Diet for your senior kitty
As our cats get older, it is very important to provide them with a good and healthy diet. Here are a few tips to choose the best diet for your ageing kitty.
- Good feeding plan. Setting a good feeding plan throughout their lives is the best way to maintain a happy and healthy cat who lives a happy and fit old age.
- Choose high quality food designed for senior cats. As cats get older they are far less active and their energy decreases so they do not require the same amount of food that they needed when they were younger. Some fat is needed in the diet but this should be reduced although not totally cut out. Senior cat food takes this into consideration and provides them with the vitamins, nutrients and fat that they require.
- Always choose food that your cat eats and enjoys. As they get older cats often lose some of their teeth and their gums may not be quite as strong and healthy as when they were younger. So, choose a diet which they can eat properly.
- Give protein to maintain their muscle tone and immune system. Beef, poultry, fish or lamb is preferable and better than protein from sources such as wheat or corn. A cat’s system can use meat-based protein far better than plant-based protein. Approximately one-thirds of the diet should be made up of meat-based food and therefore also provide about one-thirds of their required calories.
- Provide two or three small meals a day for a senior cat than one large meal. If you are using canned food, always remove the uneaten portion after 30 minutes to prevent the food from spoiling. Some cats, who are not inclined to be obese, can be given a little food to nibble on during the day. If you have younger cats in the house it might be wise to feed your senior animals away so that the younger animals cannot reach it.
- No to treats and table scraps. It is not a good idea to give your cat, of any age, table scraps or regular treats.
- Provide your cat with fresh water at all times – especially cats who may have kidney problems.
- Watch the litter tray. It is important to watch their litter tray to make sure that their waste is not too loose as there may be insufficient fibre in the diet. If this continues for any length of time, always consult your veterinarian who will give your cat a full examination and make suggestions regarding a suitable diet to maintain good health.
(Joan Henderson is based in Australia and she has judged furry felines in many other countries including USA, Bermuda, Malaysia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Philippines and New Zealand)