Senior 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.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites (Updated in 2023)
|Best Overall||Smalls Fresh Cat Food||
||Click to Save 33%|
|Best Value||Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry||
|Iams Proactive Health Dry Senior Cat Food||
|Purina Pro Plan PRIME PLUS Dry Cat Food||
|Royal Canin Wet Cat Food||
The 7 Best Cat Foods for Senior Cats
1. Smalls Fresh Other Bird Cat Food — Best Overall
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 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.
2. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Senior Cat Food — Best Value
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.
3. Iams Proactive Health Dry Senior 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Older Cat Food Considerations
Because of all the health concerns with older cats, there are certain dietary requirements to look for in their food.
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.
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.
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 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!
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 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: Elizabett, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites (Updated in 2023)
- The 7 Best Cat Foods for Senior Cats
- Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Cat Food for Senior Cats