Tip: Check Cat Food Cans That Come in a Box!

Saturday morning Ted fed the three outdoor cats dry food plus 2 cans of wet food. We left for breakfast — a usual Caturday morning.

When we returned, the empty cat food cans (in the garage) that had not been rinsed out yet were covered with gnats. Not just a few gnats but lots. This seemed unusual as I didn’t know where they had come from so quickly.

So, I shrugged it off to the warm weather making for the right conditions for gnats in the garage. I rinsed the cans out with the hose and placed them in the recycle bin.

Pork Chop, Charcoal, and Midnight on the deck
Pork Chop, Charcoal, and Midnight

That evening, I reached into the box of cat food cans for the evening feeding, and my fingers got wet. There was slime on top of the can. That was gross!!!

I pulled out another can, and there were two maggots on it! The side of the can was bulging with cat food pushing through a dent.

Well, that explains why there were so many gnats in the garage! All remaining cans were tossed into the trash!

We purchased this box of cat food cans many weeks ago. My routine is to set the box on the table, open one end, and then take out cans as needed. I don’t know if the cans were dented when purchased or if we had dropped the box at home.

Tip: Check cat food cans that come in a box! - Pinterest

Checking for dented cat food cans

The story above was disgusting and could have been avoided. Going forward, I will be removing the cans from the box and stacking them on the table. This way any problem cans can be dealt with as soon as possible, and I recommend you do the same.

If I had checked for dented or broken cans sooner, I could have returned the cans and exchanged them for new cans or gotten a refund.

The problem with dented cans

The risk of dented cans is botulism. Cans dented on seams are at greater risk. Small dents are probably okay. Food bulging out of the can is never okay! When you encounter a dent, you’ll need to decide to toss the can or determine if the food is safe.

Botulism can be serious in cats. PetMD says it’s rare. However, avoiding the risk is best!

I worried that I might not have noticed dents in other cans from this same box. The cats are in the clear now as the three cats have no symptoms and it’s been a week.

Tip Summary:

To avoid attracting bugs and risking botulism, inspect all cat food cans when purchased for dents, bulging cans, or open cans. Cat food bought in boxes should be removed from the box for inspection.

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Heidi Bender is the writer and founder of the Joy of Cats. She enjoys sharing cat information and providing helpful cat tips. She considers herself a cat lady and currently cares for eight cats.

6 thoughts on “Tip: Check Cat Food Cans That Come in a Box!”

  1. I’ve had this happen, too. NEVER EVER feed food from a can that is bulging, breached, or open in any way. Don’t risk your cats’ health! *The same applies to tinned food for humans, too, of course.*

  2. My experience is similar to yours. DO NOT feed food from a container with an opening, a bulge, or any other abnormality. You shouldn’t risk the health of your cats! Similarly, canned food for humans follows the same rules.

  3. I came within an inch of feeding my cat a pack of Sheba Pate that had a bulge in the top. She is in remission from previously almost 100% fatal FIP virus because of the FIP Warrior Facebook group & network & several thousand dollars of experimental treatment. A botulism episode would surely kill her. That food is the ONLY thing she wants to eat & she has doubled her body weight in recovery eating it. However that form of packaging is almost certainly even more vulnerable to damage than cans. It could have killed her! I cannot afford lux brands like Royal Canaan & the last can of that I served her, she turned her nose up at! I’ve bought cases of Sheba & found only one that appears infected but it only takes one case of botulism to destroy a miracle! I am so grateful that I checked about botulism in cats before feeding it to her. Thank you for your tip!

  4. what about friskies dented cans that are not dented at seam, and no bulging. The cans are made with only one seam at top. Safe?


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