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Nutrition for Senior Cats
As cats age, their nutritional needs change because cats, like humans, undergo various body changes as they age. Therefore, it is important to adjust your pet’s diet to help her stay healthy for years to come.
Obesity in cats is most common in adulthood. If you see that she is eating less but continues to gain weight, this may indicate a lower metabolism or a decrease in activity levels. Cats often lead a sedentary lifestyle and eat high-calorie food, which leads to overfeeding and excess weight. In turn, this increases the risk of developing cardiovascular, respiratory, skin and joint problems, which are most common in older cats. To help your pet lose weight, reduce portions and gradually switch to a low-calorie diet.
Weight loss may be associated with the aging process, but may also be indicative of disease. If an older cat has a healthy appetite but continues to lose weight, consult a veterinarian about possible symptoms of heart disease, thyroid dysfunction, cancer, or diabetes. Reduced appetite may indicate periodontal disease (problems with the gums and teeth), diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, kidney failure, or a decrease in taste.
Maintaining a Normal Weight in an Elderly Cat
Use these rules when choosing the optimal diet for an older cat:
- Adjust calorie intake according to cat’s fitness level and environmental conditions (domestic/outdoor cat, neutered).
- Create conditions for her to be physically active.
- Use low energy food (less fat or fiber).
- Control portion size and feed intake.
- Use special feeding devices (food dispensers, toys with food).
- Install barriers to prevent access to food (children’s barriers, bowl of food on a stand).
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Properly selected food can improve the quality of life of an older cat. Foods high in antioxidants, fatty acids, and prebiotics can improve the condition of an older cat.
Check out Hill’s Science Plan Mature Adult and Hill’s Science Plan Senior Vitality. They contain a balanced level of nutrients to support eye, heart, kidney and joint health. Made from high quality and easily digestible natural ingredients without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, while maintaining great taste. All foods also contain clinically proven antioxidants and vitamins C and E to support the immune system. Learn more about how to switch to Science Plan for cats over 7 years of age.
By choosing the right food for an older cat, you will give her health for many years to come. Consult your veterinarian for more information on the nutritional needs of your senior cat and the selection of the appropriate food. Read more about senior cat health prevention.