From around the age of 10, your kit is considered to be a senior and his diet could benefit from a review. As they age, both their appetite and dietary requirements may change, and you could find that their favorite kibble is longer piquing interest or is starting to upset their system. Older cats are also less active so don’t need as many calories to power up their energy reserves while certain ingredients such as grain and protein could well start to become more difficult to digest.
To ensure your older cat has all the nutrition he needs to maintain his health and wellbeing well into his kitty twilight years, it may be time to switch his food to a variety that has been specifically formulated for senior cats. We take a look at some of the best cat food for older cats so you can make the right switch when it comes to your feline’s daily menu.
The Best Cat Food for Older Cats
Retaining real meat – whole chicken – as their central protein source, Blue Buffalo’s dry cat food for ageing kits ensures your cat is not missing out on the taste or benefits of a quality protein. But to help counter the effects of ageing and also to lessen any impact on your kit’s system, they have also added whole grains, vegetable and fruit, as well as their ‘Lifesource Bits’. This formula is an added supplement packed with the essential antioxidants, vitamins and minerals your ageing cat needs to maintain their optimum health and vitality. One of the best dry food for senior cats, this meal is also kind on delicate tums and low fat too, so won’t pile on the pounds if fed in moderation to your less active cat. Corn, wheat and soy-free.
Deboned chicken – no by-product
Whole grains – brown rice, oatmeal, barley
Added vegetables, including sweet potato and peas
Antioxidants – blueberries plus flaxseed (omega 3)
Added vitamins and minerals
- BrandBlue Buffalo
- Weight7.1 pounds
If you have an indoor cat and are looking for a way to boost his energy and nutrition without running the risk of adding extra weight or irritating their tum, then check out this dry senior cat food from Hill’s Science. Specifically formulated to support the lifestyle of the older indoor cat, this tasty dry kibble will sustain their more sedentary lifestyle and keep them feeling energized and healthy. Packed with natural ingredients for a health and wellbeing boost, there is tasty chicken as the main protein source. You also get natural fibers to support their digestion and help to make their indoor litter tray a nicer place come toilet time. There are also added supplements to help support their eye, heart, kidney and joint health. All packed into neat triangular shaped kibble that is kinder on the mouth and teeth of an older feline.
Whole chicken; chicken fat
Wholegrain wheat and rice
Green peas and natural flavors
Fish oil, taurine and L-Carnitine
Added vitamins and minerals
- BrandHill’s Science Diet
- Weight7.2 pounds
Available in an excellent value 16-pound bag, Iams Proactive Health is one of the best cat food for senior cats. Not only is it great value for money, it’s also super-tasty too and gives your elderly indoor or outdoor cat all the nutritional support they need to lead an active life in their ‘silver years’. Whole chicken is the protein source while added whole grains and beet gives a managed balance of fiber and carbs. As well as fish oils, you also get a host of added vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E for the immune system, calcium and potassium for bone health and L Carnitine for managing a healthy weight. There is also double the amount of antioxidants as there is in Iams adult dog formula. Finally, the kibble is crunchy enough to help keep their teeth clean but not too tough on an elderly mouth.
Whole chicken protein source
Whole grains and corn for fiber
Added dried beet pulp
Essential vitamins, minerals and omega oils
L-Carnitine for energy and weight management
- Weight16.3 pounds
If you are faced with an elderly cat who is off their food or reluctant to eat, then Lickable Wet Cat Treats may well be your best senior cat food. With an enticing wet blended texture and a real meaty taste, your older cat will find Lickables easier to eat and digest than ordinary wet or dry senior cat food. This meal is also perfect if they have teeth problems or are eating very little as they can easily eat without the need to bite or chew and they will be getting essential hydration too. Lickables are made from chicken and tuna and come in three blends, ‘smooth’, ‘hearty’ or ‘creamy’ so you can match the right Lickable to what your cat can manage to eat. And they are nicely packed with good stuff for the very senior cat too, with added vitamins B and E as well as potassium and prebiotics to support their digestive systems and overall health.
Blended tuna and chicken formula
Viitamin E and B for senior cat health
Potassium and prebiotics for digestive support
Three blends for ease of digestions
Added moisture to support hydration
- Weight1.4 pounds
As your kit gets older, their digestive system may become more sensitive and their food can trigger a reaction. If this is the case, a wheat-free senior cat food may be a good swap. Blue Buffalo’ grain-free mature cat food is also a reduced calorie formula that may help you manage their weight. With quality whole chicken as the main protein, the natural fiber contained in this best dry cat food for older cats will also support their digestive health. Plus, you get added supplements, including a rich blend of antioxidants as well as added vitamins and minerals to support their all-round health, mobility, energy and wellbeing. Free from by-products, artificial additives, corn, wheat and soy, this is a paired back dry cat food that is kind to your elderly cat without scrimping on the taste.
