Best Cat Food For Seniors

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We love cats, whether they’re big or small, orange or white. But raising a mature moggy can be just as rewarding as raising a kitten — so long as you choose the right food for them.

Best Cat Food For Seniors

Good nutrition is important for pets of all ages, but it’s absolutely essential for the ones that make it to their golden years. If you’re a cat parent whose favorite feline is approaching ripe old age, it might be time to consider switching to a food specifically formulated for senior cats.

Dr. Adam Miller, a board-certified internal medicine specialist at NorthStar VETS in Robbinsville Township, N.J., says that for nutritional purposes, a cat is recognized as “senior” at just 7 to 8 years old, and is considered “geriatric” between the ages of 10 and 12. “However, it is important to keep in mind that cats can live for a very long time and it is not uncommon for my feline patients to be 18-22 years of age,” he adds.

So, is your cat celebrating his 7th birthday this year? It may be time to make the switch to senior food. Here’s all that you need to know.

What Should Senior Cats Eat?

Putting down a bowl of cat food for senior cat

Senior cats’ nutritional needs are closely tied to their overall health. “Senior cats become less active and tend to have reduced lean body mass, which ultimately results in a lower basal metabolic rate,” Miller explains. “Additionally, senior cats are more prone to the development of diseases that alter nutritional requirements.” This means that a cat with chronic kidney disease will have different nutritional needs than a cat with gastrointestinal issues.

While there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for senior cat nutrition, Miller notes that the most important food consideration for a senior cat is managing a consistent weight, which can impact longevity, and keeping your cat hydrated. “Aging can impair thirst drive. I typically recommend either transitioning to a moist diet or adding low salt broth, meat juices (i.e. tuna), or ‘pet drinks,’” he says.

Senior Cat Food vs. Regular Cat Food: What’s the Difference?

Cat head tilted on the couch

A recent study showed that senior cat foods generally differ from regular cat food in one major way: food marketed as “senior” cat food has significantly more fiber than “regular” cat food. Further, the study found no major difference in the crude protein, fat, and mineral concentrations between foods (1).

That doesn’t mean that all senior cat foods are the same – the amount of protein, fat, and fiber can vary greatly from brand to brand. Miller recommends that senior cats get a moderate protein diet, that is, food that is 30 to 45 percent crude protein. He also says that senior cats should get more calorically dense food. He again notes that a food that works for one cat may not work for another.“Every cat is an individual and there is no one diet that fits all cats. But, regardless of the formulation of the diet, I typically recommend higher protein, lower carbohydrate foods, and these can be in both wet and dry formulations.”

Senior Cat Food: What to Look For

Senior cat eating out of his cat food bowl

Most commercially available cat foods will meet your pet’s nutritional needs. Miller explains, “Commercial cat foods meet certain base-level criteria for nutrition. I recommend foods manufactured by companies with long-established histories of making quality food, that consult with veterinary nutritionists, and have stringent quality control measures.”

While counting calories isn’t the most fun activity, Miller adds that cats should be consuming about 200 calories per day. “I recommend quantifying how many calories your cat is eating on a per-day basis so you can quickly recognize a decrease in appetite,” he says.

Further, if your senior cat is experiencing age-related health issues, you should talk to your veterinarian about which diet would be most beneficial.  

Best Senior Cat Food: 8 Great Options to Consider

Cat eating from its food bowl on the floor

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Keeping in mind senior cats’ nutritional needs, here are some of the best senior cat foods, treats and toppers on the market.

OUR LIST

  • Best Wet Food for Senior Cats: Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus
  • Best Dry Food for Senior Cats: Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging
  • Best Fresh Cat Food for Senior Cats: Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food
  • Best Cat Food for Senior Cats with Kidney Disease: Darwin Intelligent Design Kidney Support
  • Best Wet Cat Food for Geriatric Cats: Royal Canin Aging 12+
  • Best Cat Food for Senior Cats with Digestive Issues: Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Perfect Digestion
  • Best Bone Broth for Senior Cats: Open Farm Harvest Chicken Bone Broth
  • Best Cat Treat for Senior Cats: Hartz Delectables Bisque Lickable Wet Cat Treats 

Best Senior Cat Foods

It might have happened in the blink of an eye—you bring home this little ball of fluff and watch them blossom into a big, beautiful cat. Then, before you know it, it’s time to make the final diet transition in their senior years.

Seniors require a different diet to maintain the natural decline of their bodies. So, when you’re shopping for senior food, it can be a little challenging to choose the right one for your old guy or gal. Here, we have reviews of eight of the best cat foods you can find on the market for older cats. Take a look at what we found.

