The Best Cat Food for Senior Cats
As your cat ages, his nutritional needs change. Once your cat reaches the age of nine, you may want to consider altering your cat’s eating habits and finding the best cat food for senior cats. These days cats are living into the late teens and some even past twenty years old. Since cats are living longer, it is important to ensure that they enjoy their health throughout their senior years.
Quick Links: Our Picks for The Best Cat Food for Senior Cats
- Best Wet Food – Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Aging 12+
- Best for Sensitive Stomachs – Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Adult 11+
- Best Dry Food – Hill’s Science Diet Adult Cat Food
- Best Non GMO – Nutro Indoor Senior Dry Cat Food
- Best Weight Gain – Blue Healthy Aging Cat Food
What to Look for in a Cat Food for Seniors
Senior cats are generally less active than younger cats. Therefore, your senior cat’s calorie requirements are slightly less than it was when he was younger. Continuing to serve meals with the same caloric content, to your senior cat, can cause obesity. To prevent obesity, you may consider a feeding schedule, rather than allowing food to sit out for extended periods of time. This gives you more control over the senior cat’s food intake. The best cat food for senior cats on the market are specifically designed just for older cats. These often have fewer calories than other cat foods. Here are some things to look for on your senior cats food label:
Protein – Animal-based protein sources are needed to obtain taurine, an amino acid that their bodies can’t produce naturally. A whole meat should be the first ingredient of any food you feed a senior cat .
Antioxidants – Vitamin E and beta-carotene help to slow the signs of aging by fighting free-radicals in the body that can cause tissue damage.
Dietary Fiber – Fiber is essential in maintaining gut health. Dietary fiber supports the transit of food through the gut.
Low Fat – Senior cats do not absorb fat as well as younger cats. Older cats may need to consume fat that is more digestible to get the same amount of energy. Monitoring your cats weight is best.
Best Cat Food for Senior Cats
Royal CaninFeline Health Nutrition Adult Cat Food is formulated to provide your adult cat with an appealing formula they will enjoy as well as features a moderate energy level to help maintain your adult cat’s ideal weight. Royal Canin is formulated to be instinctively preferred by adult cats. High levels of essential fatty acids, EPA & DHA helps support a senior cat’s healthy joint function. Reduced phosphorus levels help support kidney health in older cats. Also the tender thin slices in gravy are easier on the sensitive teeth and gums of older cats.
- Soft for sensitive teeth
- Supports joints
- Low in phosphorus
- On the pricey side
- May not smell inviting enough for senior cats
This formula features real salmon and tuna, along with other high-quality ingredients for your 11 + aging cat. This wet cat food is specially formulated to meet the needs of senior cats, providing the extra-care nutrition your favorite feline needs to maintain an active and healthy life. Each serving provides 25 essential vitamins and minerals plus taurine, an amino acid, to help support overall health and wellness.
- Easy for older cats to eat
- Great for sensitive stomachs
- Inexpensive wet food
- Strong smell
- Does contain by products
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Cat Food is for cats 11+ but there are other options depending on your cats age. This dry cat food comes in a crunchy kibble that contains natural ingredients plus vitamins, minerals and amino acids, as well as fiber for easy digestion and easier litter box cleanup. The natural fiber blend in this cat food for indoor cats helps reduce the formation of hairballs, and protein helps build and maintain lean muscle while keeping cats at an ideal weight.
- Natural Ingredients
- Great for sensitive stomachs
- Helps reduce hairballs
- Kibble size is large for cats with few teeth
- Weak scent may not attract senior cats
Nutro Indoor Senior Farm-Raised Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Cat Food ingredients start with chicken and contains a unique blend of whole grains. This natural cat food provides natural fiber for healthy digestion and essential antioxidants, such as vitamin E, for a healthy immune system, plus vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. This recipe is also crafted with taurine to help support the heart of senior cats and is made with natural fiber to promote proper digestion. NUTRO Cat Food is always made with Non-GMO ingredients and is made with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
- First ingredient is chicken
- Helps cats put on weight
- All natural ingredients
- Large size kibble
- Includes meal products
- Price on the high side
Blue Healthy Aging Cat food provides essential amino acids and vital nutrients your cat needs every day. It is made with hearty whole grains like brown rice, barley and oats that will keep your cat supplied with the complex carbohydrates needed for energy. Also formulated with whole carrots, sweet potatoes, parsley and cranberries that contain phyto-nutrients that help your cat stay healthy. This formula is highly digestible and can provide your mature cat with the complete and balanced nutrition she needs every day.
- No by products
- Shiny healthy coats
- Helps with weight gain
- Kibble is hard to chew
- More expensive than other dry food
- Some cats don’t like the taste
Problems in Senior Cats
Some problems associated with aging can be helped with special diets for your senior cat. Older cats have an increased risk of some physical conditions and signs of aging. Some food and supplements can help a cat that has one of these conditions.
Senior cats may experience decreased kidney or liver function. Your veterinarian may suggest a special diet if your senior cat has one of these problems. Diabetes mellitus and hyperthyroidism often occur in senior cats. Hyperthyroidism can increase your senior cat’s appetite.
Arthritis can also develop in aging cats. Though arthritis is common in people, arthritis in cats cannot be treated with the same medications. There are medications available to help a cat with arthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin have been shown to help a senior cat’s arthritis.
Dental disease is common in senior cats. Some foods are designed for dental health. If your cat is showing signs of experiencing dental discomfort or is refusing to eat, he should be seen by a veterinarian. Refusing to eat could be a sign of other serious conditions. A veterinarian can rule out other physical problems and help you care for the dental disease.
Senior cats may develop gastrointestinal problems. The most common gastrointestinal problem for senior cats is constipation. The constipation can be worsened by the presence of hairballs. Your veterinarian may recommend cat food for senior cats or cat food to reduce the impact and occurrence of hairballs. Senior cats should be encouraged to drink plenty of water to help fight constipation. If constipation becomes a problem, a veterinarian should be consulted.
Though many senior cats are susceptible to obesity, some cats lose weight as they age. Your veterinarian should examine your cat to determine the cause of the weight loss and the proper feeding recommendations for your senior cat experiencing weight loss. Since weight loss can be a symptom of disease, a veterinarian needs to rule out any conditions that could be causing the weight loss such as those mentioned above.
You should always follow your veterinarian’s recommendations to help your senior cat eat as healthy as possible. Senior cats may have special diets related to medical conditions or concerns specifically. Your cat may need more vitamins and nutrients because of a certain health condition, therefore it is important to feed your aging cat the best food for his needs.
Amy is the founder of Cat Mania and a life long cat lover. She also writes for various other pet related websites. She is passionate about helping pet parents create a healthy and happy lifestyle for their fur-babies.