Canned cat food is popular for pet owners due to its convenience and long shelf life. However, it’s important to ensure that the food is still safe for your furry friend to consume. Cat food has an extremely long shelf life. But what if the “best by” date has passed? Is it okay to give your cat food that has gone bad? How long does canned cat food last?
Canned cat food can last up to two to five years from the date of manufacture. It’s not recommended to give cats any food that has gone bad. Your cat will risk developing diarrhoea, motion sickness, and digestive distress as the nutritional quality declines. Don’t feed your cat if there are any decaying indicators, such as mould, bugs, worms, or foul odours.
But what happens if your pets consume cat food that has gone bad? How long will it be before the canned cat food goes bad? Continue reading this article to delve into the details of this subject. If you keep reading, you’ll learn pertinent information about canned cat food expiration dates.
Does Canned Cat Food Expire?
Yes, cat food will expire after a specific time. The expiration date on pet food is also on the packaging, but canned cat food tends to spoil much earlier.
It is up to you to keep an eye on what you feed your pets, as they can’t tell you if the food has gone bad. There are many cases of spoiled canned cat food.
How to Tell if Cat Food in Cans Has Expired?
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet rich in animal protein. Canned cat food is an excellent source of protein and moisture, which can help keep your cat hydrated and healthy.
Cats who eat food that has gone lousy risk developing health issues. These problems may be avoided by checking details like the product’s expiration date and pest activity.
1. Bad Odour
The fragrance of canned cat food is not particularly alluring. But the stink can get stronger when the substance is no longer safe for your pet to consume. Most canned cat food is moist, which causes this unpleasant stench.
Most cat owners only feed their kitties one brand of canned food. You should thus be familiar with the food’s presentation.
It is no longer suitable for your pet’s healthy diet if it becomes discoloured, such as darker-than-average meat or ambiguous white material.
The fragrance of cat food and a variety of nearby insects may influence a cat’s natural inclination. Cat food in cans that have been improperly stored can attract cockroaches, moths, beetles, and worms.
These little animals have the potential to introduce dangerous germs into the food, which, if consumed by your pet, might result in illnesses.
4. Expiry Date
A simple way to determine if cat food has become stale is to check the expiration date or the “Best By” date. This tag, sometimes known as the “Best By” date, can be seen on food packaging or labels.
Foods often have a date on the bottom or a stamp on the nutrition information.
5. Growth of Mould
A 2016 study found mould thrives in environments with the right humidity and moisture levels. Fortunately, a lot of canned cat food comes in hermetically sealed cans.
However, mould can grow and spread if the container contains tiny openings allowing air to enter.
How Long Does Wet Cat Food Last?
You should remove any moist or canned food that hasn’t been consumed within four hours from your pet’s dish if the surrounding temperature is above 50°F.
After the can has been opened, it should be kept in the refrigerator for only 5-7 days at a temperature between 40 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, any cat or dog food should be thrown away.
Ensure no expired items are in the refrigerator to keep their food in good condition.
How Long Does Canned Cat Food Last Before it Expires?
The shelf life of dry cat food typically ranges from four months to three years from the date of manufacture, depending on the brand and quality. Even though cat food has a long shelf life, it doesn’t mean it can’t go bad. Just because it will stay unopened long doesn’t mean it won’t go bad.
With the aid of artificial preservatives, canned cat food that hasn’t been opened and is well-packed has four months to two-year shelf life.
While these chemicals might lengthen the product’s shelf life, there are better options for maximizing your pet’s health, especially if they’re ingested regularly.
The makeup of some cat foods makes some expire faster than others. This is because some cat foods have higher salt levels.
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How Long Does Canned Cat Food Last Once Open?
Opened canned cat food only lasts five to seven days.
You should store opened cans in the fridge for a maximum of 5-7 days at temperatures between 40 and 45°F. After that, throw away any food that is left over. Only leave it in your pet’s bowl for four hours at room temperature.
If the unsealed container is kept in a somewhat moist and humid atmosphere, which encourages mould growth and draws bugs, the shelf life may be less than that.
What Happens If a Cat Eats Out-of-Date Cat Food?
There is a significant risk of cats developing health problems if they consume cat food that has gone bad. These health disorders start with digestive issues and vary from minor to severe.
The cats’ bodies strive to eliminate dangerous elements by vomiting or diarrhoea after consuming outdated food.
In addition, cats may experience nausea, weakness, or fatigue after violently ejecting the obsolete food.
How Do You Know If Canned Cat Food Is Bad?
The first sign that your cat’s food is spoiled is that it refuses to eat it. It may be the food itself that is the problem. If your cat isn’t picky as an eater but suddenly won’t consume the food she loves, look closer to see if there’s something wrong with it.
