Living with your cat since they were young gives you a clear picture of what they like and what they don’t. But the fact remains that older cats are getting out of energy, they become host to fatal parasites, diseases and infections that can claim their lives.
Their nutritional needs equally change significantly and taking care of such cats is an overall hustle. Luckily, you understand the cat in terms of behaviors, and daily habits and any changes to that can translate to an illness. I want to emphasis the fact that as cats age, their nutritional needs and other needs change meaningfully. These cats definitely need more rest, regular veterinary visits and the right foods. You need to take the diet of your fury friends very serious as they age. Buying senior cat food will definitely improve their longevity and their vitality. Unluckily, shopping for top rated senior cat food is tricky and very overwhelming.
Understanding the nutritional needs of senior cats
Before we delve any deeper in this topic, I want to make sure you clearly understand the nutritional needs of senior cats. Compared to most pets and mammals, cats have unique nutritional requirements as they age. Cats regardless of the age requires enough proteins, vitamins, enough water, minerals and fats. Furthermore, they also require specific amounts of these minerals and vitamins. Here are some nutritional requirements according to National Research Council Committee on Animal Nutrition (NRC).
Cats just like any other animal need enough proteins for growth and development. Being carnivorous, cats usually derive the proteins and amino acids from animal products. Regardless, there’s a need for dietary proteins because it contains 10 specific amino acids which include the arginine and taurine. Cats cannot make these amino acids on their own. An adult cat should at least take 12.5 grams of crude protein.
As cats get older, they need dietary fats which are mainly derived from seed oils and animal fats. Fats usually supply the essential fatty acids that cats require as they age. They need fats because they act as carriers for vitamins and also plays a vital role in cell structure and function. As the cat ages, the skin and the hair changes. At this age, cats need fats because they make cat’s skin and coat healthy. The commendations by NRC states that an adult cat weighing 9 pounds and consuming 250 calories should at least take 5.5 grams of total fats.
Cats need Vitamins A, D, E, K, B1, B6, B12 Niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and several other vitamins for growth and boosting immunity. As the cats age, their immunity and ability to fight infections lowers. In this regard, it’s very important to make sure that senior cat food has the right vitamins. Vitamins plays a vital role in metabolic activities. Its important to note that vitamins are only essential in the right doses and can definitely be toxic in large amounts.
Carbohydrates are important in metabolism and energy generation. Cats become week as they age and their bodies will definitely not be able to produce enough energy. In this regard, it’s important to make sure that the senior cat food has enough ingredients that are a great source of carbohydrates.
Cats need fiber for their digestion and you must make sure that the senior food brand you are about to go for has enough fiber contents.
As the cats gets older, they usually don’t drink enough water especially if they have impaired kidney health. This usually causes dehydration and can be very fatal in this regard. What this means is that you should consider wet foods and at the same time replace water bowls time to time. This will definitely improve the cats water intake.
What to consider when Buying senior Cat foods?
Besides the nutritional needs of the cats, there are several other things that you should consider if you want your cat to benefit from the specific foods.
Senior cats always have a decreased sense of taste and smell
As the cats gets older, they lose their sense of smell and taste. Try to understand whether your cat has this issue. If this is the case, you will certainly need to look for senior cat foods that have specific tastes and aroma. Warming the cat food slightly will equally increase the taste and the smell of the food. However, avoid overheating cat foods.
The nutritional needs of older cats will differ from one cat to the other depending on the underlying health issues. So, does your cat has any underlying conditions such as heart diseases, Kidney issues or Diabetes? These are very common cat health conditions that can influence the specific diet greatly. In case your cat is suffering from any of those conditions, always reach out to your veterinarian for recommendations and suggestions.
Your vet is the best person to talk to about your cat’s specific nutritional needs
Its usually important to involve your veterinarian before you make any decision regarding the specific cat’s diets. However, some commercial senior diets and diets specifically formulated for adult cats can greatly help. The diets developed for older cats should be easy to digest and have higher nutritional value. They should equally have increased antioxidants for improving immunity and increased palatability. Here is a list of top-rated senior cat foods that you can try today.
Nutro Senior Indoor cat dry food
Nutro senior indoor cat dry food is a perfect dish for indoor cats. It is the top choice for senior cats because of its nutritional value and the ease to digest. The food has been fortified for fatty acids and nutrients such as taurine. It equally contains nutrients that are very necessary for improved immunity.
