How long can canned cat food be left outside without risk?

Gray shorthair cat and food can

Cats frequently don't consume the entire can of cat food in one sitting. Sometimes owners either forget to pick up the uneaten piece or don't have enough time. How long can be left outside without risk?

Room temperature affects how long canned cat food may be left out. If there is no air conditioning during the summer, keep the food out for no more than 20 minutes. The same 20-minute restriction would apply in the winter if the heater is on or the meal is in a heated kitchen. Under ideal conditions, the absolute maximum would be close to 30 minutes.

Kittens, who need smaller, more frequent meals, will likely finish their food well before 15 minutes. Giving them a spoonful or two less every three hours is preferable to taking a chance on ruined food.

Exposure to Air Is Bad for Catfood

Air exposure also exposes one to germs. Because food moisture might create mold, keep the food storage container as airtight as you can. The temperature of the storage area is another issue. Even unopened bags or cans of pet food shouldn't be kept in a shed or garage where the temperature can get beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The majority of manufacturers advise keeping canned and kibble food in a cold, dry environment. It works wonderfully to use the kitchen pantry or an interior closet.


After opening a can of food, it should be covered and put in the refrigerator right away. Since most cats dislike eating cold food, the subsequent portion can be reheated. Zippered plastic bags can be used to store leftover food. They are easily reheated in the sink under running water for a few minutes. The following serving might also be prepared in a microwave-safe dish, covered with plastic wrap, and warmed briefly. The goal is to reheat the dish to room temperature rather than making it hot.