If you’re a cat owner, you know that ensuring your feline friend has access to fresh, nutritious food is a top priority. But what if you have a bulk of wet cat food and need to store it for a longer period? When it comes to storing cat food, the refrigerator is your best friend in warm weather other than a cool and dry cabinet. Not only does it keep wet cat food fresh for 6 months, but it also prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.
However considering you’re freezing wet cat food to extend its shelf life, it’s important to understand the potential risks. While freezing cat food is not typically recommended due to the changes it can cause in texture and taste, but can be done with some caution.
When thawing frozen wet cat food, it’s crucial to handle the process carefully to minimize any negative impacts on the food’s quality and appeal to your feline companion. It’s also important to remember that once wet cat food has been defrosted, it should be consumed within a day (24 hours).
How to Properly Freeze and Store Cat Food
As a cat owner, you know how challenging it can be to keep up with your feline friend’s appetite and feeding schedule. Whether you have leftover cat food or need to store opened containers in the fridge or freezer, it’s important to handle the food properly to maintain its quality and flavour.
We recommend feeding leftover or opened canned cat food within 4 days of opening or refrigerating. However, if you want to preserve the food for longer, it’s best to freeze it in a food-grade glass or plastic container for a maximum duration of six months. This will help maintain the optimum quality of the cat food, making it more appealing to your furry companion once heated in a microwave after the thawing process.
Remember that proper thawing is essential if you want to freeze cat food for a longer time frame. To know how, we’ve explained it briefly in the following paragraph sections:
The Shelf Life of Wet, Dry, and Homemade Cat Food
When it comes to storing cat food, it’s important to know the shelf-life to ensure the safety and quality of the food.
Wet and Homemade and Raw forms:
- Opened cans or pouches of wet food should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 2-3 days.
- Homemade meals should be kept in the fridge for 4 days but no more than a week (7 days).
- Frozen raw pet food can be frozen for six months, but once defrosted, it should be consumed within 4 days.
- Unopened wet food can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months or a year, depending on expiry, although the quality may degrade over time.
Dry Forms (Kibbles and Biscuits):
- Dry cat food has a longer shelf life and can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 years, although consuming within 6-12 months is recommended.
- Opened bags of dry cat food should be stored in a sealable container to keep it fresh and protected from pests. It’s also a good idea to write the opening date on the bag or container to keep track of how long it’s been open.
Proper Storing of Opened Cat Food
To keep opened containers of wet or moist cat food fresh, it’s important to store them properly in the fridge or freezer.
Storing Wet Cat Food:
- Wet food should be spooned into a sealable container or covered with plastic wrap before being stored in the fridge.
- In the freezer, it’s best to place the food in a sealable plastic bag or container to prevent freezer burn. Make sure to squeeze out any excess air before sealing the bag or container.
Storing Dry Cat Food:
- Opened bags of dry food should also be stored in a sealable container to keep it fresh and protected from pests.
- If you have a large bag of dry food that you don’t think you’ll use up within a few months, consider transferring some of it to a smaller, sealable container for easier storage.
The Risks of Feeding Spoiled or Expired Cat Food
It’s important to always check the expiration date on cat food before feeding it to your feline friend. Feeding spoiled or expired cat food can cause digestive issues, such as vomiting and diarrhoea, and may even lead to more serious health problems.
If the cat food has an unusual smell, appearance, or texture, it’s best to throw it out and provide fresh food instead. Wet food spoils faster than dry food.
If you’re wondering how to tell if your pet’s food has gone bad, or how to prevent spoilage, you might want to check out our guide on ‘How Does Wet Dog Food Spoil?’ This guide covers similar information for both cat and dog food and can help you keep your furry friends healthy and happy.
Portion Control and Freezing Individual Servings of Cat Food
If you have homemade cat food or commercial wet cat food you can make portions for serving convenience, freezing can be a great option. Wet or moist cat food can be sealed in a tub or sealable plastic jar.
Benefits of Portion Control:
- Helps to prevent overfeeding and obesity
- Allows for more precise measurement of food intake
- Can be more cost-effective by reducing waste
Benefits of Freezing Individual Servings:
- Convenient for busy schedules
- Allows for portion control without the need for measuring each time
- Can help to extend the shelf life of the cat food
5 Tips for Freezing Cat Food:
- Dry cat food should not be frozen, as it will not maintain its shape and crunchiness and may spoil.
- Wet or moist cat food is the only type of cat food that can be safely frozen.
- When freezing wet cat food, it’s important to portion it out into individual servings and use a food-grade container to prevent freezer burn and maintain the quality of the food.
- It’s important to label the bag or container with the type of food and the date it was frozen.
- Always follow the expiration dates on cat food packaging, and be sure to discard any spoiled or expired food.
Thawing Frozen Cat Food
When it’s time to thaw frozen cat food, it’s important to do so safely to prevent the growth of bacteria. The best method is to transfer the frozen food to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw slowly over several hours or overnight.
You can also place the frozen food in a bowl of lukewarm water to speed up the thawing process, but make sure to discard any water that comes into contact with the food. It’s essential to use the microwave to eliminate bacteria and bring back the flavour and texture once the frozen food is completely melted.
However, be sure not to feed your cat hot food as it may burn their mouth. Cats prefer food that is around their body temperature, which is about 101-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold food may be uncomfortable for their teeth and hot food is not appealing to them.
Serving Thawed Cat Food
Once the cat food is thawed, it’s important to serve it at a safe temperature. Wet or moist cat food should be at room temperature or slightly warmer, better microwave for tender.
Just be sure to discard any leftover cat food that has been sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours, as it may harbour harmful bacteria.
Remember do not refreeze thawed cat food to prevent the risk of food poisoning with the growth of bacteria, which lead to spoilage.
Storing Homemade Cat Food
If you prefer to make your own cat food at home, it’s important to follow proper food safety guidelines to prevent the risk of food poisoning.
Homemade cat food should be stored in the fridge for no more than 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When freezing homemade cat food, it’s a good idea to portion it out into individual servings to make it easier to thaw and serve.
By following our tips, you can properly freeze and store wet cat food to keep it fresh and safe for your feline friend. Whether you choose wet, dry, or homemade cat food, it’s important to pay attention to expiration dates. You should store opened containers properly and serve the food at a safe temperature. Wet cat food typically has a limited shelf life and should be stored in a cool, dry place. While freezing wet cat food is not recommended, both the refrigerator and freezer can help extend their shelf life if used carefully. With a little bit of planning, you can ensure that your cat always has access to nutritious and delicious meals.