As the proud owner of an 11-year old rescue cat, Precious, I am always worried about her health. At 60 years of age, she is what her fellow cats would consider a "senior catizen"-- or wise in my eyes. Though she is generally a healthy cat, I am always scouring the internet and questioning her veterinarian for the best food to ensure her digestive system stays healthy while giving her the nutrients and energy to continue chasing bugs and laser points around the house.
So, if you are a fellow owner of an older cat, read on to learn more about what foods are best for elderly cats and why.
Regardless of their age, non processed and organic foods high in protein are essential to a cat's proper nutritional health as they are meat-loving carnivores. Especially for older cats, foods that are non-processed and high in protein are essential to their digestive health. These types of foods provide the most nutrients while putting the least amount of stress on the cat's digestive system. They can process and metabolize these foods better.
Foods high in protein can be anything from raw, gently cooked meats to canned wet food. One of my favorites is Meow Mix Tender Favorites. Our usual go-to has real tuna and whole shrimp pieces in a hearty broth providing both protein and moisture all in one go. Precious is in love with this brand.
Fancy Feast is another one of my favorites. Precious loves the broth packets as they have a high amount of liquid as well as whole meat. Crave is another great food brand for older cats. It has no grain and high levels of protein. Dehydration can cause severe issues to a cat's health and therefore the diet above is a great place to start.
If you are more keen to dry food, be sure to choose a dry food that is also high in protein content. These are products in which the nutrition labels meat as the first ingredient. My favorites are Kirkland (Costco brand) Cat dry food, Nutro Indoor Senior cat food, and Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging Cat food. Blue Buffalo also has a grain-free recipe for mature cats. Precious is a snob when it comes to dry food but she loves the Kirkland brand dry food, which is what we tend to get.
However, the biggest concern for dry food is that the moisture has been significantly decreased. This can cause dehydration and long term cases can cause kidney and liver issues. To prevent dehydration, ensure your cat drinks plenty of water alongside dry food. If possible, supplement the dry food with wet food as well. Though some individuals say that dry food is better for a cat's dental health, be wary to maintain a dry-food only diet. We have found that a proper balance of wet and dry food is usually best for a cat's well being. Furthermore, you can always brush a cat's teeth or invest in food that helps maintain dental health.
This goes with any food recommendation but also be sure to regulate your cat's food intake. Feline obesity can cause severe health concerns that we want to keep away from our elderly feline friends. Our diet for Precious includes a scoop of dry food for the day and wet food for dinner. We also have a water fountain to ensure she has plenty of water throughout the day.
Be sure to learn how to read a nutrition label and choose food with high protein content, high moisture content, significant nutritional value, and low sugar and salt content. As always, be sure to consult your veterinarian as to what will be best for your senior catizen.
What foods do you find are best for your older cats? Let us know in the comments below!
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