When cats grow older, their nutritional requirements change, just as in older people. Cats are considered aged when they are around 8-10 years old. It is during this time that their health begins to fail and they need increased medical attention. They become less active and prefer spending more and more time inside the house.
When they are old, the metabolism of the cats becomes extremely slow and they are unable to digest many of the ingested nutrients. If cats are given the right kind of nutrition all through their life, their later years are healthy and without any ailments. Older cats need a low fat diet which is high in easily digestible proteins. The carbohydrates in this diet should be light and easy to digest too. Such a diet is easy on the cat’s failing metabolism.
Older cat health requires particular attention, also because their immune system is failing and their body becomes susceptible to many everyday ailments. There are many specially formulated senior cat foods which have all the nutrients that an old cat requires. These foods have in them high quality protein and vitamin E. Together, the proteins and vitamin E help strengthen the cat’s immune system. The food also has low levels of phosphorus to maintain kidney health. Older cats are especially susceptible to chronic renal failure and therefore, it is important to take good care of the cat’s kidneys.
The cats, when old, should be given less calories. This is important so that they do not get obese and continue to enjoy good health. In old age, the cats may begin to lose their teeth and therefore the ability to chew. To aid the cats in chewing their food, the food has to be soft and made into smaller pieces which are easy for the cat to chew. Soft cat food is very useful at this time. It contains low calories foods for older cats.
An older cat should ideally include food items that provide nutrition keeping in mind that the cat is now not as active as it once used to be and that activity levels have dropped significantly.
When you are shifting your cat to a new food, it is important to keep in mind that the cat may reject the new food altogether. Therefore, to get the cat used to the new food, initially mix it with the food that you have already been giving to the cat. Keep increasing the quantity of the new food in your cat’s meal in a gradual and deliberate manner. Eventually, you will be able to bring the cat completely to a new food routine.