Should I Warm Up My Cat’s Wet Food? (Will It Please Your Feline Critic?)

Should I Warm Up My Cats Wet Food

I have a very strong preference when it comes to food. It needs to be hot. The hotter the better. When I am at a restaurant and the food comes cold, I will send it back. If the food has been out for a few minutes at home, I will reheat the dish in the microwave.

It seems that this preference doesn’t just apply to me. I know of many cat owners that swear by warming up their cat’s wet food. But is it good practice to be warming up your cat’s wet food before feeding time?

Heating up your cat’s wet food isn’t something that needs to be done on a regular basis. Some cats prefer room temperature food or slightly warmer cat food as it smells better to them. There are also many cats that are happy to eat cold wet food. It depends largely on your cat’s preference.

Blame In On Your Cat’s Nose

cat nose

I’m always telling my cat that his nose is too sensitive for his own good. To understand why cats are so drawn by smell, we need to learn a little more about their sense of smell.

A cat’s sense of smell is like a mother’s intuition. They can always pick up the fine details that we tend to miss or fail to detect.

To see that your cat’s sense of smell is very acute and sensitive isn’t doing it justice. To put it into figures, your cat’s nose is 14x more sensitive than yours.

This is due to the 200 million odor sensors that cats have in their cute little button noses compared to 5 million in a human.

Dogs have always taken the top prize for having the most sensitive of noses but scientists have discovered that cats have a better sense of smell than dogs. Cats have 30 scent receptors whereas a dog only has 9.

Cat wins!

A cat’s appetite is through its nose which means that if the cat likes what it smells, it will eat it. Otherwise, good luck trying to get your cat to eat something that it doesn’t like the smell of.

You can notice this action when you give your cat something new to eat.

The cat will always smell the food first, lick it a little and finish it up if it smells good. My dog will eat first and ask questions later.

A cat’s nose is sensitive enough to distinguish the smell of the individual ingredients in the food. It could just be due to a single ingredient in the canned food that your cat dislikes.

There were a couple of times when I had to go through more than 10 different types of cat food brands before my cat decided on one that he likes.

I’m sure many of you cat owners out there can sympathize with my frustration.

Does Wet Cat Food Need To Be Warm?

Well, not necessarily. But it can entice your cat’s tastebuds or in this case, ‘nosebuds’ a lot better if you do.

When we heat up food, the molecules in the food tend to move faster as it gains heat energy. The faster these molecules move, the more they start to evaporate and fly off the surface of the food much faster, releasing the food smell into the air.

This is why food that is hot always smells better than when eaten cold.

When you feed your cat wet food that is warm, you can bet that your cat is smelling the food a lot better than when eating cold food.

Although science has shown that warm food tastes better than cold food, a cat’s sense of taste of weak as compared to ours.

Humans have 9000 tastebuds whereas your cat only has 473.

So when you feed your cat canned food that is warm, it can help with the taste but definitely not as much compared to the way it smells to your cat.

If your cat will only lick but not eat its food when it’s served cold, you’re all out of luck and don’t have much of a choice but to warm up the cat food a little before feeding your cat.

Is It Ok To Give My Cat Cold Food?

Based on my experience, I would say that it is ok to feed wet cat food that is cold. When I mean cold, I do not mean frozen, unless your cat has a thing for licking ice cubes.

Many cat owners tend to have some leftover wet cat food that is stored in the refrigerator. Most of the time, the refrigerated cat food is taken out to be thawed at room temperature before feeding the cat.

I’ve fed my cat wet food straight from the fridge and into his bowl more times than I can remember. This usually happens when I’m running late for an appointment.

The first time I did it, I actually didn’t think much of it until I was in my car and ready to drive off. It hit me out of the blue that my cat isn’t going to like his wet cat food so cold.

So I quickly ran back into the house wanting to warm it up but what I found was an empty food ball and my cat waiting for more food.

I gave him the rest of the refrigerated cat food and he gobbled it all down before heading off for his morning nap.

Needless to say, I was pretty astonished.

This could be a real time saver for me if he likes his food cold as well.

When I got back from my appointment, I was expecting some sort of loose stools from my cat but thankfully, his digestive system took to the cold food like a champion.

Can I Heat Up Canned Cat Food In The Microwave?

heating up food in microwave

Yes, you can microwave cat food without any problem at all. That is what I would normally do if I’m looking to add some warmth to my cat’s food.

You need to know a few things when looking to microwave cat food.

You do not need to microwave your cat’s food for a long time. Anything between 5-10 seconds is more than plenty. The aim is to not get the cat food piping hot but slightly warm.

After taking out the food from the microwave, do not just feed it straight to your cat. Your cat’s mouth is very sensitive and the food might be warm enough to burn the insides of your cat’s mouth.

Give the food a quick stir and check the temperature with your finger. It should be just a little warm to the touch or at room temperature.

The reason for storing is that using the microwave to heat up food can leave pockets of heated-up food. It helps to bring the cat food to a more uniform temperature by mixing it up.

Microwaving food tends to dry up the food quickly. If the cat food is too dry, you can add a little water to re-moisten it.

How To Warm Cat Food Without A Microwave?

If you do not have a microwave at home or prefer to not use a microwave, there are a couple of other ways that you can use to heat up your cat’s food.

One way which I use when I have more time is to steam my cat’s food. I find that by steaming, the food is heated up more uniformly and it retains moisture. The downside is that it takes more time to steam than to microwave.

A slightly faster way is to pour some boiling water into a saucepan and place your cat’s food bowl with the food in it.

If your cat’s food is already at room temperature and you wish to warm it up a little, just pour some warm water in the food and that should do the trick.

Should I Warm Up Raw Or Dry Food?

For cats that are eating dry food or raw meat, I wouldn’t suggest that you heat or warm up the food.

Heating up dry cat food in the microwave will only make it drier and harder which can injure your cat’s teeth. Heating up raw food defeats the purpose of this diet as the heat will start to cook the food.

Cats on such diets should be fed at room temperature or slightly cold.

When Should I Heat Up My Cat’s Food?

There can be times when heating up your cat’s food can help. Cats that are sick or don’t have much of an appetite stand to gain from food that smells better to help with their appetite.

When I first brought my cat home after his neutering surgery, he didn’t have much of a desire to eat.

It was only after I started warming up his food and adding some homemade tuna water that his appetite slowly returned.

It might be a good idea to try and heat up your cat’s wet food if it no longer seems to like its current brand of wet food.

Do Cats Like Wet Food Cold Or Warm?

Truth be told, it depends largely on your cat and how fussy it can be when it comes to its food. My cat can be a real fussy pot about many things, but never when it comes to the temperature of his food.

He eats food that is warm, cold, icy and at room temperature. No problem at all.

If you have a really fussy cat that needs to have its food at room temperature or slightly warmer, I guess you don’t have much of a choice.

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