We would all love our little feline friends to live as long as us, loving us and judging us until our final days.

Sadly, even when we support them in later life and give them the best cat food for older cats, our favorite fishy buddies don’t live as long as us humans. But they can get into their 20’s these days. This is a vast improvement as their average lifespan was just 7 years in the 1980’s, whereas now the average is a good 12-15 years and beyond. If you’re really lucky, you might even get a cat living to over 30, with the world’s oldest cat, Creme Puff, surviving until he was 38!

To help your cat stick around for a good while yet, you can boost their health by ensuring they have regular vet checks, exercise, mental stimulation and of course, a diet relevant to their age. Mature cats have specific nutritional requirements so it is important that they have the best cat food for older cats and not just a general kibble.

Top Picks

To help you get past the clever marketing and jargon used by many cat food brands, we’ve got lots of information to help you get your senior cat the best food.

How to Choose Cat Food for Older Cats

We’ve rounded up the best of the senior cat food currently available to buy. But first, here are some tips on choosing the best cat food for older cats:

Medical Conditions Are Key

As a cat ages there are many physical changes that may well occur in the body as a cat ages including:

  • Arthritis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Impaired kidney function
  • Dental issues
  • Eye diseases
  • High blood pressure
  • Brain degeneration
  • Immune system degeneration
  • Dehydration

In the first instance having any issues diagnosed by a vet is the most important thing to do. The cat can then have medication if needed, and the vet can recommend senior cat food that works for the needs of your cat. It is important to understand if your cat is sick, or they are just aging normally. Various issues like kidney problems or diabetes may well require specialist diets.

Knowing exactly what physical condition your senior cat is in will help you to understand what his dietary needs are.

Keep Weight In Mind

As a cat ages, obesity can become an issue as the cat may require fewer calories as they age, just like humans do. Older cats can also become too thin because of medical issues. Keeping a cat’s weight in mind is important and should be monitored as they age. Selecting a special diet food for obese cats, or using a special calorie-rich food to help a cat put on weight, is a good idea. Do seek advice from your vet before you place your cat on a special diet.

You Don’t Have To Be A Dietician

Good senior cat food should include:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fibre
  • Fatty acids
  • Magnesium
  • Antioxidants

Protein should be the primary ingredient, and filler carbohydrates shouldn’t be very high on the list. Any amount variations beyond that don’t try to assess yourself. The brand should have had the food tested by the AAFCO and the nutritional balance should meet given guidelines.

Choose Age-Appropriate Food

No matter how fancy and balanced a cat food looks, don’t be tempted to feed your aging cat anything other than age-appropriate food. Kitten food and adult cat food is formulated for those age groups. Once your cat reaches 7 they are classed as a senior. At the very least, they need to be moved onto senior cat food at some point between the age of 7 and 10. Luckily, most cat foods state the age your cat should be to eat the food for guidance.

Mix Wet & Dry Food

It is always important to mix wet and dry food for cats for variety and good all-round nutrition. However, it is especially important for a senior cat to have at least some wet food because they are more likely to have urinary issues.

If you’re unsure of your cat’s specific nutritional needs in his senior years you should always consult your veterinarian for advice.

Best Senior Cat Foods

To help you get an idea of some of the best senior cat food products available, here’s our top selection and their pros and cons:

Royal Canin Appetite Control Spayed/Neutered 12+ Dry Cat Food

Royal Canin Appetite Control Spayed/Neutered 12+ Dry Cat Food

The Best Cat Food for Older Cats With Kidney Problems

Royal Canin senior cat food is for cats that have been spayed or neutered, and who are over the age of 12. The mixture specifically helps with weight maintenance, which is handy if your older cat is a bit on the podgy side.

In addition to nutritionally balanced selection of key ingredients, the product also has the right phosphorus levels to promote great renal health. Great news for owners concerned about their kitty’s kidneys.

