Since wet food has more moisture, many pet owners prefer it for their cats. The majority of cats do not consume enough water. Incorporating wet cat food into their diets can help them drink more water, improving their overall hydration.
Cats seldom finish an entire can of cat food in one sitting, even though wet cat food is more appealing and offers many benefits for your cat.
No, you should not leave wet cat food out overnight since it will deteriorate within one to four hours, depending on the weather.
Let’s take a deeper look at why wet cat food spoils, how to recognize when it’s starting to go bad, and how to effectively store any leftovers.
So, if you want to keep your cat safe while avoiding waste and unneeded expenditure, be sure to keep reading!
Does Wet Cat Food Go Bad?
Yes, wet cat food can become bad or spoiled.
Some pet food producers recommend discarding uneaten wet food after an hour, while others say it’s fine to keep it out at room temperature for up to four hours. In a cool room, somewhere in the middle is generally safe.
It’s also worth noting that numerous bacteria in the air might get into the food if it’s left out in the open. These bacteria might alter the makeup of canned food if they are mixed with it. This bacterium will ruin canned food if it is exposed to it for an extended length of time.
Cat owners have been known to keep wet food out for longer periods without harming their cats.
Bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, and E. coli are unlikely to be present. However, less harmful microorganisms prevalent in households will ultimately degrade the food.
Wet food, on the other hand, dries up rather rapidly. Even an hour after being out, the meal remains unappealing and inedible due to this. Even so, it would be best if you fed your cat with caution and only provided canned or wet food when it’s fresh.
You might also like to check out how long does wet cat food last
Can Cats Eat Wet Food Left Out Overnight?
Cats should never eat wet food which was left out overnight.
It is extremely suggested that wet cat food not be left out overnight. Wet cat food should never be put out for more than 2-3 hours at a time.
This is because wet cat food left at room temperature soon warms, creating an ideal habitat for germs to thrive, increase, and pose a threat to your cat.
While a cat’s biology is different from ours, it’s reasonable to presume that cats shouldn’t be exposed to the same things that might be harmful to us.
Aside from the dangerous aspect, moist food becomes quite unappealing very soon. Besides, after a few hours, your cat is unlikely to be interested in eating it.
While wet food offers numerous advantages for your cat, one of them is its long shelf life and ability to be left out for hours.
You might also like to know about can canned cat food go bad in heat
Can You Leave Wet Cat Food Out All Day?
It is not recommended to leave wet cat food out all day.
The simple answer (according to the FDA) is you can leave wet cat food out for only 1-2 hours, but let’s go a little further to learn why you shouldn’t keep wet cat food out for longer than that, what can happen if you do, and what you can do to securely store the cat food.
Food kept at room temperature for longer than 2 hours should be discarded. Some cat food companies recommend leaving wet food out for no more than 1 hour, while others say it’s fine to leave it out for up to 4 hours.
Always check the expiration date on wet food cans and pouches. Feeding your cat expired wet food is not a good idea. If the expiry date is approaching, keep in mind that leaving the food out for a longer period (closer to 1 hour than 4 hours) may result in the food going bad faster.
Wet cat food should never be left in direct sunlight since it will spoil considerably faster. If you’ve left an opened can of wet food in the sun for more than half an hour on a hot summer day, you should probably toss it.
The components in wet food significantly impact how long it will last. Fish-based wet food, for example, will spoil faster than chicken-based cat food. Furthermore, organic wet cat food has no chemical preservatives; it spoils more quickly than commercial cat food.
Also, check out how to warm up refrigerated cat food
How Long Can You Leave Wet Cat Food Out?
Wet cat food spoils in around 1-4 hours after being opened and exposed to the air.
However, it is dependent on the food and the temperature in your home. In general, the faster food spoils, the warmer it is and the bigger the surface area.
For example, wet cat food spread thinly in a dish will spoil faster than wet cat food stored in a central pile (the center of the food, anyway).
Even if your cat likes to consume their food in several sittings, putting it out for a lengthy amount of time is not a good idea.
So, after 1-2 hours, you should look to remove any wet food that has been placed on the floor.
Before placing any other food in the bowl, make sure you properly wash it with a decent brand of soap.
As you may guess, this is not a viable option at night. Who wants to accomplish this by getting up every two hours? It would be a nightmare even if it happened once.
As a result, it may be a better idea to feed your cat dry food at this time.
Bacteria can’t grow in this environment since it’s so dry. As a result, it is typically safer for a significantly longer period.
This is why it was created in the first place: to survive for longer periods without going bad.
Also, check out is it safe to store cat food in a plastic container
Any food that is left out (wet, dry, or otherwise) oxidizes (the process of decomposing). It is predicted that dry cat food will be ready in 36-48 hours.
While your cat is unlikely to become ill due to the dry food, it can grow stale and unpleasant over time.
It will get you through the night, but it will very certainly need to be replaced the next morning.
How To Leave Wet Cat Food Out?
You can leave wet cat food out in small disposable Ziploc bags.
The remaining food in the can may dry out the meal, particularly if kept in the refrigerator. Instead of storing it in the can, you may put it in Ziploc bags.
Placing the Ziploc bag in the sink and pouring warm water over it makes it simpler to reheat the meal. In terms of storage, it won’t take up much room and can fit almost any place.
There is an expiration date on every can of food. Always check the labels and never feed your cat outdated food.
This is one of the most straightforward methods for preserving wet food. First, keep track of your cat’s eating habits and estimate how much food they can consume in a single meal.
If you have kittens, feed them no more than two tablespoons of food at a time since their digestive systems aren’t yet evolved enough to consume large amounts of food.
After opening a can of cat food, all manufacturers recommend keeping it refrigerated. This is the most effective method for preserving wet food.
Cats, on the other hand, are not fond of cold food. To fix this, place the next serving in a microwave-safe dish, cover with plastic wrap, and reheat on low for a few minutes.
You might also like to read about what to do with leftover cat food
How Can You Tell If Wet Cat Food Is Bad?
Wet cat food that is spoiled can easily be detected by how your cat responds and how it looks and smells. The fact that your cat will typically refuse to eat it is one of the first signs.
This is particularly noticeable in cats with a healthy and robust appetite that suddenly refuses to eat the food they normally like.
You should not notice these indicators if you remove wet cat food within 1-2 hours after putting it down.
It is preferable to be extra careful in this situation.
Furthermore, whether the food has been opened or not, it is never a good idea to give your cat food past its expiration date.
Other signs to look out for include:
- The different, stronger smell
- Drier, harder consistency
- Visible signs of mold
Your cat shows symptoms of discomfort or illness (such as diarrhea) following consumption.
Also, check out what to do if cat ate spoiled wet food
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can wet cat food be unrefrigerated?
Although there is some disagreement on how long wet cat food should be kept out, most experts agree that it should only be left out for 1-2 hours indoors at room temperature. Wet cat food will dry up and thicken after a few hours, making it less tasty to your cat and a breeding ground for bacteria.
How do I store leftover wet cat food?
Any unused wet cat food should be stored in the refrigerator once opened. The fridge should be kept at 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4-7.2 degrees Celsius). Cans that have been opened can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days.
Will cats eat cold, wet food?
Cold food straight from the refrigerator is unappealing to cats. They like their meal to be served at room temperature, as this is closer to their body temperature and the temperature of new prey. If you need to introduce a new food to your cat, maybe on your veterinarian’s recommendation, do it gradually.
It is extremely suggested that wet cat food not be left out overnight. Besides, your cat is unlikely to find it particularly appealing.
Of course, dry cat food is an option, but it will depend on your feeding schedule even then.