How to feed older cats ? What do you need to consider?

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Last Updated on June 22, 2021 by Pets Feed

Like humans, animals can change their dietary habits and appetite over the years. This is not to mention the fact that a kitten has some nutritional needs, while an older cat has others. Let’s try to sort out the most popular questions and misconceptions in this area.

When a cat is considered a senior

The tricky question is: which cat should be considered elderly? As with people, among the animals there are both vigorous pensioners and young people who have grown old early. On average, you can focus on the seven-year milestone, overstepping which most cats move into the category of elderly. But here, too, everything is very individual. Let’s say that regularly giving birth cats age earlier. The same applies to animals that have had a chance to live on the street: even six months of “garbage” food can greatly age the body. And if your ten-year-old cat can jump onto the closet without a run and win a fair fight against a neighbor’s Doberman, he, like Carlson, may well be considered “in his prime.”

Age classification and feed production

However, there is a more detailed age classification of cats, similar to human:

  • The average age is from 7 to 10 years;
  • Elderly (senior) – from 10 to 14 years old;
  • Geriatric age is old, corresponds to a human age from 76 years old) – cats over 15 years old.

At the same time, food manufacturers usually do not take this gradation into account and create a single line of Senior food for cats over 7 years old. As a rule, these same foods are intended for feeding overweight pets and (often) for neutered and neutered cats and cats, regardless of age.

Features of age-related feeds from different manufacturers

It should be noted that different manufacturers have different approaches to the creation of specialized feed lines. Some separate diets for older cats and cats, others – food for neutered cats and neutered cats, which are suitable for “older” animals. Sometimes a brand has one food for all of the above categories of pets, with the only difference in feeding rates (for the elderly, portions are usually smaller).

Associated diseases: feeding elderly spayed and neutered pets

A separate story is cats with chronic diseases. As a rule, such animals pass into the category of elderly earlier. If you constantly feed a sick pet with a special medicated food as prescribed by a veterinarian, then do not worry about a possible nutritional discrepancy for age – veterinary food is produced on the basis of diagnosis. The main thing is to follow the prescribed feeding rate.

2From two to seven …

It would seem that it could be simpler: we take high-quality food of the “holistic” class, look for the inscription “for cats over 7 years old” and the retired cat is satisfied. What if the cat is 15 or older? Can a 20-year-old cat be fed the same way as a 7-year-old?

Manufacturers usually distinguish three lines of feed:

  • For kittens (up to 1 year old);
  • For adult cats from 1 to 7 years old;
  • For cats over 7 years old.

This is quite logical, since on average cats live up to 15 years, and by the age of 7 years, the “prime of life” passes, after which gradual aging begins. Now, if veterinarians were engaged in the production of animal feed, they would probably make 15 separate rations – one for each year of the pet’s life :). But producers need to optimize production, make the feed line optimal and not make life difficult for their customers. Therefore, they set some standards for the transition from childhood to adulthood and from adult to elderly.

Age-related changes in the body of pets

What changes occur in a cat’s body with age:

  • reduced ability to absorb some nutrients;
  • the sense of smell becomes less acute;
  • the efficiency of the kidneys decreases;
  • there may be “age-related” heart problems;
  • the cat becomes less active, which can cause weight gain.

These factors directly affect the selection of food for an “aged” cat. Therefore, taking into account the above, the following recommendations can be made:

  • A healthy and active cat of normal weight, including a neutered / neutered cat, we recommend switching to senior food after 10 years.
  • A cat or a cat with excess weight and possible age-related problems, we recommend switching to food for the elderly after 7 years.
  • Sterilized cats or neutered cats prone to overweight, as well as cats and cats that have been neutered (neutered) over the age of 3-4 years, it is better to start feeding low-calorie food immediately after neutering / neutering.

But what is the difference between the composition of food for cats of different ages? So, kittens need more protein and carbohydrates, and older cats usually need less (so as not to overload the kidneys). Food for active middle-aged cats usually contains a sufficient amount of fat and is generally quite high in calories. Elderly pets do not need a lot of calories.

