Your cat will always remain your little kitten, but when they age, they need a different type of food to function properly and stay healthy.
Cats often look young from the outside, but that does not mean that they are still young inside.
When your cat grows older, you should consider changing their diet to ensure that they get all the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that they need to live a healthier and happy life.
This article will provide you with information that you need to choose the best food for your senior cat.
Cat food for older cats -
things to consider
Do senior cats need senior food?
According to studies, older cats actually have very similar nutritional needs compared to younger cats. Therefore, senior cats can eat normal cat food - and many do.
However, since as the owner, you are responsible for the health and happiness of your pet, you might want to consider a few reasons why we recommend senior cat food to older cats nevertheless.
- slower metabolism and reduced activity levels
- reduced appetite
- dental issues
- difficulty in absorbing nutrients
Old cats tend to have a slower metabolism, like to spend their time indoors, and they generally will tend to become less active—this is normal.
However, unfortunately, this type of behavior can make your senior cat put on extra weight and become unhealthy in size. Additionally, when cats reach their senior years, their sense of smell and taste reduces and can easily be affected by illnesses, which then affect their appetite.
Since their ability to chew also reduces at this age, feeding them softer and smaller pieces will enable them to get most nutrients out of their food, especially if they have sensitive mouths due to losing a few teeth. To improve the taste and smell, high contents of meat is suitable to make the food more appealing.
When your cat grows older and becomes a senior, their nutritional requirement changes. Their diet should be a combination of tasty, high-quality protein that is easy to digest and a balance of the necessary nutrients. These nutrients should include carbohydrates that are easy to digest for energy and controlled levels of fat.
Senior cat food has high-quality protein and added vitamin E that improves their natural defenses. It also contains fewer calories to maintain your senior cat's optimum body weight because their activity level at this stage of their lives is dropping.
Vitamins will help in supporting their aging immune system, and the key minerals will support their joints. It is recommended to feed your older cat senior food that is specifically formulated for them as long as they do not have any medical conditions, or your vet has given different advice.
Choosing Food for your Elderly Cat
Before you choose a specific brand, you should first be aware that there are so many different features and ways in which they can be different from one another.
Whether your cat likes it or not can come down to simply personal preference, but being aware of these different things to consider can help you make a well-educated decision.
Senior cats are prone to dental disease, and it may be hard for them to chew on hard food. It is recommended to switch to softer food when they reach this stage of life so that they get enough nutrients.
Size of kibble
Senior cats are at higher risk of having decayed or missing teeth, making it difficult for them to chew on larger pieces of kibbles. When buying senior cat food, ensure that you get smaller kibbles that are also soft.
Giving your older cat food with high-quality ingredients that are digestible will ensure that they get the nutrients that they need. Senior cats need dry food that is 28% protein and 10% fat or wet food that is 8% protein and 4% fat.
What age is considered a senior cat?
This particular age can change depending on the race or breed of your cat. However, recently, life stages and ages of cats have been redefined, and cats are considered seniors when they reach the age of 7 years and onwards.
At what age should I feed my cat senior food?
When your cat reaches the age of seven, they are considered a senior, and this life stage involves a lot of changes, including a decrease in metabolism and activity level, but can be balanced with the right diet.
Senior cat food is tasty, small, easy to digest, fewer calories, less fat, and high-quality protein.
Gradually introduce the new food to your older cat so that their digestive system can have enough time to adjust. If your pet does not adjust well to their new food, seek advice on what you can do from your vet.
How much should an older cat eat a day?
Most senior cats will have the same calorie requirements similar to an adult cat, which is roughly between 280 and 360 calories per day, depending on their health conditions and lean weight.
Some senior cats will have an increased energy requirement due to a reduction in their ability to digest food and use calories or any other medical condition.
Most senior cat food will have calorie counts on the packaging that you can use to calculate how much your pet needs.
What can I feed my elderly cat
with no appetite?
When cats grow older, they lose their sense of taste and smell. This could be the reason why your senior cat has lost its appetite.
For this reason, foods that have been designed for older cats are ofter tastier. First, you could try a few different senior cat foods to see if your cat finds them tempting.
