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10 Best Cat Foods for Senior Cats 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks

Reviews - Best Cat Food for Older CatsSenior 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 cat food for senior cats? Then read on for our recommendations.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites (2022)

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Fresh Raw Cat Food Smalls Fresh Raw Cat Food
  • Feature iconVitamins and minerals support senior cats
  • Feature icon91% protein from turkey thighs
  • Feature iconLow-fat recipe
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry
  • Feature iconMade from non-GMO ingredients
  • Feature iconRich in omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Bird Cat Food Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Bird Cat Food
  • Feature iconOnly 15% crude fat
  • Feature iconHigh protein meal sourced primarily from chicken
  • Feature iconCrunchy pieces support dental health
  • Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food
  • Feature iconOptimum levels of nutrients for eye, heart, kidney, and joint health
  • Feature iconMade with natural ingredients
  • Merrick Purrfect Bistro Dry Cat Food Merrick Purrfect Bistro Dry Cat Food
  • Feature iconContains added fiber for hairball control
  • Feature iconFortified with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and antioxidants
  • The 10 Best Cat Foods for Senior Cats

    1. Smalls Fresh Raw Other Bird Cat Food — Best Overall

    Smalls human grade fresh food bowl with kitten with logo

    Although the dietary requirements of a senior cat are like those of an adult cat, seniors require meals that are lower in fat and higher in protein. Smalls Fresh Other Bird is a human-grade meal that uses raw turkey as its primary source of protein, and it’s our choice for the best overall cat food for senior cats.

    Skin-on turkey thighs account for an impressive 91% of the protein, and the remaining 9% comes from chicken liver. With a crude fat content of 6.6%, Fresh Other Bird has the lowest fat of any Smalls fresh meals. The recipe is enhanced by a supplementary vitamin and mineral mixture that supports aging joints and muscles.

    Pros
    • Low-fat recipe
    • 65.4% moisture content
    • 91% protein from turkey thighs
    • Vitamins and minerals support senior cats
    Cons
    • Peas are an unnecessary ingredient
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    2. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Senior 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
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    3. Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Bird Cat Food – Premium Choice

    smalls cat enjoying freeze dried raw food

    Our premium pick, Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Bird, only contains 15% crude fat but has a stunning 45.4% crude protein. The crunchy, freeze-dried meal is primarily composed of ground chicken with bones, heart, liver, gizzard, and chicken eggs. It also contains herring oil to support a healthy coat.

    Compared to other dry food brands, Raw Bird is higher in protein, lower in carbohydrates, and made with high-quality natural ingredients. The raw ingredients are freeze-dried to lock in essential nutrients; Smalls does not use high-temperature ovens to dry out the raw material, unlike its competitors.

    Pros
    • Only 15% crude fat
    • High protein meal sourced primarily from chicken
    • Crunchy pieces support dental health
    • Low carbohydrate content
    Cons
    • Low moisture content
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    4. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Senior Cat Food

    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. But, all in all, we think this is the overall best cat food for senior cats.

    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
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    5. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Dry Senior Cat Food

    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 best senior cat 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
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    6. Iams Proactive Health Dry Senior 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
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    7. 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
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    8. 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
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    9. 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
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    10. 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

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Cat Food for Senior Cats

    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.

    Want to see more cat food reviews? Check out our review page here!

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    Conclusion: Best Cat Food for Older Cats

    Our best overall choice is Smalls Fresh Other Bird Cat Food because it has the nutrients your older cat needs for good health. It has human-grade ingredients 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.