Cats can leap and pounce and stay ahead of many things in life, but time is not one of them.
Once your cat reaches the seven-year mark, there are some things to think about incorporating into your feeding routine as your cat moves from adulthood to mature status.
First off, what qualifies as a senior cat? Here’s how we think of it:
Senior: 7-11 years
Geriatric: 11+ years
Cats can spend 40% or more of their lives in their senior and geriatric years and there are plenty of changes that occur during this stage of life, much in the way the human body changes. This means staying vigilant with your care routines to ensure your cat is staying in peak condition.
Considering 6-month check-ups with your veterinarian
Staying active to help maintain lean muscle mass (but stay mindful of the level of exertion)
Regular grooming to limit hairballs and stimulate the skin
More frequent maintenance of the litter box
Limiting stress by being mindful of changes to your home environment
Checking for the signs of health on a weekly- rather than monthly-basis
To complicate matters, some cats between seven and eleven years-old tend to become less active, which makes them prone to obesity. Some cats 11 and older become less efficient at digesting protein and fats and tend to lose body mass. To account for these changing needs, look for a senior cat food with:
Antioxidant-rich nutrition to support the immune system and healthy aging
Highly digestible formulation to make the most of all nutrition
Optimized calorie levels to help maintain an ideal body condition
When caring for a senior cat, it’s vital to determine if your cat is over – or underweight. You can learn how to determine your cat’s body condition by checking out the Signs of Health Activity in the Purina ONE® Cat Journal.
If your cat is carrying some extra pounds, two options from PURINA ONE fit the bill:
Formulated for cats seven years old and up. It helps them maintain lean body mass and is enriched with vitamins and minerals for strong bones and joints, as well as Omega 6 fatty acids for a radiant coat and healthy skin.
This high-protein formula includes L-Carnitine to help spayed or neutered cats burn fat more efficiently and maintain a healthy weight.
Healthy Metabolism™ also has its own complementary set of wet food formulas so it’s easy to introduce different sources of protein as well as hydration to your senior cat’s diet, while still maintaining the benefits of L-Carnitine.
Best part, you can begin feeding Healthy Metabolism to cats as young as one and potentially stick with it for much of your cat’s adult life.
While it’s quite common for older cats to gain a few extra pounds, yours may struggle with being underweight. This can be caused by a number of reasons, including:
Bodies become less able to uptake nutrients
Dulling of sight and smell lessens appetite & interest in eating
Dental issues later in life can make it more difficult to chew
An underlying health condition
Cognitive abilities may deteriorate as cats get older, so remembering feeding times or locations may play a role
Whether it’s one or a combination of these reasons, some older cats need to add weight to get back into ideal body condition.
So what can you do?
First off, consult with your veterinarian before taking steps to modify your existing feeding routine. This will help eliminate any underlying health issues that may be at cause, and help you stay aware of gaining or losing weight too rapidly.
In addition, your veterinarian should provide guidance on what types of food to try next in order to help your cat gain and sustain a healthy weight.
One option worth talking about is Purina ONE® SMARTBlend® Healthy Kitten formula.
It’s highly digestible and palatable, offers more protein and calories than traditional adult cat foods, along with a taste and aroma that may be more appealing.
As you experiment with new foods for your cat, be sure to follow the recommendations for making a successful transition. You can find these instructions on package or on PurinaONE.com.
Here are five smart ways our experts like to help you encourage your senior cat to eat better:
Always serve meals in a clean dish
Try different tastes and textures; if you feed dry kibble, try wet food. If you feed wet food with gravy, try pate and vice versa
Serve smaller meals more frequently throughout the day
To make it easier to chew and accentuate the aroma of the food, mix one-part warm water with three parts dry kibble to soften the food. Just be sure to wash or swap out your feeding dish more frequently to maintain a clean eating environment
Add a little bit of juice from canned tuna or some unseasoned broth to enhance flavor (but don’t feed canned tuna as a diet staple as it is not complete and balanced for your cat)
As a cat owner, you want a long and healthy life for your cat. Not just years, but good years. Great nutrition is at the top of the list for making it so.
To see how Purina ONE could help your senior cat , take the Purina ONE 3-Week Challenge today. Download your $5 off coupon here. (Link to 3 week challenge)
(Can we have the Senior cat video here on this page too.)