Whether you’ve only recently adopted an older cat, or you’ve noticed your loved one going a little gray, the right diet can help them stay active and happy. But, there’s a lot more to find the best cat food for older cats than just selecting the option with the “elder cat” label. We’re taking an in-depth look at the best cat foods for a long and happy life!
Choosing The Right Food For An Older Cat
You want your cat to keep everything they did before they aged right? The vitality, health, and even the occasional indifference to you for a good nap in the window. But, their bodies are changing, and you need to adapt their diet to help them retain the nutrition that they would usually get from their food.
Sustaining your cat’s vitamin levels is easier said than done. Because their bodies are slowing down, you might notice that your older cat is having more issues with their intestinal tract, or even kidney infections.
Signs of low vitamin levels can also include tooth loss and a loss of appetite. But, many foods are catered towards packing an extra vitamin punch for senior cats. You’ll want to hit these essential vitamins every time:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
Common Senior Cat Issues
There’s a lot of possible things to go wrong for senior cats, and nearly all of these issues should be avoided with a proper diet. You should start with a high volume of dietary fiber can help your cat from diabetes, constipation, and issues with their anal glands.
To curb other common senior cat issues, you could consider easier to digest forms of carbohydrates and protein. These easier to digest ingredients can help your cat avoid kidney problems. It’s also great for their urinary health.
The last thing to look for in cat foods is a low sodium level. Just like people cats are susceptible to heart problems as they get older. That means watching their sodium levels and increasing the number of amino acids.
Type of Cat Food
Although many cats eat dry food through their younger years, the benefits of dry food are lackluster for senior cats. While adult cats can get some dental benefits from kibble, most cats should eat wet food
Wet food is the better option for senior cats because it’s easier to eat, easier to digest and the proteins are usually better quality. But, there are so many options now it’s not as easy as dry or wet food anymore. There is liquid, canned food, frozen food, and even fresh food subscriptions.
|Cat Food||Feature||Price||Our Rated|
|1. Nutro Wild Frontier||High-protein dry food||$$||5/5||Buy from Chewy|
|2. Nutro Wholesome||Tons of Omega-3s||$$||5/5||Buy from Chewy|
|3. Purina Pro Plan||Grain-free||$$||4/5||Buy from Chewy|
|4. Blue Buffalo||Grain-free||$$||4/5||Buy from Chewy|
|5. Royal Canin Aging||Chunky texture||$$$||4/5||Buy from Chewy|
Top 5 Cat Foods for Older Cats
These are the best cat foods for older cats, and we were sure to include a wide variety of different types of cat foods. But, the thing that all of these have in common is that they’re all high-quality foods packed with a lot of vitamins and easy to digest proteins.
1. Nutro Wild Frontier Senior Open Valley Recipe – High Protein and Grain-Free
- High-protein dry food
It isn’t easy to find an easy-to-digest, high-protein dry cat food, but Nutro Wilk Frontier has managed to create the recipe everyone’s been looking for. The recipe has 42% crude protein, no-GMOs and is completely grain-free. Although the gluten-free movement is a few years behind us, generally cats don’t need grains.
The thing we like best about this recipe is that its dry food. Most homes that have pets use dry food. It’s almost unreasonable to ask everyone to switch to wet food. Senior cats especially might be more moody or cranky about changes to their diet. If you can swap one kibble for another, that’s probably the best course of action.
There’s not much to dislike about Nutro’s Wild Frontier for Seniors other than a few preservatives and a lack of vitamins. They bulk up their recipe with amino acids which is good for urinary tract health. But, they miss out on some vitamins and the necessary beta-carotenes.
If your cat has grown old on kibble and doesn’t seem to mind it, you should give them an easy transition into senior food. Dry food for senior like this shouldn’t come with any urinary tract or digestive risks. But, you should always be careful to transition your cat’s food slowly.
If you are worried about the lack of vitamins you can always get vitamin rich treats, or add-ins for their dry food. They’re usually flavored so that even the pickiest eaters will find them appealing! It’s worth giving this dry cat food a shot even if it means using an add-in or treat to supplement their nutritional needs on occasion.
2. Nutro Wholesome Indoor Senior Dry Cat Food
- 36% Crude protein
- Tons of Omega-3s
Another dry cat food option from Nutro, but the primary differences between this option and the last I that there’s less protein, but more essential vitamins and fatty acids. This formula is exactly what you would expect for an indoor cat diet. You’re looking for something to keep up a moderate level of energy while also easing digestion.
The great thing about this formula is how it caters towards indoor cat lifestyles. Indoor cats aren’t necessarily less active, but they are lower energy. The high protein and fiber will keep your cat active, but the few grains will keep them at a healthy weight.
The only downside is the fact that its dry food. If this level of protein and nutrients were in a wet form, it would be outstanding. However, the kibble itself can be hard for cats with lost teeth or declining gum health to eat. There’s also the outstanding issue that dry food may leave cats dehydrated.
This is a great option for any healthy senior cat. The amount of protein to vitamins and carbs is excellent. But, if your cat is losing teeth or previously has had urinary tract problems a dry food formula probably isn’t right for you.
