How to safely store dry cat food?

dianajune

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It's been a long time since my last post because of my health and the pandemic. I'm just getting over a bout with Covid.

I moved to this new apartment building a couple of months ago. It has over 100 apartments and I was skittish at first about moving into a large place like this because of the risk of getting roaches. However, it's much better run than where I used to live.

My cat has a very large stash of dry food and canned food. I keep both types in the same cupboard next to the fridge.

A couple of weeks ago I finally got the strength to reorganize the cupboard where his food is stashed. I didn't have a chance to do this since I moved because my life has been absolutely crazy as of late. So, I took everything out of the cabinet....started sweeping the kitchen floor at about the same time and found a small bug crawling slowly across the floor away from that cabinet and towards the sink. I'm not sure it was a roach but I whacked it.

I then inspected that cabinet and found debris in it that I know w/o a doubt wasn't brought by me. I never had roaches in that other apartment. All we had to cope with there was ants and spiders.

I found what appeared to be bits of dry food left by the previous tenant - who I understand was not clean - or this could have been roach droppings or both. I found a dead roach on the other side of the cabinet that looked like it had been dead for many months before I moved here.

Another neighbor told me that when this woman moved out, it took a cleaning crew a very long time to get rid of her stuff and she ended up catching roaches from someone down the hall who used to visit her.

I found a live one crawling slowly on my kitchen floor this morning a short time ago when I started my cat chores. I disposed of it.

The thing was crawling slowly...I thought that most roaches were quick to run when the light is turned on?

Anyway, I'm freaking out here....I can't bear the thought of those things getting into my cat's unopened bags of food. I leave out food for him to eat during the day and never found anything in his bowls that didn't belong there. I never found any bugs in the bags of food that I opened since moving here.

What can I do to protect his food, esp. the dishes that I leave out for him? I can't feed him on a schedule...his health wouldn't permit it. I have to leave out food at all times and have been trying to get him to eat more.

Please tell me they won't get into his unopened bags of food. I can't afford to dump his stash. It is quite large.

I would appreciate your advice. Tx.
 

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The dry food can be stored in food storage containers / bins. Something like these:





To keep bugs out of the food bowl, place the bow into a shallow tray (boot tray, shallow storage container, etc) and fill the tray with water. Crawling bugs can't cross the "moat". You can even use a metal or plastic pet bowl stand and place that into the "moat"

Is using the Surefeed microchip feeder an option? Your cat will have access to the food whenever he wants and there's a lid that closes over the bowl which should keep most bugs out.

Be sure to clean out the cabinets thoroughly before you put food back in. Vacuum and wipe out the cabinets with a damp cloth. Put your food into containers, too. Some other tips:


Since you rent, the landlord is responsible for bug control and infestations. You should contact your landlord and discuss how to best get rid of the bugs in your apartment. lavishsqualor lavishsqualor may have other suggestions for you.
 
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dianajune

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The dry food can be stored in food storage containers / bins. Something like these:





To keep bugs out of the food bowl, place the bow into a shallow tray (boot tray, shallow storage container, etc) and fill the tray with water. Crawling bugs can't cross the "moat". You can even use a metal or plastic pet bowl stand and place that into the "moat"

Is using the Surefeed microchip feeder an option? Your cat will have access to the food whenever he wants and there's a lid that closes over the bowl which should keep most bugs out.

Be sure to clean out the cabinets thoroughly before you put food back in. Vacuum and wipe out the cabinets with a damp cloth. Put your food into containers, too. Some other tips:

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Since you rent, the landlord is responsible for bug control and infestations. You should contact your landlord and discuss how to best get rid of the bugs in your apartment. lavishsqualor lavishsqualor may have other suggestions for you.
I forgot to mention that when I open a bag of Pumpkin's food, I immediately put it into a plastic container with a screw-on lid. I had to do this since I lived in the other apartment because of the ant issues we had there, esp. after renovations.

What can I do to protect unopened bags of food? So far I've seen nothing in them. Tx.
 
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dianajune

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I forgot to ask if they find additional roaches here, won't I be required to dump all of his food? I can't afford to do this. It's a very large stash that is rotated in date order so there's no waste. I didn't have this problem until I moved here.

