Feeding your senior cat

Feeding your senior cat

As your cat ages, you may notice that that he becomes a little more fussy with his food. There are a couple of reasons for this.

Firstly, his senses are blunted with age so he can't smell or taste his food as well as he used to. He may not be too interested in what you dish up to him.

Secondly, he may have some dental disease that is making it uncomfortable for him to eat his dry kibble.

Lastly, he may just not need as much food because he is spending more time lying on the couch and less time running around your home and yard.

To make sure your feline senior citizen gets the best nutrition possible, here are some guidelines for feeding him as he advances in years.

1. Feed him small amounts frequently. He may enjoy grazing on his food over the course of a day. Be careful though; because he isn't as active, he is more likely to gain weight which can lead to diabetes and other health conditions. Also, if you are feeding a canned food, this shouldn't be left out for long because it can spoil.

2. Choose a well balanced diet that is designed for senior cats. These foods often have extra fiber to prevent constipation and quality protein to ease the load on his elderly kidneys.

3. If he is having trouble eating, have his teeth checked by your veterinarian. Most senior cats are likely to have some dental disease that is affecting their health. You may find that after his teeth are cleaned, he is much more interested in his dinner bowl. He may also prefer a soft food instead of hard kibble.

4. Make sure you serve his food at room temperature. If he is eating canned food, you can even warm it up slightly in the microwave as this can make it more appealing to him. Be careful to make sure it isn't overheated, as if his mouth is burned, he is even less likely to want to eat.

 

 

 

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If your overweight senior cat suddenly stops eating, it is vital that you take him to your vet. A lack of food intake can lead to some serious health concerns in cats and he may become very ill.

Good nutrition is important to cats of any age, but even more so as your cat gets older. The right diet will support his immune system and keep him in the best of health during his twilight years.

Article courtesy Dr Rosie Brown BVSc (Hons)

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