Senior Cat Food
Senior cats, just like us, have different nutritional requirements than when they’re younger. It’s not a drastic change, but keeping up your cat’s health becomes more and more important the older they get, which means that addressing these needs now instead of later is important.
The biggest difference is that elderly cats need more protein than their younger counterparts. So, when you’re looking for food that is suitable for senior cats (see our guide about the best cat food for senior cats), you need to focus on the protein content before anything else: including labels.
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How to Address Changing Dietary Needs in Senior Cats
Good elderly cat food will also contain nutrients that help support joint health and heart health. These include Omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin. Added to a higher protein content, you’re looking at a much healthier elderly cat.
As cats age, their organs can also suffer damage. Antioxidants like vitamin E are also a good thing to have in considerable amounts.
Since cat’s dentition can also suffer as they age, you may want to consider a wet food or those foods which support dental health as well.
In the end, the food differences aren’t enormous, but they’re definitely there. Most of us are doing our best to keep our senior cats alive and healthy for as long as possible, so senior food is a good idea when the time comes.
When Should I Switch to a Senior Cat Food?
Cats vary widely in their lifespans, but a good general guideline is to begin to make the switch around seven years of age.
Indoor-only cats may make it to eight or nine years before they really begin to show signs of age since they tend to live longer, but it’s a good idea to begin to consider switching earlier than that.
In the end, it’s mostly when they begin to show signs of age that you should absolutely make the switch, but it’s a wise idea to begin the transfer earlier than that in order to keep your cat healthier for longer.
How to Switch to Senior Cat Food
Switching an older cat’s eating habits can take a bit more time than switches earlier in a cat’s life cycle, but it’s usually not too hard.
You may want to try just giving them the new food in the beginning. If that works, then you’re good to go, not every cat needs a longer period of transition.
If they don’t take it, then you’ll want to slowly bump up the amount of new food mixed in with their old food. Start at 25% and raise the content by another 25% every three or four days until they’re completely switched over.
It’s quick and easy. If your cat just refuses to accept it, then you may need to try out another food to make sure that your cat is getting the support it needs as a senior. It’s a good idea to begin to make the switch around their 7th birthday since that’s when most cats will begin to show signs of aging.
Some Senior Cat Supplements for Consideration
Supplementation for pets is a bit controversial, and the truth is that as your cat ages, you may need to go through a wide range of supplements.
The most important ones are going to be for their joints and heart. Arthritis and other problems with joint degeneration can seriously mess up a cat’s quality of life. Supplementation with glucosamine, Omega fatty acids, and chondroitin is the go-to for joint problems, and the fatty acids will also help with health in general.
Probiotics become more necessary, as well. Supporting your cat’s gut health is a primary concern for many, especially since it reduces the risk of GI problems like constipation and vomiting (see best cat food for older cats that vomit).
Fortunately, you don’t have to sit there and map all of these out. Instead, you can easily find all-in-one supplements that are the perfect solution for your aging animal.
For our money, SIMIEN PureAll seems to do the trick. Pick it up along with a mature food, and you’ve got an excellent solution to your animal’s aging problems.