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Best Cat Food for Older Cats (2024): 14 Wet and Dry Senior Cat Foods

Posted in: - Last Updated: July 16, 2024 - Author: Mayurii Rajvanshi
Posted in  
Last Updated: May 27, 2023  
Author:  Mayurii Rajvanshi

As cats start to age, their dietary needs will change and you'll need to start considering switching to a specific senior cat food. What once worked for them as an energetic kitten may not be what’s best for them as a mature adult cats (especially when they get to the age that vets call 'geriatric cats', when they are over the age of fifteen). That's why we've compiled this guide to the best cat food for older cats for you and your beloved senior kitty.

As you read our full guide to the best senior cat food below, you'll see how the research and testing our team have done with their elderly cats has led us to choose thirteen different types of senior cat food.

Cat food for older cats

We buy and test as much good food as we can and canvas the opinion of our team, our vets, and feline nutritionists, as well as our cat-owning social media community (more than one million strong) before deciding what we all consider to be the top-rated senior cat food we can recommend.

Start by looking at our top three recommendations and then dig deeper if you think they aren't quite right for your senior cat. All these selections have our seal of approval.

Best Cat Food For Older Cats

Best Overall

IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food with Chicken, 16 lb. Bag

Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior

Best Cat Food For Older Cats

Best Overall Choice

IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food with Chicken, 16 lb. Bag

Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior

The best senior cat food we tested and that is higest rated by our community is Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior. We go into more detail in the full guide further down this page, but the reasons why we chose it as the best food you can buy for your older cat is because it's a high protein dry cat food that aging cats all seem to like. There's very few picky older cats who won't eat it and it's also good value

3 Top Cat Food for Older Cats Picks – Best, Value & Premium

Getting your ageing kitty's diet just right is vital to their energy levels and overall well being. Having a well structured cat food diet for senior cats can really assist them in their golden years.

We've done all the research so here's our top 3 recommendations. 

Our Top 3 Choices

Best Overall

IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food with Chicken, 16 lb. Bag

Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior

  • First ingredient is chicken and includes no fillers
  • Good for agings cats’ muscles, bones, joints, and coat
  • Ingredients help control weight and boost immune system

Best Value

Purina Pro Plan Senior Cat Food With Probiotics for Cats, Chicken and Rice Formula - 5.5 lb. Bag

Purina Pro Plan Senior 7+ Nutrient Dense

  • The formula is packed with essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals
  • Vet recommended
  • Designed for senior cats of 7 years and older

Premium Choice

Smalls Cat Food

  • Human-grade fresh wet or dried raw cat food
  • Highest quality ingredients and nutrients
  • Made in the USA with 100% money-back guarantee

So that’s a quick chart showing our pick of the best cat foods for older cats.

Now let’s take a deeper look at all the senior cat food we tested. Further down this group test, you'll find our opinion on what you should look for in the best food for senior cats.

But first, let's go through our tried, tested, and rated picks.

1. Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior - Best Overall

IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food with Chicken, 16 lb. Bag

The reason why we've listed this as our overall best food is that, over many years, we have personally experienced, and heard about, so many life-changing positives for this food.

My beautiful cat Cleo lived to the ripe old age of 19! She was an extremely picky eater all her life and for the last 3 or 4 years of her life, she would always eat Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior! She utterly loved it. And many other owners of elderly cats have reported the same thing to us.

Not only that, in her final senior year she acted like she was going through a second youth! Whizzing around the house, jumping out of windows, and doing all sorts of things she didn't do before we had her on this particular food.

Again, we've heard multiple other reports of this OAP kitty behavior whilst on this food so there are DEFINITELY some trends going on here.

Buy why is it such a good food?

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 remove plaque, but also manages to not be 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 cat’s 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.

That makes the Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior our overall choice, but clearly also the best dry cat food for older cats.

