The 10 Best Senior Cat Foods For Older Cats in 2019

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After analyzing over 50+ products by our team of experts and vets we choose the 10 best senior cat foods to help your feline to stay healthy in her older age.

As your cat ages, he is going to slow down considerably. He will not be interested in remaining as active as in his prime. Therefore, his diet also needs to change to suit the new reality. While calorie-wise requirements may have gone down, he still needs adequate nutrition in the form of high-quality protein and essential antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to maintain good health.

This changed reality has posed problems to many cat owners. In order to address this problem of senior cat parents, we have decided to dedicate this article exclusively to foods that are suitable for senior cats.

Editor’s Pick: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food

Best Senior Cat Food

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According to our experts, Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food is the best because it has been formulated to fulfill the energy needs of senior cats with an indoor lifestyle. Rich in protein because of chicken being the top ingredient, this recipe helps to strengthen the muscles and supplies energy for daily activities. Made from 100% natural ingredients, it also contains nutrients for a healthy heart, eyes, and kidneys.

What Should You Feed a Senior Cat?

Because high-quality ingredients are easily digestible, they are able to provide more nutrients to senior cats. Older cats need higher quantities of taurine, an ingredient that is beneficial for the heart. You should feed senior cats dry food that contains 10% fat and 28% protein or wet food that contains 4% fat and 8% protein.

All animals slow down as they grow older and need fewer calories and therefore less fat in their food. It is therefore recommended to transition older cats onto a specially formulated senior cat food rather than continue feeding them the usual food for ‘adult’ cats.

Besides high-quality protein, senior cat foods are enriched with Vitamin E to boost your cat’s immune system. Importantly, food for senior cats contains fewer calories.

With age, the ability of cats to smell and taste can also reduce along with their ability to chew. Smaller and softer pieces will help your senior cat derive the maximum benefit from the meal, particularly if it has a sensitive mouth because of having lost some teeth. Higher meat content can also enhance the odor and the flavor of the food to become more appealing for the older cat.

The 10 Best Senior Cat Foods in 2019

Food habits must change with age and it should be no different for cats. There are specially formulated foods available on the market for senior cats. However, because there is so much competition, it is also difficult to pick which one would work for your cat. To make your task easier, we have identified 11 senior cat foods that would benefit your older cat. We have also reviewed the 11 products under this section.

1. Iams Proactive Health Healthy Dry Cat Food

One 7 lb bag of Iams Proactive Health Healthy Dry Cat Food contains dry cat food with chicken for senior cats.

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Chicken is the top ingredient in this protein-rich formulation for senior cats to help strengthen the muscles and supply healthy energy for playing.

The recipe is enriched with vitamin E to stimulate the immune responses of older cats as compared to those of a healthy adult cat.

Besides, the crunchy nature of the kibble prevents plaque buildup.

Potassium and calcium are an important part of this formulation to provide nourishment to the bones and joints and keep them healthy.

L Carnitine in the formulation helps to regulate the weight of senior cats.

  • Type: Dry cat food
  • Best for: Healthy senior
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Main ingredients: Chicken
  • Calorific value: Approx 467 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 33%
Pros
  • A protein-rich formulation for stronger muscles and energy supply for play
  • Contains vitamin E to stimulate immune responses of elderly cats
  • Crunchy nature of kibble also functions as a dental chew to prevent plaque buildup
  • Contains potassium and calcium for stronger bones and joints
  • Also contains L Carnitine to regulate the weight of the older cats
Cons
  • Some cats may not like to eat this food
  • Some have complained that this food caused vomiting

2. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food

This recipe has been specially formulated to fulfill the energy needs of senior cats with an indoor lifestyle.

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It has chicken as the main ingredient, which makes it rich in protein. Proteins help to strengthen the muscles and ensure energy supply needed for physical activities.

Natural fibers in this formulation help to improve digestion and makes litterbox cleaning more simple.

