What Food Should You Feed Your Elderly Cat?

By October 20 | See Comments

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Cats have a much longer lifespan than dogs do. Which raises the question, “what should you feed your elderly cat?” Not unlike the last meal, if your cat is truly nearing the end of her life, then the answer to that question is to feed her whatever she wants!Cats are generally picky when it comes to food. Even getting them to eat anything at all is considered a success. To maximize the amount of time your cats live and spend with you and her health in general, there are a few things that you can do.

Digestive Physiology of Cats

A cat’s digestive physiology is complicated. It changes as she gets older. Her ability to properly digest fatty foods start to decline by the time she reaches 12. As fats have much more calories per gram than either carbohydrates or proteins, their inability to process fats can, in turn, have a negative impact on their ability to extract energy from different foods.To make matters even more complicated, research shows that 20% of cats have a decreased ability to process proteins by the time they reach 14. The combination of these two very serious conditions leads to fat loss as well as a decline in the very little muscle mass that a regular cat has. That increases the risk of illness and premature death.

Bodily Changes from Aging

In most cases, cats develop a sort of arthritis and have an increased risk of getting a kidney disease. An increase in age also increases the production of free radicals in the body.

A Good Diet for an Older Cat Consists of:
  • Higher Anti-oxidant Levels like Vitamins A, E, and C, selenium, and beta-carotene. These antioxidants help in counteracting the damage caused by the free radicals.
  • Lower levels of Phosphorous in order to better protect the kidneys. Stick to high-quality proteins instead of low. Low-quality proteins are higher in phosphorous.
  • A good amount of protein to maintain your feline’s muscle mass. An amino acid known as carnitine can be helpful for this.
  • Essential fatty acids such as fish oils in order to counteract the dire effects of the aging brain and to promote proper health in her joints.
  • High levels of fat (based on her body condition score.) Overweight cats don’t need as much fat as skinny cats do in order to maximize their calorie intake for the day.
  • An important factor to remember when trying to get your cat to eat is that palatability accompanied by a good smell will definitely stimulate her appetite. 

These suggestions are only suitable for a regular elderly cat. If your cat suffered or suffers from a certain medical condition, then you should consult your veterinarian for the best diet plan to accompany her mode of treatment.

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