A cat’s nutritional requirements change over the course of its life. In addition to the different nutrient requirements, other challenges may occur when feeding older cats. Here are some tips on what to look out for when feeding senior cats.
Nutrition for older cats
When is a cat considered “old”?
Cats do not grow old overnight. It is a slow process. At first you will hardly notice any outward difference. A cat may not be quite as playful at the age of seven, and may move around less, have initial dental problems or appear to be more picky when eating. These minor changes are often due to age and are related to processes in the body. Typically, the rate of metabolism is reduced in old age. Various organs, such as the heart and liver, and the digestive system no longer function to the usual extent. It is also to be expected that the cat’s sense of smell will decrease, which is why it may no longer eat its usual food. With the right food and an adjusted diet, you can respond very effectively to these situations.
Nutrition tips for older cats
Due to their advanced age, problems can increasingly occur in older cats from the age of seven. Among other things, these become noticeable in that the cat no longer likes its usual food. With these tips, we would like to help you provide support for your older cat when eating:
- Avoid large portions
Older cats have slower digestion. It is therefore advisable to spread the daily food ration over several smaller meals.
- Cut up the food
If the cat has dental problems, you should cut wet food into smaller bites. The cat is then able to eat it more easily.
- Problems with dry cat food
A cat’s sense of smell decreases with age. This can lead to your pet eating less dry cat food when it is old. It may therefore be advisable to switch to wet food.
- Older cats do not drink enough
Older cats often drink too little. Here, it can be beneficial to feed your cat wet food rather than dry food, because a considerable amount of liquid will then already be consumed with the wet food.
- Warming up the food
If cats suffer from loss of appetite, this may be related to a reduced sense of smell. Warm up the food a little. It will have a more intense smell, which often encourages eating.
Feeding older cats
If your older cat has feeding problems, make sure that you consult a vet in good time. They can establish whether this is due to an illness and a change of food is therefore recommended. The vet may advise you on special dietary cat food or recommend switching from adult cat food to senior cat food. This takes into account the different nutritional needs of an older cat. Firstly, this addresses the often reduced energy requirements due to decreased activity. And secondly, the vitamin and mineral composition is adapted to provide the older cat with all the essential nutrients.