Ultimate Guide on Best Senior Cat Food [Dry, Wet, Liquid & Vet Recommended

It feels like it happens all of a sudden. One second your cat is a pouncing little kitten tearing around your home, then you blink, and your cat’s a senior, moving slower and napping more.

As this change happens, the needs of your cat change, too. And that includes your cat’s diet.

So it’s important you give your elderly cats the best senior cat food. 

In this article, we’ve listed some of the best senior cat food for different categories, including

  • Senior dry cat food
  • Senior wet cat food
  • Best senior cat food for weight gain
  • Best senior cat food for senior cat with sensitive stomachs
  • Best senior cat food for weight loss
  • Vet recommended senior cat food

But first we’ll begin with what makes senior cat food special.

What Makes Senior Cat Food Special?

Different age groups of cats require different levels of nutrients because they have different needs, health risks, etc. Because of this, there are different types of cat food for those age groups.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, cat age ranges can be divided up as

  1. Kitten: 0 to 1 year of age
  2. Young Adult Cat: 1 to 6 years of age
  3. Mature Adult Cat: 7 to 10 years of age
  4. Senior Cat: Older than 10 years of age

Senior cat food is a cat food made specifically for senior cats, with their lifestyles and necessary nutrients in mind. Foods are aimed at keeping your senior cat’s aging body healthy, active, and pain-free.

For instance, some may have ingredients targeted towards making sure your cat’s fur coat stays sleek and nice, especially as cats may become less flexible as they age and therefore less able or careful in grooming.

Others may have ingredients targeting the metabolism or focus on being lower calories to cater to cats’ slowing metabolism and less active lifestyle as they age.

Some may focus on dental, heart, bone and muscle health.

As Diamond Pet Foods explains in a blog post, there’s no magic ingredient that makes senior cat food necessary for senior cats. Maybe some healthy elderly cats are perfectly fine using food targeted towards the adult age groups, as the article suggests. However, the formulation of the ingredients in food for senior cats tends to change to support typical symptoms or potential health risks of an aging cat, which might make it a better fit for you.

What’s important is that you provide your senior cats with the nutrition they need, whichever food category it comes in.

Types of Cat Food for Senior Cats

wet cat food

There are different types of cat food for senior cats. Those types include

  1. Senior dry cat food
  2. Senior wet cat food
  3. Liquid cat food for senior cats
  4. Semi-Moist cat food for senior cats

Dry food and wet food is the most commonly used types for everyday consumption. But there are uses, pros, and cons to each type of these types of senior cat foods. Let’s dig into it.

Senior Dry Cat Food

Dry food is often what people think of as pet food, and it’s no different for senior dry cat food. Dry food is kibble and may be the most common form of cat food. It lasts a long time if appropriately sealed, even after the bag has been opened (which isn’t the case for wet food), which means you can typically buy it in larger quantities per bag.

However, dry food can have more filler ingredients than wet food (although, as International Cat Care points out, that can make it better for putting or keeping weight on thin or underweight cats that have limits on how much they can eat).

Senior Wet Cat Food

Wet food is probably the second most synonymous with cat food. It often comes in a can and is meat-based. Flavours like chicken, beef, salmon, and tuna are quite common, and rather than like dry kibble, wet food looks recognizable as meat (even though that’s not the sole ingredient)

Senior wet cat food is also great for keeping senior cats hydrated. It’s important to keep your cats hydrated (senior or otherwise). Dehydration can cause or contribute to health issues in cats, including UTIs, which male cats, in particular, are at risk for. UTIs can be fatal if not treated promptly.

There are benefits (and cons) to both dry and wet foods for senior cats. So, rather than picking a side indefinitely, many owners give their kitties a combination of dry and wet food. That way, they can reap the advantages and help eliminate the disadvantages of each type.

Liquid Cat Food for Senior Cats

Typically, a liquid diet for senior cats is used short-term as part of a treatment plan for your cat, as mentioned by Pawtracks.

