5 Best Foods for a Senior Cat, According to a Pet Food Expert

| Published on January 5, 2022

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Foods for Older Cats Reviewed & Rated


The Best Foods for Older Cats Rated & Reviewed

What’s most important when choosing a food for your senior kitty? Here’s the 5 things we look for in a food for kitties in their golden years:

  1. Digestibility – Your cat’s digestive system changes as they age. We look for foods with a high degree of digestibility or those that contain additional digestive aids such as probiotics.
  2. Sufficient calories – While some cats gain weight as they age, many kitties have the opposite problem, they lose weight due to insufficient calories.
  3. High protein – As your cat ages, their bodies need additional protein. After all, cats are carnivores!
  4. High moisture content – Without adequate moisture, kidney or digestive problems may develop in your elderly cat. For this reason, many cat owners add wet canned food into their kitties daily dry diet.
  5. Avoid red flags – In canned wet food, meat should be listed as the first or second ingredient (water may be first). In dry foods, meat should be one of the top three ingredients.


Without further adieu, here’s our top foods for aging cats:

#1 Overall Recommended Food for Senior Cats

[amazon box=”B00NZ2EZP6″ button_text=”See Amazon Price” button_detail_text=”See Chewy Price” button_detail=”https://prf.hn/l/7JDQkzv”]iHeartCats Review: ★ “We love this formula since it was developed specifically for mature cats over 7 years old. The nutrient profile focuses on reducing hairballs, improving digestion, and promoting an ideal weight for your senior kitty. The formula also contains taurine (a vital amino acid) to support heart and eye health in aging cats.”[/amazon]


Many elderly cats suffer from allergies, which leads us to our next recommendation:

#1 Recommended Food for Senior Cat with Allergies

[amazon box=”B07J9J53JG” button_text=”See Amazon Price” button_detail_text=”See Chewy Price” button_detail=”https://prf.hn/l/7DNDJDw”]iHeartCats Review: ★★★★★ “While not the most inexpensive option, Nulo offers a product we love due to the hypoallergenic formula made with Duck, Alaskan Pollock, and Sweet Potatoes. The formula is grain-free, non-GMO, and includes a patented probiotic to aid digestion for your senior cat.”[/amazon]


Our last pick was on the pricey side, so let’s review a more budget oriented senior cat food:

#1 Recommended Budget Friendly Food for Senior Cats

[amazon box=”B01AWFSVY4″ button_text=”See Amazon Price” button_detail_text=”See Chewy Price”  button_detail=”https://prf.hn/l/7END3D2″]iHeartCats Review:  “This budget oriented senior cat food doesn’t have probiotics like many of the other options, but it does contain fish oil and glucosamine, both important for aging cats. The formula also contains L-carnitine, which helps older cats maintain a healthy weight.”[/amazon]


What about picky senior cats? We all know how fickle kitties can be with their tastes. This next option is perhaps the most palatable for picky palates:


#1 Food for Picky Senior Cats

[amazon box=”B01MRLOI1O” button_text=”See Amazon Price” button_detail_text=”See Chewy Price” button_detail=”https://prf.hn/l/KNEnvJP”]iHeartCats Review: ★ “While not specifically marketed for senior cats, we like this Orijen food due to it’s high protein content (39%) from 6 different fresh fish sources. The formula boasts a high amount of Omega-3 and added probiotics. This fishy formula should please even the most picky palates.”[/amazon]


What about canned diets? In addition to the variety and flavor cats love, canned foods add the water content that senior cats need to ward off urinary troubles. Here’s our top pick for senior cat canned food:

#1 Canned Food for Senior Cats

[amazon box=”B007IURKCQ” button_text=”See Amazon Price” button_detail_text=”See Chewy Price” button_detail=”https://prf.hn/l/6qloX3V”]iHeartCats Review: ★ “Made specifically for cats over 11, this salmon and tuna formula is loved by thousands of kitties, according to the Amazon 5-star reviews. The formula features 25 essential vitamins and minerals plus added taurine, an amino acid important for heart health in aging cats.” [/amazon]


Frequently Asked Questions When Choosing a Food for Your Senior Cat


When is a cat considered a senior, and should be given a senior food? 

When a cat reaches the age of 11, they are usually considered senior. Some cats show signs as early as seven while others still have kitten like qualities and enjoy being frisky at 10 years old!

Is There a Single Best Food for All Senior Cats?

No! In fact, after studying pet foods for 8 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that rotating pet foods is the ideal plan. No cat food manufacturer is perfect, and recalls do happen more often than we’d like. By rotating your senior cat’s food, you diversify their diet and make it less likely that your pet is affected by one brand’s quality problem.

What is the Best Food for a Geriatric Cat?

As long as your veterinarian approves and has not advised any specific diet, all of the above foods would make great options for a geriatric cat nearing the end of life.

What Food Should I Feed My Elderly Cat to Help Them Gain Weight? 

If your mature cat is losing wait, you may consider adding a high calorie paste (many available on Chewy) to any of the above foods. These supplements pack an energy dense formula that is extremely palatable for even the most picky senior cats.

What Supplements Do I Need for My Senior Cat?

Depending on your senior cat’s health, supplements may or may not make sense. I usually recommend adding a high quality unrefined fish oil  because while many pet foods include it in the formula, the oil often degrades in the manufacturing process, especially with dry foods. Your senior might also benefit from a glucosamine joint supplement, or CBD oil for cats.

Does My Senior Cat Necessarily Need to Change Foods?

Not necessarily. If your cat loves their current food, and is in good health, you might simply consider adding fresh food toppers or a small amount of canned food over their existing dry food to add variety and additional nutrients that senior cats may need. Just make sure they are getting enough moisture and protein!

Remember to always consult your veterinarian about your senior cat’s unique needs when considering a change in diet.

About The Author

Justin Palmer is the founder of iHeartCats.com and iHeartDogs.com and has a passion for promoting the health of senior pets. He is a DNM University certified pet food expert. 

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