Purina Pro Plan Focus 11+ Chicken & Beef- Best Overall

Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult 11+ Classic Chicken & Beef Entree Canned Cat Food

Type:Wet foodCalories:91Protein:10%Fat:6%Fiber:1.5%Moisture:78% 

Over all the other fabulous recipes we checked out, our favorite overall is Purina Pro Plan Focus 11+Chicken & Beef Enrée. We think it is a top-notch wet cat food with excellent nutrition to support your senior’s declining body. Plus, it fits on most budgets, which is an upside for many owners.

This particular can of Purina Pro Focus has beef and chicken in gravy, so they get a combo of delicious protein. This recipe has salmon and liver meat sources too. It’s packed with valuable vitamins and minerals to keep your cat’s body functioning as it should—like biotin and taurine.

In this recipe, there are 91 calories, 10% crude protein, 6% crude fat, 1.5% crude fiber, and 78% moisture. There is also a nice dose of vitamin E and taurine to protect coat, skin, and muscle health.

There are few ingredients, too. You can quickly sweep the list to view all it has to offer. Fewer ingredients are always better, in our opinion. Plus, the wet chunks make it much easier for seniors who have dental issues or problems with appetite. Because it’s 11+, it might not work for all seniors. Nonetheless, this one tops our list of best senior cat foods.Pros

  • Double protein source
  • Packed with valuable nutrients
  • Transparent ingredients

Cons

  • Only for seniors 11+

2.Fancy Feast 7+ Variety Classic Pate Minced – Best Value

Fancy Feast Senior 7+ Chicken, Beef & Tuna Feasts Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

Type:Wet foodCalories:75-96Protein:11.5-12%Fat:5%Fiber:1.5%Moisture:78-79% 

Of all the delicious cat foods for our beloved senior pets, the Fancy Feast 7+ Variety Pack Classic Pate Minced is definitely worth an honorable mention.  Cats seem to crave the flavors—coming in an assorted mix of beef, chicken, and tuna flavors.

These recipes are specifically crafted for cats who are 7 years of age and older, supporting the maintenance and decline of their bodies. Because this is wet food, it’s also easier for your seniors to eat if they have any dental issues, common among felines.

In this recipe, you can expect between 75 and 96 calories per can. There is also 11.5% to 12% crude protein, 5% crude fat, 1.5% crude fiber, and 78% to 79% moisture.

Each recipe has a very high protein content to support your senior’s muscles. The formulas always offer real meat as the first ingredient. We think it’s the recipe that will support most seniors and not break the bank.Pros

  • Assorted flavors
  • High protein
  • Excellent for dental issues

Cons

  • Might not work for all food sensitivities

3.Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Cat Food – Premium Choice

Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food

Type:Dry KibbleCalories:500Protein:27%Fat:16%Fiber:3.5%Moisture:8% 

If money is no object, the Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ is an incredible recipe to keep your senior acting like a kitten. This recipe contains a natural medley of ingredients that strengthen your cat’s immunity, skin, and coat.

This recipe is specially formulated to nourish cats that are 7 years of age and older. So, once you switch their diet, they can stay on this food for the rest of their days. Chicken is the very first ingredient, offering a whole protein for muscle health. It also has a good dose of vitamin C for optimal immunity.

One serving of this cat food contains 500 calories. It has 27% crude protein, 16% crude fat, 3.2% crude fiber, and 8% moisture. You can serve this dry kibble as a daily diet—or you can try it with a wet food topper to add some extra moisture to your senior’s diet.

Even though this recipe is top-notch, it does contain wheat, corn, and soy ingredients, which some cats can show sensitivity to. If your cat has any allergies, you might try another brand first.Pros

  • 7+ formula
  • Extra moisture
  • Whole protein

Cons

  • Contains potentially triggering ingredients

4.Purina Pro Prime Plus 7+ – Best for Overweight Seniors

Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus Adult 7+ Real Poultry & Beef Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

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Type:Wet foodCalories:106-111Protein:9-10%Fat:7%Fiber:1.5%Moisture:78% 

If your cat is a little on the chubby side and your vet recommends a weight control cat food—try the Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus 7+. It has just the right concoction of ingredients to support weight management while not slacking on the nutrition that your senior absolutely needs.

This recipe is meant to nourish your senior’s body—providing total wellness. Meat is always the first ingredient, providing proprietary nutrient blends that improve the health of cats over 7 years old. There is added microflora to improve gut health, aiding in digestion.

In one can, there are between 106 to 111 calories. The guaranteed analysis of this product contains 9% to 10% crude protein, 7% crude fat, 1.5% crude fiber, and 78% moisture.

All recipes are grain-free, and we feel the recipe really attributes to a healthy weight, which many seniors need. However, the recipe won’t work for all dietary restrictions or feline palates.Pros

  • Added microflora
  • Total wellness recipe
  • Proprietary blend

Cons

  • Won’t work for all dietary restrictions

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