Understanding The Nutritional Needs Of Cats
All cats have a few basic nutritional requirements, and their diet needs to be able to support and meet these needs. This is essential at every stage of life, but especially in her earliest and latest years when her immune system may need some extra help to remain fully functioning .
In general, here’s the basic nutritional checklist for kitties:
Keep in mind that, like humans and other animals, kitties do best when they don’t consume artificial preservatives, fillers, and other chemicals which can disrupt normal digestive and gut health.
And while higher quality food that’s free from these ingredients costs more than the typical commercial options, it really is worth it when you consider how much healthier it can make your animal over the course of her lifetime.
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Tips For Transitioning To New Diets
The first transition cats will make to a different diet comes to an adult-specific or all life stages cat food when they become adults, but the process is the same every time they change foodsand its a gradual one. An abrupt diet change can create tummy troubles and digestion issuesin addition to the surprise of the new foods, which they might reject outright if not properly transitioned.
“Whenever you change diet, whether for a different life stage, or to a different flavor or brand, it is important that the transition is gradual,” Dr. Gray says.
Dr. Gray generally recommends mixing small amounts of the new food with the current diet, and then gradually increasing the amount of new food over a 7- to 14-day period.
This not only ensures that cats like the new food, but also that GI upset from a sudden change is avoided, she says. If GI upset is noted when transitioning foods, slowing down the transition or stopping and selecting a different food may be recommended.
Adolescence Stage: 6 To 12 Months
As kittens approach adult size, their nutritional requirements begin to change again. Their rate of growth begins to slow, activity levels may decline and they can start eating fewer, larger meals each day. During this stage, kittens begin to look like adults, but they are still growing and need the special nutrition found in kitten food. Continue feeding your adolescent kitten a high-quality kitten food, such as Opens a new windowIAMS ProActive Health Healthy Kitten with Chicken. During the adolescent growth stage, many cat owners are tempted to change a kittens food for variety. But cats do not get bored with a consistent diet of high-quality dry food, and giving a kitten human food and table scraps can lead to undesirable behaviors, such as begging or stealing food.
Additionally, feeding homemade diets, food formulated for adult cats or supplementing an already complete and balanced diet with vitamins could cause nutritional disorders. You can, however, supplement your kittens dry food with a nutrient-dense Opens a new windowwet kitten or all-life-stages food for a nutritious and tasty
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Kitten Food For Underweight Senior Cat
The best time to offer an elderly feline kitten food is when its underweight. For example, your cat may have recently lost weight due to a serious illness or a sudden reduction in appetite.
In this situation, the high amount of calories packed into kitten food work to your advantage. They accommodate your senior cats lack of appetite rather than making sure each bite counts. The higher fat content also helps to pack on weight, while the added vitamins round out any deficiencies your cat experiences.
Owners can start by adding a small portion of kitten food to the older cats diet a few times a week. Avoid feeding it kitten food exclusively, though. The high amounts of fat could make the food too rich, leading to diarrhea.
Should You Give Your Senior Cat Supplements
If you are feeding your senior cat a balanced diet, they shouldnt need supplements. But some health conditions that affect older cats can make it more difficult for them to absorb certain vitamins or nutrients.
For example, gastrointestinal conditions can interfere with a cats ability to absorb vitamin B12. In the case of a nutritional deficiency, your vet may recommend a specific supplement.
Be careful when using over-the-counter nutritional supplements. Most havent been well-studied in cats.
Some supplements that have been shown to be just fine in dogs or humans can be detrimental in a cat because their metabolisms are very different, Wakshlag says. Its also possible that supplements can interact with medications your cat is already taking. Check with your vet, Michel advises.
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Best Senior Cat Food For Older Cats
Updated: March 16, 2021 by Kristen Chapple
While I will always think of my cat as my little kitten, as she is now in her 13th year, I have had to accept that she is getting older! From about the age of 11, I noticed her slowing down and spending less time outdoors.
I also noticed that she was much fussier with her food and regurgitated her meals more often. I consulted my vet, and they told me that now that she is older, her nutritional needs have changed.
If you also have a senior cat and you are looking for the right food to keep them healthy and happy in their older years, fear not, I have done all the research, and found what I believe are the best senior cat foods for older cats.
To know which one is right for your cat will depend on their particular age issues. Read on to find out more about how cats nutritional needs change as they get older, and to find the right food for your senior cat.
But I prefer the Blue Buffalo recipe because it is made only with quality meat, and no meat meal or by-products, which naturally contains more of the nutrients that my cat needs. While I appreciate the way that cat food are enriched with extra nutrients, I want her to get as much of her nutrients as possible from natural sources.
