My Cat Ate Spoiled Food: What to Do?



As a cat owner, you’re likely familiar with your feline friend’s curious nature. While curiosity is generally harmless, it can sometimes lead your cat into trouble—like eating spoiled food. Understanding the risks, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial for ensuring your cat’s well-being. This article aims to be your go-to guide for everything you need to know if your cat eats spoiled food.

Causes of Food Poisoning in Cats

Harmful Bacteria in Raw or Spoiled Meat

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means meat is a significant part of their diet. However, raw or spoiled meat can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. These bacteria can cause severe food poisoning.

Common Foodborne Illnesses

  • Salmonellosis: This is caused by Salmonella bacteria and is commonly found in raw poultry and eggs.
  • Botulism: This is a rare but severe type of food poisoning caused by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. It can be found in improperly canned foods and decaying organic matter.
  • Listeriosis: Caused by Listeria monocytogenes, this bacteria is often found in unpasteurized dairy products and raw meats.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning In Cats

General Symptoms

If your cat has ingested spoiled food, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or bloody stool
  • Lethargy or decreased activity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration, indicated by sunken eyes or dry gums

Specific Symptoms for Each Illness

  • Salmonellosis: High fever, muscle pain, and mucous in stool.
  • Botulism: Progressive muscle paralysis, starting from the hind legs and moving forward.
  • Listeriosis: Incoordination, drooling, and facial paralysis in severe cases.

Treatment Options

Veterinary Diagnosis and Tests

If you suspect that your cat has eaten spoiled food, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian immediately. They may conduct tests like blood work, fecal examinations, and even X-rays to diagnose the condition accurately.

Hospitalization and Home Care

In severe cases, your cat may require hospitalization for intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and other supportive treatments. For mild cases, your veterinarian may recommend specific home care guidelines, such as a bland diet and oral rehydration solutions.

Medications and Hydration

Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to combat bacterial infections and antiemetics for controlling vomiting. Hydration is crucial, so ensure your cat has access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Prevention Measures

Safe Food Handling and Preparation

To minimize the risk of food poisoning, always handle your cat’s food with clean hands and utensils. Store raw meat in airtight containers in the fridge and cook it thoroughly before serving.

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods are more prone to bacterial growth and spoilage. Avoid feeding your cat raw eggs, unpasteurized milk, and any food that smells or looks off.

Importance of Checking Expiry Dates

Always check the expiry dates on canned or packaged cat food. If it’s past the expiry date, it’s safer to discard it than risk your cat’s health.

Wet vs. Dry Cat Food

Nutritional Content

Wet food is generally higher in protein and moisture, making it a good option for cats prone to urinary tract issues. Dry food, on the other hand, is more calorie-dense and may be better for weight management.

Risks Associated with Each Type

Wet food can spoil quickly if left out, especially in warm weather. Dry food has a longer shelf life but can become rancid if not stored properly.

Is Canned Chicken Safe for Cats to Eat After Consuming Spoiled Food?

Feeding cats canned chicken can be safe, but if they consume spoiled food, caution is required. Spoiled food can cause food poisoning and gastrointestinal issues in cats. It is important to check the expiration date and condition of canned chicken before offering it to your feline companion. Always prioritize your cat’s health and well-being.


The health risks associated with cats eating spoiled food are not to be taken lightly. Immediate action and proper veterinary care are crucial for your cat’s well-being. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options, you can act swiftly and effectively to ensure your cat’s health and safety.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How long can wet cat food stay out?

A: Wet cat food should not be left out for more than 4 hours. In hot weather, this time is reduced to 2 hours.

Q: Can cats get sick from eating expired dry food?

A: Yes, expired dry food can contain mold or bacteria, which can make your cat sick.

Q: Is it safe to freeze leftover wet cat food?

A: Yes, you can freeze wet cat food, but it should be consumed within 3 months for best quality.

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