How Long Does Dry Cat Food Last?

The elements that keep the kibble of your cat fresh are preservatives and antioxidants. They keep it that way for up to six months. While that is what the manufacturer does, you can keep the dry cat food for long by using the original bag and ensuring that it is airtight.

Pet food companies advise that buying a more oversized bag of food is a cost-effective move to make. While it may be true, you should also know that when six weeks elapse, three things in the cat food decrease – scent, flavor, and value. This doesn’t mean that the food will be unsafe – it won’t. But, your feline friend will find the kibble less exciting, and the food will offer them very little value.      

Tips On How To Store Your Cat’s Food

The parameters of freshness and quality can change depending on how and where you store your cat’s kibble. This section will take a question-based approach and look at the FAQs in and around cat food storage. The recommendations here will work for any canned or dry cat food.

1. What Is The Approach To Take When Storing Cat Food?

Think about coolness and dryness. The environment around your cat’s food should be under 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius. These conditions prevent the food’s vitamins from getting destroyed. Also, it inhibits the oxidation of fats, which could lead to rancidity. As mentioned in the introductory paragraph of this article, using the original bag is essential as it will help in flavor retention. Going over 100 (Fahrenheit) to something like 120 and staying this way for over 48 hours is potentially damaging – the vitamins will get degraded and destroyed faster than usual.

2. Can I Use The Garage As A Place Of Storage For My Cat’s Food? 

Places such as outdoors and garages are uncontrolled environments, and they are not recommended as safe havens for your cat’s kibble.

If you’re dealing with dry cat food, choose a cool-dry environment. Then, ensure that the bag is off the floor. This helps to reduce infestation by crawling insects.

If you’re dealing with canned cat food, ensure that it is in a place with temperatures between 50 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This should be done before opening the can. Once opened, altogether avoid freezing the food since it may cause a change in taste and texture.

3. Can I Put The Food In A Plastic-Make Storage Container?

Many pet parents tend to transfer their pet’s foods from their original packaging to another container. Studies by expert packaging engineers have it that a variety of plastic containers may impart a taste and odor to the food, affecting the overall taste of the product.

Types such as garbage and zip-to-close bags (and others) will not prevent the accumulation of fat on the outside. What is acceptable is using clean metal containers for storage. If you want to use a storage container, find one that will be big enough to take in the cat food together with its original packaging.

4. I Have Open Cans Of My Feline’s Food. How Do I Store Them?

Once you uncover a can of cat food, you should store it in the fridge. This refrigeration helps the food to:

a) Retain moisture

b) Reduce odor transfers to other foods

c) Minimize to-air exposure

Using a plastic food lid for pets is the best storage way for open cans of cat food. If the cover is unavailable, you can use a plastic wrap since it works as a good air, odor, and moisture barrier. While zip-to-close bags may function as excellent barriers for moisture, they may not provide a pleasing scent or oxygen barring.

5. My Cat Is Quite The Character. She Doesn’t Eat Everything In Her Bowl. So, How Long Is The Food Good Once I Put It In The Bowl? 

The time depends on the environment in which the bowl stays. If the bowl is in a dry and cool place away from the direct sunlight, the dry cat food in it can stay there indefinitely and remain useful. To make things better, ensure that the bowl of food is out of reach of vermin and insects.

Although the timing detail is good news, you need to ensure that the bowl’s contents are replenished every day. And no – you shouldn’t mix the old with the new food.

If you’re talking about canned food, the bowl of your pet should be emptied if the remaining food has stayed in the open for more than four hours. That should be the response if the temperature of exposure went above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. The Can Of My Cat’s Food Has Been Unopened For A While. How Can I Know If The Food Is Still Good? 

The only objective way is to pay attention to the date code details. You will find the specifics in the lower areas of the packaging. If the cat food you have has no date code, take that as a red flag – the food is not fit for your cat, and the manufacturer is mediocre. 

If you’re dealing with canned food, check below the shiny bottom to see the stamped date. If the current day is past the BB (Best Before) mark, you should throw away the food.

As you work your way around handling your cat’s food, remember that it all boils down to his health and well-being.

Cat Food And Expiry Dates 

Some companies issue recalls on their pet food products. Immediately, this becomes a concern for pet owners. The quality and safety of what they have been feeding their cats get into the picture. The discussion on expiry dates being present or absent on pet foods has been going on for years.

In the United States, it is not in the law for companies to include ‘Best By’ or ‘Best Before’ dates on their food items. However, pet food manufacturers use this gap to guarantee their customers quality products. Many times, what is left unsaid is that how the package is handled affects the critical date.

This might surprise you – just because your cat food is past its ‘BB’ date detail doesn’t mean that it is unsafe. In this section, you will be opened to a few things which will guide you in knowing the safeness level. With these pointers, you will know whether your cat’s food is really out of shape, regardless of having passed its BB date.

1. Quality Of Nutrition  

The amount of time the cat food can provide the nutrients advertised is called the shelf life. Depending on the type (wet or dry) or brand of food, the shelf life of a cat’s food may vary. As indicated previously, having an older bag or can of food does not mean losing nutritional quality. However, do not hang on to a product that is three months past its BB detail.

A couple of months is too long a time. The can or bag may not be opened, may lack smell, or even lack signs of contamination and spoilage, but the nutritional value will be lacking. Over time, the natural breakdown of essential fats and preservatives happens, which renders the product unwholesome. When you feed your cat the food, they may not suffer upsets, but they may eat a deficient diet. Consequently, this could lead to your cat having long-term health problems.

2. Contamination

The design of pet food packaging ensures that contamination doesn’t happen. However, some types and brands may be more susceptible to invasion than others. If the packaging is permeable or weak, it may mean that the food is exposed to moisture, pest, and insects. The risk of these invasive happenings increases with time, especially if you’re dealing with biodegradable packaging.

Before feeding the food to your cat, check for pests and other contaminants. Remember, the important thing is maintaining your cat’s health. Even if the food item hasn’t expired, the checking will help your pet, and you stay safe. For contamination, look for odd smells (no-cat pee, poop) or discoloration.

3. Spoilage And Fat

The reason you will find fats in your cat’s food is because of its value. However, and over time, the fat can get rancid, even in dry cat food. However, you can merely use smell as a detail to judge the quality of your cat’s food. Many products, particularly wet cat foods, have a somewhat pungent smell.

If you’re a fan of one brand/type of food, you may notice that the product has a slightly-off smell. This should be a red flag, and more if the product is past its expiration date. Canned cat food may not be spoilt even if it is past its expiration date. Manufacturers advise that the shelf life of these foods is not more than a year from the day they were produced.

4. Preservatives Degradation

While preservatives work on maintaining the freshness of your cat’s food, nothing maintains the freshness of the preservatives. This should register in your mind that preservatives become functionless, losing the ability to prevent mold and microbial growth and spoilage.

Other pet foods do not contain preservatives. If your brand prepares preservative-free food items, you should ensure that the pets eat it before it expires. Sticking to that time-bound idea ensures that the preservatives are doing their duty.

Focus on the best-by date if the brand uses preservatives in their cat food. This is logical since companies judge the shelf life of their products using the date.

Dry Cat Food Versus The Wet (Canned) Type

Let’s look away from the longevity business for a moment. In the mainstream cat market, cat food is presented in two types. The table that follows shows the results of a short pros-cons research that places dry cat food against its wet counterpart.  

Convenient Has more chemical preservativesHydrated They are not easy to serve  
More carbsLittle difficult to eatMore protein
Longer shelf lifeMay set a cat up for UTIsCan help improve weight lossContain better quality ingredients
Dental health advantagesGood for total health

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