As cats start to age, their dietary needs start to change. What once worked for them as an energetic kitten may not be what’s best for them as a mature adult cat. That's why we've compiled this guide to the best cat food for older cats for you and your beloved senior kitty.
Something beneficial that you can add more of in your older cat’s diet is fiber. Fiber has many benefits and can keep your aging cat acting more like his youthful self. You might want to take a look at our guide to the best high fiber cat food as well.
Keep reading to find the best cat food for older cats and why fiber may be exactly what they need.
Best Cat Food for Older Cats Buying Guide
What differences should you make with an older cat’s diet?
Older age brings many physiological changes to cats so their diets need to adapt, just like us hoomans! Massive nutritional change is not required but your furry friends are slower, less energetic and relaxed these days so a little nutritional adjustment can go a long way.
More Water Required for Senior Cat Nutrition
As cats get older they become far more susceptible to dehydration. This causes fatigue and is largely down to their energy levels being lower as they are less proactive in on-boarding fresh water. Cats are lazy at the best of times!
Dehydration is serious and can cause fatal illnesses so do not take dehydration for granted. It is critical your cats have access to multiple sources of freshwater around the house. If they don’t appear to be drinking regularly from the water left for them it is important that you invest in a cat water fountain.
Cats much prefer to drink from running water, (don’t ask, they just do!) so a cat water fountain could be a very good investment to maintain their water levels.
Older Cats Should Opt for Softer Foods
The best cat food for older cats is generally a soft and wet food. Soft wet foods have a couple of core advantages.
Firstly, they hold far more moisture than dry foods so assist in the hydration process.
Secondly, older cats may suffer from deteriorating teeth so softer foods will be easier for them to feed on. They may be finding the dry kibble painful so this will harm their nutritional intake. Softer foods are also much more appetising for older cats.
The best cat food for picky older cats is generally a wet one. They have more flavour and a stronger aroma so bare that in mind when adjusting their OAP diet.
Senior Cat Food Needs More Fiber
Fiber is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that can be found in a variety of foods. For younger cats, they would traditionally get fiber from the hair and bones of their prey. However, older cats do not receive fiber as much in this manner and require it through other sources of food.
Fiber can be very beneficial when included in your cat’s diet. For starters, fiber can prevent hairballs. We all know that hairballs are just a side effect of all the grooming cats do but with more fiber, hairballs will move naturally through their digestive tract instead of building up until they need to regurgitate it.
Additional fiber can help reduce digestive issues such as constipation and diarrhea.
The reason fiber is so beneficial in these areas is because it is indigestible.
Since your cat can’t digest any fiber it consumes, it will move swiftly through their digestive system bringing anything else in their digestive tract with it.
Lower Fat Content in Senior Cat Food
As cats get older their natural ability to digest fats also reduces. When this is combined with their reduced activity and exercise levels obesity can become an issue. To combat this you must now select foods and a diet with a reduced fat content.
How much should I feed an older cat?
Portion sizes for older cats are very much dependent on the size and weight of your older pussycat! All cat foods vary in their calorific content so you must be very aware of how much you are feeding them.
A sensible method of managing portion size would be to invest in an automated cat feeder such as the Surefeed Microchip Pet Feeder Connect. This incredibly clever device monitors the amounts of food your cat is feeding and simply sends their feeding data to an App on your phone. Super clever stuff and VERY efficient.
We must point out that you should always consult with your Vet when getting accurate advice on how to adjust to their senior citizen diet.
If your cat needs to lose weight, there are many weight loss foods that enable older cats to do this healthily. But, to repeat, it is always best to get the Vet’s advice first.
What is the Best Cat Food for Older Cats?
1. Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior (Best Overall Food for Older Cats)
The Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior formula is a great way to feed your aging kitty a balanced diet. This dry food is full of protein and has chicken as its first ingredient with no fillers. Being high in protein, this formula provides energy for playtime and keeps your cat’s muscles in tip-top shape.
Along with the protein, other elements of this dry food increase your kitty’s overall health. It includes vitamin E for a healthy immune system, L carnitine to help regulate weight, and calcium and potassium for strong bones and joints. Not to mention, the kibble helps clean cats’ teeth and removed plaque but isn’t too crunchy, which is great for older cats with tooth issues.
One of the best things about Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior dry food is that it is very flexible and easy to integrate into any cats’ diet. It works for both indoor and outdoor cats and provides the same healthy, balanced diet for younger cats. This is especially great for households with multiple cats of different ages.
2. Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature (Best Wet Cat Food for Older Cats)
The Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature wet food is a great way to include grain-free, natural meals in your aging cat’s diet. It is made with wholesome fruits and vegetables and includes no grain, gluten, by-products, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
Also included in this pate wet food is high protein chicken which provides your aging kitty with plenty of energy and is good for their digestion. With several essential vitamins and minerals, it has everything mature cats need in their diets to stay healthy and active.
Its smooth pate texture is not only appetizing but also great for cats with little to no teeth. This wet food even appeals to picky eaters. Many indoor cats have experienced more energy and reduced vomiting after meals after consuming this wet food.
3. Solid Gold Senior Cat Dry Food (Best Dry Food for Older Cats)
Sold Gold Senior Cat Dry Food is a natural and grain-free dry food that provides essential vitamins and minerals to keep older cats healthy. This dry food was specially formulated with typical senior cat health problems in mind.
With a composition of 33% protein, 12% fat, and 4.5% fiber, Solid Gold Senior Cat Dry Food is a balanced meal that is easy to digest. There is no corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives in this dry food which means your cat stays fuller longer.
It also includes cranberries that aid in urinary health and provides antioxidants that boost immune systems, omega fatty acids that create soft and shiny coats, and prebiotics and probiotics for optimum gut functioning.
Many picky eaters clean their bowls of Solid Gold dry food and many owners have noticed a decrease in their cats’ vomiting after a meal. The tiny bites in this dry food are also easy on mouths with missing teeth or sensitive gums.
4. Nutro Wholesome Essentials (Best Cat Food for Older Indoor Cats)
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor dry food had chicken listed as its first ingredients and contains no GMOs, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial preservatives. It also contains several different nutrients that keep aging cats healthy.
Some included nutrients include taurine which promotes heart health, omega 6 fatty acids that soften coats and skin, antioxidants that promote strong immune systems, and natural fiber which aids in digestion.
One of the best things about Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor dry food is that it is made with natural, high-quality ingredients. They partner with farmers to include fresh, wholesome ingredients in every bag.
Many picky cats enjoy this dry food and it has also proven to reduce experiences with digestive issues such as vomiting.
5. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult 11+ (Best Cat Food For Older Cats with Bad Teeth)
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult 11+ is a dry food that delivers all the essential nutrients that cats 11 and older need. It includes vitamins and minerals including taurine, vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and natural fiber.
Many cats have positive experiences on this dry food including increased heart health, increased bladder and kidney health, increased energy, smoother skin, shinier coats, and improved digestion. This dry food formula is also easy on sensitive stomachs.
Made out of completely natural ingredients, this dry food should also be supplemented with wet food, as well. The pieces of kibble are very small and are very manageable for cats with little to no teeth.
The Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult 11+ is also the number one veterinarian-recommended cat food.
6. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Indoor Senior (Best Cat Foods for Older Cats that Vomit)
Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Indoor Senior was formulated to provide older indoor kitties with a balanced and natural grain-free diet. This dry food is packed with wholesome ingredients including organic alfalfa, sweet potatoes, and peas. In fact, this blend is over 70% chicken and turkey animal proteins.
On top of the wholesome ingredients, the Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Indoor Senior dry food includes a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and taurine. For instance, antioxidants boost the immune system while omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids softens skin and coats. It is also high in fiber for better digestion and includes yucca schidigera aid in digestion, as well.
Many cats on this dry food have seen improved coats and reduced instances of vomiting. With no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, this dry food can provide cats aged 7 and up with a balanced diet.
7. Hill’s Prescription Care (Best Cat Food for Older Cats with Kidney Problems)
Hill’s Prescription Care is an excellent choice for aging kitties who are prone to kidney issues or at risk for developing kidney issues in the future. Aging natural leads to a decline in kidney function which can result in a loss of appetite as well as a loss of muscle mass and weight.
Adding this dry food to your aging cat’s diet can support their kidney functioning and slow the progression of kidney disease. Cats who have been disinterested in food have cleaned their bowls of Hill’s Prescription Care dry food and begin to gain back some of their weight. It comes in an ocean fish flavor and even appeals to picky eaters.
While this dry food was formulated to slow the progression of kidney disease, it can also be a good idea to feed your aging cat a kidney-friendly diet to potentially avoid them developing kidney issues in the first place.
