Aging Cats Nutrition Needs Change

Aging Cats Nutrition Needs Change

Americas most popular pet, cat, lives more than half his life in the senior years. Although advances in health care, better nutrition and better educated owners helped to increase the quantity and quality of those years, studies show that older cats continue to struggle with weight as a result of reduced activity levels and a steady decline in senses, nutrient absorption and digestion of fats.

"One of the most important objectives when feeding older cats maintain ideal weight and maintaining that weight stable," said Dr. Arnold Plotnick, who developed a senior wellness program to meet the specific needs of aging cats on his veterinary clinic, Manhattan Cat Specialists in New York.

Owners of older cats may help their aging felines maintain ideal body weight throughout the senior lifestage feeding diet, which addresses the unique nutritional needs. Purina Pro Plan, for example, is to redesign a number of senior cat foods to address the changing nutritional needs of aging cats in two different stages leading lifestage: 7 to 11 (mature) and 11 and up (senior).

As cats age, there is a gradual decline in the body's ability to repair itself, maintain a normal body functions and adapt to stresses in the environment. Disease and weight changes are common throughout the senior lifestage.

Cats are more likely to face an increase in body weight over the years, the advanced level of activity decreases and metabolism slows. But around 11 years, weight loss is becoming an increasing problem.

11-plus years is particularly problematic in cats because of their sense of smell and taste are often reduced at this time, which affects their interest in food. The ability to absorb key nutrients and digestion of fats decreases, which in itself eat less effective.

Undesirable consequence is that more food passes through as waste and less energy is used, which causes a decrease of muscle mass and body fat, leading to potentially harmful weight loss.

In addition to providing the proper diet, owners of older cats pay close attention to the activities of its cat 'levels, weight and eating, grooming and elimination habits, and report anything new or different from their vet.

Although many of these changes are a normal part of aging, others may signal a more serious problem. Planning veterinary visits at least twice a year, it is good practice in higher years, many potentially serious diseases are treatable if caught early.