Feeding Older Cats
Cats begin to show visible age-related changes at about seven to twelve years of age. There are metabolic, immunologic and body composition changes, too. Some of these are unavoidable. Others can be managed with diet.
- Start your cat on a senior diet at about seven years of age.
- The main objectives in the feeding an older cat should be to maintain health and optimum body weight, slow or prevent the development of chronic disease, and minimize or improve clinical signs of diseases that may already be present.
- As a cat ages, health issues may arise, including:
– deterioration of skin and coat
– loss of muscle mass
– more frequent intestinal problems
– dental problems
– decreased ability to fight off infection
- Routine care for geriatric pets should involve a consistent daily routine and periodic veterinary examinations to assess the presence or progress of chronic disease. Stressful situations and abrupt changes in daily routines should be avoided. If a drastic change must be made to an older pet’s routine, try to minimize stress and to realize the change in a gradual manner.
During weaning, kittens gradually progress from dependence on a mother’s care to social independence. The process typically takes between four and six weeks, with most kittens completely weaned by the time they’re eight to ten weeks old.
Obesity is an extremely common problem in pets and, as with humans, can be detrimental to the health of a cat. The overweight pet has many added stresses upon his body and is at an increased risk of diabetes, liver problems and joint pain.
If you’re responsible for taking care of kittens in the first few months of their lives, you need to be prepared to move them from a diet of milk to regular kitten food. Here are some easy tips.
Barring any special needs, illness-related deficiencies or instructions from your vet, your pets should be able to get all the nutrients they need from high-quality commercial pet foods, which are formulated with these special standards in mind.
Adult cats should eat enough of a high-quality, nutritious food to meet their energy needs and to maintain and repair body tissues. The amount you feed your adult cat should be based on his or her size and energy output.
If you would like to learn about what your pet’s body needs, and why, here are the six essential classes of nutrients fundamental for healthy living.