In this case, the owner always needs to monitor how much food the pet eats. So, cats over 10 years old can, for various reasons, lose their appetite, lose weight, which is not the best option for the development of events. In this case, it is better to choose a more high-calorie food in order to compensate for the lack of the amount eaten.

Where did the appetite go?

The tastes of any pet are formed in youth. Therefore, if your cat is used to eating a quality “holistic” from a reliable manufacturer – no problem, just change the food as it grows / gets older. But even in this case, some cats, due to loss of smell (food loses its attractiveness) or problems with teeth, may begin to eat worse with old age.

It is more difficult if the animal entered the family in adulthood. Sometimes it can be difficult to wean a cat from such tasty (and equally harmful) boiled legs or from pollock with oatmeal. If the cat is not very many years old, it is better to choose the right food and wean it from food from the table.

But if the age of the pet that appeared in the family has exceeded a dozen, most likely, its body has already adapted to nutrition, and it may be better not to force it to change its eating habits. But the last word, in any case, remains with the veterinarian, who will assess the health of the pet and develop a suitable diet or diet for it.

We at petsfeed.co do not approve of owners who feed animals “from the table”, because we believe that every extra minute spent with a pet is priceless. But a properly selected diet plays an important role in the longevity of pets! However, if you feel strong enough, compose the correct “natural” menu for the cat, calculate it according to the BZHU and regularly prepare separate dishes for her. Yes, and don’t forget about vitamin supplements. But, as it seems to us, it is still better (and easier) to use a complete plant feed of the Holistic class.

When the teeth are no longer the same: How to feed a toothless cat

Often, older cats do not eat food well because they are capricious. For example, if your cat has age-related dental problems, it may be difficult to chew granules (even small ones). As a result, the pet either refuses food altogether, or swallows the granules whole, which is dangerous (you can choke) and, in general, is harmful to the gastrointestinal tract. A very simple life hack can help here. After pouring food into a bowl, add a teaspoon of water (no more!) And mix. The granules will become slightly softer and easier to chew.

If you notice that your cat has become worse eating dry food, you can supplement the diet with wet food. They, in addition to comfort for the teeth, provide the cat with an additional source of water. This is especially important for “older” animals, which often drink less than they should, which is fraught with dehydration and possible formation of stones.

If a decrease in sense of smell is added to the problems with teeth, you can completely transfer the pet to wet food. But here it is necessary to take into account that not every wet cat food is complete, so you need to study the composition or clarify this issue when choosing and buying food.

It is believed that when pets (both cats and dogs) gnaw granules of dry food, they thereby clean their teeth, preventing the appearance of plaque and subsequently – tartar. In some cases, this is true. But this does not mean that it is enough to feed the cat with dry food to ensure complete prevention of diseases of the teeth and gums. We recommend that you regularly examine your mouth for stones and inflammation, pay attention to mouth odor or loss of appetite. And regularly brush your cat’s teeth with special products.

One more question often worries those who could not (did not have time, mixed up the packaging in the store, etc.) to buy the necessary food for a cat “aged”. So, what happens if a fifteen-year-old cat is given kitten food? We want to reassure you: nothing terrible will happen in the short term. Therefore, advice: if you suddenly did not manage to buy food of a familiar brand, take a high-quality diet for kittens for an old cat. In any case, it is healthier than buying age-appropriate “economy class” food in the supermarket.

Conclusions: the best food for seniors and seniors

Let’s summarize:

  • Elderly cats are usually considered after 7 years, but this bar is very individual. Choose food based on your pet and your veterinarian’s advice.
  • Senior cat food is usually lower in calories and contains less protein to reduce the burden on the kidneys.
  • If an elderly cat is given food for kittens, it will not be poisoned. The converse is also true.
  • High-quality factory feed of the Holistic class is certainly better than “human” food.
  • Decreased appetite in older cats is often associated with dental health and less acute sense of smell than in younger cats
  • Provide adequate water intake for the elderly cat.
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