Your furry little feline friend might not be a little kitten anymore. He or she might start being less active, might put on a few pounds, and might start acting a little grumpy.
It can be hard to keep an aging cat healthy, so here are our reviews of the best cat foods for older cats.
In A Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks
- Blue Buffalo Indoor Health
- Hill’s Science Diet For Senior Cats
- Royal Canin Wet Cat Food For Aging Cats
- IAMS Proactive Health Senior Adult Dry Cat Food
Overall Best Cat Food For Older Cats
Blue Buffalo has our overall favorite cat food for older cats. This food provides all the nutrients an aging cat will need, helps with urinary issues, and sells at a very reasonable price.
Blue Buffalo’s food helps your aging cat maintain his or her quality of life. It has a pretty high amount of protein (32% of the food is protein) which is good for aging cats. Protein helps maintain strong muscles and prevents weight gain, so this is a good pick for cats who are starting to be a little less active.
One thing I like about this food is that it helps your cat maintain a strong immune system and “life stage requirements”. In essence, this food helps your cat stave off any developing urinary or gastrointestinal problems. It accomplishes these goals with a great blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Blue Buffalo also packs in omega fatty acids (these are better than they sound) to help your aging kitty maintain a healthy coat.
A very small number of buyers mentioned that this food didn’t help their cat’s urinary problems. The food sells at a reasonable price, so I’d recommend trying it for a meal or two and if you notice anything working less than perfect, switch over to another option.
Things We Like
- Very reasonable price
- Maintains coat health
- Helps immune system, urinary, and gastrointestinal health
- Few allergens (no poultry by-product, corn, soy, or wheat)
- Pretty good amount of protein, helpful for building muscle and fighting off weight gain
Things We Don’t
- A few buyers mentioned that the cat food didn’t help their cat’s urinary health (but these were not the majority of buyers)
- Could have a bit more protein (but we’re nitpicking)
This is our overall favorite cat food for older cats. It helps your kitty maintain his or her lifestyle as they age and sells at a very reasonable price.
Best Cat Food For Very Experienced Older Cats
Hill’s Science Diet has our favorite pick if your cat is a very experienced older cat. If he or she has packed on a few years, then this food does a great job of making sure that your critter stays healthy.
The Hill’s Science Diet formula is best for cats who are 11+ years old – our more experienced seniors. It’s not the cheapest option, but this formula puts a lot of focus on heart, kidney, bladder, and stomach health. The goal here is to allow your aging critter to maintain his or her quality of life, which means less accidents and healthy organs.
Your cat will get a boost of taurine for heart health, balanced vitamins and minerals for kidney and bladder health, and then fiber-loaded kibbles to aid digestion. 30% protein is a little low, but it’s not a huge deal.
Things We Like
- Great pick for cats who have a lot of life experiences
- Keep heart healthy with taurine
- Avoid accidents or kidney problems with a balanced load of vitamins and minerals
- Fiber-loaded kibbles make the food easier to digest for your kitty
Things We Don’t
- Smaller bags are a little pricey (but bigger bags are a pretty reasonable price per pound)
- 30% protein is a little low, but it’s high enough that I feel comfortable recommending the food
This is our favorite pick if your cat is getting on up there in years. Hill’s Science Diet helps to maintain your cats quality of life and works to extend your cat’s life by providing the nutrients that he or she needs.
Best Wet Cat Food For Older Cats
Royal Canin has our favorite wet cat food for aging cats. It works to keep your cat’s organs and joints healthy while being a great choice for picky eaters or cats who don’t love dry food.
We like this formula because wet food tends to be a better fit for picky eaters. If your well-aged kitty has never been a fan of several types of foods, trying a wet food might just fix that problem.
Royal Canin’s formula does a good job at helping your cat stay healthy in old age. Omega-3 fatty acids (these are better than they sound) help your special critter maintain joint health as he or she gets older. Happy joints will help keep your kitty pain free and helps him or her to stay active. Active cats are healthy cats, so good joint health is a big boon all around.
In addition to improving activity through joint health, this food is a good pick for cats who need to be more active. It packs a whopping 51% protein, which is a lot more than any dry food. Protein helps your aging cat to build strong muscles and keep the pounds off. Both of these factors contribute to heart health, so this is overall a great pick for your kitty’s organs and activity level.
