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I left my cat in the care of a friend for a month and she fed him everyday. I guess she didn't want to clean the bowl because she put a paper bowl on top of the plastic bowl. When I lifted the paper bowl to clean the plastic bowl, I found mold and what I think to be fruit fly larvae in the old food. I don't think my cat ingested anything but I still think I should take him to the vet. My boyfriend says I shouldn't yet and see if anything develops. What do you guys think I should do?

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    I struggled to understand this until I decided maybe it was "wet" food from a can? May 11 at 23:27
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    @OwenReynolds Wet food from cans or pouches is fairly common afaik.
    – GamerGypps
    May 12 at 8:48
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    @GamerGypps Yes, but dry food is more common and, in my experience, is even more common when pet-sitting since it requires less instruction and is less messy. I think clarifying that it was wet food (if it was) would make it clearer. May 12 at 12:33
  • Too much protection has always the opposite effect. May 13 at 11:11
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    Not really worthy of a full answer in it's own right so making it as a comment: Most vets and animal cares experts (At least here in the UK) recommend to NOT USE plastic bowls for cats or dogs. Instead stainless steel bowls should be used, these are AFAIK more hygienic and easier to clean (The later I can definitely confirm), apparently plastic due to it's mailable nature over time gets microscopic pits and scratches in from the utensils used to prepare to food, these pits and scratches can catch bacteria that is hard to clean away.
    – shawty
    May 13 at 11:24
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There's no need to rush to the vet, unless one of the following occurs:

  • Your cat gets diarrhea, vomits or refuses to eat or drink. "Vomit" means actually expelling eaten food, not just grass and/or hairballs (which is natural and healthy behavior for cats).
  • Your cat gets lethargic, acts depressed, hides away or otherwise acts very different.
  • Your cat coughs, wheezes or pants even while resting.
  • Your cat has runny eyes and/or a runny nose for several days without improvement.

Most insect larvae are harmless to ingest and I doubt any made it through the paper bowl into the fresh food.

Mold could grow through the paper into the fresh food, if given enough time. Assuming the cat ate most of the fresh food most of the time, the mold didn't get enough time to infect the food.

However, you should probably discard the plastic bowl. Depending on its age and composition, there might be microscopic scratches in the surface, where the mold mycelium (the "roots" of the mold) can survive and infect the fresh food. A stainless steel, porcelain or glass bowl is more sanitary.

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    Wouldn't a bleach bath sanitize the existing bowl? May 13 at 4:37
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    @MarkRansom a plastic bowl still isn't a great choice for other reasons; they tend to collect bacteria over time, mold will take root in plastic and is very hard to eradicate, and plastic bowls can be responsible for acne developing on cheeks and chins. Ceramic, steel, and glass are all resistant to all those issues.
    – Allison C
    May 13 at 14:26
  • You don't put the bowl in the dishwasher regularly?
    – Caius Jard
    May 14 at 9:19
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Cats are notoriously picky eaters. I don't really think you should be worried that your cat has eaten any food that would be unhealthy.

As a side note, cat senses were used (by my mother in law) for qualifying food for her kids - only the human food (sausages and other meat-based food) that were accepted by the cat were good enough for the kids. If the cat refused them, they were considered unfit for human consumption (the cat would refuse them if they smelled "off"). (That was in a time when cold chains for meat products - refrigeration during production, storage, transportation - were not always reliable, and availability of fresh food products was spotty - communist and early post-communist era).

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    We would have starved; our cat never eats any "people" food.
    – chepner
    May 12 at 20:56
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    @chepner our cats are fine with canned Tuna, and one has been known to jump on the counter to lick the butter. But like yours, they generally turn their nose on people food. May 13 at 4:41
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    @chepner we would have died with immediacy - my cat eats plastic. May 13 at 13:20

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