Cat Food, Dry Food

Can Dry Cat Food Go Bad In Heat?

Can Dry Cat Food Go Bad In Heat?

Dry cat food can go bad if exposed to heat for extended periods. High temperatures can cause the fats in the food to become rancid, which can lead to a bad odor and taste, and potentially harm your cat. It’s important to store dry cat food in a cool, dry place to maintain its quality and nutritional value.

Cat Food Go Bad In Heat

Ideal Storage Conditions for Dry Cat Food


The ideal temperature range for storing dry cat food is between 50°F and 70°F (10°C to 21°C). Storing food within this range helps prevent the degradation of nutrients and the development of rancidity in fats, ensuring the food retains its nutritional quality and palatability over time.


Keep dry cat food in an environment with low humidity, ideally between 35% and 50%. High humidity can lead to moisture absorption, resulting in clumping and mold growth ( Moisture can also activate pathogens and cause spoilage, so a dry environment is crucial for preservation.

Air Exposure

Minimize air exposure by using airtight containers for storage. Constant exposure to air can lead to oxidation of fats and loss of fat-soluble vitamins. An airtight seal prevents this oxidative damage and keeps out insects and other pests that might contaminate the food.


Protect the cat food from direct sunlight and strong artificial lighting. Exposure to light can degrade certain vitamins, such as vitamin A and B vitamins, and can also contribute to fat oxidation. Keeping food in a dark place helps maintain nutrient efficacy and freshness.


Maintain the cat food in its original packaging within a sealed container if possible. The original packaging is often designed to protect the food from light and air. Placing the entire package within a secondary container adds an extra layer of protection against environmental factors.

Ideal Storage Conditions for Dry Cat Food

Why Cat Food Goes Bad in Heat?

Cat food goes bad in heat due to the accelerated breakdown of nutrients and the oxidation of fats, which can turn rancid when exposed to high temperatures. Heat also promotes the growth of bacteria and mold, particularly if there’s any moisture involved.

Furthermore, the heat can cause the food to dry out, altering its texture and taste, which may make it less appealing to cats and can also lead to a loss of some nutrients that are sensitive to high temperatures.

Why Cat Food Goes Bad in Heat

Signs that Show Cat Food has Gone Bad

Change in Odor

A noticeable change in the smell of cat food can indicate spoilage. Fresh dry cat food typically has a mild, slightly oily scent. If the food emits a sour or rancid odor, it’s a sign that the fats and oils have begun to turn bad, signaling that the food is no longer good to feed your cat.


Look for any changes in the color of the kibble. Fresh cat food maintains consistent coloring based on its ingredients. If you notice any spots that are unusually darker or lighter, or any signs of mold (usually green or white fuzzy spots), the food has likely spoiled and should not be consumed by your cat.

Change in Texture

If the dry food has absorbed moisture, it may become clumpy or excessively hard. This textural change can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Dry cat food should remain crisp; any deviation from the normal texture may suggest it’s time to discard the product.

Presence of Pests

Infestation by pests like insects or rodents is a clear indicator that the cat food has been compromised. These pests can introduce bacteria and their waste into the food, making it unsafe for consumption. Even if the food doesn’t show signs of spoilage, contamination by pests is a health hazard.

Expiration Date

While not a physical sign in the food itself, an expired “best by” date is a clear indication that the food may not be safe to feed to your cat ( After this date, the manufacturer does not guarantee the quality or nutritional integrity of the cat food.

Unusual Behavior in Your Cat

If your cat suddenly becomes disinterested in their food or experiences digestive upset after eating (like vomiting or diarrhea), this could suggest the food has gone bad. Cats often avoid food that’s not fresh, so a change in your cat’s eating habits can be a sign that you should check the food’s quality.

Signs that Show Cat Food has Gone Bad

Side Effects of Feeding Spoiled Cat Food

  • Gastrointestinal Upset: Cats can experience vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite due to eating spoiled food.
  • Food Poisoning: Spoiled food may contain harmful bacteria, leading to food poisoning with symptoms such as lethargy and fever.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Feeding spoiled cat food can result in nutritional deficiencies as the essential nutrients have degraded.
  • Poor Health Over Time: Long-term consumption of spoiled food can compromise a cat’s immune system and overall health.
  • Toxicity: Some spoiled foods may produce toxins that can lead to more serious conditions, including liver damage or neurological issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I leave dry cat food in a hot car?

Leaving dry cat food in a hot car can lead to spoilage due to high temperatures, which can cause the food to go rancid and potentially become unsafe for consumption. It’s best to avoid it if possible.

How long does dry cat food last once opened?

Once opened, dry cat food can last anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks when properly stored in a cool, dry place. Keeping the food in an airtight container can help maintain its freshness.

How long does dry cat food last after being put in a bowl?

Dry cat food can remain fresh in a bowl for a day, but it’s best to provide only what your cat will eat in a single meal to ensure freshness and reduce the risk of bacterial growth.

How long does unopened dry cat food last?

Unopened dry cat food can last until the expiration date printed on the package, typically 1 to 2 years from manufacture when stored in a cool, dry place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *