How long does dry cat food stay fresh?
Preservatives and antioxidants are what keep your cat’s kibble fresh for up to six months, but you can do things as well, such as storing the kibble is in the original bag and making sure it’s tightly sealed.
While it’s true that purchasing a bigger bag is more cost-effective than buying a smaller one, you should know that after six weeks, the nutritional value, scent and flavor decreases. The food might be safe to eat, but your cat will find it less exciting and there will be fewer nutrients—and aren’t cats finicky enough to begin with?
A 20-pound bag holds about 100-plus cups of kibble. That means it will last several months. Cats usually weigh about 10 pounds, so you might end up throwing some out. In that case, it might make more sense to just buy smaller bags or break the big one up in two or three smaller ones to freeze.
Here are some guidelines in keeping kibble fresh:
• “Use By” (or “Best Used By”, etc.) dates apply ONLY to sealed bags. They don’t apply once the bag is opened. Date the bag of food with a marker when you open it so you can keep track.
• Store the food in its original bag but, if you want to use a pet food container, place the whole bag into it. The original packaging is important because it keeps the kibble from oxygen and humidity. After feeding, squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible, re-seal it, or fold the top over very tightly and apply a clip.
• Keep the barcode, batch code, and expiration date in a safe place. You’ll find these on the bag and they identify the particular batch of food you’re feeding your pet. If there’s ever a cat food recall, or if you suspect any problem, you’ll need this information.