This food also does a good job at making sure that your cat is maintaining a healthy kidney and bladder. It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and keeps a good control over phosphorus levels.
Only downside is that like most wet food, it’s a little pricier than the dry stuff.
Things We Like
- Wet food makes this a good choice for picky eaters
- Helps your cat maintain pain-free joints in old age
- High protein and good joint health keeps your aging cat active and healthy
- Maintains a healthy bladder and kidney for your cat
Things We Don’t
- Like most wet foods, it’s a little pricier than dry food
This is our favorite wet food for older cats. It helps your cat stay active in old age, improve joint health, and is great for kidney and bladder function to prevent any accidents.
Best Budget Cat Food For Older Cats
Iams has our favorite budget cat food for older cats. It sells at a super reasonable price and has a lot of the vitamins and minerals that your kitty will need in old age.
The first thing to note about this food is that it has a very reasonable price point. It sells at a great price per pound and it’s hard to find a more reasonable competitor. But that doesn’t mean that Iams is selling low quality cat food. This stuff is pretty solid.
Iams works to help your cat’s bone and joint health by providing calcium and potassium. Healthy bones and joints will keep your kitty pain free and help him or her to be more active. Alongside increased activity, Iams uses L carnitine to make sure that your cat doesn’t start to gain too much weight. Increased activity plus healthy weight makes for a happy heart, so nothing to complain about there.
This cat food also works to keep your cat’s immune system strong. It packs in the vitamins (vitamin E in particular) to help your cat stave off sickness in old age. We do wish there were more vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids to promote bladder or kidney health. That may not be a problem if your cat has never shown any kind of urinary problems.
Things We Like
- Great pick for budget shoppers – sells at a great price per pound
- Promotes joint and bone health to keep your kitty active
- Helps maintain weight gain
- Keeps your cat’s immune system kicking
Things We Don’t
- Not a lot here for bladder or kidney health
This is our favorite budget pick overall. It sells at a great price per pound and except for the lack of much bladder or kidney support, it’s a good option for aging kitties. I most recommend it if you don’t have a big budget.
Things To Consider When Investing In A Cat Food
How Older Cats Differ From Younger Cats
Just like with us as human beings, old age is all about physical and chemical changes taking place in our bodies. These changes are there to stay for better or worse. Those who eat healthy, exercise, and maintain themselves tend to be healthier and far more active than those who do not.
The same principle applies to cats. While they’re low maintenance and active mostly, they do need to get the right nutrition to maintain their lifestyle, live pain free, and live longer.
Older cats with time tend to develop medical issues. Most common of them are tooth decay, poor dental condition, and stomach related problems. Some may have permanent medical problems like diabetes, allergies, sensitivities, or reactive diseases.
None of the foods mentioned above can fix permanent disabilities. But all of the foods mentioned above to a great job at providing your cat with the nutrition that he or she needs.
Aging can make older cats far more prone to dehydration and low levels of body moistures. This can make your cat lethargic and fatigued. Remember that while older cats are less playful than they were as kittens, they still are quite very active and curious creatures by nature.
Their water content requirement increases with age. Continuous minor levels of undetected dehydration can even lead the cat, itself not to seek out freshwater.
Dehydration is damaging for organs and body tissues. Its persistence can lead to severe issues in cats ranging from constipation, digestive tract illnesses to liver or kidney failure. Thus it is absolutely vital to make sure your cat stays hydrated.
Some owners solve this using wet foods, but we recommend making sure that your cat always has water available.
Older cats not only become choosy, but it is hard for them to get accustomed to newly introduced diets and cat food type. Their teeth and jaws can become weak with time. In such cases, make sure to introduce soft wet foods in their diets.
This not only helps with introducing moisture and battling dehydration but also makes it easier for them to eat. It is also a good option for cats with frequent indigestion problems.
Try choosing a smaller kibble or going to a wet food if your cat has trouble chewing.
Aging can often lead to the demise of normal healthy body functions. The first to get affected by the majority of senior cats is the digestive tract. The moment your cat hits seven years or more, it is ideal for introducing high fiber food items in their diets.
Fibers are really good for digestion. They add bulk to the digestion process and clean out the track as well. They’re usually found in dry cat foods. Cats also struggle to digest high proteins with age. Thus their nutrient balance can be affected.
