He might not jump as high as he used to, but your senior cat is still full of love, curiosity, and feather-chasing abilities. Naturally, you want to make sure he gets the nutrition he needs at this life stage so he stays happy and healthy for years to come.
“It used to be that veterinarians recommended lower-protein foods for senior cats, especially as they’re more likely to have kidney dysfunction, and reduced-protein foods have typically been recommended for kidney disease,” she says. “However, recently it’s been shown that senior cats may have an increased protein need due to age-related muscle loss. In fact, this protein level needed may rival that of kittens!”
Make sure to speak with your veterinarian about any particular health issues your mature cat may have before changing his diet, Anthony says. Body condition, GI health, and other concurrent issues should be addressed by a vet first.
She points out you can narrow down the choices for best senior cat food by checking labels for these specifics:
Because your vet is aware of your individual senior cat’s underlying conditions, they might have recommendations in addition to these brands, so it's good to check with them first. Here are a few options to consider:
Wellness Complete Health Senior Cat Food - Natural, Grain Free, Chicken
Winner-winner, chicken dinner! The first ingredient in this senior cat food option is deboned chicken. It’s also fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, and vitamins, minerals, and fiber from fruits and vegetables to boost immunity, digestive function, and metabolism. However, because cats need to get most of their water from their food, it’s important to add water to dry food!
NUTRO Grain Free Natural Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy - Beef, Tuna, Chicken Variety Pack
Easy to chew, and full of protein and non-GMO ingredients, this wet senior cat food also includes chicken broth to help your kitty stay hydrated. Zinc, taurine, vitamins E and D3, and manganese support many aspects of health.
Fancy Feast Senior Classic Paté Cat Food
If your kitty has finicky taste buds, this is one of the best canned cat foods for senior cats to lure him back to the bowl. The variety of quality beef, chicken, and tuna minced finely appeals to his palate, while a host of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals keep him healthy.
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Oral Care Dry Cat Food
This kibble’s formula is clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar, and help clean teeth. It might even freshen his breath, too! Nutrition isn’t sacrificed either—there’s tasty chicken protein combined with vitamins and antioxidants to boost muscle mass and immunity.
Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus Chicken and Rice Formula Adult Dry Cat Food
Specially formulated for cats over age 7, this cat food contains real chicken, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, probiotics, vitamins A and E, and taurine to boost digestive health, vision, and muscle mass. The nutritional makeup is a powerpack of goodness for a great price.
Anthony says cats don’t always chew treats before swallowing, so those that remove and prevent tartar might not be as effective. Make sure to have your cat’s teeth checked regularly, and leave treats for special occasions!
It’s always a special bonding time with your mature kitty to fix a meal that he enjoys, but you have to be mindful about portions and his special nutritional needs. Talk with your vet about these human foods cats sometimes eat, and whether they’re appropriate for your senior cat.
A few people foods that are safe for senior cats to eat (assuming your cat is healthy and doesn’t have any dietary health conditions like diabetes or hyperthyroidism) include apples (only the flesh—not the stems, leaves or seeds!); bananas (sans-peel); rinsed, de-stemmed blueberries; cooked eggs; and fully baked bread. Though, not all of these human foods are necessarily nutritious for your cat, so consult your vet before adding any of these foods to your cat’s diet. Also, be sure to never feed your cat chocolate or grapes, as these can be toxic!