Pros

  • First ingredient is chicken and includes no fillers
  • Good for agings cats’ muscles, bones, joints, and coat
  • Ingredients help control weight and boost immune system
  • Crunchy bites clean teeth while still being easy on the mouth
  • Very versatile and works for many different ages and lifestyles

Cons

  • Some cats have experienced constipation on this dry food
  • Low in moisture

2. Purina Pro Plan Senior 7+ Nutrient Dense - Best Value

Purina Pro Plan Senior Cat Food With Probiotics for Cats, Chicken and Rice Formula - 5.5 lb. Bag

There's no getting away from the straight-up fact that when you start moving away from the more standard cat foods, the cost of them starts to rise, and in some cases considerably. A lot of owners drift back to the previous foods they were using but that is definitely defeating the objective here! I'll be the first to put my hand up, I have done this.

So it was important to us and our community that we find an affordable senior cat food that can assist your older cat's flagging energy levels and keep them fully cat-like!

We have a few of our own elderly cats, but I really wanted a better insight here so chatted to Nina at our local cat rescue charity who feeds dozens of street cats. That includes quite a few senior kitty citizens. Nina uses several types of food but really notices that her older cats loved this brand.

We settled on Purina Pro Plan Senior 7+ Nutrient Dense cat food. Nina uses several types of food but really notices that her older cats loved this brand. It is specifically formulated to meet the unique nutritional requirements of elderly cats over 7 years old. The primary ingredient is real chicken, which provides high-quality protein to help maintain lean muscle mass and provide energy.

Furthermore, the formula is nutrient-dense, meaning it provides a higher concentration of essential nutrients per serving. This is particularly important for senior cats who may have a decreased appetite and need to consume more nutrients in a smaller amount of food to stay healthy.

In addition, the formula contains antioxidants to help support a strong immune system, prebiotic fiber to aid digestion and promote a healthy gut, and a kibble design that helps reduce plaque and tartar build-up, improving oral health.

Overall, Purina Pro Plan Senior 7+ Nutrient Dense is a great choice for senior cats as it provides a balanced, nutrient-dense diet that meets their changing nutritional needs as they age.

It's priced at a reasonable level, but in all honesty, these types of food are always going to be much more expensive than standard adult cat food. However, they are worth their weight in gold when it comes to nourishment for senior cats. The right food can notably improve an elderly cat's all-around well-being. That is where the value lies.

Pros

  • Packed with essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals
  • Proven to improve and extend life of senior cats of 7+ 
  • Veterinarian recommended
  • Prebiotic fiber for digestive health

Cons

  • Not a prescription food
  • Still quite expensive

3. Smalls Cat Food - Premium Choice

Smalls is a subscription-based cat food service which offers a great option for older cats due to its high-quality ingredients and recipes that cater for ageing cats. Smalls provides options so that you can cater to the unique nutritional needs of your senior cat with two types of food available.

The first option is Smalls' Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food, which, as the name states, uses human-grade ingredients to ensure top-notch quality. In this range, there are a variety of recipes made with all-natural ingredients. Flavors such as bird, other bird, cow, and fish offer protein-rich choices that are gentle on ageing digestive systems. These recipes are high in the nutrients and moisture necessary for older cats to maintain a healthy life.

The second option is Smalls' Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food, which provides a convenient and high-protein alternative to traditional kibble. The freeze-drying process preserves natural flavors and the textures of the raw ingredients.

Both Smalls' ranges can have numerous benefits for older cats including improved digestion, better hairball breakdown, shinier and softer fur and increased energy levels. The high protein content of Smalls' food also supports muscle maintenance whilst helping older cats maintain a healthy weight.

With Smalls, cat owners can provide their older feline friends with a very high-quality diet made from human-grade ingredients that supports their overall health and longevity.

If it's within your budget, Smalls has our highest recommendation, especially as they offer a money back guarantee if your cats don't like it.

The only issue is that some people have found cancelling needs to be timed with enough notice before your next shipment, but this is not a major concern as we've always found their customer service to be very responsive.

