Looking after a senior cat can bring a whole new set of responsibilities, with one of the most important being understanding their nutritional needs. Just as their personalities and behaviours change, so do their dietary requirements. Keep reading to find out what you need to feed your feline friend to keep them happy and healthy throughout their senior years.
Cats are considered to be senior when they are between 11 and 15 years old. In human years, this is equal to between 57 and 73 years old. Any cats that are older than this are considered to be super senior. When looking after your older cat, it can be helpful to think of their age in human terms, as this can provide you with a better understanding of their needs and preferences.
There are a number of changes that happen as your cat ages.
Just like humans, many cats show their age in their physical appearance. Their fur can become thinner, with more and more grey hairs starting to appear. Their claws can also become more brittle, which can deter them from using their scratching post as often as they used to.
It is common for older cats to experience digestive issues, particularly with protein and fat. This can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, as well as decreased appetite. Each of these symptoms can lead to weight loss, which can have an impact on their overall health.
While each cat is unique, you might notice your cat seems less active than they used to. Instead of chasing toys and stalking birds, they would rather be curled up on the sofa. They might even be more selective in social interactions, no longer happy to greet every visitor you have.
Along with the physical, digestive and behavioural changes, there will also be changes to your cat’s nutritional needs. To help your cat maintain a healthy weight, you will need to ensure their food is rich in the right nutrients.
At Burns Pet Food, we have our own adult and senior cat food in two delicious flavours. Whether your feline friend prefers Chicken and Brown Rice or Turkey and Brown Rice, our dry food is produced using all natural ingredients. With high quality protein, our senior cat food supports healthy ageing.
Just like humans, cats also require less food as they age. However, their diet doesn’t necessarily need to be changed. For senior cats, we have a feeding guide that suggests a slightly smaller portion size. If you’re worried about their mobility, you can also consider adding a joint supplement to their diet.
Protein is an essential part of your cat’s diet. However, senior cats do not need more protein than adult cats. Instead, they may require more easily digestible sources of protein. This can help to maintain the muscle mass of your cat, allowing them to stay active throughout their senior years.
The calorie requirements of senior cats depend on their energy levels. As cats age, their energy levels can change. Some cats can become less active, preferring to spend more time resting in sunny spots. Less active cats require fewer calories, preventing any unwanted weight gain. However, other cats can maintain a relatively high activity level, continuing to explore and play. More active cats require little change to be made to their diet, supporting their increased movement. By keeping an eye on your cat, you can ensure they receive the appropriate amount of calories to maintain a healthy body weight.
It is common for senior felines to eat less. From decreased energy levels to reduced taste perception, this change in appetite can be attributed to a number of issues related to their age. Among the potential reasons, digestive issues often stands out as a common factor. If your cat struggles to digest protein and fat, consider offering them several small meals throughout the day. This can make it easier for your cat to digest, whilst ensuring they still receive the essential nutrients for their health and wellbeing.
The amount of food a senior cat should eat varies depending on their body weight and activity level. That’s why we would recommend consulting with your vet before increasing or decreasing your cat’s food. They will be able to check your cat’s weight and offer advice on whether an adjustment to their food intake is necessary. If your vet confirms your cat is a healthy body weight, you can use our Burns feeding guide to ensure you are feeding them an appropriate amount of dry food.
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For further advice on feeding a senior cat, get in touch. Our team of nutritional advisers are here to answer any questions you have about keeping your senior cat healthy.