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Can Cats Eat Cornstarch? (What Vets Say About the Risks 2023)

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Can Cats Eat Cornstarch? (The Risks!)You’re probably wondering if it’s safe to share your cornstarch-thickened sauces and stews with your feline friend. As a cat lover myself, I totally get it! Cats are curious and want to try everything we eat.

The good news is that in moderation, cornstarch is generally considered safe for cats. It can even provide some nutritional benefits thanks to trace minerals like iron and magnesium. But too much cornstarch could lead to digestive upset or nutritional imbalances.

I’ll walk you through the potential pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about sharing small amounts of cornstarch-containing foods with your cat. With a few precautions, you and your feline can safely enjoy mealtime together without endangering your cat’s health.

Key Takeaways

  • Cornstarch can provide trace minerals and digestible energy for cats in small amounts.
  • Excessive consumption of cornstarch may lead to digestive issues and nutritional imbalances in cats, as they have a higher need for protein-rich foods compared to carbohydrates like cornstarch.
  • Alternative thickeners such as tapioca starch may be safer options for cats than cornstarch.

Is Cornstarch Safe for Cats?

Is Cornstarch Safe for Cats
You’d be relieved to know studies show cornstarch is less allergenic for cats than corn flour, so using it sparingly in foods is generally safe. But excess consumption could still upset little Whiskers’ tummy. Being highly digestible, cornstarch can provide some energy and minerals for kitties, though it lacks significant nutritional value.

But take care not to make it a dietary staple, as overindulgence could lead to vomiting, diarrhea or obesity. Cats require protein-rich meat foods for optimal health. If your kitty has food allergies or sensitivities, consult your vet about hypoallergenic options before introducing new foods.

With mindfulness, moderation, and care, cornstarch can be an acceptable supplemental nibble for felines. But as their primary caretaker, maintaining a balanced, species-appropriate diet remains key to your cat’s continued wellbeing.

Benefits of Cornstarch for Cats

Benefits of Cornstarch for Cats
As a hypoallergenic carbohydrate source, cornstarch can be a helpful ingredient for cats with food allergies or sensitivities. Cornstarch also thickens canned and homemade cat foods very effectively while adding relatively little flavor, making it an ideal thickening agent.

Hypoallergenic Carbohydrate Source

Comparing cornstarch to corn flour, you’ll notice that cornstarch is less allergenic due to its reduced proteins.

  • Corn flour contains more allergenic proteins than cornstarch.
  • Cornstarch’s protein content is reduced during processing.
  • This reduction makes cornstarch hypoallergenic compared with corn flour.
  • Cornstarch can often be better tolerated by pets with corn allergies.
  • Opt for cornstarch instead of corn flour in hypoallergenic pet foods when possible.

Thickens Cat Foods Well

Cornstarch thickens cat foods beautifully, with studies showing over 80% of wet cat foods contain some cornstarch as a thickening agent. This versatile carbohydrate source allows manufacturers to achieve the ideal texture and mouthfeel to tempt even the pickiest feline palate.

As caring cat guardians, we desire the finest nutrition for our furry friends. When prudently added, cornstarch enables the creation of nutritionally balanced and irresistibly savory cat foods. Cry for moisture-rich, smooth and creamy canned cat foods with precisely the right amount of natural thickness – thanks to a dash of cornstarch.

Provides Digestible Energy Boost

Providing your feline an energy boost, cornstarch offers digestible carbohydrates. While cats thrive on protein-rich diets, small amounts of digestible carbs like cornstarch can provide a quick boost when needed.

Sprinkling a pinch in food or using cornstarch-based thickeners sparingly monitors for digestive upset, as excess starch challenges even hardy cat tummies. Balancing obligate carnivore needs with gentle energy supplements nourishes best.

When in doubt, lean protein and moisture nourish well. Supplementing obligate carnivore diets requires care. Gentle energy boosts monitor reactions. Excesses challenge digestion quickly, even in hardy cats.

Sparing boosts through pinches or thickeners balance needs. Overall, proteins and moisture nourish felines’ best.

Risks of Feeding Cornstarch

Risks of Feeding Cornstarch
You’d best limit corn starch for kitties ’cause too much can cause nausea and diarrhea in the furballs.

  • Overfeeding cornstarch can upset your cat’s stomach and digestive system leading to vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and abdominal discomfort. Their small intestines may struggle to handle large amounts of this starchy powder.
  • Since cornstarch is highly digestible and provides a lot of carbs, it can promote rapid weight gain and obesity if fed in excess over time. Obese cats are at higher risk of diabetes, arthritis, and other weight-related disorders.
  • Eating too much cornstarch could also displace key nutrients from a balanced cat diet. It lacks protein, essential fatty acids, and vital vitamins and minerals cats need.

It’s fine to use a little cornstarch for grooming or training treats, but don’t overdo it. Stick to cat foods formulated to meet their nutritional needs for optimal health and longevity.

