Can You Leave Canned Cat Food Out?

Ever wondered why your cat hardly finishes food in one sitting? Cats do not have large stomachs; they don’t need to eat much to get filled. That’s why many of them prefer eating their meals in a few sittings.

So, it’s not out of place to find uneaten portions of canned cat food lying around. Most cat owners don’t remember to pick up the leftovers, while some leave them out for the cat to finish.

There’s also the risk of contamination and food getting stale. Before we talk about whether you can leave unfinished portions of canned food out, find out amongst other things why most cat owners prefer canned cat food.

Why Canned Cat Food is the Best for Your Cat

It’s common knowledge that cats are obligate carnivores. Cats do not thrive well on dry diets due to the high level of dietary carbohydrates. Experts believe that dry diets can make a cat susceptible to diabetes mellitus (DM) and obesity.

Canned cat food contains a balanced mix of high-quality ingredients that provides adequate nutrition for cats. They also contain a sufficient amount of protein and taurine to make up for any deficiency. And so you know, cats that don’t drink enough water are prone to contracting lower urinary tract disease and chronic kidney disease (CKD). That’s a bad thing because cats naturally don’t like drinking water.

Also, most cat owners opt for canned cat food because of its high moisture content – which is approximately 70% of the entire portion. Unlike dry cat food, the high water content of canned cat food ensures the cat stays hydrated.

It’s also with noting that feeding your cat canned food reduces the risk of contracting any of the diseases mentioned above. Some vets recommend canned cat food for cats with health conditions that require more water intake, such as diabetes, lower urinary tract disease, or kidney disease.

Additionally, older cats prefer canned food because of the high moisture level and strong scent (which stimulates their appetites). The picky eaters will always favour a canned diet over any other diet because it is highly palatable.

How Long Can You Leave Canned Cat Food Out?

Canned cat food contains preservatives to ensure it stays fresh and safe for consumption. However, as soon as you open the can, the food is exposed to both air and disease-causing bacteria.

Leaving food out for too long could be detrimental to your cat’s health. Try not to leave the food exposed to air for any length of time to prevent bacteria from acting on it.

Whether it’s winter or summer, you shouldn’t leave canned cat food out for more than 20 minutes. This may not work if your cat doesn’t consume food in one sitting.

Cat owners tend to leave food out for more extended periods to enable the cat to finish eating. However, remember that the probability of bacterial contamination increases as time goes by. Vets and nutritionists advocate that cat owners throw away leftover food that has stayed out for more than four hours.

Moreover, it’s good hygiene to discard canned food that has been exposed to air. Additionally, the food can go stale or lose taste if it stays out for too long. Some cats are sensitive to the taste and texture of their food. Little wonder your cat loses interest in food that has stayed out for long

The Best Way to Store Canned Cat Food

Manufacturers of canned cat food recommend storing it in a cool, dry place. Place it somewhere that is not open to water or sunlight as too much humidity, and heat can degrade the food.

Some canned cat food brands require refrigeration immediately after buying them. This type of cat food can last up until the expiration date if left unopened.

If your cat doesn’t finish the food in one sitting, package the leftovers in an airtight container or zip-lock plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator at 40ºF. Discard any leftover food that has stayed in the fridge for 4-5 days.

You can also store any unused or uneaten portions of canned cat food in the freezer. Freezing allows you to keep excess cat food for a couple of weeks and preserves the food for a more extended period.

Before you consider freezing, endeavour to go through the packaging for any warning against freezing the food. You can divide the contents into separate portions. That way, you don’t have to thaw the whole food each time you want to feed your cat.

How to Choose a Canned Cat Food for Your Cat?

Many vets emphasize the importance of feeding your pets a well-balanced diet to grow and stay healthy. Come to think of it, providing your cat with a proper diet saves you from some unnecessary veterinary expenses.

Finding the best canned cat food for your cat depends on some factors; notable amongst which is your cat’s nutritional need. The essential dietary elements that cats require include protein, taurine, vitamin, fatty acids, minerals, enzymes, and water.

Cats do not necessarily need carbohydrates though you may find them in some canned cat food brands. However, finding a balance of fat, protein, taurine, vitamin, minerals, and carbohydrate in cat food is what makes it healthy.

Other factors to consider when choosing canned foods for your cat asides the ingredients include;

  • Ingredient sourcing
  • Nutritional values
  • Added supplements
  • Flavour, colouring, and binding
  • Cat’s weight

Serving Canned Cat Food

Cats generally prefer their meals warm. Before serving your cat, mix the food with some warm water to heat it a bit. Make sure the food is not too hot before you serve your cat. Resist the urge to mix the remaining contents of an old can with a new one. The reason is that it may likely contaminate fresh food. So what to do? Serve the old one first before serving the new one.

More importantly, check the expiry date of the cat food before you serve your cat. Most cat owners hardly ever check the best before date because they know that canned cat food lasts for a long time if unopened. Chances are, the food may have expired or nearing its expiry date even though you bought it recently.