The Best Senior Cat Foods of 2023

What to Look for in Food for Senior Cats

When buying senior cat food, considering the following criteria can help you make the right choice:

AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement for Adult Maintenance or All Life Stages: THE AAFCO is a nonprofit organization that recommends nutritional profiles based on an animal’s life stage. They have not established specific recommendations for senior cat diets, so these foods must meet the minimum AAFCO nutritional recommendations set for foods for adults or all life stages. This means that the nutritional profile of senior foods can vary from recipe to recipe. But if you choose a senior cat food formulated for adult maintenance or all life stages, the recipe will meet the dietary needs of an adult cat.

Guaranteed nutritional analyzes and profiles: Guaranteed analysis shows the percentages of proteins, fats and essential nutrients in a food. According to AAFCO Standards, foods at all stages of life must meet the minimum nutritional needs of kittens, which is a minimum of 30% protein and 9% fat. Maintenance food for adult cats must contain at least 26% protein and 9% fat. Cat food should also contain essential nutrients, including amino acids like taurine found in animal proteins, fatty acids from cold-water fish, minerals and vitamins. Our experts say it’s essential to discuss your cat’s recommended nutritional profile with your veterinarian before switching to a new food.

List of ingredients : The list of ingredients on a pet food label appears in order of weight. Your cat can get the nutrients it needs from various ingredients in many different combinations, says Dierenfeld. However, cats are obligate carnivores, so they need animal-based proteins for their essential amino acids. Protein in the form of whole meat, meat meal or by-products should always be listed first on the ingredient list.

Expert formulations: Our picks for the best senior cat foods all meet the quality control standards recommended by WSAVA. This means that brands employ a full-time certified veterinary nutritionist or doctoral-level animal nutritionist. These standards help ensure that your cat’s food is formulated to meet nutritional recommendations using the right ingredients for cats.

Manufacturing standards: When choosing a brand of cat food, consider the quality control measures and facilities used. Brands that own their manufacturing plants have greater control over the ingredients in their recipes and, therefore, the food your cat consumes. Pet food brands must also be transparent about how they implement quality control measures. It’s usually not enough to just say they perform quality control. Pet food companies must make this information available on their website or provide it upon request.

Calorie content: The calorie content of cat food is indicated in kilocalories (kcal). Instead of basing caloric needs solely on age, our experts recommend discussing your cat’s lifestyle and eating habits with your veterinarian. Before recommending a senior diet to pet parents, Luisana assesses a cat’s ideal weight, BCSAnd muscle mass status score. The BCS rates your cat’s body fat on a scale of 1 to 9 while the Muscle Mass Conditioning Score rates your cat’s muscle loss on a scale of normal to severe. This can help you understand if they need to lose or gain weight and build muscle. You can ask your veterinarian to teach you how to use this visual tool so you can check your cat’s BCS and muscle condition score at home.


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