When Does Cat Food Expire: Best 5 Ways To Check

If you’re looking for a quick answer on when does cat food expire – this article is just for you!

For most pet owners, it is a big concern when their pets eat food that has expired. Cat owners are especially worried about this because they know how fast cats can get sick if they ingest something bad for them. However, many people do not realize that cat food does not expire. 

Here we’re going to give you some advice on how different long types of cat food last and what expiration dates mean.

When Does Cat Food Expire?

That is right, and cat food does not expire. This can last for many years, so there are no worries about eating expired cat food.

This information may help you understand that your cat will stay healthy if they eat something that has gone bad.

When Does Cat Food Expire
When Does Cat Food Expire

You probably do not want to serve cats expired food every day, but this information gives you the peace of mind that they will not get seriously sick if they eat some leftovers.

It all depends on the type and quality of ingredients in your cat’s food. If you want to be sure about the shelf-life, always check how long it lasts for your specific brand or type.

A good rule of thumb is that wet cat food will be better for your pet in the short term – but if you want to make sure it’s safe, check the label for exact dates. In general, dry cat food lasts a long time, and there is no need to worry about it going nice in a month or two.  

Canned cat food usually has a “best by” date that should be checked before feeding it to your pet. Canned cat food is good for up to one year after the best by date, according to PetEducation.com

This does not mean you can feed your kitty old canned cat food and expect no problems; if the can looks bloated or swollen or smells bad, do not use it.

If you are unsure whether the canned cat food is still good, smell it and look at its color; if either of these things appears off, don’t feed it to your kitty!

How Long Is Cat Food Good For?  

In most cases, it will last indefinitely.

Many manufacturers say that their products must be used or discarded by a certain date, but those are just guidelines – not hard rules. In most cases, you can safely feed this product to your pet after the expiration date has passed if it still tastes and smells alright.

If you’re worried about your cat eating expired food, check the smell and appearance. It should smell like normal food if it has gone bad – but if it smells wrong, you should throw it away because there might be something wrong with it that could make your cat sick.

Is It OK To Feed Expired Cat Food?

Yes! Most cat foods have a shelf life of many years, so there’s no need to panic if you find some food in the fridge that is several months past its expiration date.

In most cases, it will be perfectly fine to feed your kitty this expired food because they can eat pretty much anything, and their digestive systems are very resilient.

So, you can expect that your cat will be OK eating old food. This is especially true for canned foods and older packages of dry cat food.

Also Read: How Long Does Cat Food Last

How Long Does Canned Cat Food Last?

Canned cat food will stay good for a longer period than dry food. It’s very unlikely that the contents would spoil or go bad in just a few months, but always check the “Best By” date on the packaging.

How Long Does Canned Cat Food Last
How Long Does Canned Cat Food Last

After this date has passed, you can feel confident about serving your pet their favorite canned meals, even if they look or smell funny. If you aren’t sure whether it’s still good, follow our guidelines for checking its quality, and don’t ingest anything that doesn’t look, feel or smell right.

5 Ways to Check Cat Food Expiration Dates

Now that you know they will probably be fine, here are some specific rules of thumb for checking the validity of cat food…

1. Check the “Best By” date on the packaging. Canned foods usually last until around one year after this date unless something is amiss with the can. Dry cat foods should be good for a year after this date as well.

2. Smell the cat food. Cat foods usually do not go bad, but if it smells off in any way when you sniff them, throw them out. Canned food should have a very mild fishy smell when you open the can, and dry food should have a slight aroma of its contents that’s detectable when you open the bag or can.

3. Check the color of the cat food. Dry foods will not change in color too much, but canned foods often get darker as they age – so old ones might be more brown than red or pink on the inside. Canned food with a grayish tint is most likely spoiled, especially if it has a foul odor as well.

4. Consider the packaging of the cat food. If it is bloated or has anything leaking from it, toss it in the trashcan immediately because there could be harmful bacteria growing inside that could make your kitty sick.

5. Look at your cat’s teeth and gums. Pets often develop gum disease as they age, but if your cat has very loose teeth or seems to be having trouble eating their food, it’s probably time to switch to wet food, which is easier for them to eat.

If you find any mold growing inside a can of cat food, throw the whole thing out – this means that the food has gone bad.

If you find your cat eating expired food, keep an eye on them for any weird behavior. They should be completely fine unless they have a very sensitive stomach.

If it makes them sick, consider making custom food with about 50% of their regular food and 50% lean meat or cooked vegetables to help settle their stomach until they return to normal.

Is it safe to feed my cat expired wet food?

Yes! Cat food can stay good for many months past the expiration date, so if your cat’s favorite is in the trash can past its prime, don’t be too concerned.

Follow our tips to check the quality of cat food below about how you can determine whether or not it has lost too much freshness to be safe for pets.

Once your cat is done with its meal, you can safely dispose of the outdated food since it doesn’t make good human food.

The main things to watch out for are mold and pungent smells or new foreign objects like bugs or hair; these are signs that something has gone wrong. If your pet ends up eating spoiled food, they will probably have a little trouble going to the bathroom for a few days, but nothing more serious.

Does Dry Cat Food Expire?

Dry cat food doesn’t expire per see, but it does slowly lose its flavor smell, making your pet more likely to eat it.

If you leave dry food in an open container for too long, it will start to smell bad, so the best way to store it is in an airtight bag or can.

If you buy a large bag of cat food and only use a few scoops every day, keep the rest in an airtight container and try to remember when you bought it so that you don’t leave it sitting for too long.

Is Cat Food Still Good After Its Expiration Date?

Cat food is not dangerous to eat after the expiration date as long as the packaging is intact. According to studies, some of the nutrients can decrease or be destroyed after this time, but cats usually don’t mind it too much and may not notice any differences.

As long as you feed your pet food that has passed its expiration date once in a while, they should be fine and won’t develop any health issues due to the loss of nutrients as they can make up for it by eating other types of food.

About 10% to 30% of bacteria are killed after the expiration date has passed, but feeding your pet outdated cat food once in a while is OK if you don’t mind that. The remaining 70% to 90% will still be present in your pet’s system and will be flushed out when they use the bathroom.

If you have any concerns, ask your vet for advice about how often you can feed your pet food that has passed its expiration date. Some pets are more sensitive to bacteria than others, so it is up to them whether it’s safe or not.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the best way to know when cat food will expire is by reading the expiration date on the packaging. If you have any questions about your cat’s diet or how long their food can last before it expires, talk with a vet, and they should be able to give you all of the needed information.


Hi there! My name is Koushik; I am a cat lover. I specialize in writing about pet care & food. I have a wealth of knowledge on cat food niches and related subjects. I have worked in the pet industry for over 5 years and am passionate about helping cat owners provide the best care for their furry friends. With knowledge of cat food and nutrition, I aim to share their insights and help cat owners navigate the world of cat food niches. I enjoy playing with my two cats, reading, and exploring new cat food brands in my free time.

4 thoughts on “When Does Cat Food Expire: Best 5 Ways To Check”

Leave a Comment