Senior Cats Nutrition
The Key for a Healthy Life
Cats at 10 years of age are categorised as senior and at 15 are considered “geriatric”.
Like humans, cats do develop issues associated with aging. This is not a problem, but the risk of age-related diseases includes diabetes, thyroid disorder, obesity, arthritis, etc… can increase with an inappropriate diet.
Senior cats are typically associated with lower energy requirements and have the tendency to gain fat and lose muscle mass.
Over time due to the ageing process, senior cats lose an unacceptable portion of vital lean body mass. This results in muscle and internal organs deteriorating and can be irreversible. This deterioration affects Senior cats much more than younger cats and is aggravated when an inadequate amount of protein is consumed by the senior cat in its diet.
With ageing, nutrients in pet food are not adequately absorbed, and therefore a high protein, palatable and nutritionally balanced diet can be a powerful way in maintaining your senior cats’ health.
For many years, the veterinary community believed cats required reduced protein diets as they aged. As we know, cats are obligate carnivores and in the wild their diet does not change.
It varies from day to day but from kitten to geriatric cat, they have a daily high protein diet from their preys, which is highly digestible. On the other hand, if cats are fed a processed diet during their lifetime then the food becomes difficult-to-digest and will compromise their health conditions in the long run.
Despite the controversial believe, foods that have not been highly processed are the most assimilable for a cat’s body, hence why a raw diet would be a better choice. Raw food is biologically appropriate, and it is also high in moisture, which is very important for cats of all ages.
Protein digestibility is key for older cats. It is important to note that meat protein for an obligate carnivore is easy to digest but it is also crucial to highlight that grain or plant proteins are far less digestible. So, when choosing a diet for senior cats, plant or grain-based proteins should be avoided and certainly shouldn’t be the primary source of proteins.
Feeding a cat a species appropriate diet, high in protein, that is highly nutritious and, palatable, throughout its life should greatly reduce the risk of medical conditions illness, particularly into old age.