When you’re ready to transition your cat over to a senior food like this one, consider going through the transition slower than usual. Picky cats can often sniff out changes in their food and might reject this new formula altogether.
3. Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus Senior Canned Cat Food
- White fish and Shrimp
When you’re looking for a great wet food senior cat food, Purina takes care to hit on every mark. This formula is made for easy digestion, but chunky and “flavorful” enough to keep senior cats interested. Part of the struggle in feeding any cat is transitioning them to a new food. Purina focuses on proteins that they would find in the wild like fish to keep cats engaged.
As we’ve said before, keeping cats hydrated is a struggle. But with 78% moisture in each can, you won’t have a problem with hydration. Now, you’re not feeding your cat food that is sitting in water. Instead, they use bone and chicken broth to maintain hydration without losing valuable nutrients.
The downside is that this formula doesn’t have a lot of protein, or fiber and uses an unknown “meat by-products” which in the past has caused issues for pet owners. The ingredients list makes it clear where things have gone wrong in this formula. The use of oils and organ meat such as the liver make this formula high in fat.
If your senior cat is regularly active, then this isn’t a bad option, although they will need more than one can a day. But if you are feeding an indoor cat, you should probably look for something with lower fat content and higher fiber.
The tradeoff here is that you’re getting high-quality hydration, for the likelihood of your cat being low energy and gaining weight. The only way to combat these issues is with lots of playtimes and maybe a few protein add-ins. Some people use Purina plus as a treat for their senior cats. They’ll get more vitamins and nutrients from this can of wet food than a dry treat.
4. Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature Chicken Recipe Canned Cat Food
- Larger cans (5.5 oz)
There’s not much more than Blue Buffalo could deliver. Although they’ve had some issues in the past, they’ve turned around their practices and are now producing the high-quality food they promised from the start. This formula helps senior cats’ digestion and their urinary health. Both of these issues can lead to an early decline in health.
Can size! Without a doubt, the 5.5 oz can size these different from the other canned cat food options available. Kittens need many, small-sized servings throughout the day while they are very active. But, older cats will usually eat only once or twice during the day with mild activity between feedings. You can divide this can into 2 feedings or let them chow down on one big meal.
Some cats are picky, but many cat owners report that their picky cats won’t touch this recipe. You can lead a cat to the food bowl, but you can’t make him eat. The common factor that many pet owners who have tried Blue Buffalo Freedom are the smell.
The smell isn’t pleasant but generally smells like any other wet cat food. However, cats must decide what they’ll eat for themselves.
This is an amazing formula for senior cats. Because senior cats refer to any cat over the age of 7, you can seamlessly switch to this food option even if your cat is in perfect health. The goal is to provide a balance of protein, carbs, and fats, which Blue Buffalo does very well in this recipe.
Although the formula has a lower percentage of crude protein (7%) the ingredients used are of higher quality. The first 3 ingredients are chicken, chicken broth and chicken liver. Unlike alternative that uses meal and by-product, you won’t see a hyper-concentration of protein because it’s just not natural. Instead
5. Royal Canin Aging Canned Cat Food
- 3 oz Cans
- Chunky texture
Using a well-developed macronutrient profile, aging cats with declining health can get a variety of benefits from this formula. Royal Canin is well-known for their outstanding dedication to catering towards specific needs. They market this canned cat food as a complement to kibble and nutritionally beneficial.
We love the macronutrients profile. With 9% of crude protein, 2.5% of crude fat and 82% of vitamin-rich moisture it is perfect for an aging cat. But even with this high protein count, the kcal is pretty low, which means that this formula is also a great option for cats that have a little extra weight they need to drop.
The downside of this wonderful macronutrient profile is how they achieved high levels of protein with an exceptionally low-fat content. The first ingredient is water for processing, following by pork by-products, pork liver and so on until you finally find wheat flour gelatin and vegetable oil. The filler products mean that your cat won’t be hungry, but they’re missing out on high-quality ingredients.
Royal Canin is a great brand, and although their ingredients list in this formula is a bit disappointing, they offer a lot when it comes to aging cats. The ingredients do specifically address issues that senior cats usually run into such as digestive problems, and urinary tract health issues.
If your cat is declining in health, you should consider Royal Canin cat food foraging. The soft texture of the meat slices makes it easy to eat even if cats have lost teeth or have gum disease. While the gravy can help keep your cat hydrated while getting an extra boost of vitamins.
The Clear Winner…
The best cat food for older cats is the wet-food option from Blue Buffalo. The Blue Buffalo Freedom for Indoor Mature cats brings together a healthy balance of protein (chicken), carbs (sweet potato) and fats (flax seed) to help maintain a healthy weight. But this formula uses fibrous ingredients such as the sweet potato to aid in digestion, and it even helps with hairballs.
This cat food came out on top because of its ingredients list which focuses on high-quality items rather than a meal or by-product proteins. Blue Buffalo Freedom for Indoor Mature cats is rich in Vitamin B5, B6, B7, B12, and B9. As well as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and potassium. The Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids help not only the digestive system but their skin and coat as well. This formula hits every mark and outperforms the competition.