How Much Should I Feed My Senior Cat
In addition to giving your golden girl top rated senior cat food , you also should be aware of how much to feed her in order to properly care for her needs.
Of course, every cat is unique, which means your four-legged darling may need slightly more or less food compared to the average recommendation. That said, starting from a general guideline is a best place to start.
The typical recommendation for kitty portion control is around 240 calories per day for an average 8-pound cat. But you’ll probably need to decrease this amount slightly as your animal ages, since her activity level will probably go down. Use your best judgment.
That said, one good way to make sure your cat isn’t too skinny nor too fat is to feel and look at her body:
You should be able to easily feel her ribs when you run your hands down her body. And when looking at her from the side or the top, you should see a clear narrowing at the waist area. This is the best and ideal situation but it is also wise to get advice from your vet for your specific cat depending on her health and other factors like if she is obese and needs a weight loss plan.
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It Misses The Taste Of Kitten Food
Its not uncommon for cats to steal food from each others bowls. If your older cat had a chance to share a dish with your new kitten, it will remember the taste fondly and seek it out. Owners should monitor this situation closely and remove kitten food from the older cats reach if this is the case.
Create A Small Feeding Area Design For Your Kitten
This technique is similar to the feeding station. You will basically repurpose a box, for example, a box used to store folders or old stuff in your loft. The idea is to choose one that is too small for your older cat. At the same time comfortable enough for your kitten.
It is a fine balance to get it right but it can work if you search hard enough and are keen to pursue it.
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How To Choose An Adult Cat Food
Make sure to choose an adult cat food that provides the same high-quality nutrition as a premium kitten food. Downgrading to a basic nutrition brand at this stage of your cats life may upset their digestive system and wont provide them with the same type of nutrition they were raised on. Premium foods like IAMS are formulated to meet all of your cats needs and provide additional benefits. Theyre specifically designed to provide your cat with a formula that features:
- High-quality ingredients
- Complete and balanced levels of protein, fat, moderately fermentable fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which make costly supplements unnecessary
- High-quality recipes and great taste
- Standards that meet or exceed Association of American Feed Control Officials standards
- Nutrient-dense formulas that are right for each life stage
- Product guarantees
All of these premium features add up to a happy, healthy cat. With premium dry cat food, you can expect to see these important indicators of good health:
- Exceptional muscle tone
- Clear, bright eyes and clean teeth
- Small, firm stools
Founded on decades of research, premium formulas from IAMS help maintain your cats health and help provide her with the nutrition she needs for a long life.
Special Dietary Requirements For Senior Cats
As we’ve seen, all cats do have some basic nutritional needs. But if you’re one of the lucky ones who has a kitty at home enjoying her old age, then you should realize her dietary needs are likely even more specific and nuanced now.
The best cat food for senior cats will take into account the following characteristics which are common to senior felines:
Of course, you know your kitty better than anyone. You may have even raised her since she was just a little kitten! But if you ever have questions or concerns about your pet’s unique dietary needs, it’s always a good idea to chat with your vet.
He or she can give you tailored guidance that will help you make the best possible choices when it comes to your cute little furball.
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Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult 11+ Classic Senior Canned Cat Food
Another classic formula from a huge brand name in pet food, Purina. Their Pro Plan range focuses on providing unbeaten nutrition to cats of all ages. This 11+ adult senior formula excels at providing older cats everything they need to feel young again. Each serving is packed with twenty-five vitamins and minerals, along with taurine to promote healthy cell development. This grain-free formula boasts salmon and liver as the two primary ingredients, and as such reaches 10.0% minimum protein content with 78.0% moisture. Those figures equate to a 45.0% dry-matter protein content, far surpassing the minimum AAFCO recommendation of 26.0%. We love this cat food and think its one of the best affordable cat foods for older cats available today.
Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Recipe Grain
Like all cat foods from the Blue Buffalo brand, this canned cat food is made from high-quality meat, without meat by-products. It is also from a single source, rather than using a mix of animal meats. This can be easier to digest for cats with sensitive stomachs. For the same reason, the formula is grain-free and uses sweet potato as its main carbohydrate.
The resulting recipe is higher in calories and fat than many of the other food for seniors, so be careful about portion size. The formula also has a lot of added vitamins and minerals to ensure that your senior cat gets enough of them. It is particularly high in taurine, which is essential for your cats eye and heart health. Natural fiber from berries makes it highly digestible.
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Recipes For Homemade Cat Food For Senior Cats
Tuna & rice · recipe 4: recipes for homemade cat food for senior cats . Making fresh cat food at home might be the answer to better . Mackerel recipe · 1 cup canned mackerel Tuna & rice · recipe 4: .