Other Signs Include:
- Humidity exposure
- The development of mould or insects.
- A distinct rotting or sour smell.
- Your pet exhibits symptoms of pain or disease after consuming the food.
We prohibit the use of canned cat food that has passed its use-by date, regardless of whether it is spoiled.
Also Read: Should I Leave Food Out For My Cat At Night?
Can You Use Expired Canned Cat Food?
No, it is not recommended. Food that has passed its “best by” or expiration date should not be fed to your cat. It might harm their health and nutrition if they are fed expired cat food.
You can still feed your cat food that has passed its expiration date as long as there are no apparent signs of deterioration. Still, it is not recommended at all, as it will lose its nutritional value and put their health at risk.
If a cat eats terrible food, it may suffer from nutrient deficiencies, along with diarrhoea, nausea and upset stomach. Food should be kept in date, and expired food should be thrown away.
How Should Unopened Wet Cat Food Be Stored?
In a location with a temperature range of 50 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, keep unopened wet cat food (10 to 37.78 degrees Celsius).
Don’t freeze canned cat food since the low temperatures might alter the food’s flavour and texture.
Additionally, avoid keeping the can outside since the heat might cause moisture loss, which causes a nutritional imbalance in cats.
What Are The Risks of Old Cat Food?
It is even worse for your cat to eat outdated food than food that tastes sour or stale. It would be best if you gave some thought to the following:
1. Mold and Bacterial Growth
Food that has gone bad might encourage the growth of germs and mould. These undesired ingredients in your cat’s food can potentially harm them and seriously upset their delicate gastrointestinal systems.
2. Worms and bugs
Pet food that has gone bad is significantly more prone to draw in and harbour creepy crawlies than fresh, properly maintained food. These insects may contain several illnesses that your loved one might get by eating them.
3. Poor Nutrition
The “best by” or expiration date listed on the cat food isn’t simply intended to alert you to the food’s unsuitability for consumption. Additionally, it provides the expected nutritional value of the food’s expiration date.
Even if there are no external impurities in the food, such as air, moisture, mildew, or insects, your cat won’t get a balanced diet due to the natural breakdown of the ingredients.
Keeping Cat Food in Cans and Dry Form
However, after it’s unlocked, you should exercise some more caution. Transferring dry food to a different container is preferable since it will be more dependable and resealable than using a bulky paper bag.
A great choice is the Gamma2 Vittles Vault. It has an airtight seal, a simple screw-on cover, a compact design without BPA, and a food-grade plastic shape. Together, these elements prevent air, moisture, and pests from getting into your cat’s food. But a used plastic bucket with a cover will do just nicely.
Wet cat food may be stored with the same ease. Place the unused amount in a food-safe storage container and put it in your refrigerator beside your leftovers. You may always choose a budget-friendly food container to avoid sullying one of your lovely Tupperware containers for cat food. It does the job well and is relatively inexpensive.
You need to store your cat’s food correctly to stay fresh for as long as possible. You’ll need to safeguard it from pests like ants, roaches, and the weather.
We advise keeping your cat’s food sealed and hidden in a cold, dry location until it’s time to use it. Because there are slight temperature and humidity variations, areas like a kitchen cupboard, pantry, or utility closet are ideal.
Frequently Asked Question
What makes canned cat food go bad?
Cans of cat food can spoil for various reasons, similar to those that cause spoiled human food. Reasons include:
1. Bacteria grow due to air exposure
2. Air that is humid or moist causes mould growth
3. Rancidity due to hot weather
To maintain optimum shelf life, both wet and dry cat food should be kept in a cool, dry location. The best place for storing cats’ food is an indoor closet or a pantry in the kitchen.
How long does food remain edible beyond its expiration date?
As each product is unique, it can be difficult to determine how long it will be safe once it expires. You can still consume dry food past its expiration date.
Dry food three months past its “best by” date is usually okay to feed your pets, but remember that they won’t get all the nutrients it would typically contain.
However, it is not recommended since they will lose too much nutritional value, and there is a risk to their health as well.
Cats may eat canned cat food as long as there aren’t any apparent symptoms of deterioration. However, this will only satisfy some of your pet’s daily nutritional needs. Additionally, avoid giving your cat expired cat food if it shows evidence of bacterial and insect activity. If you notice these symptoms, seal the can before throwing it away in the garbage.
If you only use half of a can of wet cat food after opening it, store the remaining portion tightly covered in the refrigerator. Although cling film works well, it may be tightly sealed with specially-made can lids.
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Who is Isabella?
My name is Isabella, and I am a dedicated and knowledgeable cat enthusiast. With years of experience caring for cats and a deep love for felines, I made a mission to help other cat lovers navigate the challenges of cat ownership.