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How long can wet cat food stay out

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
If I open a can of cat food in the morning and leave it out in the cupboard with a cover will it go bad? I was told once not to leave opened can cat food out longer than 4 hours?
post #2 of 37
I put mine in a ziplock bag and put it in the fridge. I wouldn't leave canned food out for the kitten to eat either for more than a half hour, max...
post #3 of 37
The "textbook" answer is 30 mins. That's what the food manufactors all say. I leave it down much longer than that. When I first switched to all wet it would take hours for them to eat it. Now it's usually gone within an hour. But if there is some left after a couple of hours I don't worry about it.
post #4 of 37
the above ... I leave it out for about 1 hour as that is what I am comfortable with./.. realize bacteria double every 20-30 minutes
post #5 of 37
I always put the other half of the can I open in a Ziploc bag in the fridge and use the rest of it the next morning, since Harley only gets half of a big can for breakfast.

Whatever she doesn't eat in her bowl in 30 minutes to an hour, I toss. Usually, she finishes it way before that.
post #6 of 37
I will leave it out about 2hrs or so.

I had to play for a bit to see how much Kizzy would actually eat.... and didn't want to waste any, so I started with a tablespoon, then increased it till I found how much he'd eat in a couple hours.
post #7 of 37
I bought the lids for opened cans at Petsmart - the opened can goes immediately back into the fridge, and I use up a large can in no more than 24 hours. I only leave the food itself out for 30 minutes, before it's tossed. I do the same with human food as well. I've had food poisoning, and have gotten rigid about leaving food out.
post #8 of 37
Opened canned food should be stored in the fridge if not given all in one meal. I split a can of food for my two and the rest goes in the fridge till the next day. Then I warm it up with a little hot water and mixed up.
post #9 of 37
I always put the other half of the 6oz can that Panther eats in a ziplock in the fridge. However I usually don't worry too much about the food I put out for her if she doesn't finish it. I always just toss whats left and clean out the dish at the next feeding. Usually its more about what flavor I give her that night rather than how much she can eat. If its chicken its gone in less than an hour, beef usually goes pretty fast too, shes not a big fan of turkey or anything with fish though so there is usually some of that leftover. Also when I give her the second half that was in the fridge I don't warm it and it tends to take her longer to eat it then as well.
post #10 of 37
My boys each get one can per night, but I divide it up to prevent waste. I get out one can and split it in their dishes. When that is all gone I get out another can and divide it up again. Whatever is left after about an hour I throw away. I usually don’t end up with partially eaten cans this way, but when I do I have those reusable pet can covers and put it in the fridge and use the next day.
post #11 of 37
kimi gets 30mins to finish her wet food on her plate, after which it'll be taken away. she knows tat, so will finish all tat she wants on one standing instead of taking a few mouthfuls of kribbles, then go 'look around', then come back for a few more mouthful... ...

the remaining can will be capped n stored into the fridge. the next wet meal will be microwave-heated.
post #12 of 37
Thread Starter 
what I guess I meant is if i open a whole can in the morning and decide not to use it till the next morning is it okay to leave it out and not in the refrig (24hrs) then give it to the cat. I was trying to explain that to a friend if you open a can in the morning and do not plan to give it till the next morning you should refrig it till the morning. Its funny some people do not know or perhaps do not care or perhaps do not like to put pet food in the refrig so trying to tell someone they should do it, they just do not understand or get silent. Due to a short hand medical problem cans were opened in advance for the cat. I said what I thought should be done but you cannot change people.
post #13 of 37
If you are not using it till another meal, put it in the fridge no matter how long. Its safer that way. I would never leave an opened can (partially used) of food on the counter. It goes IN the fridge.
post #14 of 37
Do they leave people food out overnight as well - like meatloaf? I have read of some people who don't refrigerate butter or eggs - can't say I understand it myself, and would never eat in those homes, but I don't get why people won't refrigerate perishable foods, whether human or pet.
post #15 of 37
After reading through these posts I panicked as I put canned food out when I go to work and it gets picked up at lunch time. It is the only way I can get the girls to eat enough canned food. Anyway, I called my vet and she told me it should be fine for that long, she does the same thing. With my other cats I used to leave it out at bedtime and pick it up early a.m., never had any trouble.
post #16 of 37
well i feel like i've been doing the wrong thing now...before we got Pandora Mechas wet food would stay out untill she ate it...
and she always refused to eat it unless it had been in her bowl for like 8 hours >_<
now unless we put it up Pandora eats hers and Mechas food in about 30 minutes lol so mechas goes up.

As for canned food I open the can, put the food in their bowls and the cans go straight back into the fridge,
forgot to do this once with Mechas little dine food and half of it went in the bin because it'd been left out for like an hour and looked volatile
post #17 of 37
I feed my cats about 3 ounces of wet food twice a day. Since I mostly use 13 ounce cans, the remainder gets capped and put in the fridge. I bought a plastic cap at Petco for a buck that fits all sizes of cans. Works great.

I don't worry about how long the food that gets left in the bowls. My cats usually don't eat all their food right away. They'll walk off and come back an hour later and finish it off. I was their bowls out before the next meal.

