As your feline companion ages, its nutritional needs will change and you will need to buy Cat Food for Older Cats. Even though you still think of your cat as it used to be in its younger days, you need to consider its age when picking out its food. Otherwise, health problems are due to arise. The thing is that cats don’t age in a visible manner, as is the case with humans. This is why you might overlook its age.
Truth be told, picking out the best cat food for older cats can make the world of a difference in their longevity. With that in mind, if you want your cat to stay around for many years, you should choose its food while taking into consideration several key elements. This is what my cat food for older cats reviews are intended for: to offer some suggestions for the best cat food for older cats, as well as some significant guidelines that will make the shopping process easier.
Best Older Cat Food Reviews (Updated List)
1 Hill’s Science Diet Adult 11+ Indoor Dry Cat Food
If your cat prefers dry food, then you might consider getting the best cat food for older cats in dry form. Essentially, Hill’s Science Diet Adult 11+ Indoor Dry Cat Food is specially designed to address the needs of the indoor, older cat, featuring the main nutrients that your cat needs in order to be healthy and well.
Although the kibble isn’t necessarily soft, the pieces are really small. Therefore, most cats will find it easy to eat. This type of food works well in an automatic feeder – especially if you want to control the portions your cat eats.
In addition to that, the food features natural fiber. This has the role of assisting the digestive processes while diminishing the frequency of hairballs.
Moving on to the list of ingredients, you’ll find that the compounds are natural, including fish oil, apples, dried beet pulp, carrots, broccoli, and cranberries. All these are loaded with minerals and nutrients that your cat needs in order to stay healthy.
- For cats eleven years and older.
- Chicken recipe.
- Vitamins C and E for strong immunity.
- No artificial preservatives, synthetic colors or flavors.
- Natural fibers to reduce hairballs and for healthy digestion.
- Key nutrients for eye, heart, kidney and joint health.
2 Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult 11+ Classic Canned Cat Food
Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult 11+ Classic Canned Cat Food is another option of excellent cat food created for older cats. It is also a good alternative if you want to stay on a budget and still provide your furry companion with nutritional meals.
For one thing, the formula is created for the older cat, being suitable even for sensitive felines. The protein content in the case of this food is 40%. Hence, this formula is sure to address your cat’s need for protein.
On the other hand, note that it is a bit higher in fat, in comparison with other options of wet cat food. In spite of this, it still offers a decent balance of calorie density and nutrition. Your cat will get 25 quintessential vitamins and minerals – including taurine, which is a key amino acid that your cat requires for optimal health.
Moving on, the formula doesn’t enlist any grains. Thus, you won’t have to worry about digestive issues if you were to choose this food.
- For cats eleven years and older.
- Salmon & tuna recipe.
- 25 essential vitamins and minerals, plus taurine.
- Healthy skin and a shiny coat.
- Strong immunity.
3 Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
If your cat prefers wet food, Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is another great product, which comes in the form of a soft paté. Your older cat is bound to love it!
The base ingredient is real high-protein chicken, chicken liver, chicken broth, combined with a bunch of plant ingredients and healthy supplements. In order to ensure and promote the health of your cat’s coat, the formula includes fatty acids.
In spite of the fact that this is grain-free cat food, it still includes beneficial ingredients that address your cat’s need for dietary fiber.
It is also rich in moisture, as it contains no less than 78% water and liquids. This makes it a decent option for cats that are reluctant to drinking water.
- For indoor mature cats.
- No by-product meals, corn, wheat or soy.
- Made with real broth and cranberries to keep your cat hydrated.
- Supports digestive and urinary health.
- Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids from flaxseeds to help promote healthy skin and coat.
- Rich in protein.
4 Royal Canin Aging 12+ Canned Cat Food
Royal Canin Aging 12+ Canned Cat Food could also be introduced as one of the best cat food for older cats, as it features a very low level of fat. This makes it suitable for cats that are prone to obesity.
In addition to that, the levels of protein are really high, in this way ensuring that your cat doesn’t lose any lean muscle. The inclusion of several vitamins and minerals ensures that the digestive process goes accordingly while optimizing your feline’s immunity.
According to pet owners, even the pickiest cats love this assortment. The only downside we could think of is that the price is quite hefty – but this is usually the norm with Royal Canin products.
