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Feeding your senior cat

Feeding your senior cat

Senior cats have different nutritional needs to kittens and adult cats. Here’s why you should feed your senior cat an age-specific food and how to choose the best diet to help them stay happy and healthy for longer.

The ageing process is complex and can slow pets down mentally and physically. As our cats age, you may notice they may start spending more time indoors, sleeping more and becoming less active, or their skin, coat or overall health may have deteriorated. Even though they may be young at heart, cats over the age of seven years old are considered a senior pet.

When your cat becomes a senior, their dietary needs will change, so it’s important that you monitor these changes closely. With special care and attention, you can help your feline friend age gracefully.

When is my cat considered a senior?

At the age of 7-8 years onwards, most cats will sit in the senior category. Cats have an average lifespan of 12-18 years, with some living even longer, so once they hit the mature milestone it’s good to think about shifting their diet to one that will support their ageing. Your local Animates Vetcare team will be able to give your senior cat a comprehensive health check based on their life stage and offer advice on your cat’s nutritional requirements that go hand in hand with these changes.

Choosing the right food for your senior cat

To help you choose the best food for your senior cat, consider the following factors:

1. Your cat's age - choose food made specifically for senior cats.

Gradually transition your cat's dietOnce your cat hits this senior milestone, you should switch their diet to one that’s designed specifically for senior cats to ensure your pet is getting the right level of nutrients for their life stage. Since their ability to absorb nutrients like protein and fat slows with age; these diets contain easy to digest ingredients for a healthy digestive system and are formulated to support their immune system too.

To help maintain a healthy body weight during their senior years, senior-specific cat foods include a different balance of protein and fat to that of the adult food formulations. This means your feline friend can continue to enjoy their mealtimes without compromising on the essentials.

Did you know that 61% of cats over the age of 6 have some evidence of arthritis in at least one joint? Senior cats with mobility issues may benefit from a senior-specific diet that promotes joint health. These formulations will often include nutrients like glucosamine and fatty acids such as Omega-3 fatty acids - particularly from fish oil for healthy joints. In addition, look for senior cat food that contains vitamins like vitamin A and C to help their vision and their brain function, keeping your cat brighter and more active for longer.

2. Your cat's lifestyle

Indoor cats and outdoor cats have very different health needs due to the nature of their lifestyles. While outdoor cats can be more at risk of injury from their exposure to the environment, indoor cats are more likely to suffer from “lifestyle diseases”, such as obesity due to lower activity levels.

Since indoor cats generally use less energy in their day-to-day life, they need a diet with fewer calories to help keep them at a healthy weight. On the other hand, if your senior cat spends most of its days roaming the neighborhood, they may require a more calorie-dense and higher protein diet to help maintain their muscle mass and support their active lifestyle.

In addition to being more sedentary, indoor-only cats tend to get more hairballs. To help reduce this hairball formation, indoor cat food formulas are often higher in fiber to help move hairballs through the gastrointestinal tract.

3. Your cat's breed - different breeds have unique needs.

Stick to a routine

From the slinky Siamese to the regal Ragdolls, every cat breed is loved for their distinct and unique characteristics. Taking these differences into careful consideration, breed-specific diets are tailor-made to support the various breeds’ unique attributes for optimal health.

4. Health requirements.

Superior Nutrition cat foods are also available in ranges that cater to special health needs such as dental care, hairball control or weight management. Before switching your cat's food to a care nutrition diet or prescription diet, a proper vet diagnosis is essential. If you have any concerns about your cat's health, talk to your local Animates Vetcare clinic for dietary advice.

Mixed feeding for senior cats

Feeding your cat a combination of both wet and dry food in their daily diet offers multiple health benefits. Since wet food has increased moisture content, it’s a great way to boost your pet’s daily water intake - as some pets may struggle to get enough hydration day-to-day, which is particularly important in summer or in pet’s that are prone to urinary tract infections disease (a common problem in cats).

Additionally, the high meat content and enticing meaty aroma of wet diets encourages palatability - so if your feline friend is a fussy eater, offering some wet food can help encourage eating. Note: Always consult with your vet if your senior pet has problems with their appetite or eating.

Find your local Animates Vetcare


At Animates, we believe your dog and cat will love their food so much that if they don’t...we’ll help find a replacement. That’s our taste guarantee.

If your pet isn't satisfied with their new food all you need to do is...

  1. Bring the remaining food back to one of our stores
  2. Let one of our team members know the food wasn't quite right for your pet
  3. We'll help find a replacement food for your pet with one of equal value

Taste Guarantee, they'll love it or we'll replace it...guaranteed!

Frequent Feeder

We’re here for you

Ageing is part of life, but you can help your cat age gracefully by feeding them a high-quality food that’s specifically formulated for senior cats. If you have any questions about your cat's health or dietary needs, pop into your local Animates store or book an appointment at your local Animates Vetcare clinic.

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