Although there are some circumstances where you’d continue feeding your cat liquid food, typically, it’s best to get your kitty back to eating solids again eventually.

This is no different in people. After some medical conditions or treatments, we might be put on a liquid diet. However, we don’t stay on that diet and will work our way back to solids.

That’s what you’re doing with your cat, as well. Whether wet or dry, you want your cat to be able to chow down on solids again eventually.

So, think of liquid cat food for seniors as a temporary food for your aging cat that you use if necessary, and not something you should consider feeding your cat on the reg unless otherwise suggested by your veterinarian.

Semi-Moist Cat Food for Senior Cats

According to PetCareRx, semi-moist cat food is essentially dry food with more water.  Maybe you haven’t heard of semi-moist cat food for senior cats – and with good reason. Because, as PetCareRx also mentions, this type of food isn’t often offered as cat food, at least not anymore, due to some issues with it in the past. Instead, it’s typically relegated to treats.

However, there are still semi-moist cat foods made, and you can still find lists of the best available across the internet. So, if you choose to feed your senior cat semi-moist cat food, ensure you understand any associated health risks due to the added salt, sugar, and chemical preservatives, as mentioned by VCA Animal Hospitals. You may want to discuss it with your vet.

Best Senior Cat Food

We’ve collected some of the best senior cat foods in different categories by looking at some of the most popular and/or top brands, reviews, etc. The selections have been limited to dry and wet food.

Best Premium Dry Cat Food for Senior Cats

Below, we’ve gathered some of the best dry cat food for senior cats from some of the best and most popular cat food brands on the market.

Blue Buffalo Senior Cat Food – BLUE™ Healthy Aging Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe

buffalo

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support the health of senior cats so they can still live an active lifestyle
Some Important Ingredients
  • Chicken and Chicken Meal
  • Fish Oil
  • Taurine
  • Flaxseed
Rating4.7 stars with several reviews

Nutro Senior Cat Food – Wholesome Essentials™ Natural Dry Cat Food Senior Formula with Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support health in senior cats, including heart and fur coat, without using GMO ingredients.
Some Important Ingredients
  • Chicken and Chicken Meal
  • Fish Oil
  • Taurine
Rating4.9 stars with over 20 reviews

Hills Senior Cat Food – Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult 11+ Chicken Recipe cat food

hills senior

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support the health of senior cats, including keeping them active and agile, supporting heart, bladder, kidney, skin, fur, and digestion health
Some Important Ingredients
  • Chicken
  • Fish Oil
  • Taurine
Rating4.5 stars with 110 reviews

Wellness Senior Cat Food – Wellness® Complete Health™ Grain Free Senior Recipe

wellness

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support the health of senior cats, including for immune system, joint and hip, and slowing metabolism health
Some Important Ingredients
  • Chicken
  • Cranberries
Rating4.3 stars with over 150 reviews

Nulo Senior Cat Food – Freestyle Alaska Pollock, Duck & Sweet Potato Recipe

nulo

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support the health of senior cats, including ensuring they have the nutrients they need to continue living an active life
Some Important Ingredients
  • L-Carnitine
  • Miscanthus Grass
  • Taurine
  • Vitamin E Supplement
  • Vitamin A Supplement
  • L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate
Rating5 stars with a few reviews

Best Affordable Dry Cat Food for Senior Cats

Below, we’ve gathered some affordable dry cat food for senior cats from some of the most popular cat food brands on the market.

Iams Senior Cat Food – Iams™ Proactive Health™ Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food with Chicken

iams

Source 

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade for the complete health of a senior cat, including muscles, bones, teeth, joints, heart, and immune system
Some Important Ingredients
  • Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Fish Oil
  • Vitamin E Supplement
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Calcium Pantothenate
  • Potassium Iodide
Rating4.8 stars with over 100 reviews

Purina Senior Cat Food – Purina ONE® +Plus Senior 7+ Dry Cat Food

purina one

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support the health of a senior cat including hairballs, immune system, ideal weight, aging healthily, muscles, heart, etc.
Some Important Ingredients
  • Chicken and Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Vitamin E Supplement
  • Glucosamine
Rating4.8 stars with over 250 reviews

Best Wet Cat Food for Senior Cats

Below we’ve gathered a couple of the best wet cat food for senior cats from some of the best and most popular cat food brands on the market.