Why We Like It:
  • Promotes good kidney health
  • Helps with weight maintenance
  • Complete balanced nutrition
  • Additional antioxidants promote a good immune system
What We Don’t Like:
  • The lower protein ingredients are not something every owner will agree is the correct diet mix for their cat
  • Cats with dental issues may struggle with the kibble

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Hill’s Science Diet Dry Adult 11+ Cat Food

Hills Science Diet Dry Adult 11+ Cat Food

The Best Cat Food for Older Cats That Vomit

Hill’s Science senior cat food is a dry food suitable for cats aged 11 and over. It has a balanced selection of nutrients and minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. It also has natural fibres which help with easier digestion and better litter box contents.

Owners who want to feel sure their senior cat is getting everything they need will love that the product is veterinarian recommended.

Why We Like It:
  • Recommended by vets
  • Helps with easier digestion and better litter box contents
  • Protein is the number 1 ingredient
  • Particularly suitable for indoor cats
What We Don’t Like:
  • Kibble might be quite hard for cats with dental issues
  • Kibble pieces are quite large

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Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food

Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food

Vets Recommend This Healthy Dry Senior Cat Food

Iams senior cat food is a dry mix complete with all the vitamins and minerals that an older cat needs to thrive. It’s packed with special features and considerations too. For example; the kibble is shaped to help with plaque removal, great for kitties’ oral health. There’s also vitamin E for immune strength, L Carnitine for weight control and calcium to boost bone strength.

Owners who like to feed their cat the healthiest food possible will love that the product has chicken as the number one ingredient. There are also no artificial preservatives, dyes or synthetic additions in the mix.

Why We Like It:
  • Lots of healthy ingredient additions
  • Veterinarian recommended
  • No nasties
  • Chicken is the number 1 ingredient
What We Don’t Like:
  • The smell of the kibble may be difficult for owners to stomach
  • The bag sealing system can result in food becoming stale quicker than owners would like or expect

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Merrick Purrfect Bistro Indoor Senior Cat Food

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Indoor Senior Cat Food

A Great Choice for Indoor Kitties

Merritt senior cat food is designed specifically for older kitties who live indoors only. Cats aged 7 years or older can enjoy the delicious grain free mix, which has chicken as its number one ingredient. They will also benefit from the vitamins, minerals, probiotics and antioxidants in the food for optimum health.

Owners of indoor cats will appreciate the added fibre to help minimise those pesky hairball issues. You can also help a cat with hairball reduction by increasing the grooming you give them.

Why We Like It:
  • Full of lots of great vitamins and minerals
  • Helps with hairball production
  • Grain free
  • Chicken is the number 1 ingredient
What We Don’t Like:
  • Economy of smaller bags may not be favourable against other brands
  • Price bracket could be considered high for some budgets

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Nutro Wholesome Essentials Senior Dry Cat Food

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Senior Dry Cat Food

The Best Cat Food for Older Cats With Sensitive Stomachs

Owners of cats with sensitive tummies may want to try this Nutro senior dry cat food. It is designed with older cats in mind and includes healthy ingredients like taurine for an immunity boost, omega-6 fatty acids for skin health, and real chicken, which is the number 1 ingredient.

Owners who want the very best for their cat will love that the food contains no corn, wheat, chicken byproduct, artificial preservatives, flavours and colors, or soy protein.

Why We Like It:
  • Free from nasties
  • Chicken is the number one ingredient
  • Great for cats with sensitive tummies
  • Full of healthy vitamins and minerals
What We Don’t Like:
  • Texture is quite hard, which cats with dental issues may struggle with
  • Larger bags are not resealable

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Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging Natural Mature Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging Natural Mature Dry Cat Food

A Healthy Option for Senior Cats

If you’re looking to try out premium cat food for your ageing furry friend, then you might want to consider Blue Buffalo. True to the entire Blue Buffalo range the product is free from all nasties and includes their famous ‘Lifesource bits’.

Owners will love the quality of the product which has real meat as the first ingredient.

