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As we age, so does the food we eat. We need more minerals and nutrients to get us through our old age. We have different needs and we need to be eating the right kinds of foods to accommodate those needs.
Cats are creatures that live longer when compared to other pets. And so that raises the question of what we should feed them to keep them sustained and happy. The answer to that question clearly depends on what stage of life your cat is in. If your cat is really nearing the end of her days, then let her have free reign over the foods she eats. As they age, cats become more and more picky with food. So if you get them to eat anything at all, that would be seen as a success. When they get this finicky about food, there are certain things that you as a pet parent can do to keep their health up.
As your cat ages, so her ability to digest different types of foods. When she reaches the age 11 to 12 milestone, her ability to process fats decline. This can impact the way in which she extracts energy from food. Since fats have the highest amount of calories, that obviously causes a problem. Once she reaches 14, her ability to process certain foods further deteriorates and she will have difficulty digesting proteins. This can lead to the loss of both fat as well as muscle mass. When your cat loses her muscle mass, she has higher risks of catching illnesses and having an early death. A lot of senior cats also suffer from kidney diseases and arthritis.
Here’s what a good diet for your senior cat should contain:
- High levels of antioxidants – in order to counteract the damage caused by free radicals.
- Lower levels of phosphorous – the health of her kidneys are already deteriorating. Less phosphorous in her diet can help protect her kidneys.
- Higher protein levels – this helps to maintain he muscle mass and prevent muscle atrophy which can lead to various different medical conditions.
- Essential fatty acids like fish oils – these can promote joint health while also keeping her mind sharp.
- Moderate levels of fat – when a cat loses her ability to process fats, she loses a lot of it. This means that you need to feed your cat a lot more calories to properly balance her intake. Especially when your cat is on the skinnier side.
- Good smell – cats are more likely to eat their food if they like how it smells. As with humans, the olfactory experience is what amplifies the taste.
Cats are finicky eaters. It’s our job to recognize this and help them in any way we can. You could even talk to your vey about dietary options for elderly cats. He’ll only be happy to help.