The best diet for any cat and that includes older cats should consist of mainly animal protein, as cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need animal protein to survive. Animal protein should always be the major ingredient in the diet of a cat.
Protein making up the majority of the diet definitely still applies to your senior cat. Interestingly, senior cats (unlike dogs and humans) require an increase in energy requirements as they age rather than a decline, as is usually associated with older age as outlined in this article from Science Direct.
Feeding a senior cat higher levels of protein also helps to prevent the loss of lean muscle mass.
Manufacturers of cat food make formulations specifically for senior cats that include added supplements that will assist them into older age. Cat food that is for senior cats will not require any additional dietary supplement because it is already included in the food.
If your cat is fed on an entirely home cooked diet it may be a good idea to supplement with a multivitamin or ask your vet if there is anything you need to do to optimize the diet.
The best cat food for a senior cat is wet food that
Food in gravy rather than a pate style is suited to older cats to ensure that they are getting moisture with their food. Some cats are less inclined to drink water as they age. If your cat prefers the pate style, it can be mashed and some liquid added.
One issue people have sometimes is that the cat just wants to lick the gravy. Even if this is the case, generally the cat will return to eat the food even after a little taster of gravy licking. Our cat did this but always returned to eat the food. I am afraid to say that I have been guilty of wanting the frosting rather than the cake. Maybe the cat had seen my less than desirable cake eating habits.
Something else to consider is that a cat's senses start to fade as they get older so they might not be able to smell quite as keenly as when they were younger. This was quite noticeable with our senior cat. Food that once brought him running now had to be placed almost under his nose.
Cat Food Specifically Formulated For Older Cats
The four products reviewed here are all for old or senior cats. Your choice might come down to the price point or the ingredients. Sometimes we think that the cat will be bored with only one or two flavors but that does not seem to be the case (mostly anyway) with cats.
We are the ones who think a wide choice of flavors is desirable, cats not so much. Our cat was a wonderful rat catcher in his youth (yes, I need to admit that there were rats in the neighborhood). He didn't seem to get upset by the fact that all rats probably tasted the same.
Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Potatoes, Pea Flour, Natural Flavor, Pea Fiber, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Fish Oil, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Salt, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Mixed Tocopherols, L-Carnitine, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), preserved with Mixed Tocopherols.
Ingredients Water Sufficient for Processing, Pork By-Products, Chicken Liver, Rice Flour, Natural Flavors, Powdered Cellulose, Wheat Gluten, Fish Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Guar Gum, Leucine, Dried Tomato Pomace, Calcium Sulfate, Taurine, Carrageenan, Lecithin, L-Tryptophan, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Vitamins [Dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Source of Vitamin E), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Niacin Supplement, Biotin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement], Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Sodium Silico Aluminate, Choline Chloride, Marigold Extract (Tagetes Erecta L.), Trace Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), L-Carnitine, Chondroitin Sulfate.
Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Pork Broth, Natural Flavors, Guar Gum, Minerals (Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Sodium Phosphate, Fish Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vitamin B6], Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Salt, Taurine.
Ingredients: Salmon, Liver, Water Sufficient for Processing, Meat By-Products, Fish, Chicken, Tuna, Artificial and Natural Flavors, Minerals [Potassium Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], Added Color, Tricalcium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Taurine, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Vitamin A Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement], Salt, Citric Acid, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Choline Chloride. E-4678.
Cat Food Specifically Formulated For Older Cats
All four of these products are excellent quality. We have chosen Blue Buffalo because it is specifically formulated for older cats and contains added vitamins and minerals.
The ingredients including the protein are of the highest quality. There are zero by-product fillers or wheat or soy or artificial colors and preservatives. It really is a superior product.
An integral part of cats remaining healthy into old age is sustaining a healthy weight as they age. Cats can easily become overweight. Be aware of being too kind to kitty and giving him treats that may mean excess weight as he ages. As cats age they will slow down and become more sedentary in nature which means excess treats is a no no as it will be a sure path to weight gain.
However the reverse can also be true and some elderly cats can lose weight and look very thin even skinny and quite fragile.
Our cat was always in the healthy weight range, sometimes we had to cut back a little on the kindness for him to maintain a healthy weight. However when he reached a very respectable senior age he became very thin as a result of several health conditions. Trips to the vet became a regular occurrence and he was on first name terms with all of the staff at the clinic.
Underlying health conditions can be a consideration with weight gain or loss and once again this is when it is time to visit a veterinarian for an assessment of any possible underlying health conditions.
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