Let’s face it; It’s hard enough to get a cat to do anything you want them to, so feeding them food they don’t want to eat or that’s not appealing? Not gonna happen.
This is especially true of cold wet food. So, should I heat up wet cat food or at least give it a warm up to make it more appealing to my fur baby?
Should I Heat Up Wet Cat Food?
Yes, It’s safe to heat up wet cat food or warm it up. After heating, it’s best to let the wet food cool to room temperature. Cats prefer their food at room temperature due to their natural instinct for warm blooded prey.
Below are a few considerations and tips to consider when deciding whether or not to warm up wet cat food.
Why You Should Warm Up Wet Cat Food
If you’re serving your cat wet food, you may be tempted to heat it up. I like my food warm; why wouldn’t my cat? There’s actually some sound logic behind this line of thinking.
There are lots of wet cat foods that need to be stored in the refrigerator for maximum freshness. But serving a cat cold food is likely to lead to your cat not eating anything; the food is often unappealing both texturally and flavor-wise when it’s that cold due to a cat’s natural instinct to look for warm-blooded prey.
So, it can be a good idea to warm your cat’s food to room temperature before serving it. This puts the food’s consistency back to normal and unlocks its aroma, making it significantly more appetizing to your cat and can simulate the prey instinct in a healthy way.
I may not like how it smells, but the cat sure does. It can also make a good cat treat.
On top of that, heating your cat’s food can help to kill any dangerous bacteria that’s gotten trapped in it.
This is especially important if you’re preparing the wet food fresh yourself; it needs to be cooked to at least 165 Fahrenheit. If you’re feeding from a can, though, this isn’t necessarily a massive risk.
Why You Shouldn’t Heat Up Wet Cat Food
On the other side of this argument, heating up your cat’s wet food can cause a few problems.
Leaving food out to heat up for too long can cause it to spoil, which will not only waste that portion but may cause your cat to become very ill. Heating it up improperly can do this as well; I wouldn’t want my kitty eating rancid food!
Another risk is burns. If you’re heating up wet cat food to too high a temperature, you risk causing your cat to get burned when they try to eat it. Cats eat quickly, and having food at too high a temperature when they start eating can cause burns to their mouth, tongue, and throat before they can stop themselves.
Finally, wet cat food that is warmed improperly tends to dry out dramatically. Not only does this make it less appealing to the cat in terms of texture and flavor, it can also take away from the nutritional value of the food. Cats get a significant amount of their daily water intake from wet food, so over-drying it can lead to dehydration.
To combat the dryness, just add a little water prior to warming it up if you’re going to put it the microwave. As far as whether you should heat up wet cat food, I think positives really out weight the negatives. Just pay close attention to what your cat likes.
Serving Warmed Up Wet Cat Food
It’s often a good idea to give your cat a mixture of wet and dry food to meet their daily calorie needs. I’ve done this in the past and not only is it good for the cat, but helps stretch my wet food dollar. Everybody wins!
Veterinarians recommend putting out a bowl of dry food with a dish of clean water that your cat has access to all day long, and then feeding wet food on a regular schedule. This lets your cat eat whenever they’re hungry without you having to worry about their food spoiling.
Speaking of spoiling, in the best of situations, you don’t want to leave wet cat food out and exposed for more than 30 minutes at a time. In hot weather or heated conditions, that limit goes down to 20 minutes. Any longer than that, and you risk exposing your pet to dangerous bacteria.
You should also serve your cat’s wet food in a separate bowl to their dry food. Firstly, it makes cleanup significantly easier; you don’t have to replace the whole bowl of dry food after every feeding! Second, it keeps the food appetizing and healthy for the cat. I wouldn’t want to eat from a dirty bowl either.
How to warm up Cat Food
Should you decide you heat up your cat’s food, you can use any one of these three methods.
Warm up Cat Food Without a Microwave
There are two simple options to heat up cat food without having to put it in a microwave.
- Run the sealed container under warm water until it is warm to the touch but not hot, then serve.
- Mix warm water into the food in its dish. This is effective for cans not stored in the refrigerator.
Microwave Wet Cat Food
- Put the food and a small amount of water in a microwave-safe container and microwave on low for a few seconds at a time until the food is warmed through.
- Check the temperature either with a kitchen thermometer or by touch (be careful here). If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for kitty.
Consult your food manufacturer’s website for their recommendations when it comes to heating and serving suggestions.
Storing the Wet Food
Of course, your cat might not eat an entire can of food in one sitting. If they don’t, pack the uneaten portion into an air-tight container (zip-top freezer bags are a lifesaver) and refrigerate it until the next feeding. Try not to keep any open portions of food for longer than a few days.
The most important thing about mixing your cat’s diet is making sure that the food you choose – both wet and dry – is high quality and meets your cat’s needs. Talk to your vet about your cat’s diet and follow their recommendations for caloric intake and nutritional value. This keeps your cat happy, healthy, and full for as long as possible.
Should I Heat Up Wet Cat Food? Summary
If you’re like me, I always try to use modern conveniences where I can to help me with my cat and other pets. Hopefully you’ve learned a couple tips about your cat’s diet. Should I heat up wet cat food? Depends on the cat, the food, and the room it’s served in. The answer is going to change from house to house, and even from cat to cat.
How you serve it depends mostly on safety and personal preference. As long as your cat is getting the right kind and amount of nutrition from their food, you’re doing it right.
Related Article: Mix Wet and Dry Cat Food; 6 Things You Need To Know