How to Feed Your Old Cat
How to Feed Your Old Cat . Your elderly cat may still seem and behave like a youthful cat, but that does not imply that you should continue to feed them the same food they have always consumed in their food dish.
Rethinking your aged cat’s diet can be necessary, depending on the state of their health.
A cat’s life span is comparable to that of a human who has reached the age of 64 by the time it celebrates its twelfth birthday. When cats reach their senior years, they begin to experience many of the same health problems that people do.
According to Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, associate professor of clinical nutrition at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, “They’re not as large as people or as dogs, but they endure all the same ageing phenomena.” “There is a shift in the degree of their activities. They have joint disease, which causes them to creak.
If your cat has reached their senior years, should you make any changes to their diet? In the event that they have been diagnosed with a chronic disease, what modifications to their diet are required? This is some advise from an expert.
The Fundamentals of Feeding Your Elderly Cat
According to Kathryn Michel, DVM, associate professor of nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, there really isn’t any research to prove that the nutritional needs of healthy senior cats are any different from those of younger adult cats. This is despite the fact that many older cats are put on a diet with less protein.
According to Michel, who was interviewed for WebMD, “I don’t doubt that there are some things that may be important or different for older animals, but our understanding of it is limited at this point in time.”
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all bag when it comes to senior cat food.
“According to Wakshlag, “there is no such thing as a perfect meal because every senior cat has its own set of difficulties.” In order to properly nourish an older cat, you will need to work closely with your pet’s veterinarian to develop a diet that takes into account any particular health issues that your cat may be experiencing.
The Obese Old Cat and His Problems with Aging
A cat’s appetite and the amount of food they consume are not affected by their age on their own; rather, the cat’s lifestyle has a significant bearing on these factors.
Cats are natural hunters. They hunt their prey and bring it down so that they can have the several tiny meals that they catch during the day. These days, the majority of cats are kept inside, where they have limited space to wander and easy access to their food dish at any moment they feel the need to consume some nourishment.
In addition to leading a more sedentary lifestyle, cats frequently consume foods that are high in calories. Dry foods, in particular, have a high calorie content. And because cats are so little, even a few additional calories each day can soon build up to a significant amount.
“A cat will gain one pound of fat each year if it consumes 10 calories more than it needs to each day. This is equivalent to one ounce of fat. According to Michel, “it is not difficult at all for an animal to overeat and acquire weight.”
How can you prevent your cat from gaining too much weight? The following are some suggestions that might help you keep your older cat’s weight under control.
Consult with your pet’s doctor to determine which senior cat food brand offers the most optimal nutritional balance for your cat’s stage of life. Choose meals that have been developed in accordance with the rules that have been established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Always read the label before feeding your cat anything new. A guaranteed analysis should be included, in which the percentage of the food that is crude protein, crude fat, moisture, and crude fibre should be listed. Check out the manufacturer’s website for more nutritional information or give the firm a call to inquire about it directly if this does not make any sense to you, as it does not to many other people who own pets.
Be careful not to give your cat a diet that is too high in calories. According to Michel, a normal indoor cat needs just about 50 calories per kilogramme each day to maintain their weight. Adjust that number higher or lower based on the state of your cat’s health and the amount of activity he gets.
Use portion control. You may need to weigh the food and feed your cat half of the recommended quantity twice a day in order to assist your cat in either maintaining their current weight or losing weight. As your senior cat’s activity level and calorie requirements fluctuate, you will need to continue to alter the amount of food you provide them.
Nutritional Supplements Tailored to Treat the Illnesses Associated with an Aging Cat
As they get older, cats are more likely to get a variety of ailments. It’s not uncommon for elderly cats with medical issues to have particular dietary requirements.
Obesity is frequently the root cause of diabetes, which is a major health concern for feline patients. Diet has a significant role in the overall management of the condition. It is recommended by many veterinarians that diabetic cats have a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. This type of diet may assist diabetic cats in better managing their condition. There is a strong probability that the blood sugar levels can be stabilised if you keep a close eye on your cat’s food and weight and provide them with insulin on a consistent basis. When properly cared for in a timely manner, diabetes can be completely reversed in some cats.
Diseases of the Kidneys: As they become older, a lot of cats end up with renal failure. Phosphorous intake should probably be limited in elderly cats who are diagnosed with renal illness. Diets that are appropriate for cats with renal issues often have lower levels of salt and protein than typical diets for cats.
Alterations to the food may also be necessary for the treatment of other disorders that are common in older cats. Cats suffering from diseases such as cancer may have weight loss, necessitating the requirement for supplemental feeding.
If your cat has dental problems, it may become more difficult for them to chew dry food, in which case you may need to move them over to a canned food that is softer.
The senior cat also has to have appropriate amounts of water in their diet. To prevent your cat from becoming dehydrated, you should provide it adequate amounts of water throughout the day.
Should You Be Providing Supplements for Your Elderly Cat?
If you are giving your senior cat a food that is well-balanced, they shouldn’t require any additional nutrients. However, some health issues that are more common in older cats might make it more challenging for them to absorb particular vitamins or minerals.
A cat’s capacity to absorb vitamin B12, for instance, might be hindered by disorders that affect the digestive system. In the event that your pet is suffering from a nutritional deficit, your vet may suggest giving them a particular supplement.
When utilising dietary supplements that may be purchased over-the-counter, use extreme caution. Most haven’t been well-studied in cats.
According to Wakshlag, “certain supplements that have been demonstrated to be perfectly acceptable in either dogs or people might be hazardous in a cat because of the significant differences in their metabolisms.” There is also the possibility of supplements interacting negatively with the meds that your cat is already on. Michel recommends that you consult with your animal’s veterinarian.
What You Should Do If Your Senior Cat Refuses to Eat
It is not uncommon for a cat that formerly had an insatiable hunger to have a newfound reluctance about approaching the food bowl. According to Wakshlag, cat owners have tried everything to entice their kitties to eat, including adding in tuna juice and reheating the food, but these home treatments have had minimal success.
Call your veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice that your cat is refusing to eat, unless you have recently altered their diet.
Loss of appetite is typically an indication that there is something more serious going on. A cat’s appetite can be affected by a number of conditions, including cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, and chronic discomfort. Your cat can obtain a proper diagnosis from your veterinarian, who can then put him or her on the appropriate medicine.
A medicine that stimulates appetite, such as cyproheptadine or mirtazapine, may be provided to the patient if this becomes required.