By Desiree Carlos
As cats grow older, they need more nutrients which a furparent can give through supplements.
“Due to better diets and improved veterinary care, cats are living longer. The aging process creates imbalances that may require additional support. Supplements can help bridge the gap to complement your senior cat's daily needs,” Pet Basics said in “Senior Cat Care: Nutrition and Supplements.
Cats’ unique needs
Cats require more protein than dogs, Pet Basics said. They also like frequent small meals throughout the day. Early on in life, cats tend to develop preferences for the size, shape and taste of their food, Pet Basics said.
Senior cats’ food and nutritional needs
As they grow older, a cat often “needs more calories, experiences changes in their digestive system, and can suffer from joint problems and other negative effects of aging. Assessing your cat’s nutritional needs as they age can help them stay healthy for years to come,” Pet Basics said.
Until about 10 to 12 years of age, a cat needs fewer calories and has a tendency to be overweight or even obese.
When they reach 10 to 12 years old, a cat’s caloric requirement might increase. An older cat may lose weight at this time. They will also lose muscle mass, a condition called sarcopenia.
“Aging cats may also have reduced digestive function, as well as decreased absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. The normal bacterial flora that keep the feline gut healthy may also change as cats age,” Pet Basics said.
Supplements for Senior Cats
Signs of aging in cats include changes in mobility, self-maintenance or grooming, activity level, and social and exploratory behavior. These are signs of declining joint health, stiffness or discomfort in a cat, Pet Basics said.
“Many of these changes are rarely observed during veterinary examinations, but they can be important clues to determine if an older cat is stiff or uncomfortable and could benefit from supplements that help maintain healthy joint mobility,” Pet Basics said.
Ask your veterinarian about supplements for cats that may help your pet maintain good health as they grow older. Pet Basics listed the following important supplements:
Antioxidants to support normal body system functions in aging cats and eliminate damaging free radicals, thus reducing negative effects in the body.
Glucosamine, green-lipped mussel and chondroitin sulfate will help support the structure and function of joints in cats as they age.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements will help relieve occasional joint stiffness, among other potential health benefits.
Probiotics and prebiotics will help maintain a healthy microbial balance and support proper digestion and bowel health in senior cats.
Other ways to make a senior cat comfortable
Aside from assessing your senior cat’s diet and talking with the vet about supplements, Pet Basics gave the following tips to keep a senior cat happy and comfortable:
“Make all resources easy for an older cat to reach. If an aging cat has to walk or climb for food or water, they may choose to do without.
Offer multiple padded beds or resting places with easy access or ramps.
Provide your senior cat with a large litterbox that has low sides and sand-type litter.
Create safe hiding places for your cat, in case they are stressed or just need to relax.
Ask your vet about ways to keep your cat stimulated and entertained through environmental enrichment.”
Best cat vitamins for overall health
Lysine, glucosamine and probiotics are very good for senior cats, said theangle.digital/petsupplies.
These substance “help support your cat’s immune system, digestion, and joint health. Whether you have an older cat with arthritis or a young cat with bowel issues, these supplements can get your cat back on track to their happy and healthy selves, it added in “The best cat vitamins for your pet’s overall health.”
“As carnivores, cats get their nutrition from meat. This diet leads them to have specialized nutritional needs that sometimes are not met with a regular diet. A cat’s immune and renal systems need support, as they are prone to diabetes and kidney failure. Supplements are helpful for your cat or kitten’s overall health,” it stressed.
This article also appears in