How Long Can Wet Cat Food Sit Out (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up to 4 hours

The type of wet food used by the owner would predict how long it can sit out. The wet foods mostly come in cans or in packets. Most of the wet food comes with instructions for how long they can stay fresh outside. Once the wet cat food is opened, then it should not sit out for more than 4 hours.

After someone opens the cat food packets or sachet, then they are exposed to air. Moisture exposure can make the cat food go bad in a few hours. Keeping the cat food sit out for a long time would cause bacterial growth. Bacterial growth would speed up the spoilage process in the wet cat food.

Warm climatic conditions are not at all favorable for maintaining the freshness of the wet cat food.

How Long Can Wet Cat Food Sit Out

How Long Can Wet Cat Food Sit Out?

Wet Cat FoodTime
In hours4 hours
In minutes240 minutes

Cat hates extremely cold or chilled foods. If your cat is not capable of eating the wet food at one, then you can store it in the fridge. The owner should not skip covering the leftover part of the food before storing it in the fridge. Before serving the cold food to the cat, the person should warm it up in the microwave.

If the acts love to have the meal in small batches, then the owner should definitely store the leftover food at cold temperatures. As the food can go bad if left outside in warm temperature. Dry foods can last longer than wet food if left outside.

This is because the wet food contains moisture in it which would fasten the spoilage process when comes in contact with air or bacteria. If the owner skips storing the food in the fridge and the food is spoiled or expired. Then the owner needs to clean the food bowl properly as there may be some bacteria present in the bowl.

Feeding the cat wet food regularly will not be a good choice. As the cats may not eat the whole food and it would cause wastage of food. This is why many people choose dry foods over wet foods for cats. The shelf life of wet food outside will be given by the manufacturer.

Every owner should try giving the cats the best brand of wet food. As wet food may come with preservatives that are not healthy for the cats. Therefore, checking for wet food that would be free from chemicals and preservatives is vital for the health of cats.

Why Can Wet Cat Food Sit Out For This Long?

The shelf life of dry and wet cat food depends on the ingredients, preparation method, and brands. The wet cat food may come in the form of gravy, sauce, jelly, or chunks. The wet cat food is prepared by combining all the ingredients together and then cooking it for the required time.

Just like other packed food, the wet cat food would have a limited shelf life after it is opened. The wet cat foods are cooked inside the can. Once the can sachets are opened, then the freshness of the ingredients would start degrading with each passing minute. Feeding expired wet cat food would cause sickness and illness in cats.

The wet cat food contains some preservatives in them which hold the freshness inside the sealed can. The wet cat food would start to oxidize into peroxides within a few hours after the seal is opened.  This situation would cause very unpleasant odors in the wet cat food. The oxidization of wet cat food would cause rancidity.


The shelf life of the wet cat food will be around 2 to 4 hours if it is opened. The person can know from the texture and odor of the cat food that it is expired. The wet cat foods are best to be given as treats for the cats once in a while. The vet can suggest the best brand of wet cat food that will be suitable for the cat’s health.

The person should take all the storage precautions for the wet cat food to prevent infection and health disorders in cats.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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