How Long can you Keep Cat Food Out For?

The freshness of the food you give your cat is very important.

In this article you will learn everything you need to know about storing cat food.

The more careful you are about this, the less likely it is that your pet will get sick.

How Does Cat Food go bad?

Once wet cat food starts developing bacteria, it begins to spoil. The more bacteria that forms, the more likely your cat is to get sick from eating it. While you may not be able to see these microscopic organisms, they are dangerous nonetheless.

Leaving cat food outside of the refrigerator speeds up this process considerably. This is why it is not a good idea to let it sit in your cat’s bowl for a very long time.

While dry cat food can already contain bacteria, it is extremely rare. Spoilage is not a major issue with this type of food.

You also need to keep in mind that cats cannot always tell if their food has gone bad. While these animals do have a powerful sense of smell, they can become sick from ingesting even small traces of certain bacteria. There is always a chance that the bacteria has not yet affected the aroma of the food.

Factors that Contribute to Spoilage

There are a number of factors that contribute to the spoilage of cat food (or any other kind for that matter). It is a good idea to learn about some of these factors so you can keep your cat from getting sick.

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Temperature

The temperature that you store your cat’s food at is very important. wet food should not be stored at a temperature of more than 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria start to become a real concern starting at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is also worth noting that bacteria thrive in humid environments. Bacteria cannot grow effectively in dry conditions. If it is very humid in your home, you should not keep the food exposed to the open air for more than 30 minutes.

Different Kinds of Bacteria

There are different kinds of bacteria that can form on cat food. Salmonella and listeria are just a couple, and they can be very dangerous for your pet to ingest. While they are not commonly found in the average home, it is still a possibility.

The kind of bacteria that are found in a person’s house are usually fairly harmless, though they can cause gastrointestinal upset.

How Long Can You Leave Wet Cat Food Out?

wet cat food

It is never a good idea to leave wet cat food outside of the refrigerator for a long period of time. Assuming the temperature in your home is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can keep the food outside of the fridge for about four hours. Spoilage quickly starts becoming a real concern past this point.

You can leave wet cat food out overnight, but there is a certain risk that comes with doing so. If your cat eats the food after it has been sitting out all night, they could experience nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. It is, however, unlikely that they will become seriously ill.

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How Long Can You Leave Raw Cat Food Out?

dry cat food

If you give your cat raw food, you will need to be a lot more careful. Commercial food has preservatives and other things in it that slow down the spoiling process. Raw food on the other hand does not.

You shouldn’t leave raw cat food out any more than an hour at the most. Make sure that you put any leftover food into the fridge as soon as your cat is done. This will greatly reduce the chances of spoilage.

Tips for Storing Cat Food

You will need to follow some simple but effective tips when it comes to storing your cat’s food. These tips can go a long way towards protecting your cat and keeping it from getting sick.

  • Cover any leftover food: If you put any leftover cat food in the fridge, you need to make sure that it is tightly covered up. Exposure to the air will only speed up the spoiling process.
  • Use zippered bags: Put any food that your cat didn’t eat in a plastic bag with a zipper on it. This will ensure that it doesn’t become exposed to air. You can also put in an airtight container.
  • Keep it out of the heat: It is never a good idea to store cat food in any place that is very hot (more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Give your cat just enough: Pay attention to how much food your cat typically eats at meal time. This way you will know what quantity to feed them so there is nothing left over. You won’t have to worry about any of their food sitting out and possibly going bad.
  • Look at the expiration date: It’s also a good idea for you to look at the expiration date on the cat food you buy. This will tell you how long you can keep it. There is a difference between the “use by” date and the expiration date, so keep that in mind as well.
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Conclusion

  • Spoilage is definitely a concern with wet cat food, but not so much dry food.
  • Wet food starts going bad as soon as bacteria begins to form, which can happen within a matter of minutes.
  • The rate at which your cat’s food spoils depends on the ambient temperature and humidity level.
  • You can leave most wet cat food out for about four hours before spoilage starts becoming a real issue.
  • Raw cat food should not be left out of the refrigerator for more than an hour, as it is much more prone to spoiling.
  • Make sure that you cover up any food leftover in your cat’s bowl and put it in the refrigerator.
  • You can use a Ziploc bag with an actual zipper on it to keep your cat’s food fresh until its next meal.
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