- For cats twelve years and older.
- Gravy recipe.
- High levels of essential fatty acids, EPA & DHA for healthy joints.
- Reduced phosphorus levels for kidney health.
- Tender thin slices in gravy for sensitive or missing teeth and gums.
5 Blue Buffalo Wilderness Mature Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
If you’re looking for the best cat food for older cats with a grain-free formula, then Blue Buffalo Wilderness Mature Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is worthy of your attention. On top of that, in order to provide your feline companion with energy and to prevent lean muscle loss, it contains protein-rich chicken.
You don’t have to worry about by-product meals, soy or wheat. Therefore, if your cat is ultra-sensitive or has an allergy to one of these ingredients, the formula will most likely be down its alley.
Moving on, the recipe is a good source of healthy, quintessential fatty acids that your cat needs for its wellbeing. The level of moisture is also high, due to the inclusion of real broth – this ensures that your cat gets the water it needs to prevent kidney failure or disease.
- For mature cats.
- Chicken recipe.
- No chicken or poultry by-product meals.
- Free of corn, wheat or soy.
- No artificial preservatives or flavors.
- Rich in protein for healthy muscles.
- Packed with vitamins, minerals, and essential taurine for overall health.
- Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids from fish oil and flaxseeds healthy skin and coat.
- Moisture from the real broth for digestive and urinary health.
6 Royal Canin Aging Spayed/Neutered 12+ Dry Cat Food
Moving on to another dry food assortment, Royal Canin Aging Spayed/Neutered 12+ Dry Cat Food is a high-quality product that your cat is bound to love. Many cats are reluctant to trying wet food, which means that you should stick to giving it dry food while ensuring that it gets enough water.
Once again, this formula is meant to prevent obesity, which is a common concern for many domestic cats – especially as they get older.
The kibble is easy to chew, so there should be no issues in this regard either. As for the combination of antioxidants included in the formula, they also include fatty acids and lycopene, which support the immunity of the body during the aging process.
In regard to the levels of phosphorus, it is adapted in order to prevent kidney decline.
- For cats twelve years and older.
- For neutered/spayed cats.
- Chicken recipe.
- Easy to chew kibble.
- Fat levels are ideal for weight control.
- Enriched with L-carnitine.
- Optimum phosphorous levels help to support urinary health.
7 Wild Frontier older Open Valley Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
Wild Frontier older Open Valley Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is our last suggestion for the best cat food for older cats, but it’s definitely worth mentioning as it contains all the ingredients that your pet needs.
The very first ingredient included in the recipe is real chicken. This offers your cat the protein it needs to prevent lean muscle loss. Also, the recipe includes taurine – an essential amino acid that supports the heart and eye health of the cat in its older years.
The formula is also low in carbohydrates, which usually slow down the digestive process and lead to weight gain. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about joint issues or anything of the sort.
- For cats seven years and older.
- Chicken recipe.
- A healthy blend of carbohydrates.
- Rich in protein.
- Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients for healthy immunity.
- Taurine for eye & heart health.
- Healthy joints.
Cat Food for Older Cats Buying Guide
What to Consider When Looking for The Best Cat Food for Older Cats?
Finding the best cat food for older cats by chance is less likely to happen. Quite the contrary: you must know what to look for, in order to make the best choice for your furry companion. And while there’s no such thing as a product that will address the needs of all older cats, there are some factors that can make the shopping process less dreary.
- Moisture Level
Perhaps one of the most common problems that older cats deal with is tooth sensitivity and tooth loss. You may wonder why your cat is losing teeth. Similar to humans, with age, the enamel on your cat’s teeth breaks down. Therefore, over the course of time, tooth loss is likely to happen – sooner or later.
However, if your cat has only one or two teeth missing, this won’t cause a lot of problems. Still, if the issue is severe, this will affect your cat’s capability of eating. This merely indicates that you should adjust its diet accordingly, considering the moisture level of the food. This is why most pet owners that have older cats struggling with tooth loss or tooth sensitivity will choose wet food over dry food.
Something else you should note is that, even if you were to choose wet food over dry food, you should still make sure that your cat gets enough water.
