Senior Cat NutritionLast updated: August 02, 2016
Cats are known for their finicky preferences, and sometimes their dietary needs are particular too. A cat's regular diet has specific needs, such as taurine and protein, and as they age, it may only become more specific. One of the best ways to keep your cat healthy when he's old is to start when he's young. Good nutrition and regular exercise can keep him at a healthy weight, making it easier for him as he ages.
Unlike dogs, a cat's energy needs stay relatively the same throughout adulthood, so there's no need to change his calorie intake unless his health requires it. However, as cats age they do not digest or absorb fat as well; therefore, older cats may need to consume more fat or highly digestible fat in order to fulfill energy needs. In this situation, you may need to adjust his diet to keep him at a healthy weight.
Even if his calorie needs stay the same, a variety of factors can affect your cat's individual health needs. Unique health problems may need unique diet specifications.
Arthritis and Joint CareThose stiff, aching joints can cause a lot of pain and slow your cat down if not treated regularly. Joint care supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin can help regenerate lost cartilage and restore some of your cat's mobility. Do NOT give your cat anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, unless directed by a veterinarian. Cats are very sensitive to these drugs, and they can cause a lot of problems, including death, if not given as directed.
Skin and Hair CoatJust like humans, a cat's hair coat can become thinner, duller and possibly gray. A fatty acid supplement can restore some of that luster and shine, and extra grooming procedures can distribute natural oils throughout the coat.
GastrointestinalConstipation is common in older cats, and this may be affected by hairballs. Your cat's diet should be high in quality dietary fiber with extra water. Regular hairball treatment and grooming can help reduce constipation due to hairballs.
Kidney FunctionIf your cat has kidney problems, his diet and medications will probably need to change. Choose a diet with less phosphorus, salt and protein, encouraging as much water consumption as possible. Medications such as Azodyl or Epakitin can also help relieve symptoms.
Dental ProblemsVery common in older cats, dental problems probably won't affect the nutrients they eat, but the type of food they eat. Pain and discomfort in their teeth may affect their ability to eat properly, so canned food may be necessary.
As your cat ages, regular veterinary care also becomes more and more important. Your veterinarian can help you monitor any weight gain or loss, as well as give you nutrition recommendations according to your cat's individual needs. With proper prevention and care, you can ensure your cat lives to a healthy, old age.
If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.
-The Revival Education Team
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.