Your senior cat may still look and act young, but that doesn’t mean you should fill his food bowl with the same cat food he’s always eaten. Depending on his health, your aging cat’s diet may need an overhaul.
By the time a cat reaches his twelfth birthday, he is the equivalent of a 64-year-old human. In their senior years, felines start to fall prey to many of the same ailments as we do.
Your senior cat is very much like an elderly person in that she has important, specific nutritional requirements. She may no longer have all her teeth, or she might have frequent difficulty with digestion. Making fresh cat food at home might be the answer to better health for her.
Cats are strict carnivores, and they get most of the water they need from eating prey. As they get older, they need more water to flush out their systems and decrease the concentration of minerals in their urine.
They are often overweight or have medical conditions such as arthritis, heart disease or liver disease, or hyperthyroidism, which is common in senior cats.
A diet of homemade cat food may benefit your senior cat, particularly if it contains fewer carbohydrates and more pure protein because preventing obesity is vital for older cats.
Raw cat Foods
A raw-food diet has been shown to have many benefits for senior cats. Veterinarian Dr. Lisa Pierson’s website advocates the feeding of raw food for cats using rabbit meat obtained directly from a rabbit farmer, or whole chicken and turkey thighs that are partially baked to kill surface bacteria.
Dr. Pierson grinds her meat herself to ensure its freshness, and she believes it is responsible for curing her elderly cat of a variety of illnesses, including urethritis.
Cooked Cat Food
Some senior cats prefer cooked food, and veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Remillard of the MSPCA-Angell Boston Animal Medical Center suggests using 3 ounces of cooked dark-meat chicken, pork, lamb, beef or fish such as salmon or tuna as a basis for adult cat food.
Mix this with one-third cup of cooked white rice and a one-fifth cup of cooked sweet potato. Add one-quarter teaspoon of vegetable, olive or fish oil and a half-scoop of commercial vitamins and minerals. Dr. Remillard recommends this food for healthy adult cats of all ages.
Senior Cat Foods for Common Issues
Speaking of underlying problems, senior cats can develop some common health issues that may be managed with diet.
Of course, before you change your pal’s diet, talk to your veterinarian about the root cause of their health issues. Some of the health issues are;
If your feline is losing muscle, it might be time to switch to a higher-protein diet, Dr. Bartges says.
“Sometimes [losing muscle mass] is due to diseases such as chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes mellitus. Sometimes it is due to diet if the diet was changed to a lower protein diet. If there is no disease present, then feeding a higher protein and lower carbohydrate diet may help,” Dr. Bartges says.
For overweight senior cats who need to drop a few pounds, pet parents have a couple of options, Dr. Bartges says, and if one doesn’t work, you can try the other.
“Conventionally and historically, a high fiber, the low fat, the low-calorie diet was used to induce an energy deficiency and promote fat mobilization and weight loss,”
Dr. Bartges says. “More recently, many have gone to a high protein, low carbohydrate diet (a so-called metabolic shift diet), which is similar to eating prey—although not exactly.”
If your senior cat is having trouble remembering things—such as where their litter box is, how to eat or drink or how to play with their favorite interactive toy—or displaying senile-like behaviors like staring into space, altered sleep/wake cycles, meowing loudly (especially at night), or spatial disorientation, you could choose a diet with antioxidants and healthy fats.
When to Switch to Senior Cat Food
So, is there a definitive age at which a cat should switch to a “senior diet?” Unfortunately, no, Dr. Bartges says. It all depends on the individual cat and their veterinarian’s recommendations.
“If an older cat is maintaining body weight and muscle condition on a certain diet, then there is no reason to change it,” he says. “If they are gaining weight for no particular health reason other than a change in metabolism, then feeding a ‘senior’ type of diet or lower energy and higher fiber diet may be [recommended].
whether they are losing weight for no apparent health reason other than a change in metabolism, then a diet change to something more calorically dense, such as kitten food, could be indicated.”
