Best Cat Food for Older Cats (Senior Cat Diet & Nutrition)

As cats get older their lifestyle changes. They gradually start to enjoy being indoors more than roaming the world. Just like us humans, their health also starts to change. While a lot of senior cats go on with their life problem-free, others get serious ailments that can affect the quality of their lives. This can be avoided by feeding them the best cat food for senior cats.

What To Look For When Buying Cat Food For Senior Cats

When your cat reaches their senior years, it is important to adjust their diet to help with any health issues that may arise. When switching your cat over to a new diet always make sure to choose the best foods to help maintain their health.

Always read the label when buying cat food. When a label only states the product is made with meat ingredients without any reference to what type of meat is used, it should be completely avoided. Cats need protein which can be found in food such as tuna, lamb, chicken, beef or turkey.​

Cat food containing fillers are high in carbohydrates. Cats don’t need a lot of carbohydrates as it could be bad for their health. Try and choose food that has less than 10% carbohydrates.

<10 %

Vitamins and minerals are also a must in cat food. Certain vitamins help prevent age-related health issues. Taurine is also considered as essential.

Cats need to stay hydrated. By choosing wet cat food, you help them consume the water they need to help sustain their kidney functions. Cats, in general, do not drink enough water. Therefore food containing water is essential. By feeding your older cat wet food, you help with dental problems. Older cats tend to develop sensitive teeth or gums.

There are small differences between adult cat food and senior cat food. One difference that is mainly present is that senior cat food contains higher protein levels.

Try and buy dry and wet cat food and mix the two together to receive the benefits of dry and wet cat foods.

Find cat food that is high with omega fatty acids as well as vitamins. This should be a part of their diet from a young age to help delay or prevent health issues as they age.

Nutritional Requirements Of Senior Cats

For a cat to maintain a healthy life, they need a certain amount of nutrients daily.

Cats are carnivores and require a protein-rich food while carbohydrates should be kept to a minimum. Their daily ingestion values should be around 50-60% of protein, 5-10% of carbohydrates and 30-50% of fat. When these daily nutrients are maintained, they will have a healthier life altogether.

Here's an example of a typical Macro breakdown for older cats. This is a guideline, and it's always best to check with your vet first:​

50 %
42 %
8 %

Connection Between Senior Cat Health Issues And Nutrition

As a cat gets older, their body starts to show signs of health issues. These health issues can be addressed by supplying them with the correct food and the right amounts of nutrients.

• Dental Disease

When cats start getting dental issues, they suffer from severe pain which causes them to start losing their appetites and eat much less than they usually would. This in turn leads to major weight loss in your elder cat.

• Hyperthyroidism

When a cat gets hyperthyroidism, their thyroid gland produces high amounts of thyroid hormones, which leads to an extremely exaggerated appetite, but even with the amounts of food consumed they still tend to lose more weight. It can also cause vomiting, diarrhea and increased thirst. The cat may also urinate in larger volumes.

• Arthritis

Since arthritis restricts a cat’s movement due to pain, they are more likely to sleep more and be less playful. It is also known to be a painful disease, which reduces your cat’s quality of life.

• Diabetes

The risk of diabetes in cats are higher when a cat is overweight or inactive. When diabetes is detected in its early stages, it can be treated with insulin. If insulin treatment does not help to stop diabetes early on, your cat may need to obtain insulin injections for the rest of their life.

• Heart Diseases

Older cats have a higher risk of heart disease. There is a vast amount of heart diseases older cats can get. Cardiomyopathy is the most common heart disease cats get. No matter what type of heart disease your cat has, it will almost always end with congestive heart failure (CHF). Congestive heart failure means their heart will not be able to pump blood to all areas of their body.

• Renal Failure

Older cats with kidney problems seem to be more prevalent than younger cats with the disease. The disease can cause severe damage to their body.

Kidneys act as the body’s filtration system, which removes waste products from the blood. The waste then gets disposed of through urine. When renal failure occurs the ability of the kidneys to remove these waste products become impaired. This can lead to azotemia, which is known as the build-up of these waste products in the blood. When renal failure occurs, your cat may show symptoms such as vomiting, weight loss, low appetite, higher urine volumes and an unquenchable thirst.

Some senior cats may be plagued by one of these diseases whereas other senior cats may have multiple, which makes treating or identifying these diseases quite difficult. These diseases can be aided through the right diet fit for the diseases your cat might have developed. By working closely with your vet, you can determine the correct type of diet for your senior cat.

How Much To Feed Senior Cats

As cats grow older, they may start to be inactive, and their metabolism also starts to slow down. This means they gain weight easily by eating as much as they used to. This can be avoided by ensuring they get the right amount of food to fit their new metabolism speed, while also receiving the needed proteins and vitamins.

All senior cat foods have a recommendation on the amount of food a senior cat should eat, but since every cat is different, it is important for you as the owner to observe their eating patterns and ensure that they are not overindulging on treats and snacks.

The 5 Best Foods For Senior Cats

1. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Gastrointestinal Canned Cat Food

cat food for older cats with sensitive stomachs

Older cats with sensitive stomachs will truly appreciate this food. It contains higher levels of calories, which compensates for the reduced amount of food eaten by an older cat due to the sensitive stomach. It is also considered as the best cat food for older cats that vomit thanks to its unique formula. This food also contains high levels of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are beneficial for older cats.

2. Waggers Tendermoist Cat Food

moist cat food for seniors

Waggers cat food has a small variety of moist cat food and also has a semi-moist cat food. Its main ingredient is chicken, which is high in protein. The high protein content found in this food can help to keep your cat healthy. It also contains probiotics to assist with improving the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients that are found in the food.

While this food is good for senior cats, it is important to note that high-protein options are not ideal for cats with renal failure and other kidney problems.

3. Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Cat Food

soft dry cat food for older cats

This soft dry cat food for older cats is made from wholesome ingredients. It is rich in protein and also contains a number of nutrients that are extracted from vegetables and fruit. This means that, in addition to nutrients, the food will also offer your important cat antioxidants that can help to fight against free radical damage.

This food is grain free and designed to be tasty for older cats, while also ensuring they can obtain the nutrients their body needs to stay healthy.

4. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Aging 12+

best cat food for older cats with bad teeth

This food is specifically designed for senior cats and is considered the best cat food for older cats by many people. It is flavorful to raise the appetite of older cats. The food is recommended for older cats with bad teeth as it is wet food, which is easily ingested and reduces the amount of pain inflicted when chewing.

It contains fatty acids that aid your cat’s joints. The food contains a low amount of phosphorus to reduce the effect the food has on the cat’s renal health. For this reason, this cat food is also an appropriate option for cats with kidney problems.

5. Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Dry Cat Food

best cat food for older cats

Hill’s Science diet is a top rated senior cat food. It is specifically designed for cats of 11 years and older. The food includes nutrients that support the cat’s joints, heart, eyes, and their kidneys. The food is clinically proven to be effective, healthy and safe for senior cats. It contains vitamin C and E, amino acids, corn gluten, and whole grain wheat. This food does not contain any type of artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.

In Summary

Cats are susceptible to numerous diseases when they grow old. One of the most important aspects of ensuring your cat can live their golden years in a healthy and pain-free way is to ensure you feed them the best cat food for senior cats. The Hill’s Science Diet is a clinically-proven formula that has been developed especially for senior cats, providing them with the right nutrients their bodies need to be healthy at an old age and to ward off disease.

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