- Calorie Content
Just as important as the moisture level of the food is its calorie intake. With age, your cat becomes less and less active – this is especially true with domestic, indoor cats that spend most of their time lying around. Even if, in its adulthood, your cat would run around the house, with age, it will no longer be as energetic as it used to. Hence, you should ensure that its calorie intake is according to your activity level. Otherwise, obesity will become an issue. The thing with obesity is that it can lead to other health conditions that can be avoided by proper nutrition.
Obesity is especially detrimental to cats when they reach old age. Make sure you always assess the calorie intake per cup for the food you are buying.
The very best cat food for older cats on the market should include plenty of vitamins and minerals. Usually, the blend of minerals and vitamins is meant to address your cat’s nutritional needs. In this way, you ensure that it lives a long and healthy life.
Depending on the brand, some vitamins and minerals might be present at higher levels, and you should carefully analyze each label prior to purchasing. Make sure you consider your vet’s recommendations, especially if your cat has specific vitamin and mineral needs.
Moving on, old age predisposes cats to develop increased sensitivity to the foods they once loved in adulthood. This is why most older cat food assortments contain probiotics. These are added in order to facilitate a smooth digestive process, addressing sensitive stomach issues. With that in mind, if your cat seems to have developed stomach sensitivity, make sure you get a food assortment that contains probiotics. You may also consider feeding it a cat food for sensitive stomach and vomiting.
- Check for the AAFCO Statement on the Label of the Food
While it’s true that the name of the manufacturer might be an indicator of the quality of the cat food, there’s something else you should note. We’re referring to the AAFCO statement. AAFCO stands for the American Association of Feed Control Officials.
If you were to check this, you would get accurate information regarding the nutritional value of the food. You should always place your focus on the nutrients present in the food. What makes the best cat food for older cats is the right balance of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.
Also, when comparing dry and wet food, the percentage of nutrients might seem higher in the case of dry food, simply because it contains less water. This doesn’t necessarily make it richer in nutrients when compared to wet food – as wet food consists of roughly 70% water.
- Kidney Health Support
Did you know that renal failure is a widespread condition in the case of older cats? This is why you should customize its diet in order to preserve and protect its kidney health.
Evidently, this comes down to its hydration and diet. If your cat doesn’t get enough water, then it will most likely suffer from various health conditions. Choosing wet cat food is an option that many owners go for. That’s because it offers 70% moisture as opposed to dry food. But we’ll get into more detail later in the article.
Another aspect that has to do with kidney health is metabolically stressful foods. Therefore, food that contains a lot of processed ingredients will imminently cause metabolic stress. Also, if the food you feed to your cat contains high levels of carbohydrates, this might have a detrimental impact.
If your cat is predisposed to renal problems, then you should feed it a diet that is low on phosphorus. This will diminish the strain placed on the kidneys. The foods that contain the highest levels of phosphorus are dairy, organ meats, and fish. The foods that are low in phosphorus are poultry and rabbit.
What Do older Cats Need in their Food?
Obviously, the ingredients of a food assortment for cats will determine whether that product is worthy of your attention or not. That being said, this is what your older cat ultimately needs:
- High-Quality Protein
Protein should represent the predominant ingredient in a cat’s diet – whether we’re talking about a kitten, an adult cat, or an older cat. But it would be safe to say that, in its older age, it’s even more important for your cat to get enough protein. It’s also important for the protein to be of the highest quality.
With age, your cat’s capability of ingesting essential nutrients and metabolizing its energy diminishes. This is where a diet rich in high-quality protein can make a difference between a healthy cat and a lethargic one that lacks the energy to do anything.
When a cat reaches 10-12 years of age, it needs more protein out of its diet. This has to do with the fact that an older cat struggles to maintain its muscle mass. And while obesity is an issue for many domestic cats, there are also cases in which older cats are underweight. This is because they lose a lot of their muscle mass. if weight loss is the case, you may consider cat food for weight gain after consulting your veterinarian.
In fact, there is a study on the older cat nutrition that clearly indicates the importance of protein in an older cat’s diet. According to the study, only the cats that have a diet consisting of 36% protein were capable of maintaining their muscle mass. The cats belonging to the other categories lost lean body mass.
