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As cats get older their nutritional needs change. Because of that, it’s important to ensure that their diet is age-appropriate and meets their needs at each stage of their lives. Senior cats have different dietary requirements than younger cats so you’ll want to adjust what you’re feeding them based on their age. The healthiest type of food for cats to eat is wet food. So what wet foods are best for senior cats? How do you know what foods would be best for your cat? In this article, we will explore the nutritional needs of senior cats and the benefits of wet food for this stage of life.
The nutritional needs of senior cats
As cats age, their nutritional needs change. It’s important to ensure that their diet is age-appropriate and meets their specific needs in order to support their overall health and well-being. Here, we will explore the nutritional needs of senior cats in more detail.
One consideration for the nutritional needs of senior cats is protein. Cats, in general, have a high protein requirement and this need does not decrease with age. In fact, it may even increase as cats age and their muscle mass begins to decline. If cats don’t get enough protein, their body will start to eat away at their muscle, leading to weakness, pain, and difficulty moving around. Therefore it’s important to choose a diet that is high in high-quality protein sources, such as meat, poultry, or fish, to help maintain muscle mass and support overall health.
Fat is another important nutrient for senior cats. While it’s important to choose a diet that is not too high in fat, a moderate amount of fat is necessary for overall health. Fat provides energy, helps to maintain healthy skin and coat, and supports the absorption of certain vitamins. Fat is also very calorie-dense, so if you have a skinny senior cat, fat can help put needed weight on them.
Moisture is also an important consideration for senior cats. As cats age, they may be less able to concentrate their urine, which can increase their risk of urinary tract issues. Increasing the moisture content of their diet can help to prevent these issues. Wet food is a good option for increasing moisture intake, as it is typically around 78% water.
In addition to macronutrients, you should also consider the micronutrient needs of older cats. This includes vitamins and minerals that are essential for a cat’s health as they age. Some key micronutrients for senior cats include:
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for bone health and is found in animal proteins.
Taurine: Taurine is an amino acid that helps with eye health, heart function, and the central nervous system.
Omega-3: Fatty acids are important for your cat’s skin and coat health. They can also help manage or prevent symptoms of arthritis, allergies, cancer, kidney disease, and heart disease.
Before switching to a new food recommend consulting with your cat’s veterinarian to ensure that your cat’s diet is appropriate for their needs. If your cat has certain medical issues (such as diabetes or heart disease), you’ll also want to check that your diet will not be harming them. Overall, a diet that is high in high-quality protein, moderate in fat, and sufficient in moisture, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, is what will keep your senior cat healthy during their golden years.
The benefits of wet food for senior cats
Wet food can be beneficial to the diet of any senior cat. Here are some of the pros of wet food for this stage of life:
As cats age, they might not be able to concentrate their urine well, which can increase their risk of urinary tract issues. Increasing the moisture content of their diet can help to prevent urine that’s too dilute. Wet food is a good option for increasing moisture intake, as it is typically around 78% water. This can be especially important for senior cats that are prone to urinary tract issues or that may be on medications that can increase their risk of these issues.
Easier to digest
As cats age, they may experience changes in their digestive system that can make it more difficult to digest certain types of food. You might notice they throw up dry food or treats more often than they used to. Wet food is typically easier to digest than dry food, as it contains more moisture and is often more finely ground. This can be especially beneficial for senior cats that may have dental issues or that may struggle to chew dry food.
Improved dental health
Dental issues are common in senior cats and can be caused by a variety of factors, including gum disease, tooth loss, and mouth pain. Wet food may be easier on a senior cat’s teeth and gums and may help to reduce the risk of dental issues. Additionally, some wet foods are specifically formulated to support dental health and may contain ingredients that help to remove plaque and tartar build-up.
There’s a lot of evidence out there that shows cats that eat primarily dry food are at higher risk for obesity, and therefore all the medical issues that come along with feline obesity (such as diabetes and heart disease). As senior cats become less active, it’s easier for them to put weight on. Since dry food is high in carbohydrates and is more calorie dense than wet food, it’s easier for them to become obese if that is their primary food source.
