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The elderly cat diet that will keep your older cat healthy  

A cat’s health and appetite can change as they get older. It’s important to make sure you are feeding them the correct food to keep them healthy. 

Most cat food brands make food specially designed for senior cats, with altered ingredients to suit their life stage. Cats are generally considered senior when they reach 11 years old.

brown-and-white tabby cat eating from a silver metal cat bowl

Always make sure you are feeding your cat a ‘complete’ cat food (it should say ‘complete’ on the packaging) as this will contain all the nutrients they need. The packaging will also have a guide for how much to feed your cat. Stick to this amount unless your vet says otherwise.   

Check how much your cat eats and drinks each day. If you notice a significant change in their appetite or thirst, speak to your vet to see if there is a medical cause. 

The best food for old cats should contain:

If your elderly cat’s food contains all these ingredients, you probably won’t need to give them any supplements for elderly cats. If your cat does need any supplements to their diet, your vet will tell you which ones to give.

Why is my older cat losing weight?

As they age, it’s normal for senior cats to become thinner, losing both fat and muscle mass. This happens because they find it harder to get enough calories from their food. 

As they need more calories to maintain their normal body weight, they can lose weight quite easily. This is even more likely if a health condition affects their appetite.

It’s important to make sure you are feeding your elderly cat a diet with plenty of high-quality protein and fat to maintain a healthy weight. 

Gradual weight loss is normal for senior cats, but sudden and dramatic weight loss may be a sign that they are unwell. Speak to your vet if you notice a sudden change in your elderly cat’s weight. 

Why is my elderly cat not eating? 

It’s normal for a cat’s appetite to decline as they get older. This is partly because they are less active so they need less energy from food. 

However, there are other potential causes of a loss of appetite:

If your cat is reluctant to eat their food, take a look at our tips for encouraging your cat to eat

If your cat refuses to eat, speak to your vet as there is likely a medical reason. Elderly cats should not go more than 24 hours without eating. Not eating can cause them to become dehydrated which will put extra strain on their kidneys. 

Why is my elderly cat always hungry?

black cat eating from ceramic grey cat bowl being held by a person crouching down on the wooden floor

The reason your older cat is always hungry could be because you are not feeding them a suitable diet. Make sure you are a feeding them a cat food specially designed for senior cats. This will ensure they have enough fat and protein in their diet to get the energy they need.

If your cat is already eating a suitable diet, their hunger could be a sign of one of these medical conditions:

If your cat is always hungry but is eating the recommended amount of suitable food and remains skinny, speak to your vet. 

Why is my elderly cat drinking a lot of water?

Older cats tend to drink more water, especially when the weather starts to warm up. It’s important to make sure your cat always has access to plenty of fresh water to drink.

If your cat is drinking a lot more water than usual, it could be a sign that they are unwell. Common conditions that cause an increase in thirst include:

Speak to your vet if your cat is drinking more or less than normal.   

Find more advice about caring for elderly cats. 

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