Apart from this, the recipe contains nutrients that are necessary for a healthy heart, kidneys, and eyes.

The entire formulation is made from natural ingredients sourced from across the world but made in the US.

  • Type: Dry cat food
  • Best For: All-purpose cat food for senior cats
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Main ingredients: Chicken
  • Calorific value: 394 calories per cup
Pros
  • Special formulation to fulfill energy needs of senior cats with indoor lifestyle
  • A protein-rich recipe with chicken as a top ingredient
  • Contains natural fibers to improve digestion
  • Enriched with nutrients for healthy heart,  kidneys, and eyes
Cons
  • Size of kibble may be too big and too hard for senior cats

3. Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging Natural Mature Dry Cat Food

This recipe is best for older cats that are prone to vomiting. The high-quality protein from real chicken helps to strengthen the muscles. Apart from chicken, this recipe also contains healthy grains, garden vegetables, and fruits.

Best Cat Food for Older Cats that Vomit

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This dry cat-food for aging cats contains essential proteins and carbohydrates to meet the energy needs in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

All Blue Buffalo recipes are laced with Lifesource Bits, a perfect blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that is prepared by veterinarians and animal nutritionists.

Blue Buffalo’s senior cat food is designed for the overall health and well-being of your cat and uses the finest natural ingredients that are further enriched with essential vitamins and minerals. It completely avoids chicken by-product meals, wheat, corn, soy or any other artificial flavors and preservatives.

  • Type: Dry cat food
  • Best for: Senior cats that vomit
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Main ingredient: Chicken
  • Calorific value: 399 Kcal/cup, 3,695 Kcal/kg
Pros
  • A protein-rich recipe with chicken as the main ingredient
  • Contains a company-patented blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Does not contain fillers
Cons
  • Complaints that the bags received were torn open

4. Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care Cat Food

This formulation is the best cat food for older cats with bad teeth. The product is made from clinically proven kibble technology to reduce plaque and tartar buildup in adult cats.

Best Cat Food for Older Cats with Bad Teeth

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Dental health is equally essential to the overall health and well-being of the cats. Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care dry cat food provides balanced nutrition to boost the dental hygiene of your grown cat using a clinically proven kibble technology.

Made with natural ingredients, this cat food uses an interlocking fiber technology to scrub and clean cat teeth and freshens the breath with every bite. Because every cat loves to have a healthy coat, omega 6s and vitamin E have been included to nourish the skin and coat.

Besides Hill is a reputed brand because over 220 veterinarian, food scientists, technicians, and Ph.D. nutritionists working for the company develop pet food to fulfill the needs of your pet.

Hill’s only accepts ingredients from suppliers whose facilities meet very strict quality standards and are approved by Hill. Not only are the ingredients examined for safety, but also tested for the presence of essential nutrients to ensure that your pet gets strictly the precise formulation that it requires.

  • Type: Dry cat food
  • Best for: senior cats with bad teeth
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Main ingredient: chicken
  • Calorific value: 331 calories/cup
  • Protein: 28%
Pros
  • Clinically proven kibble technology to decrease plaque and tartar buildup
  • Freshens up the breath with every bite
  • Vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids help keep the coat shiny
  • 100% natural ingredients used
Cons
  • Cats may find difficult to chew the kibble and may end up swallowing it whole

5. Purina Pro Plan Senior 7+ Canned Wet Cat Food

Give your feline pal Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus Adult 7+ Chicken & Beef Formula wet cat food and watch her enjoy every bit of the food she has been served.

Wet Canned Cat Food for Senior Cats

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The Purina wet cat food has been proven in a 9-year study to extend and improve the lives of cats aged 7+. It contains all the proteins required to maintain a lean muscle mass and control the weight.

With chicken as the top ingredient, the chicken and beef recipe is a balanced recipe the senior cat needs.

This formulation also includes antioxidants beta carotene and vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids, and prebiotic fiber.