8. Hartz Lickable Wet Cat Treats (Best Cat Treat for Older Cats)
The Hartz Lickable Wet Cat Treats have two flavors that were formulated for senior cats. The tuna and chicken flavor was made for cats aged 10 and up and includes vitamins E and B to promote overall wellness. The flavor formulated for cats aged 15 and up includes potassium and prebiotics to keep their kidneys and digestive systems healthy as they age.
These lickable bisque cat treats are very easy for senior cats to consume because all they have to do is lap it up! The meats and juices have been pureed and blended together to create this liquid treat. It’s perfect for cats who lick up the sauce in traditional wet food but leave the meat behind.
These lickable wet cat treats are great for cats who have lost weight due to issues with their teeth or a decreased appetite from aging. The yummy flavors can even get senior cats interested in food again!
At an affordable price point, this bisque makes a great supplement to your senior kitty’s diet and we vote it the best cat treat for older cats.
9. Wholehearted Grain Free Senior (Best Grain Free Food for Older Cats)
Wholehearted Grain Free Senior is a dry food that helps cats maintain their health as they grow older. It is recommended for cats aged 7 and up. It is a natural dry food that is grain-free and lists animal protein as the number one ingredient. There are no artificial flavors or colors in this dry food.
Included in this dry food is a bunch of nutrients that keep your aging kitty healthy and more like their normal selves. These nutrients include zinc, selenium, vitamin E, antioxidants, and probiotics. The probiotics aid in digestion and the antioxidants boost their immune system.
Many picky eaters have shown a lot of interest in this food and improved digestive functioning. However, some other cats have shown an increase in diarrhea and vomiting after consuming this dry food.
10. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food Youthful Vitality
The Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food Youthful Vitality is a great addition to any aging cat’s diet. For ages 7 and up, this dry food was formulated to help senior kitties feel more like a kitten again! This cat food helps increase energy, improve brain functioning, and improve overall health.
This blend of cat food is made from natural ingredients that are easy for older cats to digest and contains no artificial flavors. It also includes antioxidants for a healthy immune system and vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids for a healthy, shiny coat.
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food Youthful Variety is the number one veterinarian-recommended cat food for a reason. Cats who have eaten this dry food usually start to act more youthful and energetic while seeking out more interaction
11. Royal Canin Aging 12+
The Royal Canin Aging 12+ wet food was formulated specially with aging cats in mind. Royal Canin states that all of their foods, not just this particular blend, has a scientifically proven blend of ingredients that appeal to any and all cats’ taste buds. Even picky eaters like this wet food.
Not only that but the fact that this is easy to chew makes it an ideal chocie as the best cat food for older cats with bad teeth.
Specifically, this wet food for senior cats ages 12 and up has a specific ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that appeals to their instincts at this point in their lives. It also includes omega 3 fatty acids to protect their joints and phosphorus to promote optimal kidney functioning. Plus, it’s easy to digest.
Many aging cats have flourished when this wet food was added to their diet. Wet food naturally provides a healthy amount of hydration. Combined with Royal Canin’s senior formula, this wet food keeps older cats healthy and active.
12. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Sensitive Digestion
One of the best cat food for older cats brands would be The Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Sensitive Digestion. This was designed with adult cats who have sensitive digestive tracts in mind. This formula includes prebiotics to aid in digestion and includes proteins that are highly digestible.
To also aid in digestion, Royal Canin has packed a high concentration of nutrients into a small serving size. That means your cat can eat less but still get all the nutrients necessary for optimal health, which is good news if your cat has a decreased appetite. Smaller meals are also easier on sensitive digestive tracts.
Besides aiding in the digestion process, the kibble pieces in this dry food were designed to interest picky eaters while also cleaning their teeth as they chew. Not to mention, all of Royal Canin’s cat foods were scientifically researched and designed to appeal to all cats’ instincts even if they are picky eaters.
Our Final Thoughts
What is most important in your older cat’s diet depends on their specific dietary needs and preferences. It may take some trial and error to find exactly the right cat food to satisfy all of their needs but once you find it, it will seem as if you have a brand new cat!
Overall, our best cat food for older cats here is Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior as it is a great way to feed your aging pussycat. It is high in protein, provides lots of energy for playtime and keeps your cat in good shape.
As a rule of thumb, stick to premium brands that offer foods specifically for older cats specifically. You’ll be in safe hands providing you stick to well-known brands, and choose recipes that are dedicated to older cats.
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