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How to Store Wet Cat Food (Explained!)

As a responsible cat owner, ensuring the well-being of your furry companion is essential. One crucial aspect of cat care is properly storing wet cat food.

In this guide, I will explore the best practices for storing both unopened and opened canned cat food, along with important safety considerations.

By following these simple steps, you can maintain the quality and freshness of your cat’s food, promoting their health and happiness.

What is Wet Cat Food Shelf Life?

Before diving into storage tips, it’s crucial to know how long wet cat food remains fresh. Every can of cat food comes with an expiry date and a batch number. Always check these details before purchasing.

Additionally, be aware of signs of spoilage, such as foul odors, unusual textures, or changes in color, as these indicate that the food may have gone bad.

Best Practices for Storing Unopened Canned Wet Cat Food

When you bring home a new can of wet cat food, it’s important to handle it properly to maintain its freshness.

Check the Expiry Date Before Purchase

Always inspect the expiry date on the can. Ensure you are buying products with a sufficient shelf life to avoid feeding your cat expired food.

Store in a Cool and Dry Place

Find a cool and dry spot in your home to store unopened cans of cat food. Avoid areas that are exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.

Avoid Exposure to Sunlight

Sunlight can accelerate the degradation of cat food, leading to spoilage. Keep the cans away from windows and other sources of direct sunlight.

Keep Away from Extreme Temperatures

High temperatures can cause the food to spoil quickly. Avoid storing cat food near heaters, ovens, or other appliances that emit heat.

Handling Opened Canned Wet Cat Food

Once you’ve opened a can of wet cat food, it requires special attention to maintain its freshness.

Refrigeration Tips

  • Transfer to an Airtight Container: After opening a can, transfer any remaining cat food to an airtight container. This will prevent exposure to air, which can hasten spoilage.
  • Label the Container with Date and Type of Food: To keep track of freshness, label the container with the date you opened the can and the type of food inside.
  • Store in the Refrigerator at Appropriate Temperature: Place the airtight container in the refrigerator. Ensure that the temperature is consistently below 40°F (4°C) to preserve the food’s quality.
  • Use Within Recommended Timeframe: To avoid feeding your cat spoiled food, use the refrigerated wet cat food within 2-3 days of opening the can.

Freezing Tips

Freezing wet cat food can extend its shelf life.

  • Portion the Food for Convenience: Divide the remaining cat food into smaller portions before freezing. This way, you can thaw only the amount needed for each meal.
  • Use Freezer-safe Containers or Ice Cube Trays: Choose freezer-safe containers or ice cube trays to store the portions of cat food. These will help maintain the food’s quality and prevent freezer burn.
  • Thawing Methods: When it’s mealtime, thaw the frozen cat food by placing it in the refrigerator or using the defrost setting on your microwave. Avoid leaving it at room temperature, as bacteria can quickly grow in thawed food.

Safety and Hygiene Considerations

Ensuring the safety and hygiene of your cat’s food is crucial for their well-being. Before opening a can, check for any damages, such as dents, leaks, or swelling. Damaged cans may indicate spoilage or contamination and should be discarded.

Never feed your cat from a can that appears dented, leaking, or swollen, as these signs could indicate the presence of harmful bacteria.

To maintain cleanliness and prevent contamination, always wash your hands thoroughly before handling wet cat food. Clean your cat’s food bowls with warm soapy water before refilling them with fresh wet cat food. This practice ensures your cat’s food is free from any residue or bacteria.

If your cat doesn’t finish their wet food within 2 hours of serving, discard any uneaten portions. Leaving wet cat food out for an extended period can lead to bacterial growth and potential health risks for your pet.

Tips for Buying and Using Wet Cat Food in Bulk

Buying cat food in bulk can save you money, but it requires some additional considerations.

Check for Bulk Buying Discounts. Many pet stores offer discounts for buying cat food in bulk. Look for deals that suit your budget and your cat’s preferences.

Rotate Stock to Use Oldest First. When purchasing cat food in bulk, organize the cans by their expiry dates. Use the oldest cans first to ensure none go past their shelf life.

Pay Attention to Batch Numbers and Expiry Dates. Inspect the batch numbers and expiry dates on bulk purchases. Ensure they are consistent with the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper rotation.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To ensure the proper storage of wet cat food, avoid these common mistakes:

  1. Leaving Opened Cans Unrefrigerated: Never leave opened cans of cat food at room temperature for extended periods. Promptly refrigerate the food to prevent spoilage.
  2. Overfilling Food Bowls: Offering large portions of wet cat food can lead to wastage and potential spoilage. Serve appropriate portions to meet your cat’s needs.
  3. Mixing Old and New Cat Food: Avoid combining fresh cat food with old leftovers. It’s best to use up the previous batch before introducing new food.
  4. Not Using Proper Storage Containers: Reusing opened cat food cans for storage is not recommended. Opt for airtight containers to maintain freshness and prevent contamination.


Properly storing wet cat food is essential for maintaining its quality and ensuring the health of your beloved pet.

By following these easy and practical tips for both unopened and opened cans, you can maximize the shelf life of cat food and avoid potential health risks.

Prioritize your cat’s well-being by practicing safe food handling, adhering to recommended storage methods, and paying attention to signs of spoilage.

With a little extra care, you can guarantee that your furry friend enjoys fresh and nutritious meals every time.

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