Older Cat Nutrition
Unique by nature cats also have very special nutrition needs. Throughout their lives but especially towards older age (6-8 years) cats will need to maintain a diet well balanced in high levels of protein, sufficient vitamins, minerals and electrolytes and healthy amounts of fiber to ensure an active and fit lifestyle even into older age. Senior cats can experience a number of problems and discomfort due to improper diets that cause cats to absorb more fat, gain weight, lose vitamins and minerals through failing kidneys and impaired immune functions.
Unlike dogs that need less calories as the get older cats need to stay active when they age to reduce the chances of intestinal tracts absorbing more fat and putting on excess weight. Obesity is a common malady that affects older cats and owners need to recognize early stages of a weight problem to take the proper dietary steps to prevent further complications due to excessive weight gain. Constipation also occurs more frequently in older cats and providing increased levels of fiber in the form of bran and enough water to hydrate his system can reduce the discomfort associated with constipation.
Senior cats often experience a lack of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes due to less being absorbed through the intestinal tract because of excessive fat and the loss that occurs in older or failing kidneys and urinary tracts. When this starts to happen, generally between the ages of 6 and 8, it is important to provide foods that are rich in the necessary vitamins and minerals and supplements that have antioxidants and vitamins A, B and E. Replenishing an older cat's system will greatly improve his overall health and encourage a more active lifestyle.
Another common problem with older cats is an even more picky appetite when it comes to food. Senior cats may experience sudden lack of appetite too and will just not eat. Still you need to maintain a healthy diet and getting an older cat to eat is necessary in sustaining his health and nutrition. Food that has been heated in a microwave or moistened with canned tuna water may entice a finicky cat to feed. Feeding older cats small amounts on a more regular basis can also get enough nutrients and proteins into his system to keep his spirits up. Providing a stress-free and quiet environment for an older cat to eat will also encourage him to feed. Being disturbed by children or younger pets will only discourage an older feline from eating.
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