A cat is a fantastic creature by nature. It belongs to family Felidae. It is a domestic species of small carnivores’ mammals and it also referred to as a domestic cat. Nowadays, if we provide better nutrition, veterinary, and home care, cats live much longer now. The ages of the cat can be defined as
- Cats are elderly when they reach the age of 11 years.
- Senior cats defined as those aged between 11-14 years.
- Super senior cats defined as those aged 15 years or more.
With age advancement, there are many changes to cat behavior, nutrition, physiology, and susceptibility to different illnesses and diseases.
Some physiological changes include reducing the ability to digest protein and food, reduce the ability to taste and smell food, reduce hearing immune function, and stress tolerance. It spends more time indoors, and their metabolism becomes slow. A reduction in the taste and smell of food can affect their appetite, ultimately impacting their body condition and health.
As cats get senior, their feeding habits and nutritional requirements start to change. And your cats roughly estimate 40% of their life as a senior. So, you must give your cat right and good quality food to stay in good shape. You should offer your cat a high quality and tasty diet with easy to digest protein and fat with proper nutrition and a careful balance of the vital nutrient diet.
Nutrients requirements for Senior Cats
According to the National Research Council Committee on Animal Nutrition (NRC), cats need protein, fat, minerals, vitamins, and water, but they also require specific amino acids and vitamins.
- Carbohydrates and Fiber: Carbohydrates such as legumes, cereals, and other plant materials that aren’t essential in a cat’s diet, but they provide an abundant energy source that cat used to sustain the normal activities of the daily lives.
- Vitamins: Vitamins A, D, E, K, B1, B6, B12, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folic acid. These vitamins take part in a wide range of metabolic activities. But it is noted that these require a small amount otherwise toxicity occurs.
- Fats and Fatty Acids: Fats and fatty acids are also a must for cats. Fats serve as carriers for fat-soluble vitamins, play an essential role in cell structure and function, keep your cat’s skin and coat healthy, and make food taste good. Fats are derived from animal fats and seed oils, and they supply essential fatty acids that cats require.
- Proteins and Amino Acids: cats are carnivorous animals. So, they should take most of their protein from meat, fish, and other animal products
- Minerals: Cats require 12 minerals in their diets such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chlorine, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iodine.
- Water: Though they have a weak thirst drive, cats also require free access to fresh, clean water. Cat typically drink 2 milliliters of water for every gram of dry food they eat.
Pick a high-quality Food
As your cat senior, it is essential to provide good quality food supporting its health. They contain a large amount of protein, fats, and all necessary vitamins and minerals. Some cat food contains a large amount of Vitamin E because it is essential for the cat’s immune system.
Choose a Cat Food made for the senior cat
All the cat food made is not the same. Some cat food contains higher calories for those senior cats that do not eat enough, and some cat food contains low calories for those that are eating too many calories. Some cat food contains added vitamins and minerals that should help with age-related health issues. So, it is crucial to choose the right food that fulfills your cat’s nutritional requirements.
Discuss with your Veterinarians
One of the easiest ways to choose a new food for your senior cat. The veterinarians and practitioner always knowns your cat and its dietary needs. So, discuss with your veterinarians and choose those cat foods that fulfill your cat needs.
Offer Feed little and often
As your cat senior, their metabolic rate becomes slow. So, provide feed in small meals and several times. These small meals will be easier to finish and helps to complete the digestion of food.
Consistency and texture of the Food
Senior cats prefer soft food, especially those with some dental problems. So, you should try to add a small amount of water in the feed to make it soften and mash with a fork. It needs to make sure that your cat receives proper nutrition every day. Following the “Best Automatic Cat Feeders” guide at The Pets, you can read reviews and choose the best one for your cat focusing on aspects such as features, cost, and functionality. And it helps you to supervise your cat’s diet.
Bowel use to offer Food
Senior cats prefer a full, shallow bowl or one with a rim.
Raise the Food Bowl
This practice offers more comfortable to eat a cat, especially those with osteoarthritis.
Sitting with your Cat while talking and stroking
This practice increases the appetite of your cat.
Always keep Fresh Water in a clean Bowl available
If your cat is not drinking well, consider buying a pet water fountain. So, running water is sometimes more appealing to cats.
Make Cat Food More Favorable
As cats’ seniors, their senses of smell and taste become less acute, so cat food manufacturers have developed senior cat food with intensified aromas and flavors. You can try to make your older cat’s food more appealing by warming it to increase its smell or add gravy.
Special Nutrition require in diseases condition of Senior Cat
Diabetes mellitus: Like humans, cats can develop diabetes mellitus, a disease condition in which the body no longer produces or use insulin properly. Insulin is hormone produce by the pancreas that controls the flow of blood sugar in the body. Diabetes triggered by obesity. Many practitioners recommended that cat with diabetes mellitus provide high protein and low carbohydrates diets which help the better control of the diseases
Cancer is an abnormal growth of the cell is the most common cause of loss of appetite and weight loss in cats. Therefore, it needs extra nutrition.
Senior cats with dental diseases provide soften feed that quickly chewed and digest.
Chronic Kidney Diseases: Chronic kidney diseases are the persistent loss of kidney function, which is also the most common problem in senior cats. A Healthy kidney plays a vital role in the body, it filters the blood and makes urine. Cat with chronic kidney diseases, the waste product, and other harmful compounds in the bloodstream that are typically eliminated from the body by the kidneys. Other signs, such as lethargy, loss weight, and high blood pressure. In a cat with CDK, offer diets that are restricted to protein, phosphorous, sodium contents, highly soluble vitamins, fiber, antioxidants may prolong life.
Tips for Feeding the underweight Senior Cats
- Offer a small amount of feed that will be easier to finish, and that will be easier to cat for the digest.
- Feed the cat more calories every day to gets its weight up.
- Provide a calm area to feed: Senior cat needs a quiet and safe space to eat the food properly.
- Make the food smell more appetizing.
- If the weight loss is severe, discuss with the veterinarian and putting your cat on appetite stimulants.
- If necessary, hand feed your cat may be a good option.
- Switch to wet feed your cat.
Some tips for Feeding the overweight Senior Cats
- As the cat senior, some cats begin to put on weight because they eat the same number of calories, but their physical activity less. In this situation, cut down on the amount of feed that you are giving it.
- If your senior cat is healthy, however, needs to utilize more energy during the day, consider placing its food in an area where it needs to exhaust more energy to get to it. Spot food or treats in a riddle feeder so that the cat needs to work to get the food. You could also hide a small bowl of food around your home for your cat to discover.
- Give food that can help in the treatment of the health problem of cats.