Why We Like It:
  • Meat is the first ingredient
  • Free from nasties
  • Contains lots of healthy extras
  • Helps promote a healthy and shiny coat
What We Don’t Like:
  • Some owners may find the food causes particularly offensive litter contents
  • Some owners feel phosphorous is not a good ingredient to be in cat food

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Royal Canin Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Cat Food

Royal Canin Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Cat Food

The Best Wet Cat Food for Older Cats

If your cat prefers wet food, or you want to mix both wet and dry food, then you might want to try your pet on Royal Canin thin slices in gravy. Because it is so delicious it is the best cat food for picky older cats and is suitable for those aged 12+ and contains a perfect range of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

Owners hoping to boost the health of their cat will appreciate the addition of omega-3, which is particularly great for joint health.

Why We Like It:
  • Great for picky eaters
  • Full of healthy extras
  • Nutritionally balanced
  • Gravy may help boost fluid intake
What We Don’t Like:
  • Some owners feel phosphorous is not a good ingredient to be in cat food
  • Older cats may find the meat slices difficult to chew

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Purina Pro Plan Senior 11+ Canned Wet Cat Food

Purina Pro Plan Senior 11+ Canned Wet Cat Food

The Best Cat Food for Older Cats With Bad Teeth

If you have a cat who just loves a tasty pate, then you may want to give the Purina senior wet food a try. It’s a tasty food that is designed for cats aged 11+. It is nutritionally balanced full of everything your older cat needs to thrive.

Owners with very picky cats will appreciate how smelly and wet the food is, helping cats off their food find their appetite again.

Why We Like It:
  • An easy texture for older cats
  • Nutritionally balanced
  • Portion controlled cans
  • Strong smell entices cats
What We Don’t Like:
  • Ingredients may not be as high quality as some owners prefer
  • Not necessarily as healthy as other brands

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FAQ

If you still have questions about finding the best cat food for older cats, here are some FAQs to help you further:

My Cat Isn’t Eating, Which Food Will Help?

If your cat has lost his appetite the first thing you should do is consult your vet to check the purpose. There are high-calorie foods that they can offer which you can feed to your cat to help.

To encourage your cat to eat try warming the cat food to make it more appetising. You could also try switching the bowl they eat from, and try smelly wet food if your cat is usually on dry food. This may be more enticing for your cat.

Does My Senior Can Need Supplements?

An older animal may be lower in certain vitamins and minerals because they aren’t absorbing them well, or they are losing more through certain organs. Supplements may be useful in addition to really good dry or wet cat food but you should consult your vet before giving your cat supplementation.

My Cat Has Bad/No Teeth What Should I Feed Him?

If your cat has bad teeth and gums, they need treatment from the vet first and foremost. If the teeth and gums are treated and your cat has fewer teeth now, then you may wish to switch to wet food which is easier for them to eat.

What Does A Cat With IBD Eat?

IBD cats tend to need foods that are easily digested. Most cat foods that are specifically gentle on the tummy will place that fact on the label.

Is There Anything I Can Give My Senior Cat With Cancer To Help Him Have A Better Quality Of Life?

There is some proof that Omega 3 (DHA and EPA) could be helpful as a supplement on top of a balanced diet. You should be careful about the amounts your pet has though as some foods already contain a lot of it anyway. Speak to your vet for more advice and guidance with this. It is also helpful to avoid feeding raw foods to your cat if you can as it is thought that the risk of bacterial contamination is dangerous. Your pet has a lowered immune system because they have cancer so any infections can be more dangerous than usual.

What Is The Best Dry Cat Food For Older Cats?

Only you can decide the best product for your cat. There is no clear ‘winner’ amongst brands, but there are lots of great options to choose from, which is great news for your kitty.

Is Phosphorus Bad For My Cat?

In excess amounts this ingredient can be bad for your cats kidneys. However, certain brands claim it is used in specific amounts that actually benefit renal health. Please do speak to your vet further about this, especially if your cat has renal issues.

Your Senior Cat Can Thrive With The Right Diet
With the right diet, your older cat will thrive and hopefully, stick around a lot longer. With the reward being many more years of snuggles, it makes sense to do your research and ensure your kitty gets the very best nutrition to see them through their golden years.