Whole chicken protein
Wheat and gluten free formula
Peas, sweet potato, carrots and blueberries
Added taurine for heart and eye health
Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
No artificial additives or flavors
- BrandBlue Buffalo
- Weight11.2 pounds
Rich and moist with a balanced formula of protein, fats and carbs, this delicious wet cat food for felines 12+ is a gourmet feast when it comes to their mealtimes. A premium pick, this wet food is easily one of the best foods for older cats and is also appetizing on both the eye and the nose. The look is thin slices of chicken in a rich and moist gravy and is packed with all the nutrients your kit needs and can be a good choice if your puss is off their food or finding harder cat food tough to eat. Add omegas for joint health, phosphorus for kidney support and balanced vitamins and minerals make this a tasty and health supporting meal for your older cat. And, if they still like a bit of crunch try mixing with a little dry kibble for a feline fine dining experience!
Balanced ratio of protein, fats and carbs
Rich ‘gravy’ for a moist formula
Omega-3s for mobility
Controlled phosphorus to support kidney health
Vitamins and minerals
- BrandRoyal Canin
- Weight5.8 pounds
Boosted by omega fatty acids for healthy skin and joints as well as all-round vitality, this grain-free dry food can be given to middle-aged cats (around 7) and above to sustain good health as they head into their senior years. Designed for indoor cats, it also has added fiber to help manage hairballs and as it is free from grains, is gentler on a sensitive system. Using quality deboned meat, including fish and poultry, the essential protein building blocks are also here as well as added vitamins and minerals, plus probiotics and antioxidants. The result is a tasty dry food that is free from any artificial nasties and will set your kit in good stead as they age and need more balance and targeted nutrition in their diet.
Deboned chicken and fish
Rich in Omega 3s and added fiber
Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
Added probiotics for gut health
- Weight7.2 pounds
Whet your older cat’s appetite with this delicious looking and tasting wet at food from Hill’s Science that is easy to eat, chew and digest. With the menu reading ‘seared tuna and carrot’ you know this wet cat food is something special and it is also packed with the essentials your older puss really needs. Quality protein, balanced carbs and good fiber is all gentle on their digestive system while supporting their muscle, energy and mobility. Added antioxidants plus vitamins C and E are also in there, to help support their immune system and all-round health. Feed to your kit wet or add in some dry kibble for a satisfying meal. One of the best senior cat food for reluctant eaters too.
Tuna and carrot mix
Balanced protein, fats, carbs and fiber
Wet formula for easier digestion
Added vitamins, including C&E for immune support
Antioxidants, taurine and L-carnitine
- BrandHill’s Science Diet
- Weight5.4 pounds
If your older cat prefers a wet formula or is starting to struggle to chew and eat their dry act food, we say give Purina’s Pro Plan Senior wet cat food a try. With a base of chicken protein, and added beef, there’s also a tasty and healthy mix of carbs and fiber, without any wheat grain that may irritate their delicate tum. The carefully balanced formula also includes antioxidants beta carotene and vitamin E as well as omega 3 & 6, prebiotic fiber and key nutrients to support their immune system, skin and digestive health. All in tasty fine blend meal with a rich gravy.
Grain-free wet food formula
Chicken and beef protein base
Chicory root and soybean oil
Added antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
Omega fatty acids, probiotics and fiber
- BrandPurina Pro Plan
- Weight5.3 pounds
For a tasty crunch that’s packed with all the essential goodness your older cat needs, Nutro Max senior dry cat food is a tasty addition to their feed bowl. This dry cat food has been devised for your cat’s all-round health throughout their ‘silver feline’ years. The kibble pieces are not too big and can be comfortably chewed while helping to keep their teeth clean and plaque-free while the chicken protein gives them the muscle and energy support they need in each tasty bite. Add in vegetables and antioxidant power-houses blueberries, cranberries and tomato plus added fish oils for omegas 3&6 and the nutritional value stacks up. You also get easy to digest wholegrains including whole wheat and brewer’s rice as well as added vitamins and minerals for an all-round meal that will support your senior cat’s overall health, bounce and vitality.
Whole deboned chicken
Easy to digest wholegrains
Antioxidants for a healthy immune system
Omega fatty acids for coat and skin health
Natural fibers, vitamins and minerals
- Weight6.2 pounds
Best Cat Food for Older Cats Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Look for When Buying Premium Senior Cat Food
When looking to switch your pet to senior cat food, here’s what you need to look out for:
A high-quality protein: a good protein source is essential to an aging cat as it helps to maintain their muscle mass and overall strength. However, if your kit has health conditions such as kidney disease, they may well need less protein so if this is the case, consult your vet before you make any dietary changes.