Pros

  • Highest quality human-grade protein from chicken, fish and beef
  • Subscription plan tailored to YOUR cat's needs
  • Maximised nutritional value for a healthy cat
  • Made in the USA!

Cons

  • Cancelling your subscription must be done before next shipment
  • Expensive, especially for multiple cats

4. Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature - Best Wet Cat Food for Older Cats

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Indoor Chicken Recipe For Mature Cats - 5.5 Oz Cans (Case Of 24)

The Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature wet cat food is a great way to include grain-free, natural meals in your aging cat’s diet. This best wet cat food for senior cats 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 best wet cat food for older cats even appeals to picky eaters. Many indoor cats have experienced more energy and reduced vomiting after meals after consuming this top rated senior wet cat food.

This is our best wet food pick and our choice of soft cat food for seniors and is very highly recommended.

One thing to note is that this is formulated for indoor cats, taking into account their energy needs, so an oudoor older cat might require a different recipe.

Pros

  • Grain and gluten-free
  • High in chicken protein which is good for energy and digestion
  • Smooth pate texture great for cats with little to no teeth
  • Includes vitamins and minerals essential to older cats’ health

Cons

  • Formulated specifically for indoor cats, outdoor cats may require a different formula

5. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Senior Vitality Dry Cat Food - Vet Recommended Senior Dry Cat Food

Hill's Science Diet Senior Vitality, Senior Adult 7+, Senior Premium Nutrition, Dry Cat Food, Chicken & Rice, 13 lb Bag

The Hill’s Science Senior Vitality is another top-notch elderly cat food and a great addition to any aging cat’s diet.

One of our workmates has an elderly kitty, Bella, that suffered from sensitive digestive health issues and vomitted regularly after feeding.

She put Bella on to this food about two years ago and since then she she has flourished. She is rarely sick now (only after being a greedy Bella!) which is amazing!

Besides that, there has been a notable lift in her energy, she sleeps soundly and she is always wanting to be in the thick of things when she is socializing.

Yes, it is more on the expensive side but she eats everything and we can clearly see why it is recommended by vets.

It is focused on cats aged 7 and up, and this dry food is formulated to help senior kitties feel more like kittens again! (Thus the energy lift!)

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 Senior 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. And we have personally seen this work in Bella!

Pros

  • The number one veterinarian recommended
  • Increases energy and youthfulness, improves brain functioning,
  • Improves the immune system and coat
  • Made from natural ingredients and includes no artificial flavors

Cons

  • Some cats gained a massive amount of weight while eating this food
  • Cats with missing teeth might have a hard time chewing this dry food

6. Solid Gold Indigo Moon Dry Cat Food - Alternative Pick Dry Food For Older Cats

Solid Gold High Protein Dry Cat Food - Indigo Moon Cat Dry Food with Digestive Probiotics for Cats - Grain & Gluten Free with High Fiber & Omega 3 for Cats - Low Carb Superfood Meal - Chicken - 12lb

Solid Gold have been in our best senior cat food guide since we first compiled it from our community survey.

They used to make a specific senior cat food which is now discountinued, but we've spoken to the brand and they've told us that their Indigo Moon recipe is their direct replacement dry cat food for older cats.

It has many of the same ingredients and is an ideal recipe for a senior cat.

Solid Gold Indigo Moon is a natural and grain-free dry food that provides essential vitamins and minerals to keep cats healthy. This dry food was specially formulated with typical cat health problems in mind, which means it has ingredients and a recipe that is made for senior cat health issues.

Our research and the positive feedback from our community make this a very easy choice for one of the best dry cat foods for senior cats.

With a composition of 42% protein, 20% fat, and 3% fiber, Solid Gold Indigo Moon is a balanced meal that is easy to digest. There is no gluten and 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.

Whilst it is high protein, which fuels your cat's activity, it's also low in carbs that means it's harder top overfeed an older less active cat. It's a win-win!

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.

