Best Cat Food for Older Cats 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

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Reviews - Best Cat Food for Older CatsOlder cats have special dietary needs, so they need cat food just for them. As cats get older, they become less active, so they don’t need as much fat and calories in their food. Senior cats also need plenty of high-quality protein in their diet.

There are many different choices of quality cat food on the market, but it can be overwhelming to decide which is best for your elderly kitty.

We’ve researched for you and created a list of reviews of the best cat food for older cats. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide that lists the important components of older cat food.

Ready to find the best food for your senior cat? Then read on for our recommendations.


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food
  • Optimum levels of nutrients for eye, heart, kidney, and joint health
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Cat Food Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Cat Food
  • Made from non-GMO ingredients
  • Rich in omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Merrick Purrfect Bistro Dry Cat Food Merrick Purrfect Bistro Dry Cat Food
  • Contains added fiber for hairball control
  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and antioxidants
  • Iams Proactive Health Dry Cat Food Iams Proactive Health Dry Cat Food
  • Contains Vitamin E and antioxidants to enhance immune response of older cats
  • Free from fillers
  • Blue Buffalo Healthy Mature Dry Cat Blue Buffalo Healthy Mature Dry Cat
  • Taurine for eye and heart health
  • Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for shiny coats and healthy skin
  • The 10 Best Cat Food for Older Cats — Reviews 2020

    1. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food — Best Overall

    Hill's 2530 Science Diet Dry Cat Food

    Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food is our best overall choice because the food is specially-formulated for indoor, senior cats. Because cats need plenty of protein, chicken is the first ingredient. There are no artificial ingredients. The food contains natural fiber to promote good digestion, which some older cats struggle with. It also has optimum levels of nutrients for eye, heart, kidney, and joint health. These are all areas that senior cats start to have problems with as they get older.

    For some older cats with dental problems, the kibble size is too large.

    Pros
    • Specially-formulated to fuel the energy needs of senior cats with an indoor lifestyle
    • Dry cat food with natural fibers to promote improved digestion for the older cat
    • Optimum levels of nutrients for eye, heart, kidney, and joint health
    • Made with natural ingredients
    • Chicken is ingredient number one
    Cons
    • Kibble pieces are too large for some cats

    2. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Cat Food — Best Value

    Nutro 10204058 Wholesome Essentials Dry Cat Food

    The Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Cat Food is the best cat food for older cats for the money because it’s made with high-quality ingredients. The food is non-GMO, and it contains no corn, wheat, or soy protein. These ingredients have been known to cause inflammation and allergies in older cats, so it’s good that this food focuses on protein from meat. The food also has no artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors. It’s rich in omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coats.

    Some cats refuse to eat this food.

    Pros
    • Made from non-GMO ingredients
    • Chicken is the number-one ingredient
    • No corn, wheat, or soy protein
    • No artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors
    • Rich in omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
    Cons
    • Some cats will not eat this formula

    3. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Dry Cat Food — Premium Choice

    Merrick 38354 Purrfect Bistro Dry Cat Food

    Merrick Purrfect Bistro Dry Cat Food is our premium choice because it’s fortified with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and antioxidants. Your older cat may have depletions of these nutrients in its body, so it’s helpful for the food to provide them with a good source of vitamins. This food is also rich in omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. It contains added fiber for hairball control and good digestion. The number one ingredient in this food is deboned chicken, which is what cats need most. The food also is free from gluten, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

    This food is expensive, though. It can also cause digestive upset in some sensitive cats.

    Pros
    • Number one ingredient is deboned chicken
    • Rich in Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
    • Contains added fiber for hairball control
    • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and antioxidants
    • No gluten, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Can cause digestive upset in some cats

    4. Iams Proactive Health Dry Cat Food

    Iams 10133666 Proactive Health Dry Cat Food

    Iams Proactive Health Dry Cat Food has chicken as the first ingredient to give your senior cat the high-protein diet it needs. It also has Vitamin E and antioxidants to support your older cat’s immune system. The food also has L-carnitine to help senior cats maintain a healthy weight, which can be a struggle as your cat gets older. The crunchy kibble is good for reducing plaque buildup. This food is also free from fillers to give your cat high-quality nutrition.

    This food has caused digestive upset, especially constipation, in some cats. Some cats also refuse to eat this food.