Before going to the vet, you can also try the following tricks to tempt their appetite:
- Wet/ canned food – try the seafood variety.
- Meat baby food
- Strain water from a can of tuna to their food.
- Add a small amount of low-sodium, warmed chicken broth to their food.
- Sprinkle nutritional yeast powder and grated parmesan cheese on their food.
However, if your cat does not respond to the above tricks, it is good to check with your vet to know what could be the problem.
Why is my senior cat always hungry?
Any changes in your senior cat's appetite, either eating less or eating more, should be checked out by your vet. A common illness that causes your senior cat to be always hungry is hyperthyroidism.
This is where a tumor develops in the thyroid glands - 98% of them being benign. Other symptoms for this condition to look out for apart from increased appetite are vomiting, weight loss, increased heart rates, and activity levels.
Do elderly cats eat less?
For senior cats, digesting and absorbing food can be difficult; hence, they need the right amount of nutrients to get the energy that they need. It is important to monitor their weight as they age to adjust their dietary requirements. Always follow the recommendations by your vet.
Why do older cats stop eating?
As cats grow older, their metabolism slows down, and they do not need as many calories as they needed when they were younger. Most cats are good at regulating their food consumption, so do not be surprised when your senior cats eat less than they used to.
However, if they stop eating all of a sudden, this can be a cause for concern. Senior cats are prone to dental problems, which may make it difficult for your cat to eat if it is not treated. Senior cats are also prone to kidney disease and certain types of cancer, which can lead to a loss of appetite and make it difficult for them to eat as well.
Keep track of your senior cat's symptoms so that you can ask your vet to examine the reasons for your cat's loss of appetite.
How do I keep my senior cat healthy?
All cats deserve to be taken care of, but senior cats need special attention because of their health issues. Just like humans, aging cats are faced with life, and health-related changes and basic habits to keep them healthy are very important.
The following are the habits that you can adopt to keep your senior cat healthy:
This is one of the most important habits that you can practice as a senior cat owner. Ensure that your cat is not allowed outside without supervision. Studies show that cats kept indoors live a healthier and longer life compared to outdoor cats.
You can provide your senior cat with an enriched environment that they can learn to be happy indoors and have a chance to play alone.
Obesity is a common problem among pets and can be detrimental to your cat's health. An overweight senior cat is at high risk of joint pain, liver problems, and diabetes, just to name a few.
The most basic habit that you can develop is to feed your senior cat a healthy and balanced diet in appropriate amounts to maintain good body weight.
Senior cats need to be examined by their vet every six months, and a baseline blood sample can be taken so that it can be easy to know when something does not look alright. Cats are very good at hiding their illnesses, they may look good on the outside, but they can have an underlying problem.
Regular check-ups by the vet will help in detecting problems earlier on, which will result in disease management and a good life as your cat gets older. Your vet will know how to evaluate your senior cat's health and give recommendations on how you can keep them healthy and active.
Visit your vet so that they can give you advice on vaccinations that your senior cat needs while considering the management factors, lifestyle, local rules and laws, and the geographical region.
To ensure that your senior cat lives a healthy lifestyle, keep them away from stress, and also stimulate their mind by playing with them.
Regular vet care can help in maintaining healthy gums through dental cleaning. You can also develop the habit of brushing your senior cat's teeth and giving them a special diet. You can get advice from your vet on the way to enhance your pet's dental care in between the visits.
Senior cats may have special needs when it comes to grooming, especially the long-haired ones. The habit of regular brushing of their hair will keep them healthy and happy.
Senior cats are prone to osteoarthritis, which is a condition that affects the joints. Exercise and therapeutic intervention, such as massage, can help in maintaining the activity and mobility of your senior cat.
It may take time and effort to make your senior cat active, but it is worthwhile.
Senior cats need more attention when it comes to their health and diet in general.
Feeding your senior cat the right type of food will not only make them healthy but also help them live a happy and healthy life as long as possible.
Hopefully, this article has given you the information that you need to purchase the best food for your senior cat.