Carbohydrates: As your cat ages and slows down, he needs less carbs to sustain his activity levels as well as to maintain his weight. When it comes to carbs in cat food for older cats, look for quality rather than quantity and make sure the carb source is easy to digest.
Fiber: Fiber is essential for effective digestion, which can get slower and more sluggish as your cat gets older.
Less fat: With lowered activity levels, obesity can become a problem in older, more sedentary cats so check the fat content of your senior cat food to ensure it doesn’t have high levels of fat, which can also be troublesome for your elderly cat to digest.
Added supplements: Your senior cat may well need extra supplementation to support their energy, health, and overall wellbeing, especially if they are starting to show the signs of mobility, joint or eyesight issues. Extra nutritional supplements to look for in any top-rated senior cat food include omega 3 fatty acids for a healthy nervous system, glucosamine, and chondroitin for joint health and antioxidants for an effective immune system.
Easy to eat: Older cats can suffer from dental issues, making it harder to eat dry style food so if this is the case for your cat, look for a moist formula. The best wet cat food for older cats can also help to boost their hydration levels, as dehydration can also be a concern. And loss of appetite can affect many older cats so look for cat food that is packed with flavor to entice them to eat.
Benefits of Feeding Your Senior Cat Specialized Food
As your cat ages, they don’t need the level of calories they used to as their pace of life slows down. However, they do need specific levels of nutrition to keep them healthy and nourished. Switching to a specialized senior cat food will ensure your kit is getting all the vitamins, minerals and nutrition they need to keep their energy levels sustained as well as help to:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Boost their coat and skin condition
- Support cognitive function
- Keep their joints and muscles mobile
- Support a healthy heart and digestive system
Special Dietary Requirements for Senior Cats
It’s essential for your senior cat to obtain all the nutrients they need to maintain their energy levels, as well as their all-round health. Protein is key to your cat’s optimum health however as he ages, he may find it harder to digest and absorb the protein, good fats, and carbs he needs. This means a senior cat will have specific dietary requirements to keep them healthy, happy and on the go. When considering your older cat’s diet, you need to ensure they have a high-quality protein, carbohydrates they can easily digest (some older cats do better on a grain-free diet), plus the essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids and antioxidants they need. Certain age-related health conditions may also influence your feline’s additional dietary needs, such as low sodium and added taurine for heart health, easily digestible protein if your cat has kidney issues or glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids for muscle and joint health. Ensuring they are sufficiently hydrated is also essential.
Best Cat Food for Older Cats FAQ:
Q: How much should I feed my senior cat?
A: Because your kit is getting older, she may not require the quantity of food she once needed to keep her powered up and on the go. But while you may find you need to reduce the amount of food your cat has each day, you should never cut back on its quality. With their declining physical health, including digestive and oral, it is also a good idea to feed your senior cat little and often, so they can comfortably eat, digest and enjoy their food. And always ensure your older cat has access to plenty of fresh, clean water throughout the day to keep her happily hydrated.
Q: Are there any supplements to help older cats?
A: As they age, your cat is less efficient in absorbing all the nutrients in their food and may also have age-onset health conditions that could benefit from extra supplementation. So, when choosing the right senior food for your cat, you need to take their specific needs into account. Many senior cat food formulas contain added vitamins, minerals and supplements to help boost your feline’s health and keep them active. Depending on your cat’s needs, look for antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, and beta-carotene which can help protect against the aging process. Omega 3 essential fatty acids for eye and muscle health, probiotics for gut health and taurine for a healthy immune system.
Q: My senior cat won't eat. What should I do?
A: If you find your elderly cat is off their food, then the first thing to do is to get them checked out by the vet to rule out any underlying health conditions that could be causing their reduced appetite.
If there is no underlying medical cause, you will need to ‘cat detective’. Cats are fussy creatures so it could be something as simple as a dirty food bowl, or their food dish may be causing them irritation – deeper bowls can irritate their whiskers so a shallower feed bowl could be the way forward. If this doesn’t work then look at their food, how you feed them and how often. Try spreading their meals over three or four smaller meals during the day instead of two. Moist food is also easier and more appetizing for many senior cats so if they are on dry kibble try a move to wet cat food for senior cats and see how they go. Another good tip to get your older cat to eat is to heat up their food to a warm temperature as this will make their food smell more enticing. If you are still struggling, chat to your vet again as a prescription diet that is high calorie and nutrient-rich may be the answer as it means you can feed them smaller quantities but can be reassured that they are getting the nutrition they need.