Cats are known for being incredibly particular. They’re creatures of habit who become agitated when you make a sudden change. It’s no secret that felines can be picky eaters.
Some felines are picky eaters and will only eat wet food, while others prefer dry. There are also cats that are picky eaters who will only eat one particular brand of food or will only eat fish but not chicken.
My cat prefers wet food, so that’s what I give her. However, I’ve noticed that she isn’t quite as pleased with her meal when I serve the leftovers from the fridge.
The thought occurred to me: do cats like cold food? Is she really being that picky? And is it necessary to refrigerate wet cat food?
As a result of my investigation, I now know that cats can enjoy cold wet food. Most cats, however, will turn up their noses at it.
They may not enjoy the muted aroma or the slight chill on their tongue. In this piece, I explain the process in greater depth and provide suggestions for how to heat up cat food.
Can Cats Eat Cold Wet Food?
Yes, to answer your question in the simplest possible way. Cold wet cat food is fine for cats to eat. However, if cats set their minds to it, they can digest just about anything. Thus, a more appropriate inquiry would be whether or not cats should consume cold wet cat food, and the answer is no.
While it’s true that cats can safely eat food straight from the fridge, it’s not recommended due to their picky nature. If your cat is more likely to eat their food, they will get the nutrients they need. I’ll go into more detail about the various factors that cause cats to reject cold food below.
All this being said, you can keep feeding your cat refrigerated cat food if it seems to be fine with it. Don’t waste time trying to find a solution if there isn’t one.
1. It Doesn’t Mimic the Temperature of Prey
Because it doesn’t feel like prey, cats don’t enjoy eating cold wet cat food. Cats’ natural prey consists of birds and small rodents. The internal temperature of the meat from these critters is identical to that of the animal. The fresher the meat, the hotter it is best served. The lower the temperature, the more likely it is that their prey has already died.
This explains why kitties tend to go for the sizzling steak. This means it is more likely to be fresh and not stale. Even though cats don’t need to hunt for their food anymore, especially indoor-only cats, their instinctual preference for warmer meat remains. Your cat doesn’t share your opinion that the food in the fridge is fresh.
2. Colder Food Can Make Cats Sick
It’s also possible that your cat will become ill after eating cold food. The process can begin as soon as the food is placed in the mouth. Your cat might not like the feeling of the cold in their mouth. Biting down on the cold food to chew it can be painful if your cat has sensitive teeth.
This is why many cats that prefer cold wet cat food tend to wolf it down without properly chewing it. Your cat will quickly become ill from eating these larger chunks. Some people might just feel queasy for a while, while others might actually throw up on the floor.
3. It Doesn’t Smell as Appetizing
Warmer food has a stronger odor. The increased energy supplied by the heat causes molecules in the food to break down and release odorous compounds into the air. Even though cats have an acute sense of smell, serving them warm food can make them finish every morsel.
However, the odor of cat food that has been refrigerated is much more muted. This is a wonderful benefit for us; I no longer have to endure the lingering fish aroma in my house. However, it may cause cats to lose their appetite. No one will want to eat it if it doesn’t have a pleasant aroma.
How To Warm Up Refrigerated Cat Food
You should heat wet cat food if you have a picky cat that won’t eat it cold. The ideal temperature for the food is room temperature. This will be the most analogous to the preferred temperature of cats’ natural prey. Furthermore, if it’s too hot, your cat’s mouth could get burned.
So, the question is, how do you thaw out cold canned cat food? Should you microwavable cat food? Can it be heated in some other way? In this article, I will discuss several techniques that you can use at home.
1. Microwave Cat Food
The first option is to heat the cat food in the microwave from the refrigerator. Here’s how to re-heat your cat’s dinner in the microwave:
- The wet cat food should first be placed in a microwave-safe bowl. Metal is extremely dangerous in the microwave, so remove the cat food from the can before heating.
- Reduce the microwave’s power to minimum. The food should be heated, but not to the point where your cat won’t eat it.
- Microwave the cat food for 30 seconds, stir, and serve. By stirring the food, the heat is distributed evenly throughout.
- Use a clean finger to recheck the food’s temperature as many times as necessary after the initial check. Then serve it in a bowl for your cat to eat.
2. Heat it Using Hot Water
This is a great alternative to using a microwave if you don’t have one. It’s also less of a hassle to monitor the temperature of the cat food to ensure it’s never overheated. Here are the measures to implement this method:
- Bring a small amount of water to a boil in a kettle, then pour it into a wide, shallow bowl. Make sure the water level isn’t too high because you’ll be placing the food can in here.
- Take the can of cat food out of the fridge and put it in the water dish. Give it a few minutes to settle, stirring occasionally.
- The water’s heat will be transferred to the food inside the can. Serve it to your hungry cat as soon as it reaches the ideal temperature.
3. Leave it On the Kitchen Counter
Finally, refrigerated cat food can be heated by setting it on the side of the fridge. The coolness in the cat food will gradually disappear as the heat permeates it. The cat food will never get hotter than room temperature using this method. Therefore, overheating the food is never an issue.
There are, however, limitations to this approach. You should, for starters, get yourself ready! The food will need at least an hour to come to room temperature. This is not for the owner who is constantly on the go or for the forgetful.
Wet cat food that is left out on the counter runs the risk of going bad. What is the shelf life of canned goods? The maximum time food should be left out is four hours. When warming up cat food, it’s best to cover it with cling film. This will prevent bacteria from growing, keeping it fresher for longer.
Can Cold Food Make Cats Sick
There is no truth to the internet myth that feeding a cat cold food will make them sick. There is no correlation between the weather and your cat getting sick.
