Choosing the Best Dry Cat Food for Older Cats

Senior cats have different nutritional needs than young cats. A suitable diet can dramatically improve the life quality of an elderly cat. If the cat has no health problems, dry cat food may be suitable. The best dry cat food should be chosen together with the vet, considering several factors including the cat’s overall health and the ability to digest food.

Nutritional Requirements for Older Cats

With aging, dogs require fewer calories and may also have decreased organ functions. On the other hand, cats maintain their calorie needs even when older. Consequently, cats need to eat the same amounts of calories to be able to perform their daily activities.

Fat Requirements for Older Cats

Dry food may provide the calorie needs of a healthy senior cat. However, it is important that the fat content in the food for older cats is lower. The fat should also be more digestible, as senior cats don’t have the capacity to properly digest fat.

Proteins in Dry Food

Typically, cats require a high amount of proteins, more than other animals. The protein contents can remain the same in senior cats. If the cat doesn’t get a healthy amount of proteins, this may affect the immune system and this can be weakened.

If the cat has a health condition that dictates a protein amount restriction, the dry food should have a reduced amount of proteins.

Fibers and Dry Food for Older Cats

The amount of fibers may be slightly increased in older cats, as with aging, the digestion may be more difficult. An increase of fibers is particularly helpful in cats with certain medical problems such as diabetes, colitis or inflammatory bowel disease. 

Supplements in Senior Cat Food

Older cats require fewer supplements such as vitamins, minerals or electrolytes, so make sure you check the labels of the dry food you purchase. The intestinal tract of senior cats may not absorb these supplements as in younger cats and the supplements may lead to kidney or urinary problems.

Consult your vet to determine which vitamins and minerals should be present in the cat’s diet. If the cat has a certain medical disease that requires additional vitamins or minerals, the vet will recommend some prescription food or you may stick to your regular dry food and get some supplements. For example, cats with a heart condition will require a diet that is poor in sodium.

On the other hand, some supplements may be beneficial for older cats; vitamins such as A, E, C are powerful antioxidants that may delay the aging process.


If the cat eats dry food, it is highly important to provide the necessary amounts of water. Older cats tend to drink less water and this may lead to dehydration or constipation. Offer several sources of water and you may flavor the water to make it more appealing for the pet.

To avoid dehydration, you may also feed canned food at least once per week.