Aren't landlords required to notify tenants of such issues? They never told me the previous tenant in this apartment had them.
 

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I'd store the unopened bags of food in a storage container. LIke a really big Rubbermaid trunk-type container. Better not to risk bugs getting into those.

It's probably best to discard the opened bags of food to be safe. Or you can freeze the food for a few days to kill any bugs that might have gotten into the bag. Since you probably don't have a large freezer, freeze a day's portion or so of food at a time. Dry food thaws quickly at room temperature and most cats aren't bothered if their food is a little cold.

A good landlord would be upfront in notifying residents of issues. Some landlords just don't care. They just want people in the apartments and get rent money every month.
 

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I put my open dry food in glass jars with screw-on lids. You can buy iced-tea jars, but that can get kind of expensive. I usually buy pickles in gallon or 1/2 gallon jars. It takes a while to get through the pickles, but over the years I've collected a lot of jars.

How much space does your unopened food take? You could try a plastic underbed storage bin like this Robot or human?, assuming you have space under your bed, or somewhere else in your house.
 
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dianajune

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I'd store the unopened bags of food in a storage container. LIke a really big Rubbermaid trunk-type container. Better not to risk bugs getting into those.

It's probably best to discard the opened bags of food to be safe. Or you can freeze the food for a few days to kill any bugs that might have gotten into the bag. Since you probably don't have a large freezer, freeze a day's portion or so of food at a time. Dry food thaws quickly at room temperature and most cats aren't bothered if their food is a little cold.

A good landlord would be upfront in notifying residents of issues. Some landlords just don't care. They just want people in the apartments and get rent money every month.
Once I open Pumpkin's bags of food, I always put them in a bug-proof container. I've been doing this since we had ants in the ohter apartment. So, we've got no opened bags at this time.

I'll order a tote or two for the bags that haven't been opened yet and will speak with the manager here on Monday. Thank you!
 
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dianajune

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I put my open dry food in glass jars with screw-on lids. You can buy iced-tea jars, but that can get kind of expensive. I usually buy pickles in gallon or 1/2 gallon jars. It takes a while to get through the pickles, but over the years I've collected a lot of jars.

How much space does your unopened food take? You could try a plastic underbed storage bin like this Robot or human?, assuming you have space under your bed, or somewhere else in your house.
Storing Pumpkin's canned food won't be a problem. I can always wash each can before opening it. As for dry food, we've got quite a stash and may have to purchase more than one storage container.

I think the one you suggested s/b adequate but it's not available in my local store. I'll see about having one delivered. So far, the bags are intact. They haven't been gotten into by these things....yet.

Thank you!
 

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Someone told me that there are mites in all dry food, and to freeze it as quickly as possible. When I get a new bag of food, I separate it into freezer bags and put it in the freezer. I defrost as I need it. I have one of those OXO containers that has the sealing lid when you depress it. It’s very easy to keep this way. All of her canned food is in a cupboard.
 

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Dry food can go rancid quite quickly due to the fat and oils sprayed on it so it's best not to stock up on it too heavily and to freeze it if possible. Kibble/dust mites can be an allergy issue for a lot of pets and kibble itself is highly attractive to many types of bugs, around here it's carpet beetles. Enclosed containers are a good idea too, store in a cool dark place.
 
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dianajune

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Someone told me that there are mites in all dry food, and to freeze it as quickly as possible. When I get a new bag of food, I separate it into freezer bags and put it in the freezer. I defrost as I need it. I have one of those OXO containers that has the sealing lid when you depress it. It’s very easy to keep this way. All of her canned food is in a cupboard.
I didn't know that dry food could be frozen. Only one problem - my freezer doesn't have alot of room. I keep Pumpkin's dry and canned food in date order and rotate the stock so nothing expires.

Are expiration dates on pet food reliable? I try not to keep too much on hand but I don't want too little either. Supply issues are ongoing, partly due to the pandemic.
 