Wet food may also be more palatable for senior cats, as it has a more appealing texture and smell. It’s common for cats to lose their sense of smell as they get older, which can cause a decreased appetite. If you’ve lost your sense of smell due to illness before, you know that eating just isn’t enjoyable if you can’t smell. Cats feel the same way, so the strong scent of wet food can make them want to eat more.
Overall, wet food can be a good option for senior cats as it can help to support their overall health. It’s important to choose a high-quality wet food that is appropriate for your cat’s nutritional needs and to consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns. Wet food can be a delicious and nutritious option that can help to support the health and well-being of your senior feline friend.
Choosing the best wet food for senior cats
When choosing a wet food for senior cats, you’ll want to consider their personalized nutritional needs and choose a high-quality product that meets those needs. Here are some tips for choosing the best wet food for older cats:
Read labels and ingredient lists: Pay attention to the ingredients in the food you are looking at. Look for products that list a high-quality source of protein, such as meat or poultry, as the first ingredient. Avoid products that list fillers, such as corn or wheat, as the primary ingredients. It’s also a good idea to check the label for any potential allergens, such as corn, soy, or wheat, and avoid products that contain these ingredients if your cat has a known allergy. Avoid foods with fillers, such as corn or wheat. They provide no nutritional value for cats and overconsumption can lead to weight gain in more sedentary cats.
Choose a high-quality protein-rich food: Protein is a crucial nutrient for senior cats because they are obligate carnivores. That means their bodies have evolved to require a diet make strictly of meat. They can eat other foods, but meat is the most nutritious thing for them to eat. So you’ll want to pick a wet food that is rich in high-quality protein sources, like meat, poultry, or fish. Avoid products where the main source of protein is a plant-based protein like soy or peas.
Consult with your veterinarian: If you have any concerns about your senior cat’s diet or if you are unsure which wet food is the best for your cat, it’s highly recommended that you check in with your veterinarian. A veterinarian can help to assess your cat’s nutritional needs and recommend a wet food that is appropriate for their specific needs. Cats with certain medical conditions will need to avoid certain foods – such as diabetics avoiding carbohydrates – so your vet can give you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on certain foods.
In addition to these considerations, it’s also a good idea to consider your senior cat’s preferences when choosing wet food. Some cats may be picky eaters or may have specific preferences when it comes to flavor and texture. It may be necessary to try a few different wet foods to find one that your cat enjoys and that meets their nutritional needs.
Overall, choosing the best wet food for your senior cat requires paying attention to the ingredients, selecting a high-quality, protein-rich product, and consulting with a veterinarian if necessary. With a little bit of research and consideration, you can find a wet food that is both nutritious and enjoyable for your senior feline.
Our choices for high-quality wet foods for senior cats
Below are a few tried-and-true wet foods for senior cats.
While all cats have different foods they like, I’ve yet to meet a cat that doesn’t like gravy. The Honest Kitchen’s foods in bone broth gravy are a favorite, both by cats and vets. All of The Honest Kitchen’s products use real meat – no fillers, meat meals, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives. It’s all real food like what you can make at home! I also like that they sell the gravy alone as “pour overs” that you can add to other foods. My cat loves the gravy as a snack.
If you’ve ever asked your vet about wet food for senior cats, they’ve more than likely suggested Hill’s Science Diet Senior food. Vets love this stuff because of the high quality ingredients an easy accessibility (you can find it at most pet stores unlike a lot of specialty foods).
I’m sure Purina is a brand you’re familiar with, and that’s because they make great products that cats can use at all stages of life. This particular product is made specifically for cats over 7 and includes 25 essential vitamins and minerals as well as taurine. They also have lots of flavors of this food, so you can mix it up and give your cat some variety.
Wellness is a brand that’s known for its quality ingredients, and this line of senior cat food is no exception. The Age Advantage line has wet foods made up of high-quality proteins and is loaded with the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that your aging cat needs. They don’t contain any corn, wheat, or soy, and most cats I’ve found absolutely love the taste.
NUTRO is a brand that I’d never heard of until recently and I’m not sure why, because people are absolutely RAVING about it online. Made of high-quality non-GMO ingredients, NUTRO’s wet food has all the nutrients that your senior cat needs to stay happy and healthy, and doesn’t have any grain fillers. It’s also one of the more affordable choices, costing less than a lot of the crummier “cheap” foods on the market.