Can cat food go bad?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “can cat food go bad?” and the causes behind the deterioration.

Can cat food go bad?

Yes, cat food may indeed become bad. Depending on several factors, such as degradation and container strength, the shelf life of these wet and dry pet foods may be shortened beyond the “use by” dates stated on the packages.

Even so, the fact that a bag of unopened cat food, whether wet or dry, has passed its expiration date does not imply that it is dangerous. Instead, look for signs of potential problems with the contents, such as decreased nutritional value, contamination, spoilage, or preservative degradation, before using it.

Even though pet food has a shelf life similar to that of human food, canned cat food degrades considerably more quickly.

Because your dogs cannot detect when their food has gone bad, it is your responsibility to be careful about the food you provide to them.

Canned cat food spillage is a common occurrence in households. Indeed, the shelf life of dry kibbles is much less than that of wet food. Due to the absence of moisture in dry food, it is also easier to store than canned food; nevertheless, extra precautions must be taken to keep canned food from deteriorating.

What is the cause of the deterioration of canned cat food?

Several factors contribute to the deterioration of canned cat food, many of which are comparable to the factors that cause food to rot in human stomachs. The following are the most frequent reasons why canned food spoils:

  • Exposure to air, which encourages the growth of germs
  • Mold growth is facilitated by increased humidity or moisture in the air.
  • Overheating increases the process of rancidification.
  • Cat food, both wet and dry, should be stored in a cool, dry place to maintain freshness. It is best to keep it in an inside closet or kitchen pantry where the temperature variation is the least. At all costs, it is essential to prevent temperature fluctuations.

What is the best way to detect whether canned cat food has gone bad?

There are a variety of signs that your cat’s food has gone bad, but the most frequent is your cat’s refusal to consume the food anymore. If your cat is normally a picky eater but suddenly refuses to eat the food she enjoys, carefully inspect the food to verify it has not been contaminated with a foreign substance.

There are many indicators that your pet’s food may be contaminated, including a strong sour or rotting odor, mold or bug growth, food that has been exposed to moisture or humidity, or if your pet shows signs of discomfort or illness after eating the food. It is not permissible to feed canned cat food that has beyond its expiry date, regardless of whether it has become spoiled.

The storage conditions of canned cat food have an impact on the shelf life of the product. When storing canine food, it’s ideal to keep it in the original container and keep it in a cold, dark, and dry environment to ensure it lasts until the expiry date.

What are your contingency plans in case anything goes wrong?

  • Check the expiration date on the bag to make sure that your dry, bagged pet food is as fresh and healthy as possible before feeding it. This date is relevant to the bag that has not been opened. As a result, as long as the bag is kept closed and sealed, the kibble contained inside should remain fresh and healthy, assuming that the manufacturer’s claims are true. 
  • Keep the kibble in its original bag, but place it in a clear, tightly sealed container to avoid contamination.
  • Sealable plastic bags may be used to keep a week’s worth of food for your dog. To finish, reseal the rest of the food bag, placing it inside the original dog or cat food bag to fully block out light.
  • Pet food should be kept in a climate-controlled area of your home that is dry, cool, and free of moisture. Food and drinks should not be stored in your garage.
  • The health and longevity of your dog or cat are dependent on your ability to help them in eating correctly and obtaining the nutrients required for long and healthy life.


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “can cat food go bad?” and the causes behind the deterioration.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.