So you have a cat who is getting up there in age. You might be surprised to know that once your cat reaches 7 years of age, she or he is considered a senior. This is according to standards established by the American Veterinary Association. Meanwhile, the average life expectancy of an indoor cat is between 13 to 17 years, but they can live to be up to 20!
In regards to the best senior cat food, there is no perfectly designated ‘seniors’ diet. This is because the essential needs don’t differ much from what an adult cat needs. And secondly, any specific needs vary by cat. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to confirm your senior cat’s nutrition needs with your vet.
Otherwise, here are some essential considerations when deciding on the best cat food for older felines. Because let’s face it – there are an overwhelming number of options. We’re here to ease your decision-making process.
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
This is a label that is guaranteed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This ensures the food provides complete and balanced nutrition, in addition to identifying the pet life-stage that the food is best for. In this case, it’s food that is best for all life stages.
High Quality Protein
The main ingredient on your cat’s food label should be an animal source and it should be a meat source that you recognize. This includes things like turkey, tuna, or chicken. Stay away from generic terms like “meat” or “meat product”. We don’t know what that means, and it could be anything.
The National Research Council Committee on Animal Nutrition recommends ingesting 12.5 grams of protein per day for the average nine-pound cat.
Vitamins and Minerals
A wide variety of nutrients are helpful for most cats, including vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. Most of these can easily be found in the animal protein your cat’s food is based on. These include vitamins A, C, E, D, magnesium, taurine, and arginine.
Antioxidants are also beneficial to keep up immunity in senior cats. Antioxidants commonly found in cat food include selenium, beta-carotene, and vitamins C & E.
Easily Digestible Carbohydrates
Cats are carnivores, meaning they don’t require the macronutrients in carbohydrates to survive. In many cases, carbohydrates are just low-cost fillers. For a senior cat, however, they provide an essential source of fiber which improves digestion and excretion. This may be helpful for some health conditions, especially for cats with digestive issues.
Nevertheless, your cat’s food should be low in carbohydrates, with carbs making up no more than 10% of the total food volume.
Providing for Common Conditions
These are common health issues that many senior cats may develop. After getting confirmation about any health conditions from your vet, you can look for cat food that is geared towards helping said condition. Here are some more specific dietary needs: