Older Cat Diet Tips

An older cat goes through a number of changes and may have various health conditions that will require a certain diet. Even though older cats have about the same nutritional requirements as younger cats, the diet may have to be adapted according to the cat's health.

Get Senior Cat Food

If your pet is more than 7 years old, he may be considered senior. You may notice that his coat color is changing and he may have certain health conditions specific for old age (i.e., arthritis or gum disease). The cat may need a different diet, which is formulated for senior felines. Typically, the senior cat food will have some special features such as:

  • Smaller sized kibble, making it easier to chew and swallow, especially if the cat has gum disease or missing teeth
  • Is softer
  • Contains fewer calories, because senior cats tend to be less active

A cat that is healthy can do well on adult feline food, but if the cat is affected by a medical condition, some dietary changes must be made.

Nutritional Requirements

A healthy senior cat has about the same nutritional requirements as a younger feline, but may need fewer calories. However, if the cat has a kidney or a liver problem, the diet should contain fewer proteins (15 percent). The amount of fats can remain the same even after the cat gets older (can be between 10 and 25 percent fat), but the amount of fibers should be increased. The fibers promote a healthy digestion and an older cat may need fibers, as they are more prone to digestive issues.

Wet Food

Wet food is recommended for cats that have serious tooth and gum problems and have a difficult time eating kibble food. The wet food is also recommended for felines that have a kidney condition, because it can be easier to assimilate. Wet food can be recommended if the cat needs to lose weight, which is often recommended in senior cats that have arthritis or diabetes. In addition, the wet food is poor in calories and rich in water, which will make it ideal for a cat that is less active.

Food Once per Day

The cat should eat once per day and you shouldn't leave the food outside for the cat to nibble on. Senior cats are inactive and can be bored, so they can eat out of boredom, leading to obesity. Make sure not to give him too many treats. The cat's eating habits should be monitored. Some cats tend to eat less and may even refuse to eat if affected by a medical condition. Detecting a problem as early as possible can save the pet's life.

Supplements in Senior Cats

Senior cats may need some dietary supplements, but only if the vet prescribes these. The vet may prescribe some fiber supplements to prevent constipation, glucosamine for the health of the joints and bones and other vitamins that can be beneficial for the cat.