Can Wet Cat Food Go Bad?

As a cat owner, you know that our feline friends can be quite finicky when it comes to mealtime. That’s why wet cat food has become such a popular option for many pet parents. It provides a tasty and moist option for cats, often rich in protein and other essential nutrients. But with all the benefits of wet cat food comes one important question – can it go bad?

The answer is yes. Just like any other perishable food item, wet cat food can spoil over time, and if not stored properly or consumed within its shelf-life, it can become dangerous for your furry friend to eat. Harmful bacteria can grow in the food, leading to illnesses or even death in severe cases.

That’s why it’s crucial for every cat owner to be aware of the signs of spoiled cat food and take necessary precautions to prevent their pets from consuming it. But how do you know if your wet cat food has gone bad? What are the telltale signs? And what are the best storage practices to ensure your cat’s food stays fresh and safe?

In this blog post, we’ll explore these important questions and provide valuable insights and tips for every caring pet parent out there. So let’s dive in together and discover everything you need to know about wet cat food expiration.

What is Wet Cat Food?

Look no further than wet cat food. Also known as canned cat food, this type of food is a popular choice among cat owners for its high moisture content and essential nutrients.

Wet cat food comes in a variety of flavors such as chicken, beef, fish, and turkey. It’s sold in cans, pouches or trays and can be either complete or complementary. Complete wet cat food provides all the necessary nutrients that a cat needs to stay healthy, while complementary wet cat food is designed to be fed alongside dry cat food to provide additional moisture and flavor.

One of the most significant benefits of wet cat food is its high moisture content. This helps to keep cats hydrated and is especially important for cats who do not drink enough water on their own or who are prone to urinary tract issues. In addition, wet cat food is formulated with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and proteins that are necessary for a cat’s overall health and well-being.

However, it’s essential to note that not all wet cat foods are created equal. Some brands may contain fillers or artificial preservatives that can be harmful to your furry friend in the long run. So when selecting wet cat food, it’s critical to read the labels carefully and opt for high-quality brands that do not contain any harmful ingredients.

It’s also important to store wet cat food correctly to avoid any potential health risks for your cat. Bacteria can grow in the food if the can or pouch is opened and left out at room temperature for an extended period of time. This can cause the food to develop a foul smell, slimy texture, and an overall unappetizing appearance.

Does Wet Cat Food Go Bad?

Sadly, the answer is yes.

Wet cat food is composed of various ingredients such as meat, animal by-products, vegetables, and grains. These items have a shelf life, and once the can or pouch of wet cat food is opened, it exposes the food to air and bacteria. This exposure can lead to spoilage and the development of harmful bacteria that can make your cat sick.

So how do you know if your cat’s wet food has gone bad? There are some visible signs to look out for. If the food has a rancid smell, slimy texture, or mold growth, then it’s time to throw it away and replace it with fresh food. Even if the food doesn’t show any visible signs of spoilage, it may still be unsafe for your cat to eat if it has been open for too long.

To prevent your cat’s wet food from going bad, proper storage is crucial. Once opened, cans or pouches should be refrigerated and consumed within two to three days. Any leftover food should be discarded after this time frame. Additionally, avoid purchasing expired wet cat food or storing it in warm or humid environments.

Factors That Contribute to Wet Cat Food Going Bad

However, wet cat food can go bad easily if not stored properly or past its expiration date. In this article, we’ll explore the five critical factors that contribute to wet cat food going bad and how to prevent it.

Firstly, exposure to air is a significant factor. Once you open a can of wet cat food, it becomes exposed to air, which can hasten spoilage. Bacteria and other microorganisms in the air can contaminate the food and lead to spoilage. To prevent this, use the food as soon as possible after opening it or store it in an airtight container.

Secondly, temperature plays a crucial role. Wet cat food should be stored at a cool temperature to prevent spoilage. If it is exposed to high temperatures, such as in a hot car or direct sunlight, it can spoil quickly. Therefore, always store the food in a cool and dry place.

Thirdly, moisture is another critical factor. Wet cat food already contains high levels of moisture, but excess moisture can contribute to spoilage. If the food is not stored in an airtight container or if it is stored in a humid environment, it can become moldy or spoil quickly. Therefore, ensure that the container you use is tightly sealed.

Fourthly, time is also crucial when it comes to wet cat food. Just like any other food item, wet cat food has an expiration date. Once this date has passed, the food may begin to spoil and should not be fed to cats. Always check the expiration date before feeding your feline friend.

Lastly and most importantly, contamination can make wet cat food go bad quickly. The food can become contaminated if it comes into contact with dirty surfaces or utensils. It is crucial to wash your hands and any utensils used to handle the food before feeding your cat.

Signs of Spoiled Wet Cat Food

That’s why it’s essential to be aware of the signs of spoiled wet cat food. Just like any other type of food, wet cat food can go bad if it’s not handled and stored correctly.

