Felines have three main life stages, the kittenhood when they are below a year, adulthood when they are approximately aged 1-10 years and seniors when they are 10 years or older. During these life stages, their needs and lifestyles tend to vary.
As they age, these pets tend to be less active, have a reduced appetite or food preference, weaker immunity, decreased vision and hearing ability.
Also, they will have a decreased digestion efficiency, absorption and food metabolism, poor coat and other disorders associated with old age including diabetes, hyperthyroidism, obesity, arthritis, and renal disorders.
Diets for older felines
One special consideration you need to put in mind is the diets you give your senior felines. They should be specially designed to meet their nutritional requirements and help in managing any disorder they may be having such as kidney disease, obesity, diabetes, just to name.
You should also know how to feed them and how much food they require to meet their daily energy and nutritional needs.
Let us focus on protein requirement in older felines. Should it be high or low and why?
Do senior cats require high or low protein foods?
Whereas there might have been an emphasis for lower protein in diets for senior cats, there is no basis for such a consideration unless they have a medical condition that requires this nutrient to be low.
This may have been so as it was assumed that they might be having undiagnosed chronic renal failure. This should not be the case.
Unfortunately, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) does not recommend special diets for healthy older felines.
As Purina notes, “older cats need food specifically tailored to their needs with higher levels of protein to keep them healthy and strong.” However, their phosphorus should be lower to avoid straining their kidneys since as they age, their renal function gradually decreases too.
Furthermore, the high-quality crude protein should be easy to digest and have all the essential amino acids as well as enough amount of taurine found foods such as beef, fish, and poultry. Taurine supplements can be considered too.
Since as they age, their efficiency to digest, absorb and metabolize food goes low, there is a reason why you need to ensure their diets have high-quality protein crude that is easy to digest.
Note that giving them low protein diets or those of low quality or hard to digest sources may create a deficiency of this vital nutrient causing their lean muscle mass to waste away, a condition often referred as to sarcopenia.
Best high protein cat foods for senior cats
When buying these foods, looking at their guaranteed analysis label and be sure they have enough protein and their primary source is of high quality.
Also, consider those with reduced but high-quality fats as well as those that have not only low carbohydrates but also easy to digest carbohydrates.
Some of the best high protein dry and wet cat foods include the following:
- Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Mature Chicken -Wet
- Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus Senior
- Blue Buffalo For Cats Mature Dry Cat food
- Hill’s Science Diet Indoor -Dry
- Halo Grain-Free Senior Recipe Wet food
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Cat Food
- Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels
- Hill’s Science Diet Senior Wet
Diabetic and cats with renal failure
For diabetic felines – If diabetic, then you need to give them diets that high-protein but low carbohydrate diets to help them manage their weight and this condition effectively.
For the case of renal failure, there is a debate over high vs low protein diets notes Feline Nutrition. As strict carnivores always consider high-quality sources that are easy to digest instead of plant-based sources or from sources difficult to digest.
Also, vitamin B, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants can be added while phosphorus and sodium should be reduced.
The emphasis should be high-quality protein from easy to digest sources such as eggs, rabbit, hare, poultry, among others. Their metabolism does not lead to the formation of a lot of toxins.