“In general, transitioning over [several] days should be done to ensure the cat accepts the new food,” Dr. Bartges says, also noting that it can take up to weeks or months for the cat to accept the new cat food when a disease, such as chronic kidney disease, is present.
Get tips for transitioning your cat to a new food.
The Recipes for your Senior Cats
Chicken Cat Food Recipe
PREP TIME: 1hr
4.5 lbs chicken thighs, bone, and skin included
14 oz chicken hearts (can be substituted with a meat-based source with 4000mg taurine supplement)
7 oz chicken livers
2 cups of water
4 whole eggs or yolks (if your cat likes them)
200 mg Vitamin B supplement
200 IU Vitamin E
dash of light iodized salt (Use sparingly. Too much salt is not suitable for your cat.)
200 mg Taurine
Remove and discard roughly half of the skin and 20% of the bone.
Dice and slice most of the thighs into small bite-sized portions.
Grind the rest of the thigh meat, bones, hearts, and liver. Stir until well blended.
In a large bowl, combine all vitamin supplements, eggs, and salt. Add 2 cups of water. Eggs should be well whisked.
You will now have three main mixtures; sliced/sheared meat, ground meat/bone, and supplements beaten with eggs. Combine and mix all ingredients thoroughly.
The leftovers must be stored in an airtight container that allows room for expansion as the food freezes. You can put a few days worth of the meal in the refrigerator and freeze the rest.
2. Mackerel Recipe for cat food
PREP TIME: 15mins
One cup canned mackerel
1 tbsp sunflower seed oil
1 tbsp organic cooked brown rice
1-2 tbsp water or broth (chicken or beef)
Combine all ingredients in the food processor.
Puree until blended.
It is best if served immediately, but you can refrigerate the leftovers for up to three days.
3. Chicken and Greens for cat food
PREP TIME: 30 mins
COOK TIME: 2hr
TOTAL TIME: 2hr 30mins
3 lb Quartered Roasting Chicken
4 cup Water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 piece Celery stalks with leaves
1 cup Carrots, finely chopped
2 tablespoon Parsley flakes or 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup Barley, uncooked
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
3 teaspoon Brewer’s yeast
5 ounce thawed and drained, chopped frozen spinach
1 cup fresh green beans, chopped
Place chicken, salt, water, and the celery leaves in a large stockpot or slow cooker. (Save the celery stalks.) Cover, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 to one and a half hours or until chicken is tender.
Remove chicken and strain broth into a bowl. Chill the broth in a refrigerator until the top is covered in fat. Skim fat.
Remove the fat, skin, and bones from the chicken. Discard. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Return the broth to the pot. Add chopped celery with carrots, barley, brewer’s yeast, and lemon juice. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add chicken, spinach, and green beans. Cook 15 more minutes until beans are tender. Cool and serve. It will keep refrigerated for one week or frozen for a month in an airtight container.
4. Chicken and Tuna Dinner
PREP TIME: 15mins
1/2 cup cooked chicken
1 can oil-packed tuna
1 tbsp mashed cooked carrot
Combine all ingredients in the food processor
Puree until blended and serve.
As with trout and mackerel dinners, you may refrigerate leftovers. Discard them after three days.
PREP TIME: 15mins
1 can tuna, drained
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/4 cup liver, pureed
2-3 sprigs chopped parsley
Mix all ingredients with drained tuna
Make six or seven balls. Form into patties.
Serve and store leftovers of cat food in the refrigerator.
According to a 2011 study, 61% of cats six years or older have arthritis in at least one joint and 82% of cats 14 years or older suffer from arthritis.
This can lead to decreased mobility, constant pain, lack of energy, and all sorts of other symptoms that can make life unpleasant.
While age is inevitable, CBD can help improve the situation.
Packed with powerful anti-inflammatory properties, CBD can help reduce inflammation, while mitigating the spread of further inflammation. Besides, researchers have found that CBD can decrease the perceived level of pain by activating and desensitizing the brain’s vanilloid receptor. In light of these, we’ve come with some delicious cat food treats that would help your senior felines navigate its old age with less stress.