The first sign that your wet cat food may have spoiled is the smell. Fresh wet cat food should have a mild aroma that your kitty will find appetizing. But if you notice a foul odor emanating from the can or pouch, it’s a big red flag that the food has gone bad. Trust your nose – if it smells off, it probably is.

Another indication that your wet cat food may have gone bad is a change in texture or appearance. If the food looks slimy or discolored, bacteria may have started to grow. Similarly, if the food has separated or has a watery consistency, it’s likely that it has gone bad. And never ignore any signs of mold on the surface of the food – this is never a good sign when it comes to any type of food.

If your kitty consumes spoiled wet cat food, they can become very ill and display symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and loss of appetite. These symptoms can be a sign of serious health problems and should not be ignored. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat after feeding them wet cat food, contact your veterinarian immediately.

To prevent spoiled wet cat food, always store it in a cool and dry place away from sunlight and other sources of heat. Always check the expiration date before feeding your cat and never feed them expired food. And remember to always trust your senses – if something seems off with the wet cat food, it’s better to be safe than sorry and dispose of it immediately.

How to Store Wet Cat Food Properly

Wet cat food can spoil quickly if not stored correctly, leading to bacterial contamination and potential health issues for your cat. That’s why we have compiled a list of five subtopics to guide you on how to store wet cat food properly.

Airtight Containers

Transferring your cat’s wet food into an airtight container is essential in preventing odors from spreading throughout the refrigerator and keeping the food fresh for longer. A clean container with a tight-fitting lid is crucial in preventing air and moisture from getting in. This will ensure that your cat’s food stays fresh and tasty for them to enjoy.


Storing wet cat food in the refrigerator is a must. The ideal temperature range to store wet cat food is between 32-38 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps slow down bacterial growth and keeps the food fresh for up to three days. Keeping your cat’s food at a consistent temperature will help maintain its nutritional value and taste.


Labeling is an essential step in storing wet cat food properly. It’s important to label the container with the date you opened it so that you can keep track of how long it has been in the fridge. This will help you avoid feeding your cat spoiled food that could make them sick. Remember, cats are sensitive creatures, and their stomachs are no different. Feeding them spoiled food can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or other health issues.

Quality Check

Before purchasing canned cat food, always check the expiration date on the can. Avoid buying cans that are dented, bulging, or show signs of leakage as these may indicate that the food has already gone bad. Always check the can for any visible signs of spoilage before feeding it to your cat. These simple steps can save you time and money in the long run by avoiding potential vet bills.

Discard Leftovers

Discard any leftover wet cat food after two to three days. Leaving wet cat food out on your cat’s bowl for an extended period of time can cause bacterial contamination. It’s best to feed your cat a fresh serving of wet food every time. This will ensure that your cat is getting the proper nutrition and reduce the risk of any potential health issues.

How to Ensure Quality When Buying Wet Cat Food

One way to do this is by choosing the right wet cat food. However, with so many options available, it can be challenging to know which one to pick. Here are five tips that will help you make an informed decision when buying wet cat food.

Check the expiration date:

Just like any other food product, wet cat food comes with an expiration date. It’s essential to check this date and make sure it is still valid before purchasing the product. Spoiled wet cat food can be harmful to your cat’s health, so always avoid any expired products.

Inspect the packaging:

It’s crucial to inspect the packaging for any signs of damage or tampering. If the packaging is dented, torn, or has been opened, it may have been compromised in some way. Always choose well-packaged products that appear to be in good condition.

Consider the brand and reputation of the manufacturer:

The brand and reputation of the manufacturer play an essential role in ensuring quality when buying wet cat food. Opt for brands that have a good reputation in the industry and are known for producing high-quality products. Read reviews from other pet owners to get an idea of how well the product has worked for their cats.

Read the list of ingredients:

When buying wet cat food, always read the list of ingredients carefully. Choose products that contain high-quality protein sources like chicken or fish, along with a balance of other nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Avoid products that contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

Store wet cat food properly:

Once you’ve purchased wet cat food, it’s essential to store it correctly to maintain its quality and freshness. Keep it in a cool, dry place and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or high temperatures. Additionally, make sure to use the food within a reasonable amount of time after opening the can or pouch to ensure that it does not go bad.


In conclusion, wet cat food is not exempt from spoiling, just like any other perishable food item. Its composition of various ingredients with a limited shelf life makes it susceptible to spoilage when exposed to air and bacteria. This can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria that can put your cat’s health at risk. Proper storage is essential to prevent this.

Once opened, cans or pouches should be refrigerated and consumed within two to three days. Don’t forget to check the expiration date, inspect the packaging for any signs of damage or tampering, consider the brand and reputation of the manufacturer, read the list of ingredients carefully, and store wet cat food properly.

As a responsible pet owner, it’s crucial to recognize the signs of spoiled cat food and take necessary precautions to prevent your pets from consuming it. Trust your senses – if something seems off with the wet cat food, dispose of it immediately. By following these tips and guidelines for storing and selecting wet cat food, you can ensure that your furry friend stays healthy and happy at mealtime.