How long can you leave wet cat food out?

The wide selection of cat food available in the market helps cat owners find food that their pets can enjoy. Though your pet may like certain flavors, they probably don’t finish their food in one sitting.

If you buy your pet wet cat food and they are unable to complete it at one go, you should look for a way to store it well. Since wet food can easily get contaminated, you should not leave it out long. If you have to leave wet cat food out, do not let it stay beyond 20 minutes.

An overview of wet cat food

If you lack time to make home-cooked meals for a cat, you can still get all the nutrients they need by buying cat food. Most of the cats have a problem finishing a whole can at once. Every pet owner should find out how long they can leave such cat food out to avoid any safety concerns.

You should not give the cat spoiled food since this can lead to a stomach upset. Since cat food is expensive, throwing portions of uneaten food after every meal is not economical for any pet owner. Since wet cat food contains high moisture levels, it is easy for most cats to consume. If your cat has been experiencing some digestive issues, this is the type of food you should give them. Wet cat food is not only easy on their stomach but also highly nutritious.

The problem with wet food for cats is that you have to deal with bigger messes since most cats like scattering such foods in the house. The shelf life of this food type is also inferior to dry cat food. Every time you open a can of wet can food, you expose it to air and bacteria. Microorganisms can easily thrive in wet cat food due to the warm temperatures and high humidity levels. This makes wet cat food get spoiled fast if you leave it out without sealing.

When the weather is too hot, you should not leave out wet cat food for more than 20 minutes since it can easily get contaminated. During winter, wet cat food may take a bit longer to spoil only if the heater is not on. You should avoid leaving out wet cat food throughout the night since it can affect the cat’s health. Some cats end up bloated or even dead from eating wet cat food that has stayed overnight. Though some cats can feed on left overnight foods without experiencing stomach aches, most cannot. Since the biology of cats differs, you should not expose a pet to such risks.

Find out how you can store wet cat food

Instead of leaving wet food for long, you should store it well to prevent it from getting contaminated. If you have a refrigerator, you can use it to store the wet cat food that your pet leaves behind after feeding. Does the cat have a habit of never completing their meals in one sitting? If yes, you don’t have to wait for it to get spoiled.

Split the food into small portions that the cat can complete and store them in different containers. Let the containers remain in the refrigerator, and take them out one by one when the cat is hungry. Ensure that you warm the food in a microwave before giving it to the cat since most pets don’t like cold food.

You should avoid storing wet cat food in a shed or garage since such areas are often hot. A shed can produce high temperatures and expose the wet cat food to extreme heat. This can easily degrade wet cat food, making it unsafe for a cat to consume. If you choose wet cat foods that come in a can, you should always ensure that it is firmly secure before storage. Even a small hole in canned wet cat food can encourage the growth of microorganisms. Apart from securing such cans firmly, you should also avoid buying those with dents.

If you have old food you cannot give the cat, get rid of it, and wash the bowl thoroughly before refilling it with some fresh food. Apart from learning how to store cat food, you should also try to find out why your cat is always leaving behind leftovers. Since some cats are more sensitive to certain flavors and textures of certain foods, understanding your cat’s preferences is a good place to start. This can help you choose the right food brand that the cat will not keep on leaving behind.

How wet cat food differs from dry food

Wet cat food
Dry cat food
Has a short shelf life
It has a longer shelf life.
It is easy for a cat to chew
Not the easiest for the cat to chew
High moisture levels
Low moisture levels
Less costly
Has better texture, and more ingredients
Some cats don’t like the texture and its ingredients are less.


Most cats don’t have consistent feeding habits. They tend to leave behind wet cat food that can quickly spoil. If you have such a cat, you should know to handle both wet and dry cat food to prevent it from spoiling. Do not leave wet cat food out for more than 20 minutes since it can easily get contaminated due to exposure to bacteria and air. Instead of this, split the food into small containers and store it in a refrigerator.


Should you store cat food in a metal or plastic container?

Metal containers are better for storing cat food since plastic containers negatively affect the texture and taste of cat food.

How often can I feed a cat?

This depends on factors such as the cat’s energy levels and age. If you have an active cat, it may need to eat more than a less active cat. The cat’s age can also determine how often you should feed it.


At 29 years of age Katerina Garcia has made good her dream of advocating for the care and well being of pets and domesticated animals in general. Working as a veterinary nurse for well over 5 years, Miss Garcia is well equipped to handle various pet and animal issues; the reason she compiled the detailed excerpts for use by the pet and animal keepers, to help them better take care of the domesticated animals. It is with great pleasure that she shares her knowledge on the various social networking platforms, but with the sole aim of making the pets and the pet owners happy, and which in the long run helps equip other animal enthusiasts with knowledge, as they prepare to join the field of study.

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