People who own cats are probably already aware that their kitties protest the idea of eating cold food. This makes sense; cats evolved killing and eating fresh meat, which would not be cold in any circumstances, so why should they like cold food? It’s also possible that cold food hurts their teeth. If your cat dislikes chilled food, you might be wondering about microwaving it.
Many sources recommend microwaving cat food, but there are a few reasons to hesitate before doing so. Microwaving can change the fat molecules and make them harder for your cat to digest, and it also decreases the nutrients available to the cat.
If you feed your cat canned food, you are probably already aware of the advice that says you should refrigerate uneaten food as soon as possible. TheSprucePets explains that an opened can of food should not be left at room temperature for more than twenty minutes.
That means putting the food into the fridge, but then you have a problem – it is cold, and your cat won’t eat it. This may be for several reasons, including that it does not smell right or that they dislike the sensation of the cold food. Also, cats prefer fresh food, and in the wild, fresh food would usually be around body temperature.
Regardless of why it’s frustrating and leaves you with a problem. How do you warm up the cat food again?
Most people say you should just cover it and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds, but TwoCrazyCatLadies suggests that this could be a bad idea. According to their information, microwaving food has two adverse effects.
It is often said that microwaving food reduces the number of nutrients available in it, which is partly why microwave meals get such a bad rap overall, and why so many people steer away from microwaving their meals.
We want to extend the same level of care to our pets. Cats deserve nutrient-rich foods too, and few people would want to spoil the food they have paid good money for by overheating it.
It should be noted, however, that nobody is advocating cooking the food in the microwave. A few seconds to bring the food back up to room temperature are not likely to significantly affect the food’s nutritional content.
It is thought that microwaving cat food may change the structure of the fats in it, making them harder for your cat to digest. So while doing it occasionally is unlikely to cause a problem, in the long term, this is detrimental to your cat’s diet and could be damaging to its health.
Again, if you only do it for a few seconds, it is unlikely to have much of an impact, but you should be aware of this possibility. If you can detect a change in the look and the smell of the cat food, the chances are that you have microwaved it for too long and altered its structure. It may be best to discard this and start again.
If you are going to microwave cat food, you should do so with care. Serve a small portion onto a microwave safe plate and cover it with another plate to prevent it from spitting while in the microwave.
Turn your microwave down to low power and microwave the food for a few seconds. Then, take it out, let it rest, stir it, and then microwave it again for a few more seconds. Remember, the idea is not to heat the food. You are just trying to take the chill off it and bring it close to room temperature.
You should not heat cat food in the microwave for more than a few seconds or at a higher power setting. It will very quickly get too hot and run into the risks mentioned above.
Always check the temperature of the food before serving it to your cat, too. Microwaves heat things in uneven pockets, so it is a good idea to stir the food before you give it to the cat. This distributes the heat and will prevent any hot spots from occurring.
Allow it a minute or two of standing time before giving it to your cat. This will also reduce the chances of it being too hot and causing problems.
While your cat will usually back away from hot food rather than burning themselves, the heat might put them off. That said, they may not find a pocket of heat until it’s too late.
Taking precautions when microwaving your cat’s food should reduce the risk, but it still pays to let food stand for a short while.
Apart from the refrigeration problem, why might you heat cat food? According to many experts, your cat might enjoy its food more if it has been warmed. This is because cats taste their food via its scent, and warm food has a stronger scent.
If the food is slightly warm, the cat should have a more enjoyable and appealing meal. If you are struggling to get your cat to eat properly, this is one method of helping to make the food more delicious.
You might still want to heat the cat food, but what can you do instead if you have been put off microwaving it? Well, your best option is to use warm water to heat the food.
You can take a few different approaches here. The first option involves mixing a little warm water (or even hot water, as long as you stir it very well and let the food stand for a minute) into the food.
This will help take the chill off and bring it up to room temperature, but if your cat is fussy, they might object to the food being more liquid than usual.
Alternatively, you can put the food into a watertight container and stand it in some hot water for a few minutes. This should gradually increase the food’s temperature and make it more appealing to the cat without affecting the moisture levels in the food.
You can also stand your cat’s dish above a tray of boiling water if this works with your setup, but make sure your kitty doesn’t have access to the hot dish while the heat warms the food!
Try warming the cat’s plate with boiling water, drying it off, and putting the food on top. This won’t make a very noticeable difference to the food’s temperature, but it may take the chill off it and make it more appetizing to your kitty.
Cat food can be microwaved, and many people recommend this, but there is some evidence that it may not be great for your cat. If you aren’t sure, consider trying one of the other methods to pre-warm your cat’s food a little.
Mixing in some hot water or standing the bowl above hot water is somewhat slower than a whizz in the microwave. But they may be better for your cat’s health overall and could also save you from having to clean your microwave as often!