So, your baby's not a baby anymore.
You remember the first time you met like it was yesterday, but lately you find yourself wondering if your cat has entered the golden years.
Here are some things to know about senior cats, including signs they’re ageing and ways to alter their diets to keep them going strong.
Cats reach their senior years around age 11.
Is my baby ... old?
But older cats are kinda like older people
A 12-year-old cat is equivalent to a 64-year-old human.
ran a marathon,
so you never
Don't worry; it's normal.
Just like people, cats often show signs that they're getting older:
• Decreased activity
• Joint weakness
• A picky palate
• Confused by the internet
A complete and balanced diet is important, whether or not your cat has underlying health issues.
Reasons to change a senior cat's diet:
We get it. Indoor cats have less opportunity to exercise than outdoor cats. Just don’t let those calories add up to unwanted pounds.
10 extra calories a day = up to 1 pound a year.
Picky eating in older age often comes from a reduced ability to taste and smell. Cats 14 years and older are 15 times more likely to be too skinny.
So make sure you’re feeding your cat a food that’s high in calorie density and as tasty as possible.
3. Heart Disease
Senior cats with heart disease may need a special veterinarian-prescribed food.
4. Kidney Disease
Senior cats with kidney issues may need veterinarian-prescribed food that's lower in potassium and protein.
Cats with diabetes may need to eat a special veterinarian-prescribed diet.
6. Dental Issues
Consider adding dry food to your cat’s diet which can help remove plaque buildup.
Bring on the meat!
All adults cats, regardless of age, should be fed a carnivorous diet.
An animal-based protein should be the first ingredient on any cat food label.
What about supplements?
Good news: You don’t have to worry about providing additional supplements when you choose IAMS™. All foods are nutritionally complete and balanced.
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Cats are known for being a bit choosey about what they will and won’t do. And a little pickiness is fine when it comes to picking out toys and napping spots! But if your cat is or becomes extra-selective about what they’ll eat, it’s time to pay attention and perhaps talk to your vet. You and your vet know your cat best, so it’s always worth checking in if you think your cat isn’t eating enough and want their professional advice.
Start by paying close attention to what your cat is eating and how they behave. This information will help you, your household and your vet work together to make sure your cat is living and eating well.
Feeding Tips for the Truly Finicky Cat
Pay Attention to All the Cat Treats
Is your cat begging for table scraps or holding out on eating until you offer treats? Extras like these can be very disruptive to your cat’s appetite and diet. Think about them like snacks or desserts for you — tasty cravings that are easy to fill up on. A small portion may not seem like much, but it can make a big different for a cat-sized digestive system!
Try dialing back how much you treat your cat to tasty extras and see if their interest in the food bowl starts to return. Remember, it’s generally all right for cats to skip a few meals, but if they haven’t eaten for 24-36 hours it’s time to call the vet (even if they’ve continued drinking water).
Review Your Cat’s Food Routine
Humans often crave variety in their meals, but for cats, routine is king. It’s not likely they’d avoid their regular food out of boredom with it, but if you’ve recently changed the kind of food, the number of feedings or the times you feed your cat, they may be avoiding eating as a response.
It's a good idea to change your cat’s diet gradually (unless your vet advises otherwise). Pickiness can often be resolved by helping your cat adjust and get comfortable with their updated diet!
Help Your Cat Relax While Feeding
If your cat starts eating less, you may want to look for factors that could be causing stress. Seemingly unrelated changes to their environment can shift your cat’s stress levels enough to impact their interest in food. Has another animal or person joined or left the household? Has your cat been adapting to new surroundings due to a move or renovation? As the stress of that change begins to subside, your cat will probably go back to a normal diet.
Talk to your vet about good ideas for reducing your cat’s stress levels and share any concerns you have about their diet then too. You’re both on the same team, so work together to help your cat feel better!
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