Diets with high fibers are also great for dealing with digestive errors and battling symptoms of related diseases. It can help manage diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and an upset stomach.
Most of the foods we listed above have high fiber, but the Hill’s Science Diet does the best job of helping digestive health.
The digestive systems and metabolism can not only slow down with age but also become weakened. This prevents an older cat from digesting foods that it once did with ease as a kitten.
It is not like they can not digest fat at all, mind you. It just is not suitable for them anymore. Like it’s considered an absolutely natural thing to feed a kitten some milk. However, because of a milk’s high-fat content level, older cats can have an upset stomach due to more than a certain amount of fat consumption.
High-fat cat food or diet can also lead to obesity. Since older cats are more prone to obesity, this can lead to the development of heart and liver problems in the long run.
All of the foods we listed above do an excellent job of serving the kind of nutrients that your cat can digest.
Types Of Cat Food Out There
We all know they’ve got shelves full of all sorts of food and treats for our precious cats. It’s the deciding that’s the hard part. So basically there are three types of cat foods based on consistency. The reason why they exist is more than just appeal. It’s practicality.
The most popular and the best selling kind of cat food out there. What makes dry cat food a great option is its ability to have almost all possible nutrients combined. Vitamins, proteins, minerals, fibers, etc., everything can be blended in dry cat food.
It is, furthermore, very long-lasting. It has a great shelf life. You can practically buy two or three month’s worth cat food and not worry about it getting spoiled. It is also the most affordable kind out there, which makes it the most accessible to people of all socioeconomic levels.
The only drawback here is that dry food can become harder for older cats to chew. If your cat has a healthy set of teeth, there’s no reason to avoid it though. But over time, minimizing it may be advised to protect your cat’s deteriorating dental health.
Semi-solid cat food reminds us of kitty treats that our cats love so much. We keep them for special occasions, and that’s okay. While semi-solid may not be the best practical solution out there, our cats might disagree.
For starters, semi-solid would be a good idea for older cats, but there is not much variety, to begin with. The reason companies do not invest much in them is because of their inability to hold together the essential nutrients the way dry or canned food can.
The preservatives and other ingredients used to keep the substances together can be irritants or allergens for cats. Despite that, using it every once in a while and making it part of the diet is not a bad idea. Compared to dry foods all the time, this is welcomed by cats of all ages.
We though advise sticking to dry food or canned wet food as the primary source of nutrition throughout.
It is the best option out there. Between canned and dry, it’s a draw. It is the best option for older cats with poor dental health. It is easy to devour; the taste and aroma are appealing compared to drier foods.
The best thing is that anything can be added to it, meat, chicken, fat, vegetables, water, etc. It requires the least amount of additives, thus making them a healthier option for your cat in the long run as well. They are also much richer in contents, and overfeeding is a common problem with these.
Now that we know that older cats have different nutritional needs as compared to the younger ones, here are a few things that you should know as a cat owner. What is so different in older cats that you need to go and look for an entirely different variant of cat food for them?
Frequently Asked Questions
How much should I feed my older cat?
Feeding depends on how active your cat is. If it is an all-time indoor cat, chances are it is not as active as a part-time indoor cat. We like to free feed our cats by letting them eat when they choose to and having a bowl ready for them.
If you notice that your cat is gaining weight, then you can switch to a cat food for weight loss or start restricting portions.
Should I quit dry cat food completely?
Dry food is fine unless your cat is having troubles chewing. If your cat isn’t able to chew his or her food, we recommend swapping to a wet variety.
Can I alternate between more than two brands of cat food?
Yes. You can. But try to stick to just one as the basic. If you want to switch, do it gradually or keep the second as a ‘special treatment’ food. Sometimes the nutritional balance change can upset your cat’s digestion if any one of the two (or three) brands does not suit it.
What you feed your senior cat can impact how long your cat lives. High quality foods enhance quality of life.
Our overall favorite pick for aging cats is the Blue Buffalo indoor health cat food. It sells at a reasonable price, provides plenty of protein, and helps your critter maintain quality of life while living longer.
If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend the Iams proactive health food.
What food have you had both good and bad luck with? Let us know in the comments below 🙂