Can Cat Food Be Left Out Overnight?

can cat food be left out overnight

If your cat doesn’t finish their food in one sitting, you may be worried if leaving it out overnight is safe.

Chewy Online Pet Supplies

35% Off at

+ Free Shipping

Save Now

Left out overnight, wet cat food can spoil and become contaminated with bacteria, potentially leading to illness and other issues for your feline friend.


1. Refrigeration

Sleeping with cat food out overnight can be hazardous, particularly for finicky eaters. Furthermore, many people find this not to be a practical option as they would not want to get up every two hours just to add more food into the bowl.

Wet cat food should not be left out too long as it can spoil rapidly and become hazardous for your cat if left out too long. This is because germs and bacteria can grow and multiply within just hours, creating toxins that could harm your feline companion.

Furthermore, meat and sauce tend to dry out over time, making it less appealing. Therefore, only leave wet food out for a short period of time before throwing it away.

If you want your cat to enjoy a nutritious meal without fear of spoilage, dry cat food is the way to go. Unlike wet cat food, dry cat food has less perishability so it can be left out longer without spoiling.

2. Storing in a cool place

To ensure the freshest cat food, invest in a high-quality storage container and use it regularly. This will help prevent your food from going off stale. If you must leave it out overnight, be sure to store it in an area that stays cool.

Your cat’s container should be made from either stainless steel or another durable material, such as glass or ceramic. You have your choice of shapes and sizes; some have scoops to accurately portion out servings while others feature wheels for easy mobility.

Generally, the best way to keep dry food fresh is to wrap it in plastic and store it in a cool, dark place. This will shield it from light, air, and humidity and extend its shelf life. For cats especially, opt for high-quality protein-rich formulas with no artificial additives – an easy way to ensure your pet remains healthy for years to come.

3. Storing in a warm place

Most cat food manufacturers recommend storing dry and canned pet food in a cool pantry or cupboard to the touch. This helps keep moisture levels in the food down while preventing mold or bacteria growth on the surface of kibble.

Keep unopened canned or dry food away from room temperature to expedite the oxidation process that degrades vitamins in it and encourages bacteria growth. This is especially true of fats and oils which are susceptible to oxidization.

If you need to store cat food for several days, freezing a portion in the fridge overnight is another option. While this method takes more time than warming in the microwave, it will preserve both flavor and texture of the food.

4. Storing in a dry place

Storing cat food properly requires keeping it cool and dry. Heat and moisture can lead to mold growth, which is a serious health risk for cats.

Dry pet food should be stored in a dark and cool location where the temperature does not exceed 80 degrees F. A kitchen pantry or closet works perfectly for this purpose.

Another excellent solution is to store cat food in glass jars with screw-on tops or clamped tops, which make for convenient storage and prevent contamination from pests.

Plastic containers can impart an unpleasant odor and taste to dry pet food, potentially reducing its quality and shelf life. If you use this type of container for storage, be sure to rinse it with hot water and then thoroughly dry it before reusing for storage again.