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How Long Can I Let Wet Cat Food Sit Out?

You pop open the lid on a fresh can of cat food, pour the contents into the cat dish, and set it out for your kitty’s enjoyment. After happily munching on a few bites, your cat gets distracted and saunters off.

Now you’re left wondering, how long can I let wet cat food sit out? Is it OK to leave the wet cat food in the dish for later?

In this guide, we’ll help you learn more about how long you should leave your feline family member’s wet food out and what you can do to preserve food that’s already been opened.

How Long Can Wet Cat Food Sit Out?

If your cat has only eaten a portion of its bowl of wet food, you are left wondering, “Can wet cat food sit out?” Ideally, wet cat food should never be left sitting in a dish for more than one to two hours.

Why should you put away your cat’s wet food after an hour or two? Does wet cat food go bad if left out? The answer is that when left out, cat food can quickly grow bacteria. This bacteria can be harmful and can lead to digestive issues for your cat. Not only that, but when you leave wet cat food out, it will congeal into an unappealing texture, and your cat may not eat it anyway.

How long can canned cat food sit out covered?

Another option you might consider when your kitty leaves a portion of its food untouched is to simply cover up the bowl until later. However, it can still grow bacteria even if you cover the cat food.

What if it’s mixed with dry kibble?

In some cases, you might feed your cat a blend of dry cat food and wet cat food. While dry kibble by itself can be left out all day without the same concerns as wet food, once you mix the two, you face the same risk of bacterial growth.

Is there a Difference Between Canned wet food and wet food pouches?

When it comes to leaving out wet cat food, it doesn’t matter if you purchased wet food in a pouch or a can. Either type of wet cat food should be served fresh and put away after your cat is finished with its meal.

What should I do with leftover wet cat food?

Now that you know the answer to how long can canned cat food sit out, you might have questions about what you should do with your kitty’s leftover dinner.

If your cat has left behind a portion of its wet meal, you can wrap up the food or put it in a covered container and place it in the fridge for later. When you pull the food back out, you might want to warm it up a little, as some cats have an aversion to eating cold food.

The Importance of Freshness

Feeding cats healthy, fresh meals is an important part of caring for their wellness. Fresh food is not only safer, but it is also more appetizing to your cat. Just as you probably wouldn’t enjoy snacking on a stale piece of bread, your cat doesn’t want to chow down on stale kibble or expired wet cat food.

To help ensure that your cat is eating fresh food, use these quick tips: 

  • Stick to a routine: While some pet parents opt for free feeding, having a routine for your cat’s meals can help ensure food is always fresh. Additionally, feeding your cat at regular intervals will allow you to keep careful track of how many calories are being eaten daily, which can prevent under or overfeeding.
  • Put away uneaten food: Once your cat has finished its meal, put the uneaten food in a sealed container. For dry kibble, you can simply cover the food and place it in a cool, dry place. For wet food, store the food in a sealed container in your fridge for later.
  • If your cat is regularly leaving some of their wet meal due to a preference of just eating a smaller amount, consider moving to a smaller size offering such as a 1.75 or 3oz package.  This will deliver a tasty meal, snack or topper and in many cases avoid having to store the leftovers in the refrigerator.
  • Try new options: In some cases, your cat might leave food behind because of the flavor or texture. If you notice that your cat isn’t eating its meals anymore, it might be worth exploring new options. Try a new wet food pouch with a different texture or a variety pack of canned food in different flavors.
  • Visit your vet: As always if you notice a change in your cat’s eating habits, be sure to schedule a visit with your vet. Your veterinarian can rule out any underlying health concerns that might be causing your cat to turn up its nose at meal times.

The right cat food should be nutritious and delicious. It should be food that contributes to your cat’s health but also provides happiness. As you keep your cat’s food dish fresh, make sure to explore the variety of natural cat food options Wellness Pet Food has available. From savory wet food to snacks and treats, each recipe is crafted with premium ingredients designed to promote health and wellness in the cats we love and best of all, deliver a taste that 9 in 10 cats love*.  With the Wellness Catisfaction Guarantee you can be assured your cat will love their meal but, if for any reason they are the 1 cat out of 10 who doesn’t love Wellness, you can always get your money back or try another recipe from the range as with over 70 different wet recipes, Wellness is sure to have one your cat loves.

 *Based on Studies of Wellness Cat at an Independent Kennel. Data on File. 

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