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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Proper Nutrition Is Essential In A Cats Golden Years

Proper Nutrition is Essential in a Cat's Golden Years

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Did you know senior cats are not only prone to obesity, but they also run the risk of being underweight as well? Cats are considered to be seniors at 7 years and older. Proper nutrition is key in maintaining your senior pet’s health and may even help her live longer. Help keep your senior pet healthy and happy well into her golden years with these nutritional guidelines from PetSmart experts:

Cats’ special dietary requirements

In general, dry cat food should contain a minimum of 28 percent protein and 10 percent fat, while canned food should contain at least 8 percent protein and 4 percent fat.

Cats also need amino acids and taurine in their diet from fish, poultry or meat-based ingredients.

Choose a high-quality cat food

Premium foods with high-quality ingredients are more digestible which means your cat will absorb more of the nutrients she needs. Because of their quality nutrients, premium foods help keep your cat's skin and coat healthy well into her golden years. They may help avoid issues that can occur in senior cats including food allergies, sensitive stomach, obesity and hip and joint stiffness.

Maintain a healthy weight

Because of their slowing metabolisms, older cats tend to be less active so they may require less calories and fat. Premium foods that are specially formulated for seniors generally have less fat and calories as well as more digestible proteins and increased fiber. If your senior cat is overweight, feed a light food.

The opposite effect can also occur in some senior cats. As cats age, their tastes and absorption of nutrients can change resulting in weight loss. If your cat is underweight, choose a premium food that is higher in calories.

Feeding management

Monitor your senior cat’s eating habits to ensure she is getting the nutrition she needs. Feeding at least twice a day, once in the morning and again at night, can help you ensure she is eating.

Promote dental health

Dental disease is common in older cats. Try premium foods that are specially formulated to help prevent and reduce plaque and gum disease.

The information used in this report is approved by PetSmart nutritionists and vet experts.

Information from "Small Animal Clinical Nutrition," 4th Edition, Hand, Thatcher, Remillard, Roudebush, Copyright 2000 by Mark Morris Institute was used in this report.

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