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Can Cat Food Go Bad?


Can Cat Food Go Bad?


In this post we will explore and unpack the question, can cat food go bad?

Read on to learn:

  • Does cat food go bad?
  • Does cat food expire?
  • How long does wet cat food last?
  • FAQ

Come with me as we unpack the important question on many pet owners’ minds, can cat food go bad?

Does Cat Food Go Bad?

Cat food can indeed go bad, just like any other type of food. Spoiled can lead to health problems for felines, including vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive issues.

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It’s best to always check the expiration date on your feline food before feeding it to your pets. Expired food can also cause health problems. Additionally, storing feline food in a cool, dry place can help extend its shelf life. This will prevent it from going bad too quickly. If you suspect yours may be spoiled, it’s better to err on the side of caution. I suggest disposing of it rather than risking your cat’s health.

Does Cat Food Expire?

Yes, cat food has an expiration date. Although some people do not take expiration dates as seriously for canned and bag food. Expiry dates should not be ignored. Read on to learn why.

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Firstly, it’s important to understand, like any other type of food, it has a shelf life. This means that it will eventually expire and become unsafe for consumption.

Most pet food will come with an expiration date printed on the packaging. This can range from a few months to a few years. Storage techniques will also determine how much shelf life you can squeeze from your food.

When I get Finnegan’s wet at the grocery store, I flip it over to check the expiration date. Sometimes the cans in the back have dates further out. When stocking shelves (like I used to do when I worked at K-mart in high-school) clerks will put the newest packages towards the back. This is a technique used called stock rotation. It keeps the food moving out the door before the expiration date.

When cat food does expire, it can become rancid and develop harmful bacteria that can make cats sick. Common symptoms of food poisoning in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, food poisoning can lead to dehydration and other serious health complications.

To prevent cat food from expiring prematurely, it’s important to store it properly.

Most pet food should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. I keep my on the kitchen counter in a storing rack. This helps me do my own rotation of cans at home.

Opened cans or bags should be stored in airtight containers. Airtight containers prevent moisture from getting in and causing the food to spoil.

I personally like a nice big bin with wheels to keep at the bottom of the pantry. This one is available on Amazon.

My neighbor uses one that sits on their counter. It has a convenient measuring cup and that makes scooping very convenient! No bending over or down either!

To sum up, cat food does expire and it’s important for feline owners to be aware of the risks associated with feeding their pets expired food.

By checking the expiration dates on packaging and storing it properly, feline owners can help ensure their pets are eating safe and healthy meals.

How Long Does Wet Last?

When it comes to feeding my cat Finnegan, I prefer giving him wet over dry. Not only is wet good for his coat, skin and digestive system, it usually has better ingredients than dry.

However, unlike dry food, wet food has a shorter shelf life and can spoil quickly if not stored properly. So, how long does wet cat food last?

Firstly, it’s important to check the expiration date on the can or packaging. Most wet products have a shelf life of around two to three years if unopened. But these images that I took of cat food at my local grocery store show that not all of them will give you two years.

Rotating personal and commercial stock cans

I prefer getting a new rotation every two weeks, so this is not really an issue for me. If you are storing or stocking up, be sure to check the cans to see what the dates are.


However, once opened, the food should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 2-3 days. Avoid leaving the food out at room temperature for more than two hours, as bacteria can grow rapidly in moist environments.

To make sure your cat’s wet food stays fresh, it’s essential to store it properly. After opening the can, transfer any unused portion to an airtight container and label it with the date. This will help you keep track of when the food was opened and how long it has been stored.

Store the container in the refrigerator and avoid placing it in the door, as the temperature can fluctuate, affecting the food’s quality.

If you’re unsure about whether the wet cat food is still safe to feed your cat, use your senses to check for signs of spoilage. If the food has a sour smell, strange texture, or unusual color, it’s best to discard it and opt for fresh food.

Wet has a shorter shelf life than dry and should be stored carefully to keep it fresh and safe for your feline friend. Always check the expiration date, store the food in an airtight container, and use your senses to check for spoilage before feeding your cat.

By following these tips, you can ensure your fur baby is getting the best nutrition possible from their wet food.


Can dry cat food expire?

Dry cat food can indeed expire, and it’s important for cat owners to be aware of this fact. Most dry cat food has a shelf life of around one year from the date of production, but this can vary depending on the brand and the specific product. The expiration date should be clearly labeled on the packaging, and it’s important to check this before feeding your cat any dry food.

Here is an example of where you can find dry cat expiration date. Sometimes it is hard to read. You can check on your phone to see if you have a magnifying glass to zoom in on it.

Or snap a picture, like I did and use your fingers to pinch it out.


One of the main reasons that dry cat food can expire is due to the fats and oils that are present in the food.

Over time, these fats and oils can become rancid, which can lead to a decrease in the nutritional value of the food. In addition, expired dry cat food can also become contaminated with bacteria or mold, which can be harmful to your cat’s health.

Keeping dry fresh

To ensure that your cat’s dry food stays fresh for as long as possible, it’s important to store it properly. Keep it all in a dry place away from direct sunlight, and be sure packaging is tightly sealed after each use. It’s also a good idea to purchase smaller bags of dry cat food, so that you can use it up before it expires.

If you’re unsure whether your cat’s dry food has expired or not, there are a few signs to look out for. These include a stale or musty smell, a change in color or texture, or the presence of mold or insects in the food. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to throw the food away and purchase a fresh bag.

I have seen where moths can start to get into dry goods, and that includes your feline’s kibbles!

To sum up, dry cat food can definitely expire, and it’s important for cat owners to be aware of this fact. By storing your cat’s food properly and keeping an eye out for any signs of expiration, you can help to ensure that your cat stays healthy and happy.

Can cats get sick from eating old food?

Yes, they absolutely can. The reason being that old food can harbor harmful bacteria and toxins that can cause illness or even death in cats. The longer the food sits out, the greater the risk of it becoming contaminated.

Dry food can often sit out for extended periods without spoiling, but cat owners should replace it after a particular time to ensure freshness. On the other hand, cat owners should discard wet food after it has been open for a short period, usually within 2 hours.

Feline sick from eating old food

Symptoms of food poisoning in cats can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms after eating old food, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

To prevent your cat from getting sick from eating old food, it is important to store food properly, keep food and water dishes clean, and monitor their intake closely.

Additionally, feeding your cat a balanced and nutritious diet can help support their immune system and reduce the risk of illness.

If this article was helpful, you might also enjoy these cat-friendly topics:

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Can Cats Eat Parmesan Cheese? The Ultimate Guide

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🐾 Lisa Illman is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity, LLC! 🏡 She’s got a dapper tuxedo cat who’s been her sidekick since he was a tiny furball. 🐱 Before Finnegan came along, Lisa cared for two FIV-positive cats for over ten years! 🌟 Their love inspired her to create a cat enclosure and a portable catio, giving kitties the purrfect spot to bask in the sun and feel the breeze. ☀️🌿

As a kid, Lisa shared her home with a Poodle and a chirpy parakeet! 🐩🐦

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