200+ Homemade Cat Food Recipes ideas | homemade cat food, cat food from i.pinimg.com
Trout dinner · 1 cup cooked trout i then mixed in a few of . This is a great basic recipe for senior cats, but you can add some meaty bits of cooked chicken to give it more flavor. Not sure what to feed your cat? Discover what ingredients and supplies you’ll need, starter recipes, and common mistakes to avoid. Learn to make your own healthier, safer cat repellent. Chicken & egg mix · equipment · ingredients · instructions · notes · recipe 2: Chicken & vegetables · recipe 3:
Senior Vs Geriatric Cats
These two terms get thrown around a lot, but what do they actually mean? The American Animal Hospital Association and American Association of Feline Practitioners identify six distinct life stages in cats as:
Senior cats are defined as those who are 11 years old to 14 years old, and geriatric cats are those who are 15 years old and older.
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Which Older Cats Need To Avoid Kitten Food
Earlier I mentioned that some older cats could eat kitten food. But, the ones that need to avoid it is the ones who are already overweight or have some specific health issues that benefit from a low-calorie diet.
This is one of the reasons why you need to be cautious with your cats diet. Especially when they fall into this kind of category.
How Do I Keep My Cat Healthy And Happy
Cats are stoic theyll go to great lengths to hide signs of injury or illness. Even though your cat will visit the veterinarian at least once a year, its best to watch her body and behavior closely to catch any issues before they escalate. Look for these signs:
Sleep-a-holic kitty: Healthy cats sleep a lot get to know your cats sleeping patterns. If shes snoozing when she usually plays or ignores affection or a favorite toy, her lethargy might be due to illness.
Eating, drinking changes: If your cat has diabetes, shell drink lots of water. If she has dental issues, she might suddenly stop chewing her favorite kibble. Track how much your cat normally eats and drinks so you can gauge any changes.
Urination problems: Urinating more, less or not at all, or elimination outside of the litter box can all be signs your cat may be ill. See your vet immediately, especially if your male cat is urinating abnormally.
Behavioral issues: Acting aggressively can be a sign of pain and injury, but cats will also hide when theyre sick, so watch your cat’s behavior closely.
Weight loss/gain: Look for protruding ribs and or the development of a pouch. Changes in weight can be difficult to detect because theyre usually gradual. Groom your cat to get a feeling for her body weight and condition, so you can sense when theres a change.
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How Much To Feed A Senior Cat
Most senior cats will have about the same caloric needs as an adult catroughly 280 to 360 daily calories depending on the normal lean weightas long as they are healthy. Some older cats will actually have an increase in energy requirements. That increase may be due to a decrease in the ability to digest and utilize calories or it may be due to health problems that are commonly seen in senior cats.
Use your cats food label to calculate how much you need to feed your senior cat to meet their caloric requirement. Most cat food has calorie counts on the packaging. Initially, its best if you weigh out the daily meals. That will help you feed precise amounts.
How Can I Know Im Selecting A High
Mindy Bough, CVT, senior director of client services for the Midwest Office of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals emphasizes the importance of high-quality kitten food. I dont recommend generic or store brands, Bough says. Buy from a reputable company — one that veterinarians recommend more frequently, she says. Research has determined these kitten foods provide excellent health.
But how can you be certain a kitten food is of high quality? One way is by checking the label. It should at least contain the following: Meets the nutritional requirements of kittens established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials . AAFCO is a group of state and federal officials who regulate pet food. Even better, look for this: Complete and balanced nutrition for kittens based on AAFCO feeding trials. Complete and balanced nutrition means your kitten will require no mineral or vitamin supplementation. In fact, remember that too much of a good thing can be bad for your kitten, causing severe medical problems. Use supplements only if your veterinarian recommends them.
Also use caution with homemade diets. For example, all-meat homemade diets can be low in calcium, leading to a mineral imbalance that causes hyperparathyroidism, a disease more common in rapidly growing kittens. If you use a homemade diet, make sure its been formulated by a reputable nutritionist, Bough says.
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Simply Raw: Rabbit Turkey Or Chicken
This blog recommends that you use rabbit, turkey or chicken as the base of your cat food, using a grinder to break down the cuts of meat you have selected. As surface bacteria can develop on ground meats much quicker than a solid cut, it is also advised that the ground meat is then partially baked to kill these potentially harmful bacterias. We should note this is strictly a meat meal and will likely be a favorite of any felines! A quick scroll down this blog, will also give you a recipe if you prefer to cook your felines food!