A cat’s stomach can’t handle spoiled food. Food that has gone bad because it is past its expiration date, is contaminated, or has been opened and left out at room temperature for hours. Or, say, if you let your cat eat from a timed feeder and the food sat out for too long.
This leads to a buildup of bacteria in the food, which, if consumed, can make your cat sick.
Feeding your cat cold food is highly unlikely. Food isn’t chewed by cats. They can tear through anything with those sharp teeth. Since cats tend to eat in large chunks, the texture of refrigerated food is unlikely to make a difference to one with broken teeth.
Why Does My Cat Like Cold Food?
There might be two different problems at play here. For one, you might be in a warmer climate where eating something cold, like a meat-flavored popsicle, is akin to eating ice cream on a hot day. Alternatively, they may have been taught from an early age that only cold food is acceptable, making the experience of eating anything else strange.
Your cat’s preference for cold food is puzzling, and there is no scientific basis for this preference.
Do Cats Like Their Food Cold Or Warm?
Here’s where the scientific method can be applied. Keep reading this. This study is a legitimate scientific investigation into the problem of how to encourage picky senior felines to consume more food.
The researchers focused specifically on the question of whether or not the temperature of wet cat food could entice a finicky cat aged 7 or older to eat more.
In one set of experiments, researchers fed cats food at three different temperatures: 6 degrees Fahrenheit, 21 degrees Celsius, and 37 degrees Fahrenheit.
The outcomes were undeniable. The warm food was the cats’ favorite, followed by room temperature, and then cold food. The amount of food eaten by each group served as a quantitative indicator of this.
Therefore, it can be said, at least for this age range, that cats favor warm wet food.
That’s wonderful, but I’m curious as to why they prefer the warm food.
Scientists originally hypothesized that senior cats’ picky eating habits were due to their diminishing sense of smell and taste as they got older. The researchers hypothesized that the stronger aroma and flavor of the warmer food would entice the older cats to eat despite their diminished sense of smell and taste.
And here’s where the pearl of wisdom was dropped: why, exactly, does hotter food taste better? The meats in the food release sulfur-containing compounds when heated to 37 degrees, making the meat taste meatier and giving all sorts of improved flavors – all of which your cat enjoys, according to the scientists who study food chemistry.
Instinct and evolution are powerful in cats, so it’s likely that they are also having an impact, and the scientists noted that in the wild, predators eat hunted meat that is at body temperature.
The result was that finicky eater cats preferred their food warmed, and there appears to be flavor and instinctual evidence to back up this preference.
Do felines prefer their meals cold or warm? The apparent response is friendly. Your cat may not be eating the wet food because it is too cold.
Other Feeding Options for Cats
Don’t stress if you don’t want to heat up wet cat food. You can also choose from a few other alternatives, such as:
- Dry, nonperishable cat food should be used instead of wet food. It’s ready to eat as soon as you take it out of the bag because it has reached room temperature. It’s important to ease into the transition from a wet-to-dry diet. This will help ease your cat’s transition and make the new environment feel more familiar. Keep in mind that your kitten will need wet food until it is old enough to transition to dry food.
- Wet cat food can be purchased in smaller portions, which is another option. Since there won’t be any leftovers to worry about, you can give your cat the entire can at each mealtime. This may not be possible for all brands of cat food, but it’s worth a shot. If not, maybe you should try a different brand. Again, your cat is more likely to accept the new brand if you transition to it gradually.
- An automatic feeder for wet cat food is another option to consider. When you open the can, you can divide the food up into the various compartments for your cat. The ice packs in the feeder’s sections keep the food cool enough to eat but not so cold that it spoils during the day. The food is then covered with a lid to keep out bacteria and prevent your cat from eating all of it at once.
The automatic cat feeder is a feature I regularly employ. These feeders make it much simpler to maintain a regular feeding schedule for my cats and eliminate the need for me to heat their food. My cat really appreciates the regular schedule because it ensures that I never miss feeding her.
The abundance of options is a direct result of the widespread demand for these components. You can choose from a variety of feeders, including those that are resistant to dogs and those that use a collar sensor to determine when food is needed. Keep more than one cat at home? Have no fear! Multiple-cat automatic feeders can be found on the market.
Does Wet Cat Food Need to be Refrigerated?
Wait a minute! Can’t we just leave cat food out of the fridge? Will that not end the problem? That’s not a choice, though. The proper way to store food in a can is essential. Otherwise, the food is at risk of becoming contaminated. If your cat eats the bacteria, it will become ill. Both the flavor and nutritional value of food can suffer from improper storage.
Wet cat food should be stored differently depending on whether it has been opened or not.
Unopened Wet Cat Food
Wet cat food that has not been opened does not need to be refrigerated. The food should be stored at room temperature instead. The cans should be stored in a closet or on a shelf. Try to avoid extreme temperature changes, as this can have a negative effect on the flavor.
The food should be stored in a cool, dark place if at all possible. Cans left in the sun for an extended period of time may cause their contents to deteriorate prematurely. For this reason, a kitchen cabinet with a dark interior is an ideal storage space.
Opened Wet Cat Food
Any uneaten cat food should be stored in the fridge once the can has been opened. This prevents spoilage and bacterial growth in the food. Put the sealed can in the fridge. The maximum storage time in this location is 5 days, after which the contents should be discarded.
The wet food in your cat’s bowl will keep for about four hours at room temperature. Throw away any cat food that hasn’t been consumed 4 hours after feeding time.
If your cat seems to prefer cold food, go ahead and give it to them; just make sure it is consumed soon after opening to prevent spoilage.
Heating wet food is a great way to give your cat a taste sensation or coax a picky eater to eat. Your cat’s appetite will be stimulated by the meatier flavors and potent aroma.