Why does cat food smell So bad? Common 3 Causes and Solutions

Cats are popular pets around the world and their owners want to make sure they are getting the best nutrition possible.

This is a common question Why does cat food smell So bad? We know that cats are obligate carnivores, which means they eat meat.

They like variety, so they may not like dry kibble every day. The essential nutrients cats require must be provided through cat food made from animal proteins.

It’s important to consider your cat’s age, weight, activity level, and general health when choosing the right cat food for him. 

The Reasons & Solutions Behind the Bad Smell of Cat Food

Cats have a unique sense of smell that is different from humans. While humans may be able to detect a faint odor, cats can detect a much stronger scent. So, why does cat food smell so bad?

Cause 1: Low-Quality Ingredients

Cat food with low-quality ingredients can produce an unpleasant odor, which can be off-putting for both cats and their owners. Some ingredients, such as meat by-products or fillers, can be low in quality and nutrition, leading to a strong smell. 

Besides,, some preservatives used in cat food can also produce an unpleasant smell, particularly if the food is left out for an extended period.


You must choose High-Quality Cat Food. When choosing cat food, it’s essential to look for high-quality ingredients and avoid those that contain meat by-products or fillers. 

You have to avoid cat food brands that use artificial preservatives and choose food made from high-quality meats and grains. It’s also important to store the food properly and dispose of any uneaten food promptly.

Cause 2: Poor Storage

What Happens if Cat Food Isn’t Stored Properly? Poor storage can also contribute to an unpleasant odor in cat food. Cat food that is left out for too long or stored in a damp or humid environment can begin to spoil, leading to a strong smell. 

Moreover, some cat food containers may not seal properly, allowing air to get in and spoil the food.


Store Cat Food Properly To prevent cat food from spoiling, it’s important to store it properly. Keep cat food in a dry, cool place away from sunlight and humidity. 

If you use a container to store the food, make sure it seals tightly to keep air out. Also, make sure to discard any uneaten food after a certain amount of time, typically within 24-48 hours.

Cause 3: Medical Issues

Can Medical Issues Cause Cat Food to Smell Bad? Medical issues can also contribute to an unpleasant odor in cat food. Some cats may have underlying health issues, such as dental problems or digestive issues, that can cause their food to smell bad. 

Some medications or supplements can also cause an odor in the cat’s urine or feces, which can transfer to their food.


Visit the Vet If you suspect that your cat’s bad-smelling food is due to a medical issue, it’s essential to take them to the vet for a check-up. You should see your vet if your cat seems to have any underlying health issues. 

So he can determine whether they need to be addressed. They may also recommend a special diet or medication to alleviate the issue. 

What should you do if your cat eats cat food that smells bad?
The Reasons & Solutions Behind the Bad Smell of Cat Food

Environmental Factors That Impact Cat Food Smell:

The environment in which cat food is stored and served can have a direct impact on the smell. Here are some of the most common environmental factors that contribute to the smell of cat food:

  • Humidity:  

As a result of too dry an environment, it is likely that the food will lack moisture and may become dry and stale over time. Too much humidity, on the other hand, can make food moldy. 


If the food is stored or served too cold, it can become hard and unappealing. If the food is too warm, it can begin to spoil more quickly and smell bad. 


If the cat food is exposed to bacteria, fungi, or other contaminants, the smell can become unpleasant.

  • Residual odors: 

If the cat food is stored near scented items, such as cleaning products, the smell of the food can become tainted.

Cat owners need to ensure that their cats eat a balanced diet and store their food in an air-tight container to prevent unpleasant odors. This can help you choose better-quality food for your cat and know when to throw out bad food. 

What happens if cats eat food that has a bad smell?

A common question cat owners have is, “What happens when cats eat food with a bad smell? The truth is, cats are incredibly sensitive to smells and tastes. They have a much keener sense of smell than humans. So, they can detect smells that humans may not even notice.

Have you ever wondered what might happen if your cats food smell so bad? Here’s what you need to know:

1. Cats are sensitive to smells

Cats have a much stronger sense of smell than humans, so what smells bad to us might not be a problem for them. However, if the smell is really strong or overpowering, it could be a sign that the food has gone bad.

2. Spoiled food can make cats sick

If your cat eats food that has spoiled, it can lead to stomach upset, vomiting, or diarrhea. In some cases, it can even lead to more serious health issues.

3. Watch out for signs of illness

If you suspect your cat has eaten bad food, watch for signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or dehydration. When you notice any of these symptoms, you must contact your veterinarian immediately.

  1. Prevention is key: 

The best way to avoid your cat eating bad food is to be proactive. Check the expiration dates on your cat’s food, store it properly, and always check for signs of spoilage before feeding it to your cat. It’s also harmful for your old cat. If you want to know about old cat food Click here.

As a cat owner, it’s important to be aware of the risks of feeding your cat food that smells bad. By taking those steps to prevent your cat from eating spoiled food, you can help keep them healthy and happy.

What should you do if your cat food smell So bad?

If your cat eats cat food that smells bad, there are a few things you can do to ensure your pet’s health and well-being. Here are some points to consider:

  • Check the expiration date: 

Always check the expiration date on your cat food to make sure it hasn’t gone bad. Expired cat food can have a foul smell and taste, which can cause health problems for your pet.

  • Contact your vet: 

If your cat shows any signs of illness after eating bad-smelling cat food, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, contact your veterinarian immediately. You can get advice from them on what to do next.

  • Change the food: 

If your cat repeatedly refuses to eat the bad-smelling food, switch to a different brand or type of cat food that your cat enjoys. Some cats are very picky eaters and may not like the smell or taste of certain types of food.

  • Store the food properly: 

Ensure you store your cat food in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Proper storage can help prevent the growth of bacteria and preserve the freshness of the food.

  • Use your senses: 

Use your senses of sight, smell, and touch to check the cat food before feeding it to your pet. If the food looks or smells off or has an unusual texture, it may not be safe for your cat to eat. Trust your instincts and don’t feed your cat anything that seems questionable.

Knowing these things can help you choose better cat food for your furry friend and keep their food smelling fresh and tasty! 

Healthy food for your pet

Solutions to Prevent Bad-Smelling Cat Food

The smell of cat food is usually caused by bacteria or mold, which can occur due to poor storage or an old batch of food. To prevent bad-smelling cat food, it’s important to store food correctly and to keep an eye on the expiration date. 

If you follow the following simple tips, you can help to prevent bad-smelling cat food and ensure that every mealtime is a pleasant experience.

  • Buy Quality Ingredients
  •  Use Appropriate Manufacturing Processes
  •  Add Flavoring and Preservatives


  • Why does cat food smell good but taste bad?

Cat food usually contains high amounts of meat or fish, which are strong-smelling ingredients. Some cat foods have flavor enhancers or additives that make them more appealing to cats, adding to the strong odor.

  • Can cat food taste good to humans?

While cat food may smell appetizing to some humans due to meat and other flavorings, it is not formulated with human taste preferences in mind. 

It is not intended for human consumption. Moreover,, cat food is formulated to meet cats’ nutritional needs, which differ from humans.

Final Thoughts

In the end, finding out what works best for your pet is the key. But have you ever wondered why cat food smells so bad?

If you follow these tips, you’ll know that your cat gets the nutrition he/she needs while still enjoying their meals. You have to Keep in mind that a healthy and happy cat is always worth the effort!

About The Author

Jeremy D. Bissell

I've been researching and writing about cat food for over ten years, and I've learned a lot about the different types of food available and the nutritional needs of cats. I want to use this blog to help cat owners make informed decisions about their cats' diets

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