What Happens If My Cat Eats Old Wet Food?

Have you ever rummaged through your pantry and stumbled upon an old can of wet cat food? It’s a common occurrence for pet owners to forget about expired cans or accidentally leave them out for too long. But what happens if your feline friend consumes old wet food?

Let’s face it, cats can be finicky eaters. So why would they devour something that humans find unappetizing? The answer is simple: cats rely more on their sense of taste than their sense of smell, which is less developed than ours. Consequently, your cat might not realize that their food has gone bad until it’s too late.

But what exactly happens when your cat eats old wet food? Harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E.coli can grow on spoiled or outdated food, leading to severe health issues in both animals and humans. These bacteria can cause gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea in your feline friend. If left untreated for too long, it could even lead to organ damage or death.

As a responsible pet owner, it’s crucial to monitor your furry companion’s diet and ensure they only consume fresh food. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the consequences of feeding old wet food to your cat, the warning signs to look out for, how to prevent it from happening, and what steps you should take if your cat does fall sick.

So buckle up and let’s explore together the effects of feeding expired wet food to our beloved feline friends.

What is Wet Cat Food?

Wet cat food is a type of cat food that comes in cans or pouches and is made up of a combination of meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and grains. Unlike dry cat food, it contains a higher percentage of moisture which helps keep cats hydrated and aids in digestion.

One of the biggest benefits of feeding your cat wet food is its high moisture content. This can prevent urinary tract infections and other health issues by keeping your cat well-hydrated. Plus, many cats prefer the taste and texture of wet food over dry food.

However, it’s important to be cautious when it comes to the shelf life of wet cat food. Unlike dry food that can last for months or even years, wet cat food has a shorter lifespan and can spoil quickly if not stored properly. Spoiled wet cat food can lead to gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting or diarrhea in cats. To prevent this from happening, always check the expiration date on your cat’s wet food before feeding it to them and discard any spoiled food immediately.

When choosing a wet cat food brand, read the label carefully to ensure that it’s made with high-quality ingredients and doesn’t contain any harmful additives or preservatives. Consulting with your veterinarian about the best type of wet food for your cat based on their age, weight, and overall health is also recommended.

Why Does Wet Cat Food Expire Quickly?

Wet cat food has a high moisture content, making it more susceptible to bacterial growth. Unlike dry cat food, wet cat food does not contain preservatives to prolong its shelf life. This means that without proper storage and handling, the food can become contaminated with harmful bacteria, leading to health issues for your feline friend.

Furthermore, the packaging of wet cat food is not airtight, leaving room for air and bacteria to enter and spoil the contents. Once opened, the remaining food must be refrigerated and consumed within a few days to prevent spoilage. Failure to do so can result in negative consequences such as vomiting, diarrhea, and even bacterial infections.

It is crucial always to check the expiration date before feeding your cat wet cat food and dispose of any expired cans or pouches immediately. Proper storage in an airtight container in the refrigerator after opening can help prolong its shelf life.

What Are the Potential Symptoms of Eating Spoiled Wet Food?

While wet food can be a delicious and nutritious option for your cat, it can also pose potential health risks if it’s gone bad. If you suspect that your cat has eaten spoiled wet food, it’s important to know what symptoms to look out for.

One of the most common symptoms of eating spoiled wet food is vomiting. This is a clear sign that your cat’s stomach is trying to get rid of the spoiled food and any toxins or bacteria that may be present. Your cat may vomit shortly after eating or even hours later.

Another symptom to watch out for is diarrhea. Spoiled wet food can upset your cat’s digestive system, leading to loose or watery stools. This can cause discomfort or pain when using the litter box and even accidents outside of the box.

In addition to vomiting and diarrhea, your cat may experience lethargy and a lack of appetite after eating spoiled wet food. This is because their body is working hard to fight off any harmful bacteria or toxins present in the spoiled food.

It’s also possible for your cat to become dehydrated after eating spoiled wet food, which can lead to further health issues. Some cats may also develop a fever or experience general malaise.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat after they have eaten old wet food, it’s crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately. Your vet can provide guidance on how to treat your cat and help them feel better as soon as possible.

How Can I Tell if My Cat’s Wet Food Has Gone Bad?

It can be challenging to determine if your cat’s wet food has gone bad. Don’t fret. Here are some tips on how to tell if your cat’s wet food is still safe to eat.

