Does Dry Cat Food Go Bad?


Yes, it does. Dry cat food will indeed last longer than wet cat food, but it also has a shelf life. It will have adverse health effects on your cat when it goes bad, so look out for this.

Dry cat food can go bad even when it has never been used when it gets to its expiry date. It cannot go well quickly after you open it. So, shall you join us for a show on the road about this and much more?

Does Dry Cat Food Go Bad?

Yes, it does. And we have a few reasons why dry cat food goes bad, so let’s look into them;

  1. Dry Cat Food Expires

Dry cat food, just like all other consumable products, expires after some time. Usually, it will have a shelf life of six months, after which you cannot feed your cat. Even if you haven’t touched the package yet, but the expiry date is due, you have to do away with the food.

If you insist on feeding the dry cat food beyond its expiry date, the cat may develop gastrointestinal complications. It may vomit, have diarrhea and have stomach sensitivities. When you may be saving on cost, you will end up spending more at the vet’s and on exceptional gastrointestinal cat food (what they do).

  1. Dry Cat Food Taps Dirt and Bacteria
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Cat Learns to Dance

Keeping cat food in the open for long will attract ant, dust, bacteria, and other parasites. These substances cause the food to go bad, even if it isn’t yet proven bad. Even if it is kibble, generally staying longer, it is not suitable for eating after prolonged exposure.

Hence, if your cat bowl has had the same food for the whole day, throwing it to waste is the best option. If you let the cat feed on the same food again, you will expose your cat to illnesses.

  1. Dry Cat Food is Affected by Heat

Dry cat food has the least amount of moisture of all cat food. Surprisingly, it also has its share of moisture, making it easy to chew for the cat. It is soft, despite its crunchy outlook.

Nevertheless, leaving the food in sunlight or a place with too much heat will lose the little moisture that makes it easily edible. When the cat tries to eat this food, they have to strain their teeth.

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This may affect the cat’s teeth, especially for kittens and senior cats. And if the cat still manages to eat it successfully, it may quit the treat before it gets full due to boredom. Cats will not like to be on their food for so long simply because chewing is difficult.

  1. Dry Cat Food Goes Bad Quicker After Opening

Once you open your dry cat food package, please give it a maximum of three weeks to go bad. Therefore, the cat has to consume the food within this duration, when the food is still safe for consumption.

In this case, the best thing would be to buy smaller sachets when your cat eats more than one type of food at a time. This will help you from having to throw away cat food more often because their deadline is due.

  1. Dry Cat Food Durability Depends on Storage

You should store your cat’s kibble in a clean, cool, and dry place if you want it to last without going bad. UI mentioned that the kibble takes three weeks after opening to go bad. It also has a shelf life of six months.

However, these two dates are only possible if you keep the cat food well. However, it will have a shorter life if you keep it in heat or a damp environment. And, this means that the dry cat food will actually go bad, hence unfit for your cat’s consumption.

How Do You Know If Dry Cat Food is Bad?

You know that dry cat food is bad based on several cues;

It is already bad if the dry cat food has a different smell from its original scent. It also means that it tastes differently for your cat.

If you leave your cat exposed for long, then the food has gone bad, even when the smell remains. There is no way to note that the food has bacteria or simple dust, but the fact that you left it exposed is enough reason.

You will know that cat kibble is bad when the cat seems to struggle to eat it, even when you left the food out for just half a day. It means that the heat may have hardened the kibble, making it bad for the cat.

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Cat food is bad if it is beyond its shelf life. If you check the package and the expiry date is already due, it doesn’t matter if the cat food has the right smell. The cat kibble is already bad for the cat.

Once you open cat food and find molds, probably because it was stored in a moist environment, the food is already bad. Therefore, you don’t even need extra checking to confirm the truth.

An open sachet should hold cat food for at most 21 days. After this, the cat kibble has gone bad, despite its smell or taste.

How Long Does Dry Cat Food Last?

Dry cat food durability varies, as we have seen above. If it is stored well, it should last a maximum of six months after production. The best part about this is that it already has an expiry date already written, so you don’t have to guess.

An open dry cat food package lasts between 14 and 21 days. However, this period is only for cat food with excellent storage. And with good, I mean a cool place that is free of moisture.

If you expose the cat kibble to moisture or heat, the shelf life reduces significantly.

Then there is the cat kibble that you already served the cat. This kibble lasts for only a day, and after that, you will have to throw it away as bad food.

Can Cats Eat Expired Dry Cat Food?

Yes, they can. If the cat kibble still has its taste, especially for packages that just expired, the cat will still eat it. The poor pet has no way of knowing that the expiry date is due since it can’t read (pun intended).

Other than that, the cat may be too hungry to care if the food is good or bad. Especially for feral cats that eat anything in their path, the food quality will not matter. All they care about is how they can get their stomach full.

Cats are also tempted to eat bad dry cat food when the bad food is their favorite treat. Even when it is already in the dustbin, the cat may scratch and do all it can to get the food.

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If you leave food already bad in the cat’s bowl, the cat will eat it. It will take it that the food is still suitable for consumption.

On the other hand, the cat may not actually eat expired dry cat food (did they get tired of eating same food). If the food is already foul in smell and taste, the cat will avoid it. Cats are pretty sensitive and tend to avoid anything that proves unfit for them.

Besides, if the food is already too dry, the cat will avoid it. Not because it is bad, but because it borders on being too difficult to chew.

Can Cat Food Go Bad in Heat?

This will depend on how long the food is in the heat. If you leave the cat food out exposed to heat, it will not go well. The heat will introduce bacterias that come with warmth while getting rid of moisture in the food. Thus, the food goes bad.

On the other hand, the cat food will not go bad if you put it in the microwave for a minute to warm it. It is advisable to warm the cat kibble,m and a microwave is the best option. This way, you will have your cat eat more because cold food is not tasty for cats. After all, warming the cat food will prevent respiratory illnesses and add warmth to the cat’s body if it is cold outdoors.

Does Dry Cat Food Go Bad?

Yes, it does. Unfortunately, there is a range of reasons why dry cat food goes bad. Storage and shelf life are among the significant reasons.

Hence, keep the dry cat food within the recommended duration and ensure that the storage is clean and cool.

Bottom Line

Dry cat food goes bad, so it is necessary to keep it within its shelf life. If you want to minimize trips to the vet for cat illness, always feed it food that is not spoiled. 

We have discussed typically all primary reasons why cat kibble goes bad. Look Out for these, and you may manage to keep your feline pet from possible food poisoning.

Dinu Sri Madusanka

Dinu Sri Madusanka is a science graduate (B.Sc.) who is currently pursuing his Ph.D. He is a well-experienced writer with more than 7 years of experience. He interests in writing mostly animal welfare and advance technologies. Even though he is busy with research works, in his free time, he gives his contribution to several blogs by writing, reviewing, and analyzing information to provide more accurate and useful information for the reader. WalkwithCat is one of his major contributing places which is dedicated to improving the knowledge of cat parents.

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