HOW TO FEED A SENIOR CAT ?
In general, cats live over 14 years. Then, when they reach the age of 10 years-old, they are in the last third of their life. (In France, 2,6 millions cats are over 8 years old, = one third of the feline population.) In order that this period goes as well as possible, it is necessary to feed them in a way that respects the physiological changes due to their age.
Keep the optimal body weight
An older cat often has some difficulties to maintain its bodyweight ; this can be due to:
- a poor appetite because of dental pains, a lower sense of smell, of taste,
- dicreased digestive performance: an older cat does not assimilate its food as well as a young one.
In order to be palatable enough, the food must be made with ingredients and aromas specifically appealing for the cat ; the kibbles must not be too hard, to avoid pains during mastication.
To keep the optimal body weight, a highly energetic product, very digestible, is necessary. Increasing the level of essential fatty acids (borage oils, fish oils), allows to get a supple and shiny hair, whereas the hair of older animals often gets dull.
Stimulate the defences of the body
When the organism gets old, there is an increasing production of free radicals, responsible for an accelerated degeneration of the cells. The animal's natural defences become unsufficient to react against these oxidation phenomena. They have to be reinforced through the nutrition: increasing intake of vitamin E, and addition of vitamin C help the organism to fight better against free radicals.
The cat consumes a lot of proteins. Dicreasing drastically its protein intake when it gets old is harmful for its health, and risks to weaken the immunitary defences. Contrary to a false idea, proteic restriction has no interest at all in the prevention of the kidney ageing process. An older cat requires that all the undispensable amino-acids are brought in larger quantities, through high quality protein sources: poultry meats, egg, fish.
Prevent from urinary troubles
If proteic restriction in contra-indicated as long as a renal deficiency is not clinically obvious, an early phosphorus restriction can be advised to try to slow down the evolution of a renal disease. Parallelly, the urine of older cats whose renal function is disturbed, must not be longer acidified. An excessive acidification worsens the metabolic troubles.
Anyway, giving up the acidification is a necessary dietetic measure to prevent from the formation of oxalate uroliths ; these uroliths appear preferably in older cats, whereas struvite uroliths are less likely. Contrary to struvite crystalss, oxalate ones develop in acid urina. For an older cat, the ideal pH or the urina sets between 6,5 and 7, that means higher than for a younger cat.
Make the intestinal transit easy
A lower physical activity goes with a slower intestinal transit. Increasing slightly the fiber food content is a way to prevent from an eventual risk of constipation.
From 10 years old (or less if the cat shows obvious signs of ageing), the food must evoluate.
When a senior cat is overweight, Senior 28 will be distributed in smaller quantities than the ones advised for lean or normal cats.
- Undispensable nutrients must be provided under an even more assimilable way: Senior 28 contains egg, borage oil, rice and chelated trace-elements.
- Food must bring vitamins C and E to fight against the cell degeneration due to ageing. Phosphorus content must be dicreased to protect the kidney.
- Food must not induce systematic acidification of the urina: Senior 28 is planned to produce a urinary pH over 6,5.
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