To our parents, we will always be small no matter how much we grow. Similar is the case with the cat parents. They will always treat their kittens like they never age. But true as it is, cats do get old; and at that age, they need different things than they did as young kittens. They may not look old as average humans do when they age (with wrinkles and fallen teeth), but that doesn’t mean the cats are still young on the inside.
At this point, you need to come up with a change of diet for your senior cat, brush up the levels of nutrients and food values, and take great care of them in their golden years to ensure a happier and healthier lifestyle for them
So, let us start informing you about the changes you need to make, things you need to consider, and some of our top picks on the best cat food for your senior cat.
Best Senior Cat Food Comparison:
- Product’s reviews on 8 of the best senior cat foods:
- 1. Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging Natural Mature Dry Cat Food
- 2. Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult 11+, Indoor, Chicken Recipe
- 3. Delectables Lickable Wet Cat Treats
- 4. Iams Proactive Health Senior Adult Dry Cat Food
- 5. Purina Pro Plan Senior 7+ Canned Wet Cat Food
- 6. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken Recipe Soft Loaf Canned Senior Wet Cat Food
- 7. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Cat Food
- 8. Hill's Science Diet Wet Cat Food, Adult 7+, Tender Chicken
- What do you mean by the best senior cat food?
- Buying guide to select the best cat food for senior cats:
Product’s reviews on 8 of the best senior cat foods:
There are plenty of foods available in the market that suit the need of senior cats. All of them can not obviously be the best option for your cat. So, we did our research what we could lay our hands on and tried to find the best senior cat foods and luckily managed to chalk up the ones that we think ticks the boxes. Note that they do not follow any order of importance. Here are our 8 suggestions for older cats:
1. Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging Natural Mature Dry Cat Food
It is made with a formulation that supports your cat’s health. It is made with delicious, proteinous, boneless chicken, whole grains and vegetables and is free of poultry by-products. It is specially designed for cats shedding off weight or vomiting due to aging.
2. Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult 11+, Indoor, Chicken Recipe
This food is made for cats aged more than 11 years, to provide them with nutrients that support the eyes, heart, kidney and bone joints. The natural ingredients with the vitamins, minerals and amino acids and fibers help easy digestion in your cats.
3. Delectables Lickable Wet Cat Treats
It comes with ingredients not limited to chicken, tuna, tuna extract, and vitamin supplements. Cat parents claim that it is a very palatable option for their cats with the tons of nutrition it carries and is an option they would go for again and again. 2 pouches per day is enough for an average senior cat if you want to buy this.
4. Iams Proactive Health Senior Adult Dry Cat Food
This food uses chicken as the number 1 ingredient to promote strong muscles and provide the much-needed energy in senior cats. The vitamin E in it helps to restore the wobbly immune response of senior cats with essential nutrients, calcium, potassium, etc. It also contains L-Carnitine that helps them maintain a healthy weight.
5. Purina Pro Plan Senior 7+ Canned Wet Cat Food
Made with real salmon and tuna, the Purina Pro Plan ensures healthier skin and coat in your senior cat and improves their immune system. Cats over 11 years of age can reap the benefits that this wet cat food comes up with.
6. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken Recipe Soft Loaf Canned Senior Wet Cat Food
This senior cat food comes in the form of a pate. This is why it is very soft and easy enough for cats with or without teeth to eat. The food also has easily digestible protein. It contains mostly meat; and has chicken, chicken liver and broth listed as the top three ingredients on the content list. It is grain-free but contains guar gum as a filler.
7. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Cat Food
This is a veterinarian recommended, highly palatable, easily chewable, wellness-inducing senior cat food wet recipe that has a lot of essential fatty acids, and glucosamine/chondroitin for cats with bone and kidney diseases.
8. Hill's Science Diet Wet Cat Food, Adult 7+, Tender Chicken
A blend of chicken and pork liver besides all the tons of ingredients that it has, this senior cat food is a good choice for cats aged more than 7 years. It contains baked chicken in a gravy form that will be easier to digest and consume. It also contains Taurine in it that promotes good vision and heart health.
What do you mean by the best senior cat food?