Pros

  • Omega fatty acids support healthy coats
  • Cranberries aid in urinary health as well as their immune system health
  • Includes no corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives
  • Includes no corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • Dry, crunchy food may still be too hard for certain mouth issues despite small bites

7. Nutro Wholesome Essentials - Best Cat Food For Indoor Senior Cats

NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Senior Indoor Natural Dry Cat Food for Healthy Weight Farm-Raised Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe, 14 lb. Bag

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor senior dry food has chicken listed as its first ingredient 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. If you have an indoor cat who prefers dry food then this is the one to go for. If they prefer wet, then look to our pick at number 4 above.

Pros

  • Cats can experience shiny coats and regular litter box visits on this dry food
  • Has nutrients to promote overall health including taurine, omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber
  • Includes high-quality ingredients and lists chicken as the first ingredient
  • Dry, crunchy food may still be too hard for certain mouth issues despite small bites

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Some cats experienced constipation while eating this dry food

8. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Oral Care - Best For Senior Cats With Bad Teeth

Hill's Science Diet Oral Care, Adult 1-6, Plaque & Tartar Buildup Support, Dry Cat Food, Chicken Recipe, 7 lb Bag

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food Oral Care is a dry food that delivers all the essential nutrients that cats 11 and older need. This senior cat food includes vitamins and minerals including taurine, vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and natural fiber.

Most importantly, this cat food is specifically made for cats with bad teeth. 

We cover all your choices in a separate guide for cat food for older cats with bad teeth here, and this is our number one choice in that full guide.

Many cats have positive experiences from these senior cat foods 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 to ensure sufficient hydration for your senior cat. 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, Oral Care is also the number one veterinarian-recommended cat food for older cats with bad teeth.

Pros

  • It is the number one veterinarian-recommended cat food for cats with bad teeth
  • Small bites are easy for cats with little to no teeth to chew
  • Cats have experienced more energy and an improved appetite on this cat food
  • Nutrients aid in heart, bladder, kidney, skin, coat, and digestive health

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Some picky eaters do not like this food

9. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Adult Dry Cat Food - Best For Older Cats That Vomit

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain Free Indoor Senior Dry Cat Food, 7 Lbs., Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain Free Healthy Indoor Senior Dry Cat Food, 7 Lbs.

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free was formulated to provide all adult cats with a balanced and natural grain-free diet. But, it's especially good for senior cats because of the formulation, and for those who often throw up! 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 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 soften skin and coats. It is also high in fiber for better digestion and includes probiotics to aid in digestion, as well.

This is a dry food for adult cats that is also specifically formulated to help with vomiting and should reduce the likelihood of your senior cat throwing up.

Many cats on this dry food have seen improved coats as well as the intended reduced instances of vomiting. With no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, this dry food can provide all adult cats with a balanced diet, so it's suitable for cats from prime to geriatric, not just seniors.

Pros

  • Over 70% of animal proteins
  • Includes wholesome ingredients like organic alfalfa, sweet potatoes, and peas
  • Tons of vitamins, minerals, and taurine for skin, coat, and immune system health
  • Has plenty of natural fiber for easy and gentle digestion

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Some picky eaters do not like this food

10. Hill’s Kidney Care - Best Cat Food for Older Cats with Kidney Problems

Hill's Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Ocean Fish Dry Cat Food, Veterinary Diet, 8.5 lb. Bag

Hill’s Kidney 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 naturally 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.

A low-phosphorus cat food like this formulation from Hill's creates a specific kidney food for cats.

Adding this dry food to your aging cat’s diet can support its kidney functioning and slow the progression of kidney disease.

Cats who have been disinterested in food have cleaned their bowls of Hill’s Kidney Care dry food and begin to gain back some of their weight. It comes in an ocean fish flavor and even appeals to picky eater, but there is a chicken formula as well as an alternative option.

