Best cat food for older cats: A Complete Guide




As cats age, their nutritional needs change. Choosing the right food is crucial for supporting your senior cat’s health and longevity. This article provides a complete guide to selecting the best cat food for older cats.

Changes in Nutritional Needs for Older Cats

There are several key differences in the nutritional requirements for senior cats compared to younger adult cats:

  • Older cats need more protein – To maintain muscle mass as cats age, senior cat food should contain increased levels of high-quality protein (at least 30% on a dry matter basis).
  • Increased digestibility – Older cats can have a harder time digesting ingredients. Look for foods with highly digestible protein sources like chicken, fish, or egg.
  • Moderate fat levels – Fat is important for skin and coat health, but too much can lead to weight gain. Aim for around 15% fat content.
  • Reduced phosphorus – Limiting phosphorus helps protect kidney function. Phosphorus levels should be under 0.6%.
  • Increased moisture – Cats have low thirst drives and are prone to dehydration. Wet or canned foods can help increase moisture intake for senior cats.
  • Antioxidants – Ingredients like vitamin E and beta-carotene help neutralize free radicals and support immune function.
  • Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids – For skin and coat health, EPA and DHA support joint mobility.
  • Fiber – Moderate fiber helps with digestion and weight management. Avoid very high fiber foods.

Reviews of the Best Cat Food for Older Cats

To help you narrow down the options, here are reviews of 5 top-rated cat foods for senior felines:

Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Wet Canned Cat Food

  • Protein: 11% min
  • Fat: 5% min
  • Fiber: 1% max
  • Moisture: 78% min

This grain-free wet food features minced meaty chunks in gravy for easy chewing and digestion. It provides complete and balanced nutrition with taurine and omega fatty acids for heart and vision support.

Pros: High moisture, protein-rich, natural ingredients, supplemented with vitamins and minerals.

Cons: Strong fishy smell may not appeal to some cats. Higher cost than some brands.

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Senior Consult Dry Cat Food

  • Protein: 30% min
  • Fat: 13% min
  • Fiber: 6% max
  • Moisture: 8% max

Designed specifically for aging cats, this kibble has increased protein, moderate fat, and reduced phosphorus. It also contains an antioxidant complex to support immunity. Smaller kibble pieces make it easy to chew and digest.

Pros: Tailored nutritional profile for senior cats. Veterinarian recommended brand.

Cons: Contains corn, wheat, and soy which are common allergens for some cats.

Purina Pro Plan Senior Wet Cat Food

  • Protein: 10% min
  • Fat: 5% min
  • Fiber: 1% max
  • Moisture: 78% min

With real chicken as the first ingredient, this wet food provides senior cats with highly digestible protein. It has a smooth, pâté texture that is easy to eat. Enriched with vitamin A and taurine.

Pros: Real meat first ingredient. Made in the USA. Very affordable pricing.

Cons: Contains grains like rice and artificial colors which some pet owners like to avoid.

Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Natural Senior Wet Cat Food

  • Protein: 10% min
  • Fat: 5% min
  • Fiber: 1% max
  • Moisture: 78% min

Blue Buffalo’s grain-free senior wet food features chunks of real chicken in gravy. It is packed with vitamins and minerals. Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health.

Pros: Grain-free, all natural ingredients. Infused with vitamins and supplements.

Cons: Higher price point. Strong smells that some cats may not like.

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Iams ProActive Health Senior Dry Cat Food

  • Protein: 30% min
  • Fat: 13% min
  • Fiber: 4% max
  • Moisture: 10% max

Formulated for mature cats 7+, this kibble is enriched with L-carnitine to help maintain a healthy metabolism. It contains chicken and egg as highly digestible protein sources.

Pros: Contains prebiotics to support healthy digestion. Affordable pricing.

Cons: Includes grains like corn and soy. Artificial flavors used.

Choosing the Best Cat Food for Your Older Cat

When selecting the best cat food for your aging feline, consider the following:

  • Get your vet’s input – They can advise you based on your cat’s health conditions. A prescription diet may be recommended.
  • Choose wet or canned food – The high moisture content is beneficial for older cats. Add more water to kibble to increase hydration.
  • Pick an age-appropriate formula – Look for “senior,” “mature,” or “7+” on the label.
  • Feed small, frequent meals – Senior cats do better with multiple smaller meals instead of one large daily serving.
  • Provide a consistent diet – Gradually transition to a new food over 5-7 days to avoid GI upset.
  • Consider therapeutic diets for conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or food sensitivities.
  • Watch your cat’s weight – Feed a calorie-appropriate diet to avoid obesity. Weigh your cat regularly.
  • Give supplements if needed – Discuss supplements like joint support or probiotics with your veterinarian.

By feeding your aging cat an appropriate senior diet, you can help support their health, nutrition, and activity levels well into their golden years. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best cat food for older cats based on your feline’s unique needs and preferences. With the right nutrition, your senior cat can continue to lead a happy, comfortable life by your side.


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