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Do Cats Eat Cold Wet Food?

If you have a cat and have been keeping its leftover food refrigerated, you may be wondering if it will eat it cold…

Do Cats Eat Cold Wet Food?

Some do, some don’t… It’s a matter of that cat’s personal preferences. Some cats prefer the extra sensory stimulation of warmed food, as the scents are more active and the temperature is closer to that of their prey, and some cats enjoy the cold.

You’ll even find cats out there that won’t touch their water if it’s not chilled!

Whether or not they will eat it is not the problem, however, but rather that food chilled in the refrigerator is more likely to have harmful bacteria and cats have less resistance to this than we do!

What is the ideal temperature for wet cat food?

Two white and grey cats eating wet cat food from a bowl.

Two white and grey cats eating wet cat food from a bowl.

The FDA recommendation when it comes to cat food is that you heat it up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The easiest way to do this is to add a little water and warm it up in your oven and this temperature should be sufficient for eliminating most of the bacteria and making a safer meal for your feline friend.

Can you warm cat food in a microwave?

Yes, you certainly can, and I will tell you how to do it. The best way to heat your kitty’s food is to put it in a microwave-safe bowl with 1 tablespoon of water mixed in per half-can of cat food and a microwave time of 30 seconds to 1 minute.

As the microwave works by heating the water particles in the food, the additional water that you are adding will serve to help heat the food and also reduce the chances of drying it out by heating it in the microwave.

Can you store leftover cat food in the refrigerator?

Yes, you can, and many commercial cat foods will give that exact instruction on their labeling. Wet cat food is only considered to be edible for approximately 4 hours at room temperature. Placed in an airtight plastic container, you can put it in the fridge for up to 5 days – though any time longer than a day requires reheating.

That’s because the food will be building up bacteria, even in the airtight space, and while it’s at a slow rate this bacterium is hard on your cat’s digestive system. Humans don’t have as much of a problem with this, due to the variety of foods that we eat and our regular habit of refrigerating them afterward.

We’re used to the extra bacteria from refrigerated foods, but cat’s simply are not.

How much wet food should a cat eat in a day?

A kitchen weighing scale on a brown surface.

A kitchen weighing scale on a brown surface.

Most cats are going to need around 4 to 5 ounces of cat food daily, though calorie content and each cat’s activity level are going to differ, so there’s a better way to calculate how many calories your cat should be eating each day.

Assume that your adult cat needs 20 to 33 calories for every pound of their weight is best – 20 for low activity, 26 for ‘medium’ activity, and 33 for high activity cats. This way you can do the math and it will give you a good baseline calorie count that you can apply to the brand of food you are using:


A highly energetic cat that weighs 10 pounds:

33 calories x 10 pounds = 330 calorie daily intake

Can I leave wet cat food out overnight?

No, you should not leave wet cat food sitting for more than 4 hours. While some cats like to eat their food a little at a time, after the 4-hour mark the bacteria levels in the food have already started growing and your cat has a higher chance of becoming ill from eating it.

It’s best to keep a spare bowl, so that you can swap out the old bowl after 4 hours and clean the used one with soap and water, to stow away for the next swap. This helps to ensure that your cat has reduced exposure to potentially dangerous bacteria.

How do you warm up cat food?

If the food has only been in the fridge for a few hours and you want to warm it up, then the easiest way to do this is to store uneaten food in the fridge inside Ziploc plastic bags. When the time comes to serve it, put the sealed bag in the sink and run hot water over it for a few minutes.

This will warm it up for your kitty nicely and since it hasn’t been in the fridge for very long, the bacteria levels should not be much of a worry. If you are heating it to both warm it and kill bacteria, however, then you need to use your oven.

Heat it for a few minutes at 165 degrees, after adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water, as this should kill most of the bacteria and the water will help to keep the food from drying out.

Should I leave cat food out all day?

With dry food, yes, you can leave it out for the day and it should be fine, although if your cat seems to be avoiding it then you might want to ‘freshen it up’ with a little more dry food to make it more appealing.

With wet food, however, you should not leave it out for more than 4 hours, as bacteria will start developing quickly at room temperature when the food is left out like this.

What times do cats usually eat?

The best time to feed your cat is once at dawn and once at dusk. These are the times when a cat in the wild is going to be hunting and eating the larger meals of their day and this division should ensure that your cat isn’t feeling hungry throughout the day.

Just be sure that they are getting enough calories – consider 200 to be the minimum for a low-energy 10-pound cat, while 330 calories is perfect for a high-energy 10-pound kitty

Should I feed my cat wet food in the morning or at night?

It is recommended that you feed your cat twice a day – once at dawn and once at dusk – and it doesn’t matter what time you serve the wet food.

That said if it’s a scenario where your cat gets wet food once a day along with a serving of dry food before or after, it’s even better to divide the wet and dry portions to feed them together.

Mixing the wet and dry food gives your cat the extra hydration of wet food along with a satisfying crunch that’s good for their teeth. If you’d rather keep them separate, however, then don’t worry – it doesn’t matter what time you serve it, your cat will still receive all of the benefits of the wet food.

Lindsey Browlingdon