Before you know what senior cat food is, you need to know who senior cats are.
Cats aged more than 7 years are considered to be senior cats. Cats aged 12 years are almost equivalent to humans of 64 years, according to WebMD.
The food that contains all the necessary ingredients with respect to taste, nutrients, and nourishment in your senior cat, is called senior cat food. Our aim here is to help you explain everything that you need to know about the best senior cat food in the market.
What to look for in good food for senior cats?
Before anything, you must know that there is no single best cat food for your senior cat. There be one that is best for a certain age, one best for a certain disease, one best for a certain breed even, but one best cat food for senior cat of all types is impossible to find, also manufacture.
Below we have listed some common considerations that you must have when you are in the right cat food for your older cat:
1. Moisture Content
Loss of teeth and sensitivity in teeth are two of the most common problems faced by older cats. Similar to what humans face, older cats have the enamel of their teeth weaken with age, thus making the loss of teeth inevitable in senior cats.
One or two tooth loss is nothing to tax your brains about since it is very natural, but if the case is severe or if your cat is having trouble chewing his food or facing discomfort, you need to adjust his diet and increase its moisture content.
With age, other problems arise in cats too. One of which is a sensitive stomach. So when a cat has something that it shouldn’t have or has something that will upset the digestion process of it, low to mild allergies develop in it. And it does not occur if they are given new food only. Old food that used to enjoy with so much pleasure once can cause these allergies if fed without the right direction or without following the right procedure. Sometimes, it needs to be totally removed from the diet of the cat, even if it were once a staple.
An upset stomach, vomiting, trouble pooping or litter problems, etc. are the symptoms your cat has a sensitive stomach now. But do not worry. There are several types of products in the market, brewed with the right quantity of each ingredient to help solve the problem of stomach sensitivity in cats.
This is just one case. There are products available in the market with ingredients that tackle kidney problem, obesity in cats, etc.
One thing that you have in mind is that, although the irritants are compromised are replaced, there are no failings of essential nutrients in the overall diet that your cat should have at that age. The number of ingredients can be decreased, but the functions that those ingredients had shall be provided in other variations and format.
The most common set of ingredients that you must avoid are corn, wheat, other whole grains or grain by-products, a by-product of poultry or fish, artificial color and flavors, soy, etc. Steer clear of the pack if you find that the content of such ingredients in the list charted on the package of the cat food is high.
Know that a happier tummy makes a happier kitty, and it all starts with the right ingredients.
3. Vitamins and Minerals
All the different cat foods that are available in the market are packed with necessary vitamins and minerals. But as cats age, they need more of this to go in their diets. So, look for cat foods that have more vitamin and minerals, in higher quantities than usual.
But you should know that there is no specific content of vitamins and minerals that should be maintained through and throughout. It differs from brand to brand. So choose what you like as long as it is optimal and advised by your vet, you are good to go.
But one thing that you must keep in mind is a probiotic presence in your cat food. Not necessarily important for adult cats or kittens, but especially important for aging cats, probiotics promote good gut health, digestion, and immune health. And if your cat has a sensitive stomach, then what? Yet another time, you should opt for foods that have probiotics in them and rid your cat of the stomach problems.
4. Caloric Content
With age, cats become less active than they were when younger. Instead of going on adventures, prowling, and hunting, your cat now enjoys being curled into a ball in the sofa, cuddling with you while it sleeps. While this is something you might enjoy, this is not very good news for the cat as it spends the day lazily now, burning fewer calories than before.
Along with this, if there has been no change in their diet too, all the fat will pile up in pounds and make them obese, which is the last thing you want with your cats. Since obesity is bad for your cat, especially at this age when it is inactive, you should go for foods that have a lower caloric content. At this rate, you can feed them the same amount of food, which is a bowlful or more, with significantly lesser calories, and hence reduce the chance of obesity. Goodbye weight gains!
5. Type of Food
Senior cats deserve wet, canned food due to the very nature and stage of life that they are in. It is easier to slurp and wipe the bowl clean and is friendlier on their palate. Hard food is something that is simply just not right. This soft, wet food also serves double-time as a fixer of the dehydration problem that older cats face at that age.
