What should you really feed your Senior Cat?
One thing that all of us fear as pet owners is when our animals start to get older we won’t know what to do for them, or feed them. I know with my dearly loved Dutchy reaching the age of 13 this year I have seen some changes in her that need addressing, the biggest difference for us is what Dutchy will eat. Working on the research on what is the best thing to feed Dutchy, I have come across some helpful tips I would like to share with all cat owners on feeding a senior cats.
Basic Do’s & Don’ts
Do make sure that you keep your senior cat’s diet well balanced and something they will want to eat. You need to make sure it has all required potassium and taurine content. This is important no matter what age the cat is.
Don’t serve food that is super high in minerals and avoid the high protein kitten foods unless directed by your vet.
Do consider adding more fiber in your cat’s diet. Seniors are more likely to get constipation and if your vet can find no other medical reason for it fiber could be the cause.
Do think about warming wet food. If your cat is eating a wet food diet do think about warming it up a bit, many older felines prefer warmer food, especially if it has come right out of the fridge.
Don’t feed table scraps. Giving your senior cat (or any cat) table scraps is not advisable and it may put them off the regular food that they eat.
Do make sure you switch food over carefully and slowly in a mix if you change foods fully.
The first thing that many cat owners do when their cat hits that special age of being a senior which is 7 by most standards on food is run out and buy a bag of senior cat food. The truth is that many cats do not actually need that kind of food. There are very few differences in most kibble adult foods and kibble senior cat foods. When it comes down to it most brands have just used an age label as a way to market food to you and make you think that you need a special food. The truth is as long as you are feeding a high quality food that cuts out most of the fillers your cat is going to be doing fine.
What to keep an eye on with your food label
Meat is the first ingredient.
Depending on what you pick for your protein source you always want to see real meat as the first ingredient meaning that is what there is most of.
Do not be afraid of meat meal.
Chicken meal, turkey meal, salmon meal anything such as that is not a bad thing. It is simply that protein with the water already removed. So it is a great source of protein.
So what is a filler? Well a food loaded with a lot of grains, or by-products will have a lot of fillers. Cats are obligate carnivores so they really do not need a lot of vegetable based anything.
Stay away from dyes.
While the pretty red, green and yellow food kibbles might look nice they are not actually healthy for your cat of any age. Stay with a natural colored food.
The bottom line is to know your cat. If you see that they are not eating, or dropping weight it is time to reevaluate your food. Dutchy gave us signs her mouth had become more sensitive and she needed more water content. Doing my due diligence we settled on some high quality wet food several times a day, it did the trick for Dutchy and that is what matters. So that really is the key, if your senior cat is doing fine on the quality food you have been feeding them do not switch it unless you need to.