cat feed directly from can?
December 31, 2008 1:43 PM   Subscribe

can you feed your cat directly from the can?
posted by pharcide to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
I would not recommend it. The edges of the can may be sharp and cut the cat's tongue and face.
posted by JujuB at 1:47 PM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's not harmful as long as there are no sharp edges, but depending on the size of the can, it may be difficult for your cat to really dig in. Often a whole can is more than one serving, though, so you may not want him eating that much.
posted by desjardins at 1:48 PM on December 31, 2008

We often let our cats lick the can after we've spooned out everything we can. There have been no ill effects.
posted by languagehat at 1:48 PM on December 31, 2008

Of course you can, but cats lick a lot when eating, especially soft juicy food (such as canned food usually is). I would worry about my cat cutting her tongue on a sharp spot on the rim.

Why not just use a bowl?

If, for some strange reason, I didn't have a bowl available, I would just dump her food directly on some easy-to-clean surface (such as a kitchen floor or a countertop) before I fed my cat directly from the can.
posted by Flunkie at 1:49 PM on December 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

The cans of food we use have pretty sharp edges, so we don't but there's no reason you can't if you're sure your cat won't cut him/herself on the can while eating.
posted by pdb at 2:33 PM on December 31, 2008

It depends on the canopener whether or not the opened can will have a sharp edge. My cat Murph once got hold of an opened cat food can and before I knew it he was bleeding from his tongue. (The bleeding stopped almost immediately and he didn't seem to even notice.)
posted by longsleeves at 2:48 PM on December 31, 2008

my cats have never minded eating from the can nor has the dog minded tramping through to steal and try to eat the can itself. i think the thought of food really overrides any hesitation of sharp edges, the cats at least seem to learn not to lick the sharp parts. we really only stopped doing it to avoid the dog stealing their food and cutting himself, which was more of a problem.
posted by nzydarkxj at 3:46 PM on December 31, 2008

Cats don't like interference with their whiskers when they eat, and that would be difficult if they have to force their face into a can. My observations have suggested a cat's much happier with a shallow dish – in fact, my cat gets fed on a sort of square sushi dish with hardly any curve.
posted by zadcat at 4:39 PM on December 31, 2008

Seconding everyone who's mentioned sharp edges.

I use the pull-top cans of cat food, and always dump the food onto a plate or bowl. I occasionally let the cat or dog lick the can as long as I can control the angle and make sure they aren't hitting the sharp edge left over.

My biggest concern with letting them eat from the can, even aside from the tongue cutting issue, is that once they get the food down a bit there's risk of cutting their chin on the edge while they're gobbling...
posted by krisak at 9:43 PM on December 31, 2008

My cats have found that the pull-top cans are safe to lick and lick and lick. We can't help but listen as they push the cans noisily around the floor, slurping up every speck of every smelly broth-y, meaty nauseating bit till it all slithers down into what we can only assume are their forgiving feline innerds. Sometimes they later barf it onto our less forgiving area rugs.
posted by mumstheword at 11:43 PM on December 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

When I've used pull-tops, my cat makes sure to lick the can, unless I actually throw it away in the outside garbage -- he'll go into the kitchen garbage to get it.

I think, as with a hot stove, cats learn quickly to be careful around the sharp parts. (As do humans, naturally.) I've never noticed any cuts or hesitation that would indicate prior injury. YMMV.
posted by dhartung at 12:14 AM on January 1, 2009

My friend's cat got his head stuck in a can at night and died, after which I haven't let my cats anywhere near an empty can.
posted by kaarne at 12:54 AM on January 1, 2009

Hmm, while I hesitate to post after kaarne's horrifying experience, I second dhartung. Our cats have been liking the can clean for years with no ill effects.
posted by richardhay at 10:52 AM on January 1, 2009

The OP doesn't specify whether the cat would be eating supervised or unsupervised -- I don't think eating directly from the can supervised would be particularly harmful. But after my friend's sad experience, I've been a little worried about my cats possibly finding an empty can and getting stuck when there's no-one to get them unstuck. My cats sometimes find their way into cupboards and places they shouldn't be in, so I've just decided to be extra careful with empty feed or preserve cans.
posted by kaarne at 11:20 AM on January 1, 2009

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