As cats age, their eating habits may also change. Some older cats start to lose their appetite, while some start eating more and become obese.

The thing with cats, they don’t always look their age. They don’t always act their age, either. But just because they look and act young doesn’t mean they are. Or that you can keep feeding them the same stuff you’ve always had. Cats age a bit like dogs do. And a 12-year-old cat is like a 64-year-old human. That’s already a senior.

senior cat nutrition guide

A cute senior cat

And senior cat nutrition, just like senior human nutrition, is different. That’s because seniors, whether feline or human, start feeling the ravages of age as they get older. During this time, many different ailments start rearing their ugly heads.

If you have an elderly cat, then you need to make some adjustments in his diet. Here’s a senior cat nutrition guide to help you out.

1. The Basics

Senior cats are often put on a low-protein diet. But experts say there really aren’t any studies to indicate that healthy older cats have different nutritional needs than their younger counterparts. Having said that however, it’s still important to note that cat food doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all variant either.

An elder cat with its set of problems therefore, needs to have its conditions addressed and his diet tailored to fit his specific needs. This is where the help of a vet is necessary.

2. Obesity

While age alone won’t likely change the cat’s appetite, lifestyle can have a big impact.

With many cats kept indoors, their natural instincts to hunt and capture prey are tampered. In addition to that, the food bowl is pretty much available and accessible any time they feel the urge to eat. Those two together plus the calorie-dense foods they eat all add up to create an animal that’s likely packing a few excess pounds.

Overeating and gaining weight can have a lot of detrimental effects on your cat’s health. So talk to your vet and try to keep the cat’s weight under control as much as possible.

3. Aging Cat Diseases

As cats age, there are several diseases that can affect them. These medical conditions also have different and special nutritional needs.

• Diabetes – often triggered by obesity, cats who suffer from it should be put on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. With prompt treatment, there is a chance that the disease may even go away completely.

• Kidney Disease – a diet that’s phosphorous-restricted is best for cats with this affliction. Less salt and protein is needed compared to normal cat diets.

• Dental Disease – cats with this problem need to be switched to softer canned food

There are plenty of other diseases cats may suffer from. Cancer, for one, can make your cat lose weight and therefore need some dietary changes as well. Also, never forget to properly hydrate your pet cat. Make sure there’s always enough water throughout the day.

4.Supplements

If you are already feeding your cat a balanced diet, then there really isn’t any need for additional supplements. However, if he’s suffering from a health condition that affects older cats, then it would likely be harder for him to absorb all the vitamins and minerals from the food. In this case, a nutritional supplement can be beneficial.

Senior cats, when healthy, won’t need too many diet changes or restrictions. But if you notice your cat starting to show the symptoms of any ailment, see a vet immediately. There may be a need to make adjustments to his nutrition to ensure a longer life.

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