There are nutrients present that are needed to maintain a healthy immune system and improve the microflora in order to maintain the balance in the digestive system.

  • Type: Wet cat food
  • Best for: Choosy senior cats
  • Flavor: Chicken & beef
  • Main ingredients: chicken & beef
  • Calorific value: 106 calories/can
  • Protein: 10%
Pros
  • Salmon and tuna are the main ingredients and protein sources
  • Contains all essential nutrients for a healthy immune system
  • Specially formulated to address the needs of senior cats (11+ years)
Cons
  • Could lead to vomiting in sensitive cats
  • Few choosy cats may refuse to eat

6. Nutro Senior Indoor Cat Dry Food

Nutro Indoor Senior Cat Dry Food comes in two flavors: chicken and brown rice or whitefish and brown rice. Both recipes have high-quality animal protein as the primary ingredient with brown rice that supplies carbohydrates and fiber. Both recipes are laced with antioxidants to stimulate the immune system and essential nutrients like taurine, which is beneficial for the heart in older cats.

Indoor Cat Food for Senior Cats

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It does not contain any corn, wheat, or soy protein. Neither does it contain chicken by-product meal nor any artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. This formulation is rich in omega 6 fatty acids from natural fats to keep the coat and skin shiny and healthy.

  • Type: Dry cat food
  • Best for: Indoor senior cats
  • Flavor: Chicken/whitefish
  • Main ingredients: chicken and brown rice/ whitefish and brown rice
  • Calorific value: 288 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 36%
Pros
  • Two flavors: chicken and whitefish
  • Both recipes rich in antioxidants and taurine
  • A formula rich in omega 6 fatty acids for a shiny coat and healthy skin
Cons
  • Some cats are sensitive/allergic to grains, contains some plant protein

7. Royal Canin Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Cat Food

Royal Canin Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Cat Food is wet cat food for cats aged 12 years and older. This recipe is rich in omega 3 fatty acids to maintain healthy joints to keep aging cats active.

Cat Food for Older Cats with Teeth Problems

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Even the pickiest of eaters will be satisfied with this cat food because of the instinctively preferred ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Control on the phosphorus levels makes this formulation ideal for the health of kidneys as well.

Royal Canin is a trusted name in the world of pet care. They are known for formulating recipes that will fulfill the health needs of each pet so that they enjoy a better quality of life. They have channelized all their expertise and passion for developing nutritious food products for dogs and cats.

  • Type: Wet cat food
  • Best for: Picky Cats
  • Flavor: chicken
  • Main ingredients: Pork by-products, chicken, chicken liver
  • Calorific value: 71 calories/can
Pros
  • For cats aged 12 and older
  • Omega 6 fatty acids maintain healthy joints
  • An instinctively preferred ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates
  • Controlled phosphorus levels for better functioning of kidneys
Cons
  • Some cats do not like to eat this food

8. Hill’s Science Diet Canned Wet Cat Food

This one is the best cat food for older cats with sensitive stomachs. It has been formulated for optimal digestive and skin health. Hill’s Science Diet Canned Wet Cat Food is easily digestible grain-free cat food with natural fibers for easy stool pickup.

Best Cat Food for Older Cats with Sensitive Stomachs

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This recipe promotes healthy skin and fur because of omega 6 fatty acids and vitamin E. The wet cat food is made 100% from natural ingredients in the US.

  • Type: Wet cat food
  • Best for: Older cats with sensitive stomachs
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Main ingredients: Chicken
  • Calorific value: 87 calories/can
Pros
  • For older cats with sensitive stomachs
  • Maintains  optimal digestive and skin health
  • Grain-free cat food with natural fibers for easy stool pickup
  • 100% natural ingredients used
Cons
  • Some cats may not like to eat it
  • Some complained that cats got vomiting and diarrhea

9. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Developed for senior cats with both indoor as well as outdoor lifestyles, this Merrick Purrfect Bistro Healthy Senior Recipe Cat Food is a protein-rich formula that is also grain-free. It comes with deboned chicken as the first ingredient and concentrated chicken and turkey meal for additional protein.

Garin Free Cat Food for Senior Cats

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This formulation also contains dried potatoes and peas to provide fiber as well as essential nutrients but is still easy for the cat to digest. Complete and balanced nutrition is ensured because the recipe is enriched with essential antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

The Merrick Purrfect is made only for natural ingredients and is completely free of any artificial colors, flavors, or additives. The flavor is overwhelmingly that of natural meat and contains chiefly protein for lean but healthy muscles. It also contains a healthy mix of fats for skin and coat without increasing too much calorie count while striking a healthy balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

  • Type: Dry cat food
  • Best for: Indoor senior cats
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Main ingredients: Chicken
  • Calorific value: 353 cal/cup
Pros
  • Quality animal protein the top three ingredients
  • Digestible grain-free carbohydrates
  • high protein content to support lean muscles
  • Enriched with essential vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals
Cons
  • Some cats are sensitive to chicken ingredients
  • Contains some plant protein

10. NUTRO Wild Frontier Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

NUTRO Wild Frontier Grain-Free Dry Cat Food comes as an 11-lb bag of senior dry cat food with chicken flavor. Drawing inspiration from the wild, this high-protein recipe features chicken as the top ingredient.

NUTRO Wild Frontier Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

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The recipe is 100% natural cat food with antioxidants for improved immune system plus essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Taurine is present in the recipe to benefit the heart of senior cats while the level of carbohydrates is significantly lower to maintain healthy joints.

  • Type: Dry cat food
  • Best for: Active senior cats
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Main ingredients: Chicken
  • Calorific value: 391 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 42%
Pros
  •  A protein-rich recipe with chicken as the top ingredient
  • Contains antioxidants for boosting immune system defenses
  • Laced with essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients
  • Taurine present in recipe benefits heart of senior cats
Cons
  • Contains plant protein which may be allergic for certain cats

Buyer’s Guide

In this section, we will discuss the different types of food that senior cats enjoy, the factors that need to be kept in mind while buying cat food for senior cats and include answers to a couple of FAQs for the more curious minds.

Types of Food that Senior Cats Prefer

There are three different types of cat foods available on the market for older cats; canned, semi-moist, and dry cat food.

  • Canned

It is best to feed wet food to older cats. The reason is that such food is more easy to chew and digest than other harder foods. If you look at it from the cat’s angle, they are also most tasty because they consist only of protein, fats, and water.

Such foods with few ingredients and free from grains make it ideal for cats with weak tummies. Because wet food has high calorific values, you have to be careful about not feeding the cat just too much of it.

  • Semi-moist

Once upon a time, semi-moist foods were once considered important but their popularity has been dwindling. Therefore, semi-moist foods have become very difficult to find given that they are a specialist variety for elderly cats.

Semi-moist foods occupy the middle ground between wet and dry foods that aging cats find very helpful. Usually, this type of food contains more ingredients than wet foods and also contains grains that make cats with sensitive tummies vulnerable. But this type of food is considerably easier to eat than dry food.

In our opinion, there’s no point in looking for semi-moist food. Rather than having the advantages of both wet and dry foods, it ends up with all the flaws of either and better be avoided. It is better to either go for wet or dry food and shun semi-moist completely.

  • Soft Dry Food

The principal diet of cats is dry food. They are so widely popular because they are so rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Dry food is also quite cheap.

Dry food can be difficult to consume by older cats with the problem of tooth loss. However, if your senior cat still has a healthy set of teeth, there is absolutely no reason why it cannot be fed dry food (though it would prefer wet food if given a choice).

What Should I Look For in a Senior Cat Food?

There is no single solution to the problem of selecting food for senior cats. Some cats would have certain ailments, whereas some others may have other health complications and could require something completely different. All cats may not require all of what has been discussed here, but still, we are going to discuss a few of the common parameters.

  • Moisture

Tooth-loss and weak tummies are common health issues in older cats. Like us, most cats lose their teeth as they age. The problem is not that serious if just a couple of teeth are missing. However, the cats may find it difficult to chew if more teeth are missing and their diet may need to be fine-tuned accordingly.

With just one or two teeth missing, this problem is not going to be too big but with many teeth missing, they would experience trouble while eating and it may become necessary for you to tweak their diet. Wet food is easier to chew than dry food and should serve an older cat’s purpose with missing teeth far, far better.

  • Ingredients

With age, a cat’s tummy could find difficulty in digesting certain ingredients and turn allergic. The same food that they enjoyed in their youth may cause vomiting or diarrhea.  These indications of stomach weakness are very common in senior cats.

Just like humans, as cats age, their tummies may become sensitive to certain ingredients and can become allergic. Thus, the same food which they enjoyed earlier could cause vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms of stomach sensitivity can be seen in older cats. Foods with very few ingredients are also available for allergic cats.

Not all foods for senior cats have a restricted number of ingredients though. Some do well to avoid the common irritants. For those of you who don’t want to try the few ingredients variety can choose the grain-free variety that is usually free of corn and soy. They are the common culprits for allergy and working around them can provide relief to your cat.

  • Vitamins and Minerals

Cat foods are enriched with minerals and vitamins for the well-being of your kitty. The proportion would be much higher in foods for senior cats. The vitamins and minerals could vary with the brand, but unless one is working on the vet’s recommendation, nothing much is particularly important.

However, one should look for probiotics in food for senior cats in order to avoid gut sensitivities. So if your older cat has a weak stomach, serve him a cat food that has probiotics.

  • Source of Protein & Fiber Content

Cats are carnivores and need a diet rich in protein to maintain strong muscles, healthy skin and a shiny coat. Older cats need protein content from sources that are easily digestible and of good quality.

Fiber is crucial for digestive health and certain types of fiber can play a big role in helping the cat to stay lean and healthy. The presence of dietary fiber is much more important than insoluble fibers. Dietary fiber contains carbohydrates that help to build mass and assist in the transport of fecal matter through the intestines.

  • Caloric content

As cats age, they become less active. Your kitty who once loved prowling and hunting now looks more to snuggle up to you on the couch. It means that your cat is going to burn that many fewer calories than it did in its young days. If you continue feeding it the same diet, there is a strong possibility that it could grow obese.

Obesity is as bad for cats as it is for humans, especially at an advanced age. To take care of this part, cat food for senior cats are designed with lower caloric content. Therefore, you can feed them the same quantity that they were fed previously without the fear of making them obese.

FAQs

What should be the caloric-content of food for senior cats?

All animals slow down as they start growing older and need fewer calories and fat in their food. If your senior cat is putting on the pounds, weight maintenance formulas will make a more balanced diet.

If your senior cat is underweight, then there might be an issue with the food. But talk to a veterinarian first to confirm it is not due to any other medical condition. Only then try a higher calorie cat food.

How to soften dry cat food?

If you are feeding dry food, it is advisable to warm the food in the microwave. You can also add a bit of water to the dry kibble before warming. Heat it in the microwave for 7-15 seconds, stir it thoroughly and test it with your finger first to check if it is not too hot for your cat.

Conclusion

Parents of aging felines are plagued with the problem of finding something suitable to feed their cats. The food needs to cater to the change in the lifestyle of the senior cat. Because there are scores of food products for senior cats, it often gets a bit confusing to select one for your elderly cat. We hope this article has addressed most questions with regards to nutrition for senior cats. It is our firm belief that readers will be able to find something apt to feed their older cat after having read this post.

Mark Fredette is a Veterinarian by profession and writes guest blogs for Petlovesbest in his spare time. Having Mark on our team, we ensure that all the products that we promote are safe for pets as well as the guides and blogs are every way risk-free for both the pets and pet parents.

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