How long does open cat food stay good?

My cat needs special [expensive] canned cat food, like .50 per can. She’s very picky and will only eat it if it’s been sitting out for a while. It is a meat-based food.

If I feed her the newly opened wet food around 7am, she won’t touch it until about 3pm. A human obviously wouldn’t want to eat plain meat that’s been left out that long because it would be spoiled.

My question is, is this harmful? Would she still eat it if it was ‘bad’/spoiled or would she know the difference? How long can wet cat food be left out at room temperature without being spoiled? Thanks!
Thanks everyone for the details, very much appreciated.

She is almost 20 years old and has irritable bowel syndrome [just like people I guess, it almost killed her a few years ago]. So she is on a restricted diet of only rabbit and duck food. She does get some dry food, something special but I forget the name.
The only rabbit and duck food I have found is through a vet’s office which is why it is so expensive I guess.

She was so sick a few years back and had surgery for it. She pulled through and has been doing well ever since with this food. There was some interaction with chicken/beef/fish and her digestive system which is why we can’t feed her the normal store food if anyone is curious.

so thank you again, this really helps. hope all of your cats are happy!!

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7 Responses to How long does open cat food stay good?

  1. CJ says:

    It stays good for a while mine has never gone bad just keep it away from splashing water so it doesnt get wet some cats wont eat it like that and dont put it to close to the litter box if some stuff from there gets in it they usually waste their food… and if it is wet foood than all day but no more than that them sometimes flies get in it…the cats are weird some i have none to eat spoild food and some who would act so proper and not eat spoild food wich is probably better…

  2. Petlover says:

    Well it really isn’t bad unless it has been out for 12-24 hours my cat does this to and he is healthy

  3. SMP says:

    I found that my cats wouldn’t eat canned food if it was left out for more than about 4 hours, but it never had any harmful affect on them. They are both horribly fussy eaters i buy specialist food from my vet now (Scienceplan) its a dry complete food and can be left out all day. Its £13 a bag but its got a money back guarantee. I’m sure that if your cat prefers to eat after the food has been out for a while its not bothering her, cats are intelligent if it tasted bad she would leave it.

  4. Ken says:

    Hi Even though it dries up, there is no problem leaving canned foods out there all day. If yopu choose, you can add a bit of water and mix it in and it will look good as new.
    You do not allow email messages but I am curious what kind of food you are feeding and why. Many commercial foods can cover the same thing.
    I may be able to help. Please email me with a return address

  5. Kayty says:

    Leaving the food out for 8 hours shouldn’t be harmful.

    Sometimes cats won’t eat food that has been refrigerated after being opened. Refrigeration reduces the smell and taste of the food. You might try heating it up in the microwave to bring it back to room temperature. Let it sit for five minutes or so after microwaving it and stir it, to be sure it isn’t too hot for the cat’s mouth.

  6. Cat says:

    It’s not ideal, but cats have a much shorter intestinal tract in relation to their size than do humans, so any bacteria that form over that time should do her no harm.

    Incidentally, what happens if you don’t feed her til 3pm? Does she get dry food as well? If you are offering the food at room temperature it might simply be that she prefers 3pm as her feeding time … or she might actually like slightly ‘matured’ meat!!

    If you are feeding it cold (from the fridge) she may be rejecting it until it has warmed to room temperature, as cats can’t taste food very well when it’s cold.

    It’s up to you, really – if you prefer she eats the food fresh, serve it at room temperature, but remove it if she doesn’t eat it within 15 minutes. She won’t starve herself, and will eventually adjust to your ‘routine’. Personally, I’d try feeding her at 3, and if she deferred eating til much later, I’d conclude that she likes it a little ‘ripe’ and let her get on with it!

  7. Doodlestuff says:

    Have you tried heating the food slightly in the microwave? Maybe 20 seconds at 50% power? Only take out what you will use for that feeding and immediately refrigerate the remainder.

    If you have a proper can cover (they sell them even at the grocery store), the food is good for a maximum of 3 days if it is kept refrigerated. If you take it out and leave it out, I wouldn’t keep it past athe day you opened it.

    No, she would not necessarily know if it is spoiled before eating it, although they have better smell than we do. If she is an older cat, she is relying on taste more than smell anyway. You have my sympathies. When they get sick, it’s hard to get them to eat!

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