How Long Can Dry Cat Food Sit Out? – 4 Easy Steps

Dry Cat Food

Dry cat food is a suitable and easy way to feed your cat. It comes in various flavors and forms, but the main ingredients are always the same: dried meat and cereal. However, when you buy this type of food from the grocery store or pet store, you may find an expiration date on the package. This means that after that date passes, you will have to throw away any remaining food or dispose of it properly, so your pet does not eat it. You should be careful how long you keep this kind of product in your home because it could cause sickness if not stored correctly.

Should I Leave Dry Food Out for My Kitten Overnight?

It’s important to keep your cat’s food away from the elements. Your cat will likely eat whatever she wants, but the food will spoil more quickly if it is left out all day and night. Sitting out the food for too long can also make your cat sick:

  • Utilize a timed feeder to keep food fresh for days without spoiling it.
  • Instead of using a timed feeder, place dry cat food away after each mealtime and provide him with as much as he is going to eat within two hours of his next mealtime (making sure he eats all the wet or canned food).

What To Do With Expired Dry Cat Food?

If you’re wondering how long dry cat food will last, the answer is that it depends. Most of the dry cat food will last up to three months after opening, but it’s important to remember that the length of time a bag of dry kibble is good for will depend on how well you store it.

If you keep your kibble in a cool, dry place and have no issues with pests or moisture from condensation (because who wants moldy food?), then you should be able to keep most brands out for around three months without any problems. If you notice any change in smell or consistency when opening your bag, it may be time to throw some away! Here are some advice about cat food expiry date and sit out.

1. Best Before Dates Aren’t Always Accurate

You can assume that the food manufacturer is guessing when they put the best before date on the food. The dates are calculated assuming the food is stored in optimal conditions (cool and dry). The packaging must also be made of certain materials to prevent it from altering food quality. The goal is for your cat food to last long enough for you to buy more before it expires, not just to keep from being grossed out or worried about what your cat might be eating!

To ensure safety, check for signs of spoilage before giving your cat any dry food: sniffing, opening up containers, checking for mold growth, etc.

2. Some Products Never Expire

Some Cat food products do not expire unless they are damaged, exposed to water, or in high humidity conditions, which can cause the product to become moldy and unappetizing.

You can sniff a piece of dry cat food before placing it in your cart to check its expiration date, and if it does not smell like kibble (which should smell like kibble), then immediately discard it.

3. Bacteria Cannot Grow in Extremely Dry Conditions

Since bacteria cannot grow in dry conditions, kibble is relatively safe when left out for long periods. However, it’s important to note that bacterial growth isn’t always a problem: some bacteria can create useful byproducts (like lactic acid) that help prevent spoilage and promote health benefits.

Even if you do not care about bacteria growing on food, food left out for an extended period will likely go bad before you can consume it. If you notice that food has been sitting out for more than two hours (or one hour in direct sunlight), throw it out!

4. Everything Becomes Stale

Dry cat food can sit out for up to a week without becoming spoiled. After this time, the food will lose its nutritional value and taste stale. If your cat is not eating much of the dry food, it may be time to get new food.

If you do not want to buy fresh cat food every week or two, some people recommend keeping two or three bags on hand so that they only have to buy one bag at a time. This way, they can have enough dry cat food without having too much space taken up by different bags of dry cat food in their home!

Related: Dry Cat Food Spoil

How Do You Keep Cat Food Fresh?

Put out enough dry food for your cat to finish within 15 minutes, then take the rest back into the refrigerator or freezer (if applicable). Dry food has a much shorter shelf life than wet food, which should always be refrigerated in an airtight container overnight and beyond if possible. 

  1. Don’t Put Out Too Much Food
  2. Don’t Leave Food Out for More than 48 hours

1. Don’t Put Out Too Much Food

The best way to ensure your cat’s food stays fresh is to keep it in a cool, dry place. Don’t refrigerate dry kibble; your kitty will be confused or even distressed by the change in temperature, and moisture from condensation could make the food moldy. Instead, store it in a metal, glass, or hard plastic container that’s tightly closed so no dust can get inside. You can also buy airtight packaging for pet foods at most supermarkets.

The shelf life of many commercially packaged foods is 12 months from the production date (no expiration date), which means you have to open it within 4 weeks before that time passes if you want to use all of its contents without risking spoilage. Most of us would rather not throw away any remaining food once we’ve opened a bag!

2. Don’t Leave Food Out for more than 48 hours

If you leave food out for 48 hours, it can spoil and become contaminated. Signs that the food has gone bad include an off smell or taste and mold growth.

Don’t leave food out for more than 48 hours, and click here If you want to know How some Dry Cat Foods, Oxidize Slower than others?

If you find that your cat’s dry kibble is no longer fresh enough to feed them (after about two days), follow these steps:

  • Throw away any spoiled food in a covered plastic bag placed in the trash. A standard trash bag will work fine, but if you have compost on-site at home, don’t put it there. Instead, add it to your bin for composting later on.
  • Clean up any messes with warm soapy water, followed by rinsing thoroughly with clean water.


Most dry cat food is fine to have out for a few hours. Unlike wet foods, which should be eaten immediately, dry foods can last up to 4 hours at room temperature. The reason that dry food lasts longer than wet is that it doesn’t contain any moisture. Bacteria require water to grow and thrive, so without any moisture, the risk of bacterial contamination is low. If you see any mold on your cat’s food, discard the entire bag or container as this means it has become too moist and has fallen victim to mold growth.

Recommended Articles:

  1. Dried Cat Food Per Day Serving at Home
  2. Older Cat Not Eating But Drinking
  3. Uveitis in Cats
  4. Coccidioidomycosis in Cats

For More Information, Visit Cat Health Category, and For Cat Behavior and Training visit the Homepage thisangle.

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