How to help your senior cat with a balanced, tailored diet
September 15, 2023
The nutritional needs of a senior cat are different to adult cats and kittens. As our feline friends start to age, we need to tailor their diet to help provide them with energy, protein and vitamins their older body requires. Learn more on how to keep your cat healthy from the inside out with our Vet Darren Partridge. If you want more specific feeding advice, contact Molesey Vets on 0208 979 1384 .
How do I know when my cat’s diet should change?
As a general rule, Molesey Vets recognises cats as senior once they reach 7 years of age. Depending on their breed and lifestyle, this number can fluctuate but it is usual that at this stage in a cat’s life, we start to see a number of physical and behavioural changes day-to-day. Things you could notice are:
If your senior cat loses muscle mass, it may make them weak and less agile.
Your cat’s metabolism slows down the older they get. Pair this with a less active lifestyle and your cat’s weight will start to increase.
Cats suffering from joint pain will be reluctant to move around, meaning they will also experience muscle loss and weight gain as a direct result of this.
Once you start to notice the above, it is worth contacting our experienced cat vets to discuss your individual cat and what their nutritional requirements might now be. Vet Darren also recommends that Molesey Vets examines your cat to rule out any underlying health conditions that could be contributing to the issues above.
How might my cat’s diet change?
Vet Darren advises that the major change in your cat’s diet will be the amount of protein they receive. Adult cats and kittens need approximately 25 – 30% of protein and as they age, this increases to roughly 40% of senior cat’s daily calories.
The protein that your elderly cat consumes will be used to maintain their muscles, along with a number of other cellular processes required to keep them healthy. Cats need an essential 22 amino acids for their body to be able to function correctly. Amino acids are either found in animal protein or created using the protein your cat consumes. Either way, it’s essential they are fed a good quality, carnivorous diet to stay healthy.
However, if your cat has an underlying health condition such a kidney disease, Veterinary Surgeon Darren urges owners to be aware that they may actually need a reduced protein intake. Whereas cats who struggle with gastrointestinal disorders will require a higher level of digestible protein, to make up for the nutrients lost through the effects of their medical issues.
Molesey Vets always recommends consulting our team before making any diet changes for your senior cat.
Other feeding tips to keep your senior cat comfortable
- Offer your cat their food and fresh water slightly raised. This will help if they’re joints are feeling sore and allow them to eat and drink more comfortably.
- Talk to Molesey Vets about the type of food your cat may need – such as wet food, dry food or a combination diet. This could benefit elderly cats with dental issues.
- Puzzle feeding can help keep your senior cat active and make mealtimes more fun!
- Portion sizes may need to be adjusted. Rather than a large meal, it could be split into several smaller ones for your senior cat to eat.
Vet Darren urges senior cat owners to book an appointment at Molesey Vets before making any nutritional changes for your cat. Contact us today and share our article with other senior cat owners – let’s help to keep lots of felines full and happy with an appropriate senior cat diet!