How Long Can Canned Food Be Left Out? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2006, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2006
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How Long Can Canned Food Be Left Out?

How much time on the floor does the food have before you have to start worrying about food safety issues. One of our cats is a very slow eater. She grazes more than she eats at any one sitting. I'd like to leave the wet food out as long as possible. Any ideas?

On an overall note, do you discard whatever is left over in your cat's bowl? Or can the uneaten portion be refrigerated and served later?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2006, 09:30 AM
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I've heard people here say 30 minutes or 45 minutes. I usually just leave it out and after a couple of hours my cats won't even eat it anyway. At that point is has hardened and become darker in color.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2006, 10:36 AM
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I leave Rocky's wet food out for 1/2 hour. I divide her feedings into about 6 feedings a day. I figured out how much she will eat at one sitting. Less waste and she likes the mini meals. I throw out anything she doesn't eat in her bowl after 1/2 hour. I wouldn't want to put food that was partly eaten back into the fridge.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-18-2006, 08:53 AM
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Have you tried contacting the maker? If, so let us know what they say.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-19-2006, 02:08 AM
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I know people with many years of experience owning cats who have actually left wet food out for their cats all day and in the summer the flies would come. The only problem I've noticed is that's it's gross. But it has never affected the cats or made them sick in any way because cats have a very distinct sense of smell and by nature will only accept food that is fresh. This is because cats are not scavengers, they're hunters. Once the food is no longer acceptable to the cat, the cat will not eat it. I'm fortunate enough to not get very many insects coming inside my home but for the sake of cleanliness I don't leave the wet food out for more than 2 hours. That gives the grazers enough time to eat their food without it being out all day and getting gross. Leftovers go into the garbage disposal after 1 or 2 hours. Do not put wet food that has been sitting out and touched by your cat's tongue back in the refrigerator. I take a portion out of the can and refrigerate what is still in the can and cover it with a lid until the next wet food feeding. Most cats do not want to eat cold food from the refrigerator so after I put the cold wet food in the dish I cover it with a wet paper towel and put it in the microwave for 10 seconds and then stir it with a spoon and make sure there are no hot spots to burn the cats tongues. This makes the food a little above room temperature and also brings out the aroma. You can store canned food in the refrigerator with a lid on it for up to 72 hours. But it's better to use it within 48 hours. Think of it like a pack of hamburger meat and that's how long it will stay fresh once you open it. I feed each cat about a quarter can(6 ounce can) twice a day. I have 2 cats so I can easily use up a can in just a day's time, that's about 12 hours or less in the refrigerator.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-19-2006, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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buster's owner

Here is what Innova told me via email:

We recommend that you only leave the food out for 2 to 3 hours after opening the can. You can refrigerate the unused portion of a can for up to 72 hours after opening.

I'm pretty much following what you outlined. One of our cats (a 13 year old male) will eat the wet food. The other cat (two and half year old female) so far has refused to eat all wet foods except California Natural Chicken & Brown Rice, and even that was accepted only begrudgingly. Every other brand of wet food I've tried to date she starts pawing at as if to cover it like it was something that belonged in a litter box.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-21-2006, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I'm guilty of leaving out food for up to 3hours if he wont eat it all right away. I haven't seen any adverse reactions this.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-21-2006, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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lol with my crew no wet food lasts more than 5 minutes!
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