Fancy Feast Senior Cat Food – Fancy Feast Chicken Feast Minced In Gravy Senior 7+

fancy feast

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support the health of senior cats, including clear vision and healthy skin and coat
Some Important Ingredients
  • Chicken
  • Taurine
  • Vitamin E Supplement
Rating4.9 stars with over 50 reviews

Royal Canin Senior Cat Food – Aging 12+ Thin Slices In Gravy Canned Cat Food

royal canin

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support the health of a senior cat, including joints and kidney function
Some Important Ingredients
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Fish Oil
Rating4.5 stars with over 750 reviews on Amazon

Best Senior Cat Food for Weight Gain

We’ve gathered some of the best senior cat food for weight gain taking into account ratings and reviews, and the purpose of the cat food. 

Fromm Family Healthy Weight Gold

fromm

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support the health of senior and adult cats that aren’t very active so they can still maintain a healthy weight (and good health in general)
Some Important Ingredients
  • Chicken and Chicken Oil
  • Salmon Oil
  • Vitamins
Rating4.8 stars with over 100 reviews on Google

Note: This cat food does not specifically say it’s for weight gain, but for maintaining a healthy weight

Best Cat Food for Senior Cat with Sensitive Stomach

We’ve gathered some of the best senior cat food for a senior cat with sensitive stomach taking into account ratings and reviews, and the purpose of the cat food. 

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Senior Vitality Chicken & Rice Recipe Cat Food

hills science

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support the health of a senior cat while being easy for your kitty to suggest
Some Important Ingredients
  • Chicken
  • Fish Oil
  • Vitamins
Rating4.3 stars with over 20 reviews

Go! Solutions™ Sensitivities Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Duck Pate

go!

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support the health of cats of all ages while catering to cats with dietary needs and restrictions
Some Important Ingredients
  • Duck
  • Pumpkin
  • Taurine
  • Flaxseed
Rating4.7 stars based on nearly 250 reviews

Best Senior Cat Food for Weight Loss

We’ve gathered some of the best senior cat food for weight loss taking into account ratings and reviews, and the purpose of the cat food. 

Applaws Complete Dry Senior Chicken 2kg

applaws

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support the health of senior cats, made with natural ingredients all listed on the website with nothing hidden
Some Important Ingredients
  • Dried Chicken
  • Chicken Mince
Rating4.6 stars with over 100 reviews on Google

Now Fresh Grain-Free Recipe with Turkey, Salmon & Duck for Senior Cats

now fresh

Source

FeaturesDetails
DescriptionMade to support the health of senior cats, with importance on maintaining a healthy weight and good digestion
Some Important Ingredients
  • Poultry and fish
  • Superfoods
  • Eggs
  • Coconut oil
Rating4.3 stars based on over 100 reviews

Vet Recommended Senior Cat Food

We’ve gathered a couple of vet recommended senior cat foods from some of the best and most popular cat food brands on the market. 

Royal Canin Senior Cat Food

The Royal Canin website suggests its cat foods for senior cats are vet recommended, even including a section where you can find a vet or location to buy its products.

We already have one of these senior cat foods on our list with Royal Canin’s Aging 12+ Thin Slices In Gravy Canned Cat Food. As the name suggests, this is wet, canned cat food.

Other senior cat food products are also available on its website.

Science Diet Senior Cat Food

This vet-recommended cat food for senior cats brings us back to another cat food already on our list, Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult 11+ Chicken Recipe cat food, which we’d previously listed as one of the best dry cat foods for senior cats. It boasts of being “#1 veterinarian recommended” on its website.

