Nutritional Needs for Aging Cats: Important Senior Cats Food Guidelines

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Last Updated: March 13th, 2024

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Are nutritional needs for aging cats are different from nutritional needs for younger cats? This article is a guide to understanding senior cat’s nutrition.

nutritional needs for aging cats, grey being fed with a spoon

As cats enter their senior years, typically around the age of seven, their nutritional needs evolve, requiring a more attentive approach to their diets, to manage age-related health issues and maintain their quality of life.

Understanding Age-Related Changes in Cats

The aging process in cats can lead to decreased activity levels, changes in metabolism, and the development of chronic diseases such as kidney disease or diabetes. These changes necessitate a closer look at the caloric intake and nutrient balance in their daily feeding.

Essential Nutrients for Senior Cats

To address the challenges of aging, senior cats require diets that are high in animal-based proteins to maintain muscle mass. AAHA suggests that aging cats should not be protein restricted; a diet with a minimum protein allowance of 30–45% dry matter is considered to be moderate protein and is recommended. Additionally, antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C, are crucial for supporting an aging immune system, while omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils can help with joint health and cognitive function.

senior cat laying on the sofa

Managing Weight and Health in Older Cats

Weight management is critical for aging cats. Overweight cats are at a higher risk for diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and urinary tract issues. It’s important to monitor their weight and adjust their diet accordingly, possibly under the guidance of a veterinarian.

Special Dietary Considerations for Aging Cats

Senior cats may also face issues with hydration and constipation. Hence, a diet with adequate moisture content, either through wet food or broths, can be beneficial. However, if you notice unusually increased thirst in your aging cat, it’s advisable to visit a vet, because it could be an indicator of a health problem. Additionally, the inclusion of fiber can aid in digestion and help prevent constipation, a common problem in older cats.

Selecting the Right Food for Your Aging Cat

When selecting food for your senior cat, it’s essential to look for formulas specifically designed for older cats. These formulas often have lower calorie content to prevent obesity, reduced phosphorus levels for kidney health, and increased fiber levels for digestive health.

grey cat eating briketi

Implementing a Diet Transition for Senior Cats

Transitioning your cat to a senior diet should be a gradual process to avoid digestive upset. Mixing increasing amounts of the new food with the old over the course of several weeks can help make this transition smoother.


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