Cats by their very nature are less thirst-driven than most other animals, and when they are older, the drive gets lesser, although it continues to become more important for them to drink water.
The third benefit from serving them wet food is that it comes with an enticing aroma that encourages them to eat and is a good way to improve the appetite of cats that just won’t eat.
6. Abundance of Fibers
For better digestion, the importance of fibers can hardly be exaggerated. With age, cats may face trouble digesting foods that were ones really easy to digest. And harder to digest means harder to intake the nutrients that were part of the food. This will give rise to upset stomachs and a cat at discomfort.
What you can do in this regard, is that you can provide them with foods rich in fibers. By that, you are ensuring that the signs of inflammatory bowel disease and its aftermaths are kept at bay. This is also a great help if your cat has diabetes.
One friendly reminder though: fibers are found more in dry cat food. So, if you want your senior cat to get more fiber, feed him the dry cat foods instead of the wet, canned ones.
Here is the list of the must-have nutrients that you also have to make sure is present in the cat food:
One of the most important nutrients for senior cats is protein. A very critical part of their diet, a proper amount of quality protein helps cats to maintain their muscle mass as they continue to age. The best way through which you can ensure that your cat food has enough protein is to look at the guaranteed analysis of the type of food.
At least 28% protein should be present in dry cat food and a minimum of 8 percent protein should be present in wet cat food.
Many senior cats face trouble to digest and absorb fats. Therefore, it isn’t very wise to feed senior cats with a diet rich in fats.
Free radical damage and dysfunctional immune system and response are very common in aging cats. So, feeding your cat with vitamin A and other necessary antioxidants is crucial to help them prevent further diseases.
Taurine is a type of essential amino acid that does not take part in protein formation but conducts a range of necessary functions: the most popular of which is fixing vision and promoting heart health in cats. So feeding your cat with a Taurine-deficient diet will result in vision loss and decaying of teeth, not to mention cardiac problems. So, your cat food must contain trace or more Taurine in it.
5. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
The two most important fatty acids of them all to serve a whole lot of health functions for your senior cat are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. If you want to save your older cat from cognitive decline or dangerous skin problems. You must ensure it gets enough fatty acids in the diet that you are providing.
Types of food for old cats:
You will find the following types of cat food available in the market when searching for the best cat food for senior cats:
Most cat parents term this as the best option among the three types of cat foods for older cats. This is easier to eat, easier to chew and easier on the teeth of the old cats. From the cat’s point of view, these are often the tastiest of the three; as it contains meat, fat, water and trace amount of a few other ingredients without putting in too many things to compromise the taste of the food and making it a hotchpotch of ingredients.
The ingredient list in canned food should always be short and made up of natural ingredients. You also have to make sure it is free of irritants like corn, wheat, soy, and other grains. Then it can be a perfect option for cats with a sensitive stomach.
One thing you will also need to remember is that they are richer in calories than dry cat food, so you must never overfeed your cat with canned, wet food.
Semi-moist cat foods were once very popular, but with the advent of canned cat food and treats, its popularity radically decreased. So, you won’t be finding this one in the market like you find the dry ones or the canned ones.
This is actually the mid-point of wet and dry food. It usually contains more items than wet food, including grains sometimes, but it is especially suitable for cats that don’t like to chew and cats that don’t like the liquidity in their food that comes with wet canned food.
But the sole and only problem to keep semi-moist cat food out of your grocery shopping list for cats is that instead of collectively having the benefits of canned and dry food, it has the weaknesses of them fifty-fifty.
Dry foods are part and parcel of the cat food industry. Because of their ability to combine different nutrients, vitamins, and minerals into a non-perishable, long-lasting, affordable product, make them the top priorities when cat parents shop food for their cats.
But as cats age, it becomes difficult for them to chew the hard kibbles. Even if the kibbles are not too hard, old cats do not specifically prefer this type of food.
However, if your cat has a strong, healthy set of teeth, you can try feeding him dry cat food at ease. But we will still suggest you provide him with canned wet food to help prevent future mishaps.
