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Feeding a Senior Cat - Older Cat Food

Updated on September 28, 2010

Senior Cats

As cats age their dietary needs are going to change, and be ensuring that you provide your cat with proper nutrition, you can slow down the progression of many diseases and hopefully add a few years to your cat's life.

You will want to monitor your cat's appetite, weight, and overall body condition, to determine what special requirements your cat needs added to his diet.For the most part, the general needs will be about the same, but with your veterinarian, you can find the ideal diet for your older cat.

When caring for an older cat, you may find that they age slower than dogs, and they do not necessarily need major changes to their diet until an older age. You will also find that obesity can be a concern as your older cat loses his energy and starts playing less often.

You should consider the following tips when regulating your senior cat's diet.

Just remember that each cat is his, or her, own individual and not every dietary change is going to be the same for every cat.

Flickr image by Whitney GH
Flickr image by Whitney GH

You will find that generally, most veterinarians will all agree that older cats that are still active and in good physical condition do not need major changes to their diet. Most cats do perfectly fine on adult cat food until the age of 10 years, but if you start to notice weight changes- either gain or loss- you may need to change your cat's diet.

Although, some will claim that you should lower the amount of proteins in your cat's diet, but all in all cats typically require higher proteins than most other animals, and it's not really necessary to lower the intake of proteins. You just want to make sure that the proteins that your cat does intake are going to be a high-quality protein which will help maintain a lean body mass, as well as other important body functions.

You want to keep your cat's protein intake at least 30 percent, as the amount of proteins and fats can actually improve your cat's appetite. You'll find that most commercial cat foods already contain appropriate protein and fat levels, so a simple switch from an adult food to a senior cat food may be all that you need to do.

Otherwise, you may have to make a few changes to your older cat's diet if he's gaining weight, losing weight, or having dental problems.

Feline Obesity: Obesity is probably one of the more common health concerns that you'll see in older cats because as your cat ages, he loses momentum to play and his energy level will decrease. So, if you notice that your cat is gaining weight, you should have your veterinarian examine him in order to rule out any other medical conditions. If your cat is otherwise healthy, you may want to switch to a low calorie diet. Younger cats require about 35 or more calories per pound of body weight, senior cats do well with 25 to 30 calories per pound.

Losing Weight: Some cats will low weight rather than gain weight in their older years. If this happens, you should first consult your veterinarian to rule out underlying medical conditions such hyperthyroidism or cancer, and if your cat is deemed otherwise healthy, you should consider an energy-dense cat food that contains high levels of digestible fat. The fat source need to contain adequate amounts of fatty acids.

Dental concerns: Your cat may change his normal dietary behaviors if he is having pains in his mouth. Oral and dental diseases are very common with older cats, and no diet can prevent them. As your cat starts to age, you should consider periodic teeth cleanings and dental check-ups to make sure that your cat is in good oral and dental health. If your cat does develop dental concerns, you'll want to consider changing from a dry food to a can or soft-moist food.

Aiding Disease and Illness

As cat's age their immune system may not function as well, which is why they become more susceptible to developing various diseases and illness. By altering an older cat's diet, you can help the symptoms and overall health of your cat.

  • Increase dietary fiber for cats with diabetes mellitus, colitis, constipation, or anal gland disease.
  • Increase digestible sources of protein, fat, and carbohydrates for cats with inflammatory bowl disease and colitis.
  • Decrease sodium and increase the amino acid taurine for cats with heart disease.
  • Increase digestible proteins for cats with chronic kidney failure.
  • Canned diets for cats with dental or oral disease.
  • Increase various supplements, such as omega 3, fatty acids, and beta-carotene for cats with cancer.

There are a number of specially formulated diets for cats with varying problems to include kidney and digestive concerns. If your older cat is having health problems, you want to consult your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your senior cat.


Just like humans, our pets need special vitamins and supplements as they age just to ensure that their body is getting the proper nutrients that they deserve.

There are a number of different vitamins for older cats available on the market, but I've found that more people recommend the Nu-Cat senior multi-vitamin tablets and soft chews.

The Nu-Cat supplement is a great multi-vitamin that provides essential amino acids, fatty acids, and digestive enzymes, as well as a good balance of vitamins and minerals.

Nu-Cat supplements contain taurine to support eye health and the reproductive processes; GLA and LA which are fatty acids that promote healthy skin and coat; and Perna canaliculus to support joint flexibility and mobility.

The Nu-Cat senior supplement is a complete anti-aging formula that supports the immune system, and enhances cardiovascular, liver, cognitive, digestive, and eye functions, as well as mental health and alertness. The senior formula doubles the amount of digestive enzymes and adds Phosphatidylserine, Alpha lipoic acid, L-Glutamine, CoQ10, Tyrosine, Grape Seed Extract, Milk Thistle Extract, EPA, DMG and Bilberry Extract, all of which work together to aid in the overall health and well-being of your senior cat.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. The methods outlined above may or may not work for your pet. If you have any concerns, you should consult a veterinarian.


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    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      I just voted up for this useful hub! My cat is getting older and so am I!

    • FionaBaron profile image

      FionaBaron 6 years ago

      Your hubs on cats are great! Fun and interesting. We have 5 cats that we adore so I really like learning stuff especially as they get older. Thank you!

    • packerpack profile image

      Om Prakash Singh 8 years ago from India, Calcutta

      Hey Whitney05 I am have really enjoyed your Hubs on pets especially on cats. It is really good to have someone like you here who is constantly writing on pets. Keep it up!