According to your cat's age, lifestyle, environment, and health, their nutritional needs will vary over time. Knowing the basics about how to adapt to these changes, including how to feed your elderly cat, will help maintain their health and can even prolong their life.
Feeding your elderly cat
As cats age their physical activity tends to decrease and they start to sleep more often. This alone can increase the risk of them becoming overweight. Even if your cat continues to spend a lot of time outdoors, you will need to monitor their energy intake to adapt to their ageing bodies.
More commonly known as kibble or cat biscuits, dry food has some advantages as a food option for your cat.
Apart from its long shelf life, cats often respond well to dry food in terms of taste, crunch, and (claimed) contribution to dental hygiene. However, if your cat has dental problems your vet may advise giving them food that is easier to chew.
As dry food does not contain as much water as wet food, it can be easy to overfeed your cat. This will be something to consider to avoid unhealthy weight gain. You can read more about cat obesity here.
In contrast to dry food, wet food typically only lasts a few days in the fridge; it is best consumed within 2-3 days of opening.
Wet food usually comes packaged in cans, sachets or pockets. Some come as single servings, although it's important to read the label to find out the age demographic that the meal and its energy contents have been designed for. Your elderly cat won't need the same energy requirements as that of a 2-4 year-old cat!
Cats typically rip, chew, and swallow their food whole. If your cat shows signs of difficulty eating, a wet food diet might be the better option. However, your vet can provide you with advice tailored to your pet.
A raw food or 'homemade diet' is another means of feeding your cat. While some owners may wish to prepare their cat's meals so that they know exactly what is going into the dish, there have been some cases of unintentional malnourishment using this approach. If you want to prepare more of your cat's meals, have a chat with your vet who might suggest a combination of the above options. After all, you want to ensure your cat receives the best nutritional balance.
Apart from quality, there is no one rule when it comes the type of food to feed your cat. Your cat is unique and will have its own set of nutritional needs. Speaking to your vet will help to ensure these are met.
And don't forget - ensure that you always leave a bowl of clean, fresh water easily accessible to your cat.
You may also like to read: Understanding how cats eat
What dietary changes have you made for your elderly cat?
Source: Notre Temps