Nutrition for an Aging Cat
by: Amanda Baker [Dec 2005]
All cats are created equal, right? Wrong. Senior cats have special dietary needs, different from adult cats and kittens. Their bodies require different things.
Sometimes, you will have to supplement in order to provide them proper nutrition. Their energy needs may stay the same, but a cat's ability to absorb fat changes as it ages. A cat in his senior years will need more protein than other cats of different ages. Smaller kibble, fortified with more vitamins and antioxidants, should be available as an option for senior cats.
As cats age, they become much more vulnerable to disease, as their immune system weakens over time. A cat's diet should reflect that change and be altered to provide more of a defense. Perhaps they need to increase their Omega-3 fatty acid intake due to a form of cancer, or maybe they need a soft gentle food due to an oral disease. A thorough checkup is necessary to establish the proper plan for your cat's dietary needs to help keep your senior cat healthy throughout his later years. A checkup is very important, as the same checkup your cat received as a kitten and as an adult will not be the same as the one he has as a senior. Bodies and chemical structure, just as with humans, change. Your own health at sixty is certainly not the same as your health as a newborn.
A lot of elderly cats have difficulty eating. They may go several days without eating entirely! After ruling out disease, you're likely to find that your cat has become rather finicky to the taste and feel of his food. You might try warming food in the microwave, or adding juice or gravy to the food. At the most extreme, there is something called an animal appetite stimulator that you can get from the vet. However, this should be used as a very last resort.
Observing your cat's daily dietary habits and relaying that information to your vet will help the both of you to work out a dietary plan that is tailor-made to your senior cat. Through careful care and love, and proper nutrition, your senior cat can live a prosperous life without worry, and you can rest easier knowing you're doing all that you can for your senior cat.
About The Author
Amanda Baker writes for ToBeInformed : http://tobeinformed.com/pets .