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 .

Chat to us about cat nutrition


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:

Muscle loss

If your senior cat loses muscle mass, it may make them weak and less agile.

Weight gain

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.

Joint pain

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.

Booking in for a senior cat consultation


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!

Chat to us about cat nutrition

Strictly Necessary

These cookies are required for our website to operate and include items such as whether or not to display this pop-up box or your session when logging in to the website. These cookies cannot be disabled.


We use 3rd party services such as Google Analytics to measure the performance of our website. This helps us tailor the site content to our visitors needs.


From time to time, we may use cookies to store key pieces of information to make our site easier for you to use. Examples of this are remembering selected form options to speed up future uses of them. These cookies are not necessary for the site to work, but may enhance the browsing experience.


We may use advertising services that include tracking beacons to allow us to target our visitors with specific adverts on other platforms such as search or social media. These cookies are not required but may improve the services we offer and promote.

Change Settings

Welcome. You can control how we use cookies and 3rd party services below

Change Settings Accept
Learn how we use cookies