This doesn’t mean that you should feed your cat whichever source of protein. The protein has to come from a safe, specific source, and it has to be of the highest quality. Usually, meat is best for cats, as they are carnivores, and in the wild, felines wouldn’t consume plants.
Taurine is an essential ingredient that plays an important role in the overall health of the cat – and older cats depend on it to thrive. It is an amino acid found exclusively in animal-based proteins. Taurin is critical for healthy vision, good digestion, normal heart muscle function, and a healthy immune system.
In its deficiency, the retinal cells of the eyes will degenerate in time, impairing the vision of your cat. Also, a taurine deficiency will lead to a weakening of the muscles of the heart, causing a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. Moreover, taurine is a component of bile salts, and its deficiency may cause digestive disturbances.
The Ingredients You Should Avoid
To preserve your cat’s health, checking the label of the food you’re purchasing is a must. If you didn’t do that until now, then it’s time you embrace this habit. Here are some guidelines you’ll find useful:
- “Mystery” Meat
You know that your cat needs meat as a source of protein in order to thrive. Nevertheless, you should know the type of meat present in the food. Usually, the most reputable brands will indicate precisely the source of the meat.
On the other hand, there are manufacturers that include meat meal, or bone meal, or byproduct meal on the list of ingredients. According to the FDA, when it comes to these, they might be derived from mammals other than pigs, cattle, goats, or sheep. This might lead to the conclusion that these food products may contain road kill or expired groceries. You should avoid meat by-products in cat food.
- Artificial Preservatives
The cat food you can find on the market contains preservatives – no exception whatsoever. This applies in the case of the best cat food for older cats as well. Nevertheless, there is a difference, as there are natural preservatives and artificial preservatives, which can do a lot of harm. The natural ingredients you should look for are citric or ascorbic acid, which is actually vitamin C, tocopherols (vitamin E), sage, rosemary or clove.
Still, make sure that the food you’re purchasing doesn’t contain artificial preservatives such as BHA, TBHQ, BHT, and ethoxyquin.
- Artificial Flavors and Colors
Generally speaking, artificial flavors are usually added to cat food assortments, in order to make up for the poor quality of the ingredients. Still, the thing with artificial flavors and colors is that they could trigger allergic reactions or make your cat develop sensitivity to a specific component. If your cat has allergies, you should also consult your veterinarian to feed it hypoallergenic cat food. Natural flavoring is also something you should be mindful of, as it is not at all natural. According to the AAFCO, natural is a term that is liberally used including more ingredients than it excludes.
How Much Should I Feed My Older Cat?
Considering that obesity tends to be a serious concern for older cats, you should determine the right portions. Although the fat levels of the food are small, this doesn’t mean that overeating cannot become a problem, if you don’t pay attention to this aspect.
The right portions will depend on the type of food you’re giving your cat and on your pet’s current weight. The reason why we cannot say that something works in all cases is that different cat foods have different caloric densities. This is why you should determine the calorie intake per cup, by reading the label of the food.
However, if you are clueless regarding the right portions and your older cat seems to eat too much or too little, perhaps you should discuss how to feed your older cat with a veterinarian. In addition to that, make sure that, whatever type of change you introduce in your cat’s diet, you do that gradually. Sudden changes can damage your cat’s digestive system.
What Is Considered Old Age for a Cat?
So, when is a cat officially regarded as being older? At what age should you consider looking for the best cat food for older cats?
Generally speaking, cats are considered to be older between the ages of seven and eleven. As pointed out by the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the term older is expressly used to talk about an aging pet. However, there are several factors that should be considered.
For one thing, the species and breed of the cat matter as well. Usually, you will easily pinpoint an aging pet – as is the case with humans. There are several signs such as intolerance to activity. Depending on the pet, this may be more or less subtle. At the same time, your cat’s general behavior and sleeping behavior are worthy of attention.
In general, when something is wrong, a cat is more likely to embrace a reclusive behavior. This is what makes the best cat food for older cats crucial if you want to protect your cat’s health for as long as possible.
Common Health Issues with Elderly Cats
Just as it is the case with humans, with age comes illnesses. And there are some illnesses that are quite common for older cats. If your cat has a condition, then you should consider its nutritional needs in relation to that condition.
