How long can raw cat food sit out?

The question is more or less asking how long can raw chicken be left out of the fridge until bacteria becomes a problem. The question is asked in the context of making raw cat food and feeding it to a cat. The questioner wants to know whether it practical. It is practical because my research indicates you can leave it out for up to 2 hours but that must depend upon the ambient temperature. This sounds like a sensible assessment. 

Although perhaps one hour is safer. This is a guideline. There are variables which affect hold times. Chicken is 'volatile' as the chefs say. Some, risk-averse cat owners would say no more than 15 mins or perhaps 30 mins. Sorry for being rather vague.

Raw cat food can be left out for upwards of about 2 hours depending on the ambient temperature
Raw cat food can be left out for upwards of about 2 hours depending on the ambient temperature but do your own checks please.

That said, commercially prepared wet cat food should not be left out more than two hours (many would say less) in a warm temperature because it starts to smell and a domestic cat won't touch it normally. Bacteria does not grow on it until much later in my experience.

My cat occasionally scavengers wet cat food after it's been out much longer than two hours. What makes it particularly galling is that he won't eat it when it's just freshly placed in the bowl! It's obviously an individual cat preference but 99.9% of cat like commercially prepared cat food freshly out of the sachet or can.

I don't think that the length of time you can leave raw cat food out of the fridge is a problem. The difficulty is making sure that it is prepared accurately with the right ingredients and in storing it carefully in the fridge to avoid cross contamination. In preparation, too, there is a potential for contamination. These, I think, are the bigger issues. Essentially you use say raw chicken and add a commercially prepared pre-mix which adds in all the essential nutrients missing is plain raw chicken.

While on the subject of raw cat food, advocates of it would say that it has the following benefits over commercially prepared cat food:

  • improved digestion
  • improved faeces with less odour and better volume
  • a better coat with less shedding and fewer herbals
  • improved energy levels
  • weight loss
  • better dental health
  • better urinary tract health
  • people are less allergic to a cat who eats raw cat food apparently.


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