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

Pros

  • Appeals to picky eaters
  • Supports healthy kidney functioning
  • Aids in maintaining muscle mass and gaining weight
  • Individually packaged for freshness
  • Slows the progression of kidney disease as well as prevents it

Cons

  • Formulated especially for kidney issues, not general health
  • Pretty expensive

11. Hartz Lickable Wet Cat Treats- Best Cat Treat for Older Cats

Hartz Delectables Bisque Lickable Wet Cat Treats with Tuna & chicken, Senior Cats 10+ years, 1.4 Ounce (Pack of 12) - Packaging May Vary

The Hartz Delectables Lickable Wet Cat Treats have two flavors that were formulated as senior cat treats. 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 soft cat treats for older cats 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.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Yummy flavors can make your senior cat interested in food again
  • Individually packaged for freshness
  • Easy to lap for cats who have teeth problems or have lost weight due to low appetite

Cons

  • These are treats only, not full meals
  • High in calories

12. Wholehearted Grain Free Senior - Best Grain Free Senior Cat Food

Wholehearted Grain Free Senior is a dry food that helps cats maintain your older cat's 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 senior grain-free dry food are 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.

Despite that, it's an excellent choice for grain-free cat food for senior cats and we'd recommend trying it to see if it agrees with your elderly cat before looking at other grain-free options.

The only real downside is that this is a new formula from Wholehearted and that means it's hard to find. The brand is owned by PetCo who set it up to provide a wholesome and nutritious pet food option at a very reasonable price.

That means it isn't carried everywhere, and you'll only normally find it at PetCo. It is worth seeking out though as our community who have tried it rated it very highly.

Pros

  • Made of wholesome ingredients and lists chicken as its number one ingredient
  • Does not include any artificial flavors or colors
  • Promotes healthy digestion, improved immune systems, and overall health
  • Has flavors that interest even picky eater

Cons

  • Some cats have experienced digestive issues after eating this dry food including vomiting and diarrhea

13. Royal Canin Aging 12+ - Best Geriatric Wet Cat Food

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Aging 12+ Thin Slices In Gravy Canned Cat Food, 3 oz Can (Pack of 24)

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 recipe is made up in thin slices makes it very easy to chew so that it's an ideal choice as a great cat food for older cats with bad teeth.

It also comes in a loaf style as an alternative to the thin slices, which makes it even eaiser for older cats to chew and digest.

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.

Pros

  • The specific ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that is supposed to appeal to cats’ instinctual taste buds
  • Improves kidney functioning
  • Improves skin and coat and protects joints
  • Appeals to picky eaters

Cons

  • Rather expensive
  • A small possibility of upset stomach in some cats

14. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Sensitive Digestion

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Sensitive Digestion Cat Food Dry Formula, Balanced Nutrition to Support Digestive Health, 7 lb Bag

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 senior cat foods pack 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.

Pros

  • Soothes sensitive digestive tracts
  • Include proteins which are easy to digest
  • Has a high concentration of nutrients into a small serving size
  • Kibble pieces are in interesting shapes and cleans teeth as they eat
  • Appeals to picky eaters

Cons

  • This dry food has reportedly increased vomiting in some cats
  • Formulated specifically for digestion issues, not overall health
  • Pretty expensive
Best Cat Food for Older Cats

Best Senior Cat Food - 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 even more relaxed these days, so a little nutritional adjustment through specialized senior cat foods can go a long way.

More Water Required for Senior Cat 

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 onboarding fresh water. Cats are lazy at the best of times!

Dehydration is serious and can cause fatal illnesses so do not dismiss dehydration or take your senior cat's need for water for granted. It is critical your cats have access to multiple sources of fresh water around the house. If they don’t appear to be drinking regularly from the water left out for them, it is a very smart move to think about investing 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.

best wet cat food for older cats

Soft Cat Food For Older Cats is Best

The best cat food for older cats is generally soft and wet food.  Soft cat food for seniors has a couple of key advantages for your elderly cat.

Firstly, they hold far more moisture than dry foods so assist in the hydration process. As we've just seen, getting enough water into your senior or geriatric cat is extremely important.

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 cat foods or kibble painful so this can lead to them eating less than they need which will harm their nutritional intake. Softer foods can also be much more appetizing for older cats.