Diabetes is a serious concern for many pet owners. Especially in the case of older cats. Usually, diabetes and obesity go hand in hand. And in many cases, both issues are related to a cat’s diet. Since you are responsible for your cat’s wellbeing and long-term health, and you should monitor your pet’s portions.
Most specialists advise that, if a cat has diabetes, it should be fed a diet high in protein, and low on carbs, to better control the condition. By providing your feline companion with insulin, and looking after its diet, you will most likely manage to stabilize the levels of sugar. There are also brands of cat food for diabetic cats available on the market.
- Kidney Disease
We’ve already pointed out that, when browsing for the best cat food for older cats, you should also consider kidney support. Even if your cat doesn’t seem to have any problems in that department, it’s still best to prevent than to be forced to treat. Once again, you should direct a lot of thought into purchasing the right food for your cat. Especially if it shows signs of kidney disease.
A diet low in salt and phosphorus is in order.
- Heart Disease
Unfortunately, heart disease is just as widespread. There are different types of heart diseases, some being more serious than others. Irrespective of the cause, in most cases, the result is congestive heart failure in cats. This condition eventually prevents the heart from plumbing blood efficiently.
- Dental Diseases
While dental diseases aren’t necessarily exclusive to older cats, it is still an issue for most felines. In truth, roughly 2/3 of cats aged over 3 deal with some type of dental disease. It can be quite painful, affecting the cat’s appetite and leading to weight loss. This is what makes it primordial to address your cat’s oral hygiene, to prevent this from happening.
What to Do If My older Cat Is Reluctant to Eat?
If your cat used to be eager to eat as soon as you fill its bowl with food, you might be surprised to realize that now your cat is reluctant to eat. Should you worry about it or is this something typical of older cats?
At first, you might consider switching your cat’s food. Try combining wet food with dry food or mixing it with tuna juice. However, these strategies might not work in all cases. And if you notice that your cat has lost its appetite and it doesn’t eat, you should address your concerns to a veterinarian. In general, if a cat refuses to eat, this could be a sign of an underlying health condition. A cat’s appetite might be connected with a dental condition, gastrointestinal disease, chronic pain or cancer, among other things.
A veterinarian might consider prescribing a drug that stimulates the appetite if that’s the case – such as mirtazapine or cyproheptadine.
Is Wet Food Better for Older Cats?
There is an ongoing debate between wet cat food and dry cat food, as there are several pros and cons associated with each category. Still, how do things stand when it comes to older cats?
Considering that older cats have individual needs, what type of food is best for them? Experts are yet to reach a consensus on this widely debated topic, but we’ll have a look at the pros and cons associated with each.
First of all, dry cat food is more convenient, as you can leave it for hours without worrying that it will get spoilt. It is also more economical and is better for cats prone to develop dental problems. At the same time, the moisture level of dry food is only 10 percent, and it contains more carbohydrates and less protein than wet food.
Meanwhile, wet food has more protein and fat than its counterpart, being less energy-dense. In addition to that, it tends to be pricier, not to mention that it is prone to get spoilt rather easily.
Many people believe that wet food is better and that cats that live off dry food are likely to cope with health problems. But these are only assumptions, as experts clearly state that more research is needed in order to make such statements.
What we cannot deny, though, is that wet food can be a better option for cats struggling with certain conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, urinary tract problems, and so on. Plus, it is a better option for cats with missing teeth due to the fact that it is much easier to chew.
However, once again, more studies should be developed in order to support these claims regarding the benefits of wet cat food. The fact that wet food contains more protein is also a benefit. However, even if your cat has a diet rich in protein, this doesn’t exclude the likelihood of amino acid deficiency – so, keep this in mind when looking for the best cat food for older cats.
To conclude, the safest way in which you can ensure that your cat stays healthy for as long as possible is by providing it with the best cat food for older cats. One way in which you can do that is by taking my guidelines into consideration while addressing your cat’s specific needs. Make sure you assess your feline’s individual needs, health condition, and activity levels. If you are still clueless, you can always discuss the topic with a veterinarian.
The bottom line is this: if you feed your cat high-quality food, and in the right amounts, it will remain by your side for years to come. Aside from this, it will preserve its agility and energetic nature.