Firstly, always check the expiration date on the can or package before feeding your cat. If the date has passed, do not take any chances and dispose of the food immediately. Feeding your cat expired food can cause stomach problems like vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration, and even serious illnesses.

Next, examine the appearance and texture of the wet food before serving it to your feline companion. If it looks discolored or has an unusual odor, it’s probably gone bad. Moldy or slimy wet food should never be offered to your cat. Moreover, bacteria could grow in the food without any visible signs of spoilage, so it’s best to play it safe.

Lastly, try to avoid feeding your cat wet food that has been open for more than 24 hours. Bacteria thrive in moist environments like wet cat food and could lead to stomach problems for your furry friend.

How to Avoid Feeding Your Cat Spoiled Wet Food

One of the key ways to do this is by feeding them healthy, fresh food. Unfortunately, feeding your cat spoiled wet food can lead to a range of health issues, from minor tummy upsets to serious illness. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here are five tips on how to avoid feeding your cat spoiled wet food.

Check the expiration date

Just like with human food, wet cat food has an expiration date printed on the packaging. Always check the expiry date before feeding your cat. Feeding your cat expired food can lead to upset stomachs and other health issues.

Store wet food properly

After opening a can or pouch of wet food, store it in the refrigerator. Wet cat food should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours as it can quickly spoil and become unsafe for your cat to eat. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures too.

Use a clean spoon

When serving wet food to your cat, use a clean spoon each time. This will prevent any bacteria from contaminating the remaining food in the can or pouch. It’s like using a fresh plate each time you eat – nobody wants to eat off a dirty one.

Don’t mix old and new food

If you’re introducing a new brand or flavor of wet food to your cat, don’t mix it with any old food that may have been sitting in the fridge for a while. This will prevent any potential cross-contamination and ensure that your cat is always eating fresh and healthy food.

Clean feeding dishes regularly

Bacteria and other harmful organisms can thrive in leftover food and dirty dishes, which can lead to food poisoning and other health issues for your cat. Make sure to clean your cat’s feeding dishes regularly to keep them free from harmful bacteria.

Is it Safe for Cats to Eat Small Amounts of Spoiled Wet Food?

While it may be tempting to feed your cat small amounts of spoiled wet food, it’s important to understand the potential risks involved.

Spoiled wet food can contain harmful bacteria and toxins that can cause digestive issues and even lead to food poisoning. This is particularly concerning for cats, who are highly susceptible to bacterial infections. Even if the food appears and smells fine, it may still be unsafe for your cat to consume.

Signs of spoilage in wet cat food may not always be obvious, so always check the expiration date on the packaging and discard any food that has been left out for longer than two hours. It’s also important to note that cats with weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions may be more vulnerable to the harmful effects of spoiled food.

To ensure your cat’s safety and health, consider these five tips:

  • Check the expiration date: Before feeding your cat, always double-check the expiration date on the packaging.
  • Store wet food properly: Keep wet food in a cool, dry place and seal the packaging tightly after opening.
  • Use a clean spoon: Avoid using the same spoon multiple times and wash it thoroughly between feedings.
  • Avoid mixing old and new food: Discard any old food before feeding your cat a fresh batch.
  • Clean feeding dishes regularly: Wash feeding dishes with soap and hot water after each use to prevent harmful bacteria buildup.


In conclusion, feeding your feline friend old wet food is a recipe for disaster. Wet cat food’s high moisture content makes it a breeding ground for bacteria, and if not stored and handled properly, it can become contaminated with harmful pathogens like salmonella and E.coli. These germs can wreak havoc on your cat’s digestive system, causing vomiting and diarrhea. Left untreated, these symptoms could lead to organ damage or even death.

As a responsible pet owner, it is crucial to keep an eye on your cat’s diet and ensure they only consume fresh food. Always check the expiration date before feeding your furry companion wet food, and immediately discard any spoiled food. Additionally, be sure to read the label carefully when selecting a wet cat food brand to ensure that it contains high-quality ingredients and no harmful additives or preservatives.

If you suspect that your cat has eaten spoiled wet food, watch out for symptoms like lethargy, lack of appetite, fever, vomiting or diarrhea. If any of these signs occur after eating old wet food, contact your veterinarian right away.

To avoid feeding your cat spoiled wet food in the future, follow these tips: check expiration dates regularly; store wet food properly; use clean utensils; avoid mixing old and new foods; clean feeding dishes regularly.