately, that won’t be very nutritious. Something that can be blamed on the fact that cats are obligate carnivores. For those who have unfamiliar, different species have different digestive systems meant for different kinds of food. One excellent example can be seen in how herbivores tend to have longer digestive tracts than carnivores, which is important because that provides more time for the cellulose of plant matter to be broken down. Since cats are obligate carnivores, their digestive systems can’t digest corn in the way that human digestive systems can, thus making it a poor choice of food for them in a nutritional sense.
Corn Can Come in a Form that Is More Problematic for Cats
Speaking of which, corn might be fine on its own, but corn can come in forms that are much more problematic for cats. This can be seen in how some people choose to eat their corn on the cob with butter and salt while other people choose to eat the same with lemon juice squirted on. Butter is bad because it is fattening, while salt is bad because it can cause salt toxicity when cats eat too much. As for lemon juice, well, it is important to note that all citrus fruits are poisonous to cats. As such, if a cat is unfortunate enough to consume the stuff, there is a very real chance of them winding up with gastrointestinal issues as well as other symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, and skin irritation. In extreme cases, cats have been known to suffer from tremors, collapses, and even sudden deaths because of citrus fruits.
A lot of processed foods made out of corn are bad as well. Something like popcorn isn’t particularly concerning on its own. However, a lot of people like to eat their popcorn with butter, salt, and other potentially problematic additions. On top of that, unpopped kernels are choking hazards that can also cause damage to a cat’s teeth. In comparison, corn chips are a bigger problem because of their high salt content, which isn’t even considering the salsas and seasonings that people might put on them. In particular, it is worth mentioning that just a small amount of onions can kill a cat, meaning that this is something that must be avoided at all costs.
Some Cats Have Corn Allergies
Cats can get food allergies in the same way that humans can get food allergies. Unfortunately, corn is one of the more common food allergies for cats, which is a serious obstacle for cat owners thinking about feeding corn to their cats. In most cases, the result will be symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, those are more than bad enough to make food allergies a serious issue.
What Should Cat Owners Do If They Want to Feed Corn to Their Cats?
A sense of caution is very useful for cat owners who are thinking about feeding human food to cats. Those who are curious should start by looking up the suitability of the human food that they have in mind, which should be a simple and straightforward matter in an age when online resources are readily available. However, they shouldn’t stop there because they should also be consulting their veterinarians before proceeding. This is important because each cat is an individual, meaning that cat owners can’t count on them being a perfect fit for the general statements made about cats as a species. Since veterinarians should already be familiar with the relevant cats in question, that should enable them to provide better answers about what those animals can and cannot eat based on their medical histories. Should cat owners get the go-ahead from their veterinarians, they should start by feeding their cats just a small amount of whatever it is that they have in mind. Something that should serve to limit the severity of the potential symptoms that can show up. Naturally, should cat owners see symptoms, they should seek out medical assistance as soon as possible because swifter intervention can make a great deal of difference when it comes to the health outcome.
Why Is Corn Everywhere Anyways?
Having said that, even when cat owners seek to avoid feeding corn to their cats, they might wind up doing so anyways because corn is everywhere. In fact, there is a lot of cat food that contains corn as a filler, which is true for a very wide range of foods. As such, some cat owners might be curious how corn managed to get everywhere in the modern world.
If so, they should know that corn was one of the cereals domesticated in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. As a result, it was one of the new foods that the Spanish encountered when they started carving out an empire in the Americas. Supposedly, they had some initial reservations about corn, but soon enough, they had introduced it to their homeland. From that point, corn spread throughout the Old World, not least because it possessed a remarkable ability to thrive in a wide range of environments with a wide range of conditions. Still, it took the introduction of the steel plow plus improvements in both storage and transportation technologies before the United States started producing in even bigger quantities. Something that received a further boost when it turned out that corn was very easy to manipulate, thus resulting in more productive cultivars that could produce more corn without using up more land. The sheer amount of corn produced meant that something had to be done with it, which is why corn is now used in a remarkable range of products that include both edibles and non-edibles meant for both human and non-human uses. In some contexts, it is easier to talk about what doesn’t have corn rather than what does have corn.