How to Properly Handle your Cat’s Food

From the CUP Archives
Dry Food:

  • Purchasing large quantities of cat food is not recommended due to increased risk of food becoming stale and contaminated
    • Instead, purchase one month’s supply per cat
  • Do NOT pour a new bag of cat food on top of old cat food
    • This will accelerate the tainting of new food
  • Keep opened bags of dry food inside easy to clean, sealed containers made of plastic or metal
    • Pouring the dry food directly into the container and discarding the original bag is NOT advised because:
      • Residual fats and oils from the previous load of food is coating the insides of the container, contaminating the fresh food
      • Since fats and oils have an expiration date, the food can become stale or rancid, and make cats  sick
  • Food should be stored inside the home, in a pantry or cool room that is not above 75 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Food should be kept out of direct sunlight and away from humidity
    • Avoid storing dry food in a location with extreme temperature fluctuations

Canned Food:

  • Highly recommended that you use airtight lids on opened cans
  • Always store opened cans immediately in the refrigerator 
    • The average can of food stays fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days
  • If the food does not smell fresh, discard it and open a fresh can


  • Before giving food to pets, always wash your hands first with warm water and soap
    • Re-wash hands after feeding pets
  • Pay attention to where you place food bowls on the floor
    • If cleaning products used on the floor contains bleach, the cats may reject the food bowl and walk away due to the smell being overwhelming
    • Do not place food bowls on the floor immediately after cleaning, and consider placing them on a mat instead
  • Don’t let the food sit in the bowl for too long–especially wet food
    • Canned food should never be left out for more than three hours
  • Thoroughly clean and dry the bowl and any utensils used
    • This reduces the risk of bacterial contamination
  • If the cat uses food puzzles, make sure the old kibble has been completely removed and the puzzle has been thoroughly cleaned and dried before inserting fresh kibble

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