    Pros
    • Real chicken is the first ingredient
    • Contains Vitamin E and antioxidants to enhance immune response of older cats
    • Crunchy cat kibble helps reduce plaque buildup
    • L-carnitine helps senior cats maintain a healthy weight
    • Free from fillers
    Cons
    • Some cats refuse to eat it
    • Can cause digestive problems in some cats

    5. Blue Buffalo Healthy Mature Dry Cat Food

    Blue Buffalo Healthy Mature Dry Cat

    Blue Buffalo Healthy Mature Dry Cat Food has essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help support your senior cat’s immune system. It also has taurine to help keep your older cat’s eyes and heart healthy. The food supplies high-quality protein from deboned chicken. It also has natural sources of fiber to help absorb the nutrients from the food and support your older cat’s digestive health. It also contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for shiny coats and healthy skin.

    This food can cause digestive problems in some cats. Other cats refuse to eat this food at all.

    Pros
    • High-quality protein from deboned chicken
    • Essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants help support the immune system
    • Taurine for eye and heart health
    • Natural sources of fiber to help provide optimal nutrient absorption and digestive health
    • Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for shiny coats and healthy skin
    Cons
    • Can cause digestive problems
    • Some cats will not eat this formula

    6. Purina Pro Plan PRIME PLUS Dry Cat Food

    Purina Pro Plan PRIME PLUS Dry Cat Food

    Purina Pro Plan PRIME PLUS Dry Cat Food contains antioxidants, beta carotene, and Vitamin E to provide your older cat with essential nutrients. The food also has prebiotic fiber from chicory root to aid in digestion. Chicken is the first ingredient to provide your older cat with the protein it needs to stay healthy. It also has omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coats.

    This food can cause digestive problems in some sensitive cats. This food is very concentrated and rich, so it can cause even older cats to gain weight quickly.

    Pros
    • Chicken is the first ingredient
    • Contains antioxidants, beta carotene, and Vitamin E
    • Prebiotic fiber from chicory root
    • Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
    Cons
    • Can cause digestive problems
    • Very rich and concentrated food

    7. Royal Canin Wet Cat Food

    Royal Canin Wet Cat Food

    Royal Canin Wet Cat Food is ideal for older kitties struggling with dental issues. It has pork, chicken, and chicken liver slices in gravy that are easy to chew. The food contains omega-3 fatty acids to help maintain healthy joints. It also has specially-controlled phosphorus levels to support your older cat’s kidney health. The food is made with highly-quality proteins to support healthy digestion.

    This food is expensive, especially since the can sizes are small. Some cats refuse to eat this food.

    Pros
    • Pork, chicken, and chicken liver slices in gravy
    • Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain healthy joints
    • Supports kidney health with controlled phosphorus levels
    • High-quality proteins support healthy digestion
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Some cats refuse to eat this formula
    • Small can sizes

    8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Natural Mature Dry Cat Food

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Natural Mature Dry Cat Food

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Natural Mature Dry Cat Food has deboned chicken, chicken meal, and fish meal to give your older cat the high-quality protein it needs to stay healthy. This food contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coats. It also has natural fiber to aid in your older cat’s digestion. Since older cats can lose nutrients easily, it contains essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

    This food can cause digestive problems in some cats. Because of its low moisture content, it can also cause urinary problems in some cats. Cats sometimes refuse to eat this food.

    Pros
    • High-quality protein from deboned chicken, chicken meal, and fish meal
    • Contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
    • Contains natural fiber for digestive health
    • Contains essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
    Cons
    • Can cause digestive problems
    • Can cause urinary problems
    • Some cats refuse to eat this formula

    9. Purina Pro Plan Canned Wet Cat Food

    Purina Pro Plan Canned Wet Cat Food

    Purina Pro Plan Canned Wet Cat Food is made with real salmon and tuna. The food provides essential nutrients to support a healthy immune system. It also has omega fatty acids to help support healthy skin and coats. Wet food provides the moisture that older cats need.

    This food has a strong, fishy odor. It can cause urinary problems in some cats. Some cats have also experienced an allergic reaction to this food. It can also cause digestive problems.

    Pros
    • Made with real salmon and tuna
    • Provides essential nutrients to support a healthy immune system
    • Omega fatty acids help support healthy skin and coats
    Cons
    • Has a strong odor
    • Can cause urinary problems
    • Can cause an allergic reaction in some cats
    • Can cause digestive problems

    10. Nulo Grain Free Dry Cat Food

    Nulo Grain Free Dry Cat Food

    Nulo Grain Free Dry Cat Food contains Alaska pollock and duck for high-quality protein older cats need. It also has natural fibers and probiotics for good digestive health. This food contains L-carnitine to help your older cat maintain a healthy weight.