How Much Cornstarch Can Cats Eat?

How Much Cornstarch Can Cats Eat
Couldn’t recommend feeding cats more than a teaspoon or two of cornstarch at a time.

  1. Cats are obligate carnivores and their digestive systems are designed for high-protein, low-carb diets.
  2. While cornstarch is highly digestible for cats, overeating it provides empty calories and minimal nutrition.
  3. Some cats may be allergic or sensitive to corn ingredients. Limiting cornstarch keeps their exposure low.
  4. Overconsumption of cornstarch can lead to indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation.

Even small amounts of cornstarch may provide energy or aid in grooming. But you should resist sharing large quantities of this starchy powder with cats. Optimal feline health depends on appropriate nutrition, not excess treats. Closely monitor if cornstarch is given and immediately stop if signs of an upset stomach appear.

Meat and high-quality cat foods should ultimately make up the bulk of every cat’s diet.

Cornstarch as Cat Food Ingredient

Cornstarch as Cat Food Ingredient
Cornstarch has low allergenic potential for cats with food sensitivities, though it is highly digestible, making it a good carbohydrate source in moderation. While cats do require protein as the main component of their diet, limited amounts of digestible carbohydrates like cornstarch can provide a source of energy.

However, cats’ bodies are not as efficient at digesting carbs as dogs or humans. That’s why cat foods should emphasize meat-based proteins over starches. When included, cornstarch and other digestible carbs should comprise only a minor amount of overall calories.

Overdoing carbs can lead to obesity and diabetes in cats. Monitoring portion sizes and carbohydrate levels is key for cats’ health. In the right proportions, though, cornstarch’s high digestibility makes it one of the better options for providing cats extra energy from carbohydrates.

As obligate carnivores, cats thrive best on a meat-focused diet with limited but digestible carbs like cornstarch.


Since corn allergies are rare in cats, choosing hypoallergenic cornstarch over corn flour reduces the chance of an allergic reaction. The 2018 allergenicity study showed cornstarch extracts were less likely to be recognized by IgE from corn-sensitized cats and dogs.

This highlights the hypoallergenic benefits of cornstarch for minimizing allergic reactions from corn allergens in allergy-prone pets.

When selecting cat foods, choose cornstarch-based recipes to limit exposure to problematic corn proteins. Cats with suspected corn allergies may benefit from hypoallergenic diets with cornstarch instead of corn flour.

Monitoring for signs of allergic reactions like itching and gastrointestinal upset allows for early diagnosis. Discuss specialized hypoallergenic pet food options with your veterinarian to find the optimal nutrition for your cat’s needs and sensitivities.


Digestibility of cornstarch is crucial as studies show over 90% of cornstarch is digestible for cats, providing easy-to-absorb carbohydrates and energy. As obligate carnivores, cats have a shorter digestive tract optimized for meat-based proteins and fats.

However, they can still utilize quality carbohydrate sources like cornstarch, which is highly digestible compared to many other starches. This digestibility makes cornstarch a suitable ingredient in some cat foods, offering cats an efficient source of energy from carbohydrates.

A recommendation would be to limit the quantity, including it alongside quality animal-based ingredients. While too much can lead to stomach upset, small amounts can provide supplemental calories. Knowing this digestibility data aids us in making informed decisions when selecting cat foods with appropriate carbohydrate inclusions.

Ultimately, we want our cats consuming diets aligning with their nutritional needs.

Alternatives to Cornstarch for Cats

Alternatives to Cornstarch for Cats

  • Tapioca starch – Extracted from cassava root, tapioca starch is gluten and grain free.
  • Potato starch – A highly digestible and palatable starch source suitable for cats.
  • Xanthan gum – Produced through fermentation, xanthan gum acts as a thickener and stabilizer.
  • Gelatin – Derived from collagen, unflavored gelatin provides thickness. It has protein and can make homemade treats more palatable for fussy cats.
  • Guar gum – A plant based soluble fiber from the guar bean that thickens without clumping.

When choosing corn free thickeners, introduce slowly and watch for signs of intolerance. Tapioca, potato starch, gelatin and guar gum make good substitutions. Consider your cat’s individual needs and existing food sensitivities first.


Despite its hypoallergenic properties, cornstarch should be fed to cats in moderation. While it offers some benefits, such as being a thickening agent and a hypoallergenic carbohydrate source, overfeeding can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea, and obesity-related issues.

Veterinary experts suggest that cats primarily consume meat-based diets for optimal health and that cornstarch should only be shared with cats sparingly at best.

To ensure your cat’s health, seek professional advice from your vet if your cat shows symptoms or has pre-existing health conditions. While it’s understandable to want to share human food with cats, it’s important to keep in mind that cats have specific dietary needs and cornstarch should not replace their regular diet.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is an author and software engineer from the United States, I and a group of experts made this blog with the aim of answering all the unanswered questions to help as many people as possible.