How To Warm Up Refrigerated Cat Food And Reduce Leftovers?

Most people who love or own cats want to know how they can warm up their kitty’s food after being refrigerated. Microwaving refrigerated cat food is perfectly fine and healthy for your cat.

The FDA recommends that food be heated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring that any bacteria in the cat’s meal are destroyed. You can also run refrigerated cat food under running tap water to thaw it to room temperature. Cats should not eat raw fish because of parasites found in some kinds of raw fish.

What happens when you slightly heat your cat’s food is the aroma is released, making your cat more likely to eat. When warming the food, don’t heat it enough to release steam.

How Do You Serve Refrigerated Cat Food?

How To Warm Up Refrigerated Cat Food

Refrigerated cat food should only be served at your cat temperature or to that of fresh prey. Frozen and refrigerated foods can be allowed to thaw for several hours at room temperature.
If thawed quickly, frozen or refrigerated foods may still be cold and cause illness if fed to your cat. Once a portion of food is completely thawed, it should be used immediately or discarded within three days.
This rule is essential for meats with sauces containing vegetables or pasta as these items spoil more quickly than plain meat and can lead to spoilage-related illnesses.

Can I Feed My Cat Cold Wet Food?

Typically, cats don’t like to eat cold food. A cat’s usual prey is warm-blooded, meaning they get their heat from their meal before eating it.

Since cats are obligate carnivores, they need protein to survive. If there are no mice around for them to eat, this poses a problem that can be solved by using an external source of heat for cooking/warming up their food – typically tap water.

How Do You Heat Up Cold Cat Food?

If there is no microwave available, mix warm water in your cat’s food to heat it. If you are using a microwave, place the food in a microwave-safe bowl and add some water.

Cover the container with plastic wrap or wax paper before microwaving it. Do not use any “diet” food for your cat without first speaking to your veterinarian about possible consequences of doing so, such as issues with calcium intake.

With everything you do, there is a right way and a wrong way. Here are several do’s and don’ts when it comes to how to warm up refrigerated cat food.[Source]


  • Make sure your cat’s food is at room temperature.
  • When using a microwave set the temp to low. Microwaves work by causing water molecules in the food to vibrate, building up steam which causes the food to heat. Doing so leads to very hot and possibly overcooked spots while colder areas remain unheated. The result is a lukewarm meal at best.
  • If you’re adding wet food to dry, we recommend letting it sit for five minutes after microwaving and then stirring before serving. Letting it sit will allow the coldest parts of your cat’s dinner to reach room temperature, so you do not shock their system when served.
  • When heating wet food alone, be sure to warm it thoroughly. Cats can get very sick from eating partially frozen or cold food – so don’t take any chances!
  • If you wish for faster results, place the bag or can inside a pot of hot water for 5 or 10 minutes until the food reaches the ideal temperature. (especially good with dry cat food)

There is a proper way to warm up refrigerated cat food then there are things you shouldn’t do as well.


  • Don’t feed your cat cold or frozen food. Giving your cat frozen food can cause illness to your pet.
  • Don’t overcook your cat’s food in the microwave. Warm it enough to where it’s room temperature or slightly higher.
  • Don’t leave canned food out for long periods. It can spoil before your cat eats it. It is better to put leftovers in the refrigerator and warm them back up.

[Related Article: How Much Does Cat Food Cost Per Month? Can We Give Cheap Food?]

What Can I Do With Leftover Wet Cat food?

If you have leftover wet cat food in your pet’s bowl after more than 4 hours, you should pour everything away. Use plastic wrap to cover any leftover wet cat food in the can and refrigerate between a temperature of 39-46°F. Throw them away if it is still not being eaten after 6 days.

When it comes to warm up your cat’s refrigerated food, always remember not to make the food too hot. Do not allow the cat food to get warmer than room temperature, as this can cause a drastic change in your pet’s digestive system. When this happens, it leads to nausea and vomiting, or worse, diarrhea.[Source]

Warm up the food very gradually. You must warm up small portions at a time while checking for warmth after each warming period.

If you have a microwave oven at home, find a small microwavable bowl and add a few tablespoons of canned tuna water from the can to it. Make sure that all lumps of water are smoothened out before placing the bowl into the microwave oven, then microwave on high for about 30 seconds.

Let cool down for 1 minute before serving it to your cat. Never feed your cat frozen food. It can cause your feline to get sick and cost you extra money in vet bills. Following these simple steps and precautions can ensure that your cat stays healthy for years to come.

[Related Article: 5 Insanely Straightforward Ways To Store Your Dry Cat Food]

Wrap Up

Yes, you can refrigerate cat food if you want them to eat or drink cold food. However, even though it is okay to put the cat’s food in the fridge after being leftovers from their meal, not all cats will enjoy eating cold food, especially if it has been sitting overnight outside the refrigerator while the temperature rises again.

The same applies when leaving your cat’s wet food at room temperature for too long before feeding time begins. Most cats would rather have their food fresh out of the refrigerator since it doesn’t feel too warm on their tongues but is still close enough to cover their daily water intake needs during warmer months.

Your cat is a part of your family. keeping your pet happy and safe from harm is the goal for most cat owners.

Sarah Jones

Sarah is a passionate pet lover who owns several pets on her own. She loves to share her experience doing part-time writing to impart some useful tips to other pet owners.

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