Common health issues with senior cats:
Here are some common health issues that show in older cats as they age. It is a familiar bunch as you will notice the same of diseases found in older humans. Let us have a look:
1. Dental problems:
As they age, cats have quite a few problems maintaining their sharp and envious teeth: the enamel gets weaker, the formation of cavities start, and their teeth fall out as the most common happenings.
2. Sensitive stomach:
As I have mentioned so many times now, a sensitive stomach becomes very common in older cats, reducing their digestive capabilities by a good margin.
It is common in all cats. But the situation worsens with older cats.
4. Kidney diseases:
You will not understand your cat has kidney diseases by checking its urine. That is probably what you don’t want to do, But if your cat is vomiting a lot and you see this often after monitoring for some time, you should set an appointment with the vet as there might be possibilities of kidney disease.
Diabetes arises in older cats if they have gotten fatter than they were: thanks to their inactiveness and lost playfulness. Diet is a significant factor if you want to work with the diabetes problem of your old cats. If you watch his weight, his diet and give him insulin regularly, it might be put off. Prompt treatments always scare away from diabetes.
If your senior cat is on a balanced diet, your old friend does not need supplements for now. But if the has some health conditions as we have mentioned just now, it can be difficult for the older cats to absorb nutrients from his balanced diet, and no matter what amount you put in, some vitamins and minerals will go to waste.
As for an example, gastrointestinal diseases in older cats reduce their ability to absorb vitamin B12. To avoid such nutritional deficiencies, vets provide with supplements that meet a specific need.
But you must be careful, as supplements can interfere with other medicines that your cat is taking to tackle its health issues. Always consult with your vet before bringing a change in your cat’s diet, supplement, medications, etc. Also, most over-the-counter supplements haven’t been tested in cats as readily as on other mammals; so be careful about what you are choosing.
How much should you feed your senior cats?
The portion size or what you are going to feed your senior cat depends greatly on what your cat currently weighs and the type of cat food that you are feeding it. There is significant variation in the caloric density of cat foods. One-eighth of a cup can make all the difference as to the weight gain or loss in your senior cat. So, portion control is as essential as it gets.
If you happen to be facing trouble to manage portions, especially with dry food, then you should look at food options where portions are managed automatically. If you are still confused about the portion size or did not find what you were looking for, you should go to a vet to have things sorted.
If your cat to shed off a few pounds, there are cat foods that help in weight loss. So, you won’t need to control portions, but you will be feeding the right quality. Similarly, if you want your cat to gain a few pounds, feed it appetite-increasing foods rich in aroma and flavor, and that doesn’t look like vomit. Also, switch to higher calories but remain within the relative range.
Buying guide to select the best cat food for senior cats:
This is the guide you should be following to find the best cat food for senior cats:
- Read our “What to look for in good food for senior cats” section.
- Work closely with the vet of your cat to find a nutritional balance that suits your cats dietary and disease-tackling needs. Select the foods that have been prepared/manufactured according to the guidelines provided by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
- Never forget to read the label of your cat food package. It has a guaranteed analysis that lists the percentage of the food containing crude protein, crude fiber, crude fat, and moisture. Even if it doesn’t make any sense to you, visit the manufacturer’s website to understand which is what. If you are still unsure what all these mean, you can call at their customer service, ask and be sure. We know you want the best for your cat so why leave any stone unturned?
- Limit the calories. Even if you feel like your senior cat is getting thinner, increasing the calorie intake won’t solve everything. Remember that about 50 cal./kg. Is enough for a typical indoor senior cat, as experts say. Adjust the level for outdoor cats and the type of activities your cat engages in when it is indoor or outdoors.
- Listen to your cat. Don’t force-feed him. All things take time to become better. Wait till things get better for your cat.
We sincerely hope that all the information we have provided and that you have found this article about the best cat food for senior cats is a handy guide for you. We know how much you love and care for them. Through all this information, we tried to ensure that we support you in your endeavor to cater to all your senior cat’s health needs.
Once you have decided on the best senior cat food, don’t forget to check out our Best cat food for older cats with bad teeth article.
Best of luck!