Not too bad to make it onto our list twice!

Q&A

senior cat food

Homemade cat food recipes for senior cats?

You might turn to make your senior cat food from home for many reasons. Maybe your cat has several allergies, maybe they are a picky eater, or maybe you’re trying to feed your cat a raw cat food diet.

But, whatever your reason for turning to it, if you’re making homemade cat food recipes for senior cats, make sure you’ve done your research to ensure you’re giving your furbaby the nutrition they need to be healthy. It may be a good idea to consult with a vet beforehand. It may also be a good idea to keep in consultation with your vet throughout the process.

This can be especially important if your senior cat has particular health issues that needs to be addressed in your cat’s diet. 

Once you start feeding your homemade cat food recipes, keep an eye on them to see how they are handling this new diet. If your cat is not taking it well, speak to your vet about what adjustments should be made. You may find it impractical to continue with a homemade diet.

High-calorie cat food for senior cats?

As discussed previously in this article, there are senior cat food options available that can help your cat with weight control, including losing or gaining weight (the latter of which may be the desire when looking for high-calorie cat food for senior cats).

Dry food typically has more carbohydrates in it than wet food, which can make it higher in calories, as cited in PetPlace.  Although mentioned as a con on that particular website, it can easily be a pro if you need to add more weight to your cat because they are underweight due to age, illness, frailty, or any other reason.

Keeping your cat at a healthy weight is an important part of keeping your cat healthy. Underweight cats may be weak, easily injured, malnourished, etc.

If you’re feeding your senior cat an entirely dry food diet, you’ll want to ensure they are also drinking enough water so as not to become dehydrated. Wet food is typically lower in calories and higher in water content, so dehydration becomes less of a concern.

It’s best to consult your vet for what they recommend when looking for senior cat food to help your elderly kitty gain the weight they need to be a healthy, active cat.

Is senior cat food necessary?

As was mentioned previously in the article, there’s no magic ingredient that makes senior cat food a requirement once your cat hits a certain age. Those age groups act more as guidelines for what is common for a cat at that age.

However, if you have a particularly healthy senior cat that is getting all the nutrients it needs from adult cat food, the change to senior cat food isn’t necessary. What’s important is that you (potentially with the help of your vet) evaluate what your kitty needs from their diet and adjust accordingly. If that includes senior cat food, then it contains senior cat food. If that contains senior cat food for weight loss or gain, then that’s what it has. If it contains senior cat food for senior cats with stomach sensitivities, then that’s what it entails.

What’s important is that you give your senior cat the best food for your senior cat. 

What can you use to add extra nutrition to your cat’s diet?

We always recommend adding supplements to your kitty’s diet, to give them a little extra nutritious kick, which will help keep them strong in their old age.

Like our TRI-ACTA for pets and TRI-ACTA H.A. for pets, which are joint supplements for cats and dogs (with no filler ingredients). The ingredients in these supplements are

  1. Glucosamine: Helps repair cartilage
  2. MSM: Helps with pain and inflammation reduction
  3. Chondroitin: Helps prevent further destruction of cartilage
  4. Hyaluronic acid (in TRI-ACTA H.A.): Helps lubricate joints

These ingredients work together to keep your senior kitty’s joints strong, healthy, and mobile.

TRI-ACTA for Pets

A proactive approach for developing and younger adult pets to maintain optimal joint health mobility, minimize inflammation and fend off age-related ailments.

To Conclude

That’s what we’ve got for our choices for some of the best senior cat foods on the market today. However, just because these are our choices doesn’t mean they’re the best choices for your senior cat. Make sure you research the food you’re giving your cat to ensure it’s providing your good old kitty exactly what they need to be at their healthiest.

And don’t forget to supplement your cat’s diet with supplements like our TRI-ACTA and TRI-ACTA H.A. joint supplements, to ensure your cat’s joints stay strong and mobile. 

If you want to learn more about looking after the health of your furry little friends, don’t forget to check out our blog and resources pages.

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