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dianajune

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Dry food can go rancid quite quickly due to the fat and oils sprayed on it so it's best not to stock up on it too heavily and to freeze it if possible. Kibble/dust mites can be an allergy issue for a lot of pets and kibble itself is highly attractive to many types of bugs, around here it's carpet beetles. Enclosed containers are a good idea too, store in a cool dark place.
I remember the ants we had in our other apartment. They got really bad at times, esp. after the renovations. I remember someone on this site suggested that I create a "moat" similar to what one of the other posters in this thread talked about. It worked. The ants couldn't reach his food. I didn't know this would work with roaches. I'm going to have a very long chat with the manager tomorrow and am trying to figure out a nice way of asking "why wasn't this dealt with before I moved here?"

I found out this evening that the poor lady who had this apartment was in poor health and died of cancer. I'm sorry about what she went through but I wish that management took proper care of this place before they let me rent it.
 

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chat with the manager tomorrow and am trying to figure out a nice way of asking "why wasn't this dealt with before I moved here?"
I‘m not sure how nice I would be about it. If they didn’t bother to eradicate them before re-renting, they may not respond to an easy touch. I would check the rental laws wherever you live, and bone up on it before you speak to them. Know your rights. You should be able to demand they take immediate action with an exterminator, it’s a health hazard. Take photographs of any evidence of them there, and be prepared to contact your health department, and housing authority.
 

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A sealing container will keep them out. If you have a local kitchen store they will have big 6 to 8 L ones. If they come to spray, you can take the food to your balcony and keep in an extra plastic bag with some ice packs so it doesn't get too hot, or with you and the cats wherever you'll be while they spray.

Put mesh covers over your drains and take your garage out at night. Limit what food you leave down for the cats when possible. Try moving to feeding times if you can.

You can get a spray to repell them that goes around your door and other entry points. You must reapply it every 30 days and keep the cat's away from the area for an hour if I remember correctly. It was at Canadian Tire, and I don't remember what it's called unfortunately.

As per the rental: They probably did deal with it before you got there. Roaches are hard to get rid of and many times they return afterwards following the pheromones of the recently dead ones to the safety and resources of the apartment building. If you kill one, it even attracts more as a defense! Many landlords won't spray the whole building at a time, so the bugs just migrate to an area not currently treated...back and forth. It's why it's so hard in apartment buildings.

My tip: food grade diatomaceous earth. Put it around the rims of your windows and doors and use paper to slide some under the base boards. Wear a mask when you do it as it can irritate the lungs, but as long as it's food grade, it won't hurt your cats if they eat it. Food grade is given to livestock to get rid of internal parasites (not that it's effective). In some places they rub it on a pets fur to get rid of external parasites (again, not recommending this, it can irritate the cat's lungs too).

Diatomaceous earth can also be sprinkled under your sink and in other areas you're worried that they will access or are hiding in. In our apartment we had it sprinkled under every large appliance and unit that the cats could not fit under.
 

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I have several of these in my garage for bird and squirrel supplies. Most petfood stores have them in the dog dept.

When I had to buy a larger bag, I vacuum sealed and froze small amounts because of the mite issue. Once the mites are dead from the freezer you can put the sealed bags in the sealed container. I would think regular freezer bags would work the same way and could be washed and re-used when dry.
 

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Do you have a bagless vacuum? Suck up any roaches you can find and drown them in soapy water. Place the whole canister into the soapy water so that none escape and do this outdoors. For bagged vacuums remove the bag and tape the hole shut and double bag in garbage bags. Repeat as necessary

Stick traps under the fridge in cabinets and in any other dark unseen areas. Make sure your cat can't reach them though as they are sticky.

If all else fails you may need an exterminator to give you a quote.

I'm not sure if you have a place you could stay for a while but if you do you could try a bug bomb.
 
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LTS3

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OP lives in a rental apartment. It's the landlord's responsibility to take care of pest problems in the apartment. The OP can do what she / he can in the meantime (keep all food in secure containers, keep the kitchen clean, etc). OP should check with local rental laws and renter's rights. They may be able to withhold rent until the landlord fixes the pest problem. If the landlord refuses to deal with the pests, it would be best for OP to move since suing is costly.
 

IndyJones

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The vacuum method would be something op could do though in the meantime to at least keep the creepy crawllies at bay. Rentals don't say you can't vacuum the house.
 

LTS3

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No but calling an exterminator or doing anything more than general cleaning is the landlord's responsibility :)
 
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