Your cat is getting older and their lifestyle is gradually changing. He becomes less active, spends more time indoors and sleeps more. Its metabolism slows down and its nutritional needs decrease.
However, your cat still has many years ahead of him and adapting his diet to his new biological rhythm is decisive for his health and well-being. We help you to see more clearly about his senior diet.
The dietary needs of the “third age” cat
The life expectancy of the domestic cat is constantly increasing and is estimated at 15 years. But some of our felines willingly stay with us for twenty years. A cat is considered to enter third age around the age of 10.
Without giving in to panic, know that his immune defenses are weakening and that kidney problems can appear. At the same time, the cat’s physical activity decreases, as does his appetite!
Under these conditions, it is necessary to stimulate his appetite, to adapt his daily rations of food and to opt for a specific diet, providing him with everything he needs to stay healthy.
Your senior cat needs food that is:
- Rich in protein: the cat remains a carnivore throughout its life
- Low in lipids: fats should be avoided to avoid being overweight
- Low in phosphorus: this drop in concentration helps maintain kidney function
- Low in calories: it allows them to keep their weight in shape despite a lack of physical activity
- Supplemented with vitamin E: to strengthen their natural defenses, promote their immune system and preserve their cardiovascular health
It is therefore important to choose the right diet for your cat as soon as the first signs of aging appear.
How to choose the diet of the elderly cat?
To keep your senior cat in good health, you will need to be particularly careful with the composition of its diet. Even more than with a young cat, choosing a high quality premium diet is essential.
For this, several choices are available to you: consult your veterinarian for his advice, or opt for a suitable diet yourself. Today, many online sales sites as well as specialized stores are developing and offering good quality croquettes and pâtés.
Do not hesitate to decipher the labels and dwell on the ingredients that will make up your cat’s meals until the end of his life. Here are the most important things to consider in making the best choice:
- Meat and fish: the number one food of the feline diet, animal products must be the first ingredient in its food and meats must be listed (beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, salmon, etc.)
- Cereals, animal and vegetable by-products must make up the minority of ingredients
On the texture side, it may be welcome to move towards smaller kibbles or wet food.
Solid or wet food for the aging cat?
As they age, many cats find it difficult to chew their food properly, either because they have lost teeth or because their mouths have become more sensitive. Digestion also becomes more difficult.
As a result, kibble can be poorly assimilated by the body of the elderly cat. It is therefore preferable to choose a small solid diet to promote chewing, or to opt for a wet diet.
Indeed, wet food has many advantages for your senior cat:
- Richer at the top, it further avoids the appearance of kidney and urinary stones
- More appetizing because of its freshness, it encourages your cat to eat even when its taste and smell decline
- More natural in some manufacturers, wet food can be manufactured without adding cereals or plants and therefore better tolerated
Whatever choice you make for the well-being of your animal, you will have to get it used to this new diet so that it eats with enthusiasm.
Tips for feeding the picky senior cat
In order for your old cat to get used to his new diet, it is necessary to go slowly and gradually. Your cat knows what he wants, and especially what he doesn’t want. So, if he refuses his new diet, it may be better to change it if your persistence does not pay off.
But first, do not hesitate to test the following tips:
- Mix the new formula with the old, if it doesn’t sort out, gradually decrease the old food for at least two weeks
- Add a little juice from a tin of sardines or a drizzle of salmon oil to its new diet, or even tuna or chicken crumbs to attract it
- If they are kibbles, they may be too hard, you can moisten them with a little lukewarm water
Always serve your pet’s food at room temperature and at regular times. Leave a bowl of fresh and clean water available and remember to move his litter box away from where he takes his meals.
If your cat refuses to feed for 48 hours, despite your good will and the implementation of a few tips, consult your veterinarian immediately.
If your elderly cat suffers from a chronic illness, a food allergy, kidney problems or even diabetes, it is recommended that you consult your veterinarian to find a diet suitable for his age and health.