Whilst many of our choices in this tes are dry food, the best cat food for picky older cats with any of those issues is going to be a wet one. They tend to have more flavor and a stronger aroma which your older or geriatric cat should be attracted to, so bear that in mind when adjusting their OAP diet. We choose the best wet cat food for older cats at number four in our full guide above.

Cat Food for Senior Cats Needs More Fiber 

Something beneficial that you can add more of to 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 for more choices of this type of food as well.

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, since they tend not to hunt as much, 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 them.

Additional fiber can also greatly help reduce digestive issues such as constipation and diarrhea.

The reason fiber is so beneficial in these areas is because it is mostly indigestible.

Since your cat can’t digest any fiber it consumes, it will move swiftly through its digestive system bringing anything else in its digestive tract with it.

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best senior cat food eating

Senior Cat Food and Lower Fat Content

As cats get older, their natural ability to digest fats also reduces. When this is combined with their reduced activity and exercise levels, eating food that is too high in fat content is likely to cause obesity to become an issue.

To combat this you should select foods for older cats and an overall diet with a reduced fat content.

FAQs

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 need to be very aware of how much you are feeding them and its nutritional value.

A sensible method of managing portion size would be to invest in an automated cat feeder such as the PetLibro Automatic Feeder (our favorite) or the Surefeed Microchip Pet Feeder Connect. These incredibly clever devices monitor the amounts of food your cat is feeding and simply send their feeding data to an App on your phone. Super clever stuff and VERY efficient.

Whether you're using an automated feeder or not, 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 cat foods that enable older cats to do this healthily. But, to repeat, it is always best to get the vet’s advice before putting your elderly cat on any form of diet.

Is wet food better for older cats?

There are several reasons why wet food may be a better choice for older cats. Firstly, the higher moisture content in wet food can help senior cats stay hydrated and reduce the risk of kidney and urinary tract problems. As cats age, their kidneys may become less efficient at conserving water, and they may not drink enough water to compensate for this. Wet food can help provide additional hydration and maintain healthy kidney function.

Secondly, wet food can be more easily digested and palatable for older cats, who may experience feline dental issues or a reduced appetite. The moist texture and strong smell of wet food can make it more appealing and easier for senior cats to eat, ensuring they receive the proper nutrition and maintain a healthy weight.

Is dry food bad for older cats?

As cats age, they can become dehydrated more easily, and feeding them only dry food may not provide enough moisture. This can result in potential health issues, such as urinary tract infections and kidney problems. Adding water to the dry foods we recommend is one way to increase moisture intake, but feeding wet food will help increase hydration levels and prevent these issues.

Older cats can also experience dental issues or have missing teeth, making it challenging to chew dry food. Soft, wet food or smaller kibble size can be easier for them to consume and digest. There are also some specific recipes of cat food for older cats with bad teeth.

Lastly, senior cats have a slower metabolism and require fewer calories than younger cats. Dry food tends to be high in calories, and overfeeding can lead to obesity and associated feline health problems.

What is different about cat foods for older cats?

Senior cat foods may differ from those made for younger cats as they take into account the unique dietary requirements and health issues of older cats. They may be lower in calories to prevent obesity, contain higher protein content to maintain muscle mass, and have lower levels of certain nutrients that can be harmful to older cats.

Senior cat foods may also have different textures and shapes that are easier for older cats to chew and digest. Wet cat food with a higher moisture content can also be a good choice for senior cats who are prone to dehydration.

Best Cat Food for Older Cats: Summary

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 senior 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 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. You’ll be in safe hands providing you stick to well-known brands, and choose recipes that are dedicated to offering only the best cat food for senior cats.

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About the author

Mayurii Rajvanshi takes pride in being a content ninja, who is an avid animal lover. She has fostered numerous cats and developed in-depth knowledge of feline facts so she can write about cat health and cat care to help dispel myths with authentic information. Her aim is to encourage responsible pet parenting and cat adoption.

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