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You’ll always think of your cat as the feisty little kitten he was when you first brought him home. Pets don’t age as visibly as humans do, but the fact remains that just because they look young on the outside doesn’t mean they feel young on the inside.
As your cat’s body changes with age, so do his nutritional needs. It’s our responsibility as cat owners to make sure our beloved kitties are getting what they need.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how your cat’s nutritional needs might change with age. We’ll also provide some insight into shopping for senior cat food and show you our top picks.
When it comes to cat food, there is no one size fits all solution. Kittens generally have higher needs for protein, fat, and calories than adult cats because they’re growing and developing. Once they reach maturity, maintaining healthy body weight becomes the focus.
But what happens when your cat starts to mature?
According to the Feline Nutrition Foundation, a cat’s energy requirements decrease in middle age (between 4 and 9 years). With decreasing energy requirements, your cat has a higher risk of weight gain. Once your cat hits 10 to 12 years of age, however, his energy requirements may spike. Without an increase in caloric intake, your cat could lose muscle mass and might become too skinny.
There’s limited scientific data on this phenomenon, but one thing is certain—adequate protein intake is essential for all cats, regardless of age. The best thing you can do is choose a healthy, protein-rich diet for your cat and adjust his caloric intake as needed to maintain healthy body weight.
The importance of protein in your cat’s diet doesn’t change. All cats are obligate carnivores which means that the majority of their diet should come from animal sources, especially protein. Protein needs aside, there are some things you should look for in senior cat food:
- All-natural ingredients. Digestibility is the key to proper nutrient absorption, and natural ingredients are more digestible than by-products and fillers.
- Higher levels of taurine. An essential amino acid critical for heart health, taurine is particularly important for aging cats and can be found in animal-based proteins like chicken, lamb, and fish.
- Lower in fat and calories. Most pets slow down as they get older, so your senior cat may not burn as many calories as he once did. A diet lower in fat and calories is typically recommended, though you’ll need to monitor your cat’s weight and condition under your vet’s guidance.
- Rich in moisture. Many older cats develop dental problems that make chewing kibble difficult. Wet food is easier for many senior cats to manage and the increased moisture content is important for digestion and kidney health as well.
- Supports healthy weight. Some cats have a tendency to gain weight as they slow down with age, but many senior cats have the opposite problem – they have trouble keeping on weight. Choose a formula that supports your cat’s particular needs.
Now that you have a better understanding of your senior cat’s changing nutritional needs and what to look for in senior cat food, you’re ready to start shopping! Read on to see our top picks for the best cat food for senior cats.
The easiest way to make sure your senior cat’s nutritional needs are met is to choose a recipe formulated for older cats, but this isn’t a requirement. As long as the cat food you choose provides the right balance of protein, fat, calories, and essential nutrients, you can feed your cat whatever you like.
Now, without further ado, our top picks for the best cat food for senior cats.
Formulated to support your senior cat’s immunity, heart, and digestion, this recipe features Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.Buy Now on Amazon for $2.99/lbs.
This recipe is made with balanced protein and fat content to support healthy weight management with prebiotics and probiotics to ensure healthy and regular digestion.Buy Now on Amazon for $7.00/lb
Nourish your senior cat’s whole body health and wellness with this protein-rich recipe featuring real chicken as the main ingredient.Buy Now on Chewy for $3.63/lbs.
A holistic recipe made with wholesome, natural ingredients, this formula is packed with protein and natural flavor to appeal to your cat’s senses while providing for his nutritional needs.Buy Now on Chewy for $0.34/oz.
Aptly named, this bistro-inspired recipe features premium animal proteins like chicken and turkey with a wholesome blend of fresh produce to keep your senior cat purring with pleasure.Buy Now on Chewy for $3.25/lb.
If you’re looking for a softer option for your senior cat, this recipe is loaded with real cod and tuna as the main ingredients to support lean mass and healthy body weight.Buy Now on Chewy for $0.42/oz.
This recipe features real chicken, chickpeas, and salmon to support your cat’s heart, mind, and body for a long and healthy life.Buy Now on Amazon for $1.47/lbs.
Free from by-products, fillers, and additives, this healthy weight and mature care recipe will nourish your cat’s body with the goodness of Chicken Soup for the Soul.Buy Now on Amazon for $2.15/lbs.
Uniquely designed to support the health of senior cats, this recipe features lean chicken from protein with digestible whole-grain carbohydrates including brown rice and oatmeal.Buy Now on Amazon for $2.28/lbs.
A protein-rich recipe packed with real chicken, this formula is made with the optimal blend of natural fibers for healthy digestion and cranberries for urinary tract health.Buy Now on Amazon for $0.23/oz.
Simply made with real ingredients, this chicken and rice formula is designed to deliver complete and balanced nutrition to support your senior cat’s health and vitality.Buy Now on Chewy for $2.12/lbs.
Featuring 42% protein and inspired by the wild, this ancestral diet supports immunity, healthy digestion, and balanced nutrition for senior cats.Buy Now on Chewy for $4.20/lbs.
Designed to support kidney health and mobility, two common issues in senior cats, this recipe is packed with premium nutrition.Buy Now on Chewy for $5.86/lbs.
Making adjustments to your senior cat’s diet is important for his health and wellness, but don’t make the change too quickly! Sudden dietary changes can upset your cat’s stomach, so transition your cat to the new food slowly over the course of seven to 10 days. Start by mixing 25% of the new food with your cat’s current diet and slowly increase ratio as long as your cat is able to tolerate the new food.
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