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Can Cats Eat Cornbread? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Can Cats Eat cornbread

Cornbread is a delicious American tradition, enjoyed all year round by millions of families in the United States. You may have just pulled a loaf of fresh cornbread out of the oven and noticed your feline sniffing away excitedly and wondered if it’s safe to give them a taste. But can cats eat cornbread, and is it safe for them?

Technically, cats can eat cornbread as it’s non-toxic to them, but this certainly doesn’t mean they should. Cats don’t need a lot of carbohydrates in their diet, if any, and cornbread is packed with carbs and very little protein. This means cornbread has little to no nutritional value to cats, even though it’s not toxic.

In this article, we’ll dive a little deeper into cornbread and why it’s probably not a good idea to share any with your cat.

Cats Are Obligate Carnivores

In the wild, your cat’s ancestors fed almost exclusively on meat. Although cats can eat some plant foods safely in moderation, they have a biological necessity to consume meat and have very little need for carbohydrates. This is evidenced by your cat’s physical biology, plus the fact that your cat has powerful hunting instincts, which we’re sure you’ve noticed by now!

Cats have four, long, sharp canine teeth at the front of their mouths that are built to tear into meat, plus razor-sharp carnassial teeth on the upper and lower jaws. Your cat’s digestive system is also designed to digest meat, with one of the shortest digestive tracts to body ratios of any animal, resulting in fewer bacteria to help ferment and break down plant material fast enough to gain any nutritional benefits.

cat eating food
Image Credit: Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock

Is Cornbread Safe For Cats?

Corn is not toxic to cats, nor are the other common ingredients used in cornbread which include sugar, butter, and oil, but none of these ingredients are good for cats either. Since cats are obligate carnivores, none of the ingredients in cornbread offer any nutritional value to cats.

Some of the main ingredients used in cornbread include:
  • Moderate amounts of corn occasionally are not necessarily bad for cats, but it doesn’t provide any nutritional value and can cause digestive issues in high amounts.
  • Cats cannot taste sweetness, but it certainly doesn’t mean that they should eat sugar anyway. Sugar is not healthy for cats, and while it’s not toxic, it may still cause digestive issues and even feline diabetes over the long term.
  • Baking soda. While baking powder is only harmful to cats in large amounts, it’s still best left off the menu as it can result in diarrhea, vomiting, and even dehydration. Individual cats react to baking soda differently, so it’s best not to take any chances.
  • Butter and buttermilk. Most cats are lactose intolerant, so butter and buttermilk can easily cause stomach issues, vomiting, and diarrhea.

That said, if your cat has a small piece of cornbread every now and then—provided they even enjoy it—it shouldn’t do them any real harm, but it’s certainly not something we’d recommend giving them regularly.

What About Corn?

If you feed your cat on a regular commercial diet, chances are high that your cat is eating corn already. Most commercial dry and even wet cat foods contain corn or corn derivatives in varying amounts, mainly as an inexpensive filler ingredient or sweetener.

While it’s true that cats can eat small amounts of corn occasionally with no problems, it offers them no nutritional value and is best left out of their diet. Corn does have moderate amounts of protein, and cats do need a diet high in protein, but corn doesn’t contain the right type of protein, and cats need protein derived from animals.

Final Thoughts

Cornbread is not toxic to cats, and so if your feline eats a small piece here and there you don’t have any reason to worry. That said, there are no ingredients in cornbread that offer any nutritional value to cats since they are obligate carnivores, and so it’s best left off the menu.

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Featured Image Credit: Marie Sonmez Photography, Shutterstock

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Authored by

Nicole is a lover of animals of all sizes but is especially fascinated with the feline variety. She’s the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese, and works every day so he can relax in the sunshine or by the fire. She’s always had a cat in her home and has spent countless days with others, observing behaviors and softening up even the grouchiest of the lot. Nicole wants to share her kitty expertise with you so you and your cat ...Read more

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