I figure if the lions and tigers I've seen on nature documentaries can safely eat off the same kill baking on the plains or jungle in the 95+ degree heat for days, it won't kill my cats to have their food left at room temperature for a couple of hours.
post #18 of 37
AFter an hour or so my boys won't touch the wet--as it starts to dry and harden-- so I pick it up and pitch it at that point. But honestly wet food doesn't like 20 minutes with Harley in the house.

Leslie
post #19 of 37
I refrigerate it but I notice that the next day it looks a little different and Jake prefers it fresh lol. I tried warming it up but it smelled soo bad, the entire house stunk like cat food after it came out of the microwave..
post #20 of 37
I store canned food in a sealed plastic tupperware in the refrigerator between meals. I seems to keep it's original freshness better in a tupperware than it does in a can (even if I seal the can in a ziplock). I would never leave food out and then give it to them later. I only put down what they'll eat in about 15 minutes.
post #21 of 37
I've always left the leftover wet food out until the next feeding, 12 hours later. At that point what hasn't been eaten gets thrown away. It's never been a problem. All my family and acquaintances with cats do the same.
post #22 of 37
Thread Starter 
I would never do that. Plus on each can it says Refrigerate after opening. I can see a few hours or so but never 12 hours. My vet said it can go bad after 4 hours even though the cat will still eat it. I'm not chancing it.
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post
I've always left the leftover wet food out until the next feeding, 12 hours later. At that point what hasn't been eaten gets thrown away. It's never been a problem. All my family and acquaintances with cats do the same.
I've done that before...My family thinks cat food is disgusting, made of the worst parts of an animal like tails and feet with absolutely no cleanliness, so they wouldn't let me put the cat food anywhere NEAR the kitchen...I managed to convince them though and now I put it in a plastic bowl with a lid in the refrigerator. But I never had problems leaving it out, only problem was the entire room smelled like cat food...
post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlili View Post

Do they leave people food out overnight as well - like meatloaf? I have read of some people who don't refrigerate butter or eggs - can't say I understand it myself, and would never eat in those homes, but I don't get why people won't refrigerate perishable foods, whether human or pet.

Funny about the butter and eggs comment. My mother in law swears that butter and eggs are fine left out. The live on a sailboat in the winter and travel warmer climates and so have limited space. They also keep a lot past it's good until date. Me never and always keep stuff like that in the fridge! 

post #25 of 37
I've never been OK with leaving eggs & butter out like that either. I know a lot of people do. It seems kind of old fashioned to me, like we should know better these days.
If I'm going to want soft butter, I'll leave it out for a few hours. And when I'm baking I'll put the eggs out to reach room temperature first. But they're kept in the fridge otherwise.
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post

The "textbook" answer is 30 mins. That's what the food manufactors all say. I leave it down much longer than that. When I first switched to all wet it would take hours for them to eat it. Now it's usually gone within an hour. But if there is some left after a couple of hours I don't worry about it.

 



+1
post #27 of 37

Cats eat raw food in the wild that's been dead for hours. Mountain lions have been known to work on their prey for a couple of days before it's gone. Therefore, I'm pretty sure cats can eat canned food that's been cooked (which kills bacteria) that's been out for more than 30 minutes without a health issue.

 

It's more of a behavioral issue -- do you want to train them to eat food as a meal or let them graze?

 

I feed mine in the morning before work and then when I come home I toss out whatever is left in the bowl and give them dinner. I did some research first to make sure this was okay.

 

I think we're just used to living with refrigeration and so our tolerance for leaving stuff out is low. But our distaste for leaving food out is cultural and not necessarily supported by science, at least when it comes to cats.

post #28 of 37

I too, do not believe in leaving meat out any longer than 30 minutes. With my crew, food is gone in less than 5 minutes anyway. :lol3: As I do controlled feedings with my cats, I want their food to be as fresh and moist as possible. Everyone gets their amount and if it hasn't been eaten, back in the fridge it goes for later. If I left food out it would likely get eaten alright, but by the one who has already had his share, and before long I would end up with two overweight cats instead of the one we are working on slimming down. 

post #29 of 37

I agree, and it isn't only cultural -- it's marketing.  The manufacturers have done an excellent job of selling us their "sell by" mentality.  Some foods shouldn't be left out because bacteria love them; approximately and for the most part they are foods that used to walk around.  However, consider the aged beef that gets a premium price... so the walking around rule isn't written in stone.  I keep my butter in a Rubbermaid Snap On glass bowl on the counter with the bread, potatoes, tomatoes, cheese, and onions.  None of them has ever made me sick.

 

I feed my cats canned food in the am and pm. The food stays down in between and what's left gets tossed before new food is served in a clean bowl.  I do have one little weirdo who likes the food only after it has dried out somewhat and it has never made him sick.  

 

This is a first world problem we've created here.

post #30 of 37

I feed my three cats three times a day, a third of a 5.5 oz can per meal. I mix water with the wet food and set it down and leave it until the next feeding. No problems here. I think it's silly to be so paranoid about it after 15-30 minutes of being out. My cats like to graze and don't eat in one sitting. Believe me, I've tried to get them to eat it all in one sitting, but they refuse to conform.

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