By Dr. Danielle Bernal
As pet parents, we all wish our beloved cats could live forever and always fill our days with the content purrs, gentle rubs, and happy faces. As our cats get older, one way to ensuring they live at their healthiest is to recognize their changing needs with the right care and customized nutrition to ensure your cat enjoys a lifetime of wellbeing.
At What Age is Your Feline Considered a Senior Cat?
At the age of 7-8 years onwards, most cats will start to transition into a more mature age category. While this doesn’t mean your cat has suddenly become the equivalent of an 80- or 90-year-old human, it is easiest to think of this age as them being in their 50’s and 60’s. While still spritely and active, they also are starting to experience mild aging changes, and supporting these subtle changes with age-appropriate nutrition and extra care is a keyway to truly ensuring they enjoy a lifetime of wellbeing together with you.
From 10-14 years onwards, you may start to see more signs of aging such as body composition changes, a lowered appetite, less activity, coat changes, mobility issues and even hearing loss or a decreased visual acuity. At this stage your cat would be moving from the mature life stage to that of a true senior, or golden oldie as we like to call them!
Signs of Aging to Look for
Aging pets have reduced activity levels, a decrease in lean muscle mass, and an increase in the proportion of body fat. Some older pets have hearing loss and decreased visual acuity. Changes in the senses of smell and taste can reduce interest in food and cause weight loss. Skeletal and organ changes develop in some pets — mobility problems, periodontal disease, changes to skin and coat, compromised renal or heart function, cognitive dysfunction, and neoplastic disease. Age-related changes can also alter daily energy needs, change the amounts and type of protein and fat needed, and modify mineral and vitamin requirements.
Caring for Your Aging Cat
Thanks to improved nutrition, living indoors, and advances in veterinary medicine, cats today are living longer than ever so once they start to hit the mature milestone of 7-8 years, and especially once the signs of aging appear from 10 years of age, supporting their tailored senior needs becomes critically important.
How does Senior Nutrition Cater to the Needs of Aging Cats?
- High Protein, Lowered Fat (up to 40% less): Studies show high and lowered fats can support an optimal body condition as well as promote a lean body mass. Lowered fat supports optimal energy for seniors.
- Highly Digestible Recipes with Fiber, Prebiotics, and Probiotics: Maximize digestion for optimal nutrient absorption to overcome aging declines which supports microbiome balance to minimize upsets. Feeding higher protein recipes with high quality wet recipes can support mealtime success.
- High Joint Nutrient Amounts and Modified Protein & Fat: Reputable senior recipes contain up to 60% more Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate to support joint health and healthy mobility. Increased protein & decreased fat will additionally support optimal body condition and aid a cat’s overall mobility.
- Adjusted Mineral Profile Targeted to Aging Pet: Lowered amounts of phosphorus will help minimize the occurrence of kidney health concerns. Feeding incremental senior wet food recipes can also support overall hydration and urinary health.
- Increased Antioxidants for Immune Health: Increased and guaranteed amounts of Vitamin E and Vitamin A in addition to antioxidant rich ingredients like blueberries support immune health.
- Higher Amounts of Omega Fatty Acids for Skin & Coat: Look for recipes with up to 20% more omega-3 fatty acids to optimize skin cell health for a healthy skin and coat. With increased total dietary protein, senior recipes also support total daily protein requirements for a soft and shiny coat.
Wellness Pet Food Senior & Age Advantage wet cat food recipes are lovingly crafted with natural, premium proteins, added antioxidants & superfoods, balanced nutrients, and controlled minerals perfectly designed by our team of animal nutritionists and veterinarians to support the aging needs of all cats.
NEW Wellness® Complete Health™ Age Advantage recipe is for cats 7+ years of age to support healthy aging with the right balance of protein & fat plus natural glucosamine and chondroitin from chicken as the first ingredient. For a lifetime of wellbeing, Complete Health Age Advantage is scientifically crafted with the finest natural ingredients for cats as they age by supporting healthy joints, muscle health, energy, healthy skin and coat, and even immune health.