The nutritional requirements of elderly cats differ greatly from those they had when they were kittens: learn what is necessary to include in your diet to enjoy a good state of health here.
As the cat ages, a series of changes take place in its organism, which means that its diet and the way it is fed must also change. From approximately 11 years old, the cat is considered ‘senior’ and requires different nutrients from those of the early stages of its life.
What happens in the body of cats as they age?
As a cat advances in age, and approximately from the age of 11, external signs of changes in its organism and its behavior will become evident.
They may sleep more or behave differently, be less sociable or meow more. Your skin and hair become less silky, or even gray hair. The passage of time will also have an effect on your joints and you may be less able to walk firmly, jump or groom yourself.
Internally, the cat’s bodily functions slow down. Your immune system is less effective, as is your digestion. Dental problems, such as tooth wear or gingivitis, can affect your appetite, since eating can become painful for them; This in turn can cause weight loss. The senses of smell, taste and hearing also decrease as well as their resistance to stress.
The cat can also begin to suffer from common diseases in senior cats, such as kidney disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis or hyperthyroidism, although these can be treated with proper diet and medication.
What impact does aging have on the nutritional needs of cats?
Since the cat’s organic functions are changing, he needs a different nutrition from any other time in his life.
Now it is more difficult for your digestive system to digest and absorb nutrients from food, especially fats and proteins. Dental and digestive problems can also make it difficult for you to eat or chew food you used to eat, so softer, mouse-type textures can be easier to assimilate.
By decreasing your ability to smell and taste your appetite may be affected, so the food should be especially palatable to stimulate them to eat it and therefore continue to obtain the nutrients they need.
What nutrients does a senior cat need?
To strengthen the health of your cat and slow the progression of diseases associated with aging, its diet must include certain nutrients, such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, fatty acids (such as EPA / DHA) or green mussel extract, which help improve the mobility of elderly cats. Veterinary diets specifically designed to improve mobility in cats have been shown to reduce pain after a month of nutritional treatment.
Digestive disorders can be fought with specifically designed diets and with the right selection of high quality nutrients. For example, easily digestible proteins facilitate digestion for older cats. Beet pulp can have a beneficial prebiotic effect, while omega 3 EPA / DHA fatty acids help maintain digestive health.
Elderly cats may develop chronic renal failure and suffer from urinary problems. In the case of mature cats with a predisposition to these problems, the restriction of phosphorus in the diet can contribute to delaying the onset of the disease. Phosphorus is one of the first elements to reach toxic levels in the blood of cats suffering from kidney failure. Wet foods and those that help increase water intake are also beneficial, as they increase the volume of urine the cat ejects and reduce the risk of stone formation.
The diet gives senior cats must meet four requirements: be easy to digest, be complete and balanced, help maintain well-being and slow down the processes associated with aging. Ask your veterinarian for advice on what food is best for your senior cat.