- Vitamin rich
- Made with non-GMO ingredients
- High protein content
- It contains brown rice
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Cat food
Here is another perfect older cat food brand for 2021. It’s a great option for older cat owners that need an all-natural approach to feeding their aging friends. The main advantage is that this food contains a well and a balanced diet with fiber and fats. The nutrients aim at helping the cat maintain a healthy weight. It also helps with joint support. The brand is made from deboned chicken for protein and fats. There are no animal by-products added. The manufacturers didn’t equally add any artificial flavors, preservatives or colors. There are no wheat, corn and soy which makes it a complete grain Free alternative for cat owners.
- It’s a complete and a balanced nutrition for your older cats
- No animal by-products are added
- All-natural ingredients
- No artificial additives
- Its relatively expensive.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Food
As the cats grow old, they lose their sense of taste and smell. For that reason, it always important to go for cat foods that are naturally flavored. This brand has a variety of protein sources and Flavors which is sure to satisfy your cats nutritional needs. There are limited ingredients to limit stomach upsets and ensure healthy digestions. The ingredients include meat from salmon, venison, duck and chicken. The food also contains green peas. The main point is that all the flavors in this brand are Grain Free and have the right daily nutritional needs for the cat.
- It contains a variety of flavors
- A wide range of protein sources
- The protein is easy to digest
- The flavors are grain Free
- It contains fiber for and carbohydrates for easy digestion and sustained energy
- The bag sizes vary from 2 pounds to 10 pounds
- This Senior cat food is not the best for weight management
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Adult Cat food
If you were looking for the best weight management senior cat food, then this is the best in this list. We all make the mistake of overfeeding our senior cats with treats which can lead to obesity or other health conditions. If this is the case with your cat, you definitely need to consider a pet food that will help with weight management. This brand is available in chicken and turkey flavors. You can equally get the food in seven- and 15-pounds bag. The two flavors have a high protein content and other nutrients for improved immunity.
- Its relatively cheaper
- Available in chicken and turkey flavors
- High protein contents
- Its right for weight management
- It’s not Grain Free
Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free Ocean Whitefish and Egg Recipe
This is the best Grain Free and the most affordable cat food on this list. The food is not made of any ground corn, soy or added wheat. There are equally no artificial flavors, preservatives and artificial colors. The food provides amino acids, eggs for lean protein and pea protein. The cat will equally get fiber and carbohydrates for energy.
- Its available in 3 packaging ( 3, 5 and 11 pounds)
- It’s a Grain-Free alternative
- Perfect for cats with underlying immunity issues
- No added artificial colors, flavors ad preservatives
- It contains fiber and carbohydrates for improved digestion and energy
- Its not a good match for weight management.
How much to feed senior cats?
Just as important as it is to determine the nutritional requirement for the cat and the best food for the cat, it’s important to know the right portions for senior cats. There are certain factors that determine the amount of food that you are going to feed the cat. Consider the activity levels of the cat, existing health conditions and the overall wellbeing of the cat. You might have to determine whether the cat is an indoor or an outdoor cat.
If it’s an outdoor cat, you can expect that it will need more food because it needs enough energy for the activities. Outdoor cats should be fed enough calories and at the same time get specific senior foods designed for active and outdoor cats. If the senior cat is primarily an indoor cat, you might have to consider giving lower levels if calories and get the best top rated senior cat food for indoor cats.
As much as you want to feed your outdoor cats, it’s important to avoid overfeeding treats. These are definitely the biggest cause of obesity. For senior cats, you should avoid any types of treats or at least get treats that are specifically made for older cats to avoid the risk of obesity.
Remember to follow the right guidelines on specific brands. This is definitely the only way to make sure that your cat is getting the right nutrients for specific conditions, states and ages. But take time to adjust the amounts of foods especially if you want to introduce the cat to a new diet. If a senior cat is fed the right quality and quantity of senior cat foods, it will definitely lead a better and a healthy life.
What is the best food for senior cats?
The best food for senior cats should contain precise ingredients. It equally important to choose foods that are 10% fat, and 28% protein for the dry food or 8% protein and 4% fat for the wet foods. The food should contain enough calories and less fat.
Is senior cat food necessary?
Yes, senior cat food is very necessary. As the cats grow old, they need high quality and a palatable diet that will be easy to digest and benefit the body health-wise. Choose the suitable diet from the list above.
What can I feed my senior cat to gain weight?
You can consider a high-calorie food and supplements that have high-calories. You can also consider canned therapeutic food for older cats especially those that are struggling with weight.
As the cats gets older their nutritional requirements change drastically. They need more monitoring, more vet visits and most importantly an improved diet for their immunity, digestion and overall health. The above list has the top five best senior cat foods for 2021 that you can go for right now depending on your specific cat dietary needs.