    This food is expensive, especially for the larger bag size. It can cause digestive problems in some cats. It can also cause hair shedding. Some cats refuse to eat this food. The kibbles are dry and hard to eat, so you may need to add water.

    Pros
    • Contains Alaska pollock and duck
    • Contains natural fibers and probiotics for digestive health
    • Contains L-carnitine for healthy weight
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Can cause digestive problems
    • Some cats refuse to eat this formula
    • Can cause hair shedding in some cats
    • Dry and hard to eat

    Buyer’s Guide

    Older cats have special dietary needs to take into consideration when shopping for high-quality cat food. The best food for older cats will meet all of these needs to keep your senior kitty healthy and active.

    To help you know exactly what to look for in older cat food, we’ve created a buyer’s guide that lists both common problems unique to older cats as well as what they need from senior cat food.

    Older Cat Problems

    Like humans, cats start having various health issues as they get older. Some of the most common concerns are:

    Loss of Interest in Food

    Older cats start losing their ability to smell and taste. This makes it hard for them to eat because food loses its appeal. It’s not fun to eat food if you can’t smell or taste it!

    Dental Problems

    Older cats may have trouble chewing because of dental problems. They may have missing teeth, gum disease, or loose teeth. Pain and discomfort may make them less likely to eat.

    High Metabolism 

    You might think metabolism would slow with age, but in older cats, it’s actually the opposite. With an increase in metabolism, loss of interest in food, and eating smaller portions, it can be hard to keep weight on your senior cat.

    Vitamin Deficiency 

    Older cats can suffer from vitamin deficiency from eating less or dealing with an illness. One vitamin in particular that older, skinny cats are deficient in is thiamine.

    Digestive Changes

    Older cats have problems with digestion. It becomes harder for them to absorb nutrients from the food they eat. They also struggle to digest fat, which can lead to excessive weight loss.

    Illnesses 

    Older cats become more susceptible to disease and illness as they get older. They are especially prone to arthritis, kidney disease, heart problems, or liver problems. If you know your senior kitty is dealing with a specific health problem, then it’s important to choose food that will ease the symptoms.

    Dehydration

    Older cats eat less food and drink less water, so they are prone to dehydration. Not having enough water makes them much more susceptible to kidney disease, so older cats must get plenty of water from their diet.

    Royal Canin Aging 12 plus

    Older Cat Food Considerations 

    Because of all the health concerns with older cats, there are certain dietary requirements to look for in their food.

    High Moisture

    Older cat food should provide plenty of water to make up for your cat’s lack of interest in eating and drinking. This helps prevent dehydration.

    Soft or Bite-Size Foods

    Soft food for older cats is a great way to provide extra moisture and make it easier for a cat with dental problems to chew. Dry food is another good option, but it should have small, easy-to-chew pieces.

    High-Quality Protein

    Older cats need plenty of protein as they age, and it should come from a high-quality source like whole muscle meat, bones, and organs.

    Good Fats 

    Older cats struggle with digesting fats, but they still need plenty of them to maintain a good weight and have a healthy coat. Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to ensure your senior kitty is getting the fat it needs.

    Antioxidants 

    Antioxidants can help support an aging cat’s immune system. A food with antioxidants is especially helpful for cats dealing with various illnesses.

    No Artificial Ingredients

    The food shouldn’t have any artificial colors, flavors, or additives that might upset your older cat’s delicate digestive system. Cats also don’t need carbohydrates or vegetables, so food without grains, corn, or soy is the best choice.

    3 cat divider

    Conclusion

    Our best overall choice is Hill’s 2530 Science Diet Dry Cat Food because it has the nutrients your older cat needs for good health. It has extra fiber to aid in digestion and nutrients that support your cat’s eye, heart, kidney, and joint health. High-quality protein is also the first ingredient.

    Our best value choice is the Nutro 10204058 Wholesome Essentials Dry Cat Food because it’s made specifically for older cats with no artificial ingredients. Chicken is the first ingredient to give your senior cat the protein and taurine it needs. It also is non-GMO and contains no corn, wheat, or soy protein.

    To keep your older cat healthy and thriving for the rest of its life, you need high-quality senior cat food. We hope our list of reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you find the best food for your older kitty.

    Featured Image Credit: Merrick, Chewy