Nutrition can be a powerful tool in maintaining health for our pets. As our cats age a number of changes occur. Digestion and absorption of nutrients can be affected, immune and kidney function can also decline with age, although the degree to which this occurs, depends on the individual animal. Your 7+ year old cat may benefit from changing to a “senior” diet in the following ways:
Although there is a common belief that protein restriction is helpful for older animals, there is no scientific evidence to show that reduced dietary protein is beneficial for the healthy older cat. In fact, reduced-protein diets for older cats may have adverse effects by contributing to the muscle loss that occurs with ageing. Therefore cats should not be fed a reduced-protein diet just because they are ageing. IAMS for Vitality Senior food contains high quality animal proteins such as fresh chicken at a moderate level to help support muscles, heart health and skin and coat condition.
Like people, cats may gain weight as they age. In obesity-prone animals, decreasing the number of calories eaten will help to prevent weight gain.
Those extra pounds around the middle are not innocuous and can cause or exacerbate other diseases. On the other hand, not all animals gain weight as they age. If your older cat is gaining weight and /or not exercising very much then IAMS for Vitality Senior can help maintain a slim body weight.
However, for much older cats who are gradually losing weight and have no underlying medical conditions, try feeding a more calorically dense diet to help prevent weight loss.
Certain fibres may be useful for cats that have altered intestinal health. Some senior diets are supplemented with fibre, but the specific amount and types vary between products. IAMS Senior diets contain Beet Pulp, a special fibre shown to support intestinal health and FOS, a prebiotic fibre which supports a healthy digestion by feeding the good bacteria in the intestinal tract.
Vitamins and Minerals
Supplementation of vitamins and minerals is unnecessary if you are feeding your cat with a high quality senior diet like IAMS for Vitality Senior. Complete and balanced, IAMS for Vitality diets all contain vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and total body health.
All additional supplements have the potential for side effects and possible interactions with medications and should be used with care.
Selecting a diet that is specifically suited to your cats senior years will ensure they receive the vital nutrition they need, helping them to grow older gracefully. And of course enjoyment is key too, so make sure your cat not only eats a nutritious meal created for older cats, but also provides a taste they’ll enjoy too – no compromise.