They say that cats have nine lives but, unfortunately, those lives aren’t endless.
As your cat starts to get older, you may notice some changes in its behavior and in its body.
Your cat might not be as active as it once was, and it might not eat as much as it used to. To keep your senior cat as healthy as possible for as long as possible, take the time to choose the best cat food for senior cats.
Continue reading to learn more about your senior cat’s nutritional requirements and to receive some simple tips for picking the best cat food to meet those needs. You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best cat food for senior cats.
Quick Look at Our Top Picks:
- Best Overall: Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Healthy Senior Dry Food
- Best Affordable: Nutro Max Senior Recipe with Farm-Raised Chicken
- Best Fresh Cat Food Delivery Service: NomNomNow
- Best Wet Cat Food: Halo Grain-Free Senior Recipe Wet Food
- Best For Allergies: Solid Gold Furrever Young Grain-Free Senior Cat Food
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Special Dietary Needs of Senior Cats
As your cat gets older, its metabolism may slow down, and it may not be as active as it once was.
It still needs a balanced diet for optimal health, but you’ll want to control its caloric intake to prevent it from gaining an unhealthy amount of weight.
The best cat food for senior cats will be rich in protein with healthy fats and nutritional supplements for balance.
Here are some things to look for in a cat food for senior cats:
- Quality Protein. Animal proteins are complete proteins which means that they contain all of the essential amino acids your cat needs. A diet rich in protein will help your cat maintain lean muscle mass as it gets older.
- Omega Fatty Acids. Healthy fats provide your cat with calories for energy as well as omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. This is particularly important as your cat gets older.
- Low Carb. Cats have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates, though a small amount can provide dietary fiber and essential nutrients as long as it comes from a digestible source.
- Digestibility. In addition to a slower metabolism, many senior cats also develop sensitive digestive systems. Making sure that your cat’s food is highly digestible is the key to ensuring that its body is able to absorb and utilize nutrients efficiently.
Also Read: 5 Best Cat Foods for Cats that Throw Up
Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best cat food for senior cats. Here’s what you need to know:
How to Choose the Best Cat Food for Senior Cats
Cats are obligate carnivores which means that their bodies are evolved to digest and utilize nutrition most efficiently from animal rather than plant sources.
This means that protein is the most important nutrient in a cat’s diet and it should come from quality animal sources like meat, poultry, and fish. Your cat requires a minimum of 26% protein in its diet to maintain lean muscle mass.
In addition to plenty of protein, your cat’s diet should contain healthy fats, ideally from animal sources.
Fat provides a highly concentrated source of energy for your cat in addition to supporting its healthy skin and coat.
Your cat requires a minimum of 9% fat in its diet to meet its basic nutritional needs but avoid going too much higher because fat is high in calories and could put your senior cat at risk for obesity as it gets older.
In addition to protein and fat, your cat can benefit from other nutrients in its diet.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are recommended to ensure the proper ratio of nutrients.
Chelated minerals are the best mineral supplements to look for because they have been bound to protein molecules which makes them easier for your cat’s body to digest and absorb.
Other beneficial supplements to look for include prebiotic fibers and probiotics to support healthy and regular digestion.
Another concern with senior cats is the risk for dental health problems.
While wet cat food is higher in moisture and is usually richer in protein, it may contribute to dental issues rather than helping prevent them.
Dry cat food helps scrape plaque and tartar off your cat’s teeth, helping to keep them clean and healthy as it gets older.
To make sure your cat gets the moisture and healthy fats it needs, however, you may want to add a little wet food to supplement its diet.
Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best cat food for senior cats.
The Top 5 Best Rated Cat Foods for Older and Senior Cats Reviewed
Choosing a high-quality senior cat food is essential for maintaining your cat’s health and wellness into its old age. The best cat food for senior cats will be rich in animal protein with moderate fat and balanced with essential nutrients, all from digestible sources. Here are our top 5 picks for the best cat food for senior cats that you should consider:
For a high-quality source of balanced nutrition for your senior cat, try this Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Healthy Senior Dry Food. This recipe contains 70% protein and fat ingredients with 30% vegetables, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial supplements. It is completely free from grains and artificial additives and features real deboned chicken as the main ingredient and a lean source of protein. This recipe also contains probiotics for healthy digestion, omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, and chelated minerals for maximum nutrient absorption.
If you’re working with a tight budget but still want to give your senior cat a high-quality cat food, try this Nutro Max Senior Recipe with Farm-Raised Chicken. Developed specifically for senior cats, this recipe is rich in lean protein, full of omega fatty acids, and is highly digestible as well. It features farm-raised chicken as the primary ingredient with a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It also contains chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption.
If you want to ensure that your cat gets the best of the best, consider feeding it fresh food from NomNomNow. This is a fresh food delivery service that prepares high-quality meals for pets made with the freshest ingredients available. Each of their recipes is high in protein, rich in moisture, and nutritionally balanced to provide for your cat’s minimum nutritional requirements.
You simply fill out a profile with information about your cat’s age and size as well as any special dietary needs or preferences. From there, you’ll receive monthly shipments of fresh cat food delivered right to your door.
As your senior cat gets older, it may not be able to eat dry food as easily. This Halo Grain-Free Senior Recipe Wet Food is a great choice because it features high-quality ingredients in a holistic recipe designed specifically for older cats. It contains real chicken with no rendered meat meals or by-products and it is rich in omega fatty acids. Plus, it contains a lower concentration of calories than traditional recipes to help your cat maintain a healthy body weight.
If you’re worried that your senior cat has food allergies, try this Solid Gold Furrever Young Grain-Free Senior Cat Food. Not only is it completely free from common allergens like grains, dairy, and artificial additives but it is a holistic recipe that will nourish your cat’s body from the inside out. It features premium protein from lean turkey with plenty of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. It also contains superfood ingredients to ensure optimal nutritional balance.
Also Read: The 6 Best Wet & Dry Cat Food Brands
How Much Should You Feed Your Senior Cat?
Overfeeding is always a concern for cats, but it is particularly dangerous for senior cats.
As your cat gets older and its metabolism slows down, it requires less food to meet its basic energy needs – if you overfeed your cat, it could become obese which puts it at risk for a variety of other health problems.
Generally speaking, cats require between 25 and 35 calories per pound of body weight per day.
The best way to determine how much to feed your cat is to choose a high-quality senior cat food and follow the feeding instructions according to its age and weight.
What About Food Allergies and Sensitivities?
Cats are just as prone to food allergies and sensitivities as humans, though they may present in different ways.
Food allergies common cause skin-related symptoms such as itchy skin, ear infections, and dry coat as well as respiratory symptoms like sneezing, coughing, or wheezing. Some of the most common allergens known to affect cats are beef, dairy products, grains, and artificial additives.
If you’re concerned that your cat has a food allergy, consider switching to a hypoallergenic cat food or a limited ingredient diet to reduce the risk of triggering that allergy.
Also Read: Best Cat Food for Shedding
Though your cat’s activity level and body weight may change as it gets older, its needs for quality nutrition will remain the same.
Remember, the best cat food for senior cats will be rich in animal protein with moderate fat and balanced with essential nutrients, all from digestible sources. If you’re not sure where to start, try one of our top 5 picks reviewed above!