How long is it safe to leave opened canned cat food out on the counter?

I have four picky eaters. They like canned cat food and some dry. And they prefer their food room temperature, not cold out of the refrigerator. When it's hot out, I make sure the food isn't left out. But, is it safe to leave canned cat food out, and for how long?

Asked by Member 352724 on May 10th 2010 in Pet Food
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Izadore (Izzie)

I usually don't leave my cats' food out on their plates or unrefrigerated in the can for more than an hour. I think it's safe to say that after that, you're taking a chance it will spoil. You may want to try buying smaller cans. I buy the little fancy feast cans so my 3 can eat it all in one meal. (They do only get 1/2 can twice a day along with their dry.)

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 5/11/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Just add some warm water to it, or you can microwave for about 13 seconds. We have been doing this for years. Do not leave the opened can food out on counter still in can, but once you put it in their dish it should be safe for a few hours, depending on how hot it is in your house.

Shadow answered on 5/11/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I once asked a vet this same question and was told that after two hours to throw it away. I wouldn't take a chance for more than one hour in the summer. After all, would you want to eat something that has been sitting out all day? I don't think so.

Member 185886 answered on 5/11/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Angel ♥Kally Kat♥

Gee, I was told no more than 30 mins to about 45 mins. by my Vet. I usually buy the smaller cans of foods, my litta gurl is very fussy. She almost always eats her dinner & leaves her plate clean!
I always warm up her food in the microwave for just a bit, like Shadow says.
I would think that any longer than 1 hour, especially in a warmer climate wouldn't be a good thing.

Angel ♥Kally Kat♥ answered on 5/11/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

♥Oliver Winston Parsons

I left canned food out all day for years. I also had a houseful of vomiting cats. One day I made the possible connection. I called the Friskies Customer Service Line & asked them how long was safe to leave the food out. According to Customer Service they said 30 to 45 minutes, unrefrigerated. When I began following those guidelines the vomiting in my house decreased from several times a DAY to once or maybe twice a WEEK. 30 to 45 minutes unrefrigerated.

♥Oliver Winston Parsons answered on 5/30/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer