As our cats get older and they lose energy, we suppose that it’s part of their age. But, your senior cat can have an active lifestyle, healthy weight, and friendly demeanor with the proper diet. Finding the best senior cat food might not be easy, but it’s possible!
Things to Consider
How to find senior cat food starts with breaking down three requirements. You’ll need to look at the serving sizes, additives, and extras, as well as the protein. These three aspects will help guide you through the endless array of pet foods. But, we’ve gone through the options that we thought were best too!
Most people leave a standing bowl of cat food for reasons such as picky eating, or that their cat outright won’t eat in front of them. The downside of leaving down a food dish is that you can’t have any idea of how much they actually eat. Usually, cats can eat to their heart’s content as long as they remain healthy throughout adulthood.
As cats age though they’ll need help controlling their intake if they want to continue a healthy life. Cats are known for overeating and when senior cats overeat it puts them at risk of many gut-based issues. Senior cats can have a harder time digesting large amounts of food. When you’re looking at serving sizes as part of the nutritional label on any cat food, you’ll want to see something that suggests a serving based on weight.
Additives and Extras
Without a doubt, treats are the primary reason behind obese cats. Unfortunately, many common brand names of pet food will put treats right into the food to make it more enticing. If you’ve wondered why your cat will spring for Kibbles N Bits instead of Blue Buffalo, it’s the treats.
Additives are another primary source of concern. Pet food companies will use everything from vitamin supplements to food dye. There’s nothing wrong with adding vitamins if the recipe doesn’t have everything that cats need. But, if you’re loading up a formula with vitamins to avoid using high-quality ingredients, then you’re missing the point. All nutrients will ideally come from food rather than supplements.
The trouble with protein is that you have to break it into two sections that are separate, but still reliant on each other. The first issue we’ll discuss is the quality of protein. Many pet foods use a “meal” or by-product of a protein in an effort to increase the amount of protein. That sounds great, right? More protein at a lower price? But it’s not great.
The meal and by-product ingredients are of lower nutritional quality. The second issue with protein is the diversity. A diversity of proteins will help your senior cat get a nutritional balance as some proteins are high in omega-3 and six fatty acids and others will help restore lean muscle.
|Cat Food||Feature||Price||Our Rated|
|1. Halo Holistic||Grain-free||$$||A++||Buy from Chewy|
|2. Iams Proactive||Chicken based diet||$$||Buy from Chewy|
|3. Blue Buffalo||Dry kibble||$||Buy from Chewy|
|4. Nutro Senior||Tender and easy to digest||$$||Buy from Chewy|
|5. Blue Buffalo Freedom||Chicken recipe||$$||Buy from Chewy|
Top 5 Senior Cat Foods
There’s a small gap between adult and senior status for cats. Many people consider the adult stage of the cat’s life to end after seven years of age. But, the senior stage doesn’t start until they are 11. There are plenty of food options for older cats, but for senior cats, these formulas are crafted with a little more care.
1. Halo Holistic Chicken and Chicken Liver Recipe Senior Dry Cat Food[img_products3 img_number=”133045″ alt=”Halo Holistic Chicken and Chicken Liver Recipe Senior Dry Cat Food” img_code=”V1501188099″ product_name=”https://www.chewy.com/halo-holistic-chicken-chicken-liver/dp/160069″ check=”Buy from Chewy”]
- Hormone, antibiotics and additive free chicken
Possibly the best thing to come out of the 1960s is the awareness of the holistic diet. While humans have been keeping up with holistic diet’s for years now, it’s time that we passed it on to our cats! They think they’re better than us anyway.
- Easy to digest
- Full range of trace nutrients
- Never use any rendered meat such as meal or by-product
- High-fat content
- High-calorie count
This is a great option for any senior cat. The ingredients are whole, and there is a high protein base in the formula. Overall, the only issue is that the high-fat content might lead to some weight gain. Always be sure to watch the portion control carefully while you transition your senior cat to a new food.
The grain-free recipe here though is truly outstanding because they rely on dried potatoes and lentils for the full feeling rather than rice or wheat. With this concept hard at work, you won’t have to worry about your cat being hungry with their new grain-free kibble.
2. Iams Proactive Health for Healthy Senior Cats[img_products3 img_number=”61410″ alt=”Iams Proactive Health for Healthy Senior Cats” img_code=”V1528215113″ product_name=”https://www.chewy.com/iams-proactive-health-healthy-senior/dp/46389″ check=”Buy from Chewy”]
- Dry food
- Chicken based diet
Iams is a well-known name among any pet owner. They usually produce high-quality recipes that focus on building up energy and reviving playfulness in senior cats. The crude protein in this formula is from chicken and egg product. Overall Iams is a family favorite in many homes.
- 34% protein
- High fiber content
- Easy crunch kibble
- Small kibble for seniors with delicate teeth
- Use of chicken by-product and meal
- Use of whole grain corn as a filler
- 17% fat content
The downside of the use of chicken by-product and meal has one positive, and that’s a high crude protein percentage than what occurs naturally. But, the bigger issue with it is as we said before, that it’s a lower quality protein and very processed.
The recipe itself is very nutrient dense with the use of vitamin additions and extracts such as rosemary. Any senior cat will be very happy with this formula and could thrive on it for years as long as they’re already in great health.
However, if you’re dealing with an older cat that is overweight or has allergies you might want to reconsider this option. The high protein and fiber, however, are great for a cat that has basic gut or digestion problems.
3. Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Healthy Aging Recipe for Mature Cats[img_products3 img_number=”46909″ alt=”blue-buffalo-healthy-aging-chicken” img_code=”V1534433270″ product_name=”https://www.chewy.com/blue-buffalo-healthy-aging-chicken/dp/32089″ check=”Buy from Chewy”]
- Dry kibble
- Use of life source bits
The use of deboned chicken chunks, peas, and fish meal offer a wide variety of proteins that other dry food options lack. Blue Buffalo is a well-known name that’s grabbed some negative attention, but they’ve turned everything around and are back to delivering high-quality pet food! This recipe is no different. It gives your senior cat every chance possible to enjoy a long life.
- Use of mixed proteins
- Life stage specific
- Use of whole foods for essential nutrients
- LifeSource Bits
- High in Fiber
- Use of chicken meal
- High in Fat
- High Caloric content
This cat food is a great option for any senior cat that has spent their days chomping down on kibble. Senior cats can often have a hard time switching from dry food that they’ve had all their life to something softer. Blue Buffalo is great for slight hydration as well. They have more moisture than other dry foods, partially because of the high-fat content.
The high-fat content is not a terrible thing, but you should keep a close eye on how much food you’re putting down for your senior cat. Even as they get old, they might cry to eat for comfort rather than hunger.
If your senior cat is losing teeth, you can always add a few tablespoons of water and heat in the microwave for a few moments. The attempt of hydration can help your cat stay hydrated while still getting their nutrients and a good crunch on their remaining teeth.
4. Nutro Senior Soft Loaf Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food[img_products4 img_number=”86732.” alt=”nutro-senior-soft-loaf-chicken-recipe” img_code=”V1460478783″ product_name=”https://www.chewy.com/nutro-senior-soft-loaf-chicken-recipe/dp/114508″ check=”Buy from Chewy”]
- Pate style
- Tender and easy to digest
With real chicken, a load of minerals and a soft pate texture, you can’t go wrong. Nutro is fairly well-known for their wet cat food, and their senior formula ensures that older cats can get every bit of vitamins and minerals possible.
The grain-free recipe should be your primary choice if your cat has any allergies. Typically, allergies show symptoms of scratching, sneezing and food aversion. You might not even have a picky cat, and they just might want to avoid the food because they’re allergic.
- Loads of vitamins
- Easy to digest
- One primary protein
- Very low fiber
The low fiber might cause problems for any senior cat that’s had issues with managing their gut health. But, for any healthy senior cat that has gum problems or tooth loss, this is a great option. The Nutro Senior Soft Loaf Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat food is in 3-ounce portions which are perfect serving sizes. The moisture in the food will help them stay active and fit. Too often dry food will dehydrate cats.
But, the one primary protein doesn’t offer much variety. If Nutro Senior Soft Loaf is your preferred choice, then you might want to rotate between their chicken recipe and a few other flavors. If you don’t rotate, you could also opt for mix-ins or nutrient dense treats.
5. Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature Chicken Recipe[img_products4 img_number=”84179.” alt=”blue-buffalo-freedom-indoor-mature” img_code=”V1460478783″ product_name=”https://www.chewy.com/blue-buffalo-freedom-indoor-mature/dp/111983″ check=”Buy from Chewy”]
- Chicken recipe
Blue Buffalo deserves its second mention on this list. The mature indoor recipe caters not only to senior cats but cats that have spent their life inside. They don’t use any grains including wheat or corn, which means that each bit of this pate is full of high-quality nutrients.
Blue Buffalo started with inspiration from the diets that these animals see in the wild. In this recipe, both whole chicken and chicken liver shine as part of what would be a wild diet. But with the addition of sweet potatoes and carrots, you can be sure there’s a hearty amount of fiber as well.
- The balance of vegetables and chicken
- No meal or by-product
- Low-fat content
- Flaxseed for Omega 3 and six fatty acids
There really isn’t anything to dislike about this recipe. As a pate, it allows senior cats with missing teeth or gum disease to eat without any problem. But, the protein and fat balance with the higher percentage of fiber ensures that their gut health is put as a top priority as well.
Without a doubt, the caloric value of this Blue Buffalo option seems much lower than the other cat foods on this list. Additionally, the protein content might seem much lower than the other options where but, the protein is of higher quality. Blue Buffalo seems to know that quality comes over quantity every time.
The addition of vitamins and minerals is a bonus but not because it lacks vitamins from its natural sources. The chicken liver here is a valuable asset for nutrition, and the sweet potatoes reinforce the higher than usual percentage of fiber.
The Clear Winner…
Our choice on this list is the Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature Chicken Recipe. Although it doesn’t have a mix of proteins, the chicken base it has is outstanding. The cans are also 5.5 ounces each which you could make one meal or split between two meals depending on your senior cat’s appetite.
The flaxseed, taurine, and sweet potatoes are excellent ingredients to round out the nutrients in the formula without using a ton of additives. Overall, Blue Buffalo has turned around their recipes and began actually to craft high-quality pet food. Your senior cat should be extremely happy with this cat food!