The Cats Are Eating Corn

But is it actually healthy for them? Some of our favorite internet videos have us wondering.

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cat eating corn
Screenshot: YouTube (Fair Use)

I, like many people, spend countless hours fucking around on the internet. (At least I have a partial excuse, since my job involves writing stuff for our awesome website.) As a product of the internet, I am particularly susceptible to funny animal videos, especially cat ones. One of my favorite types of cat videos involve cats eating stuff they shouldn’t, and I’d say the most entertaining of all is watching them eat corn on the cob. They make hilarious faces, the sound of their chewing is really funny, and the cats always seem so determined to destroy that corn cob. Their expressions are particularly amazing. But it never occurred to me whether or not that was bad for them.

The video above is one of many examples all over YouTube and Reddit. It’s awesome. But cats have those sharp teeth for a reason, since they’re predators, and I can’t imagine they’d be hunting corn in the wild. Before I go around waving corn in one of our cat’s faces (Scorpion or Sub-Zero, to be specific), I wanted to know whether or not this would mess with their digestive system at all.

Can cats eat corn on the cob?

My friend Eddie Lo just so happens to be a veterinarian in Virginia. I messaged to ask him whether or not corn was okay for these little guys, since I was mildly concerned that these cat videos may have involved something mildly harmful to their bodies.

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“Cats can indeed eat corn. In fact, many cats are eating corn without knowing it—it’s in many commercially available diets for cats. As with anything food or vice related, moderation is recommended,” he responded.

I checked the ingredients of the IAMS cat food we feed our resident troublemakers, and indeed found that corn was a large component of it. I figured plant-based fillers were a part of their diet in some fashion since we’re obviously not feeding them straight up lumps of meat, so this wasn’t entirely surprising to me. But still, I wasn’t entirely convinced this was totally okay, so I asked Lo if my favorite videos of cats eating corn off the cob was dangerous at all.

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He replied, “Eating off the cob doesn’t pose any hazard as long as they’re not breaking their teeth. We worry about dogs consuming the actual cob because that poses a danger.”

Then he added, jokingly, as he clarified later, “I’d pay money to see a cat swallow a chunk of corn cob because that would be impressive.”

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I don’t know, man. Eddie hasn’t met our cats yet. They’re terrors. I wouldn’t it put it past them (I’m looking at you, Scorpion), but at least that’s a relief. Corn growing season is coming to a close, so we’re trying to get as much fresh stuff as we can before it goes away for the winter. If, by chance, one of my cats comes up to me during dinner, giving me wide eyes, I just might see if they like eating corn on the cob that way. And don’t worry, I promise I’ll catch the whole thing on video for you.