As you cat grow older, its nutritional needs will definitely change. Cats are known to grow quickly in their first few months in life, and regardless of the nutritional changes, their foods must be kept fresh.
Proper nutrition can add more years to the lifespan of your cat, and even slow or eliminate the risks of certain diseases.
As cats get older, some foods become more stressful to metabolize , for this reason, you need to feed your cat with more wholesome, raw, and unprocessed organic and non GMO foods because they generate the least metabolic stress on the animal.
Regardless of the age of the cat, you must reduced the levels of processed food in its diet. Expert animal nutritionists recommend that animal meat must be included in the diet of a kitten all through its lifespan.
The foods that have not been processed can be assimilated more readily into the cat’s system, likewise they contain the biological components in their appropriate manner, and they retain all the moisture within, unlike foods that have been processed through procedures such as extrusion – these foods have drastically reduced moisture with some having as low as 12% moisture hence making digestion more difficult for older cats.
If you find it difficult to get fresh foods for your cat always, you may want to get dehydrated or freeze-dried balanced diet and make sure fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables are included in order to increase digestion.
Weight management diets for older cats normally include fiber rich foods, and aside this, cat foods must be served to the animal in their natural state, in order ensure the important moisture and ensure the highest level of biological assimilation of the nutrients into the body of the cat.
Wholesome foods are rich in antioxidants that are needed to improve immunity against certain diseases, they must also include omega 3 fatty acid.
In addition to omega-3 fatty acid rich foods, cats need sufficient amount of water to stay hydrated, hence water bowls and water fountains must always be close to their liters and enclosures.
Supplementing your cat foods
Just like humans and other pets such as dogs, supplementing a cat’s diet is very important for many reasons. Some of the most important supplements you may want to consider, include the following;
– SAMe (S- adenosylmethionine) supplement is one of the safest and essential supplements your older cat needs. This supplement can reduce the risks of mental decline and also improve mobility in the older cat.
The supplement can also assist in liver detoxification. You need to ensure that you follow the recommended dose serving, or visit your veterinary doctor for more information on this.
– Make sure you perform some occasional herbal detox on your cat, you can make use of herbal formula such as dandelion and milk thistle (at recommended doses), because they contain some super components to detoxify the vital organs of the cat’s system.
Supplements containing chlorophyll and spirulina can also be used in achieving this.
– There are some triglyceride supplements referred to as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), are considered to be very safe for older cats because they improve their brain metabolism and reduce the buildup of certain harmful proteins referred to as amyloids.
Coconut oil is one of the natural foods rich in MCTs, and it is known to help reduce the development of hair balls in cats.
For the effective application of MCTs, ¼ teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight is recommended. In case you notice your older cat prowling and vocalizing late in the night, you may want to offer some melatonin supplement which is a sedative substance that produces a calming effect on the cat.
Melatonin is also an antioxidant that strengthens the immunity of the cat against some common infections.
– Flow essences are important supplements that can also be incorporated into your older cat’s meal. Flower essences are known to help cats handle emotional and mental changes very well as they grow older.
There are several blends of this supplement that are recommended for cats. Spirit essences for instance, is one of the best recommendable flower essences ideal for older cats that are struggling to cope with cognitive challenges.
Protein quality is very important in for older cats
The quality of the protein diet you give to your cat is of huge importance. The most important thing is that the protein must be easily digestible and assimilable, likewise the moisture content in the food must be adequate enough.
The more digestible and assimilable the proteins are, the easier the ageing vital organs of the cat can process and absorb the nutrients.
While some proteins are easily digestible, others are partially digestible and some are not digestible for ageing cats.
For instance, protein diets such as beaks, hides and tails are non-digestible for cats hence they should be avoided in older cats’ diets.
The usable amino acid contents in any protein will determine its biological value, Eggs, and fish do have almost 100% biological value, while feathers have zero biological value.
Some foods such as soy have high protein content but they are not good for older cats, these include soy and it is unfortunate to know that there are lots of cat foods containing soy as the source of protein. You may want to avoid protein sources such as soy and corn for your older cat’s meals.
Corn, soy and some other grain foods are known to be inflammatory on cats, hence such foods may trigger certain undesirable biological reactions in the body of your cat.
Aside from soy, corn and other grains, you may want to avoid giving your cat heavily carb loaded meals, these meals may speed up the risks of diabetes, which in turn can trigger arthritis, and such problems may further cause your cat to suffer emotional trauma.
Make sure you avoid meals that come with so much unhealthy fillers.
At each stage of the lives, cats will require good quality proteins. Protein requirements will increase as cats age, and when your cat has problems such as kidney failure, it may not necessarily means you must eliminate protein in their diets.
It has been proven that cats that are offered low protein diets for a very long time may develop a condition known as “Hypoproteinemia”, and cats suffering from this condition may become catabolic, whereby they lose muscles and lose weight drastically.
The more protein is restricted in your cat’s diet the more ill they may likely become, hence it is very dangerous to reduce drastically the amount of protein in your cat’s diets.
If your older cat is struggling with an under-performing kidney, you should aim at reducing the phosphorous element in its diet and not necessarily the protein. Cats suffering from under-performing liver and kidney will require an easily assimilable and digestible protein.
Bladder issues and nutrition needs in cat
Urinary incontinences are some of the symptoms of bladder issues that are rampant among older cats. You will notice the cat takes more water and may start losing weight.
You should try and select ingredients such as cranberries and celery seeds inside your cat’s diet and such will help sustain the fluid levels in the cat’s body. Such healthy diets can help maintain a healthy pH and a healthy bladder.
Decreased mobility is surely a problem with older cats, especially as their water intake has increased.
You need to ensure that the cat has an easy access to its litter box, just to make sure the cat can be assisted with mobility.
At this age, you need to ensure that fiber foods are included more in the cat’s diet because fiber helps the body become fuller, hence the cat will eat less and excrete even more.
Some of the best ingredients with high fiber include; chicory root, which is known to improve the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut or intestines. You should also consider pumpkins in their diets because of their richness in fiber.
Aside from good diets, it is important to reduce the intensities of the physical exercises of your cat in order to avoid putting additional stress on their bodies and also reduce the chances of developing disorders such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
Obesity is one of the most challenging health issues in older cats and for that reason, they should be encouraged to spend substantial amount of time outdoors. You should take your cat for a walk and if you notice some forms of fatigue then you can carry the cat in your hand.
In addition to healthy nutrition and decreased physical activities, you may want to ensure that you pay attention to the body of the cat, when you are grooming the animal.
Make sure you pay attention to any skin disorder that might have been triggered by ageing or malnutrition, these problems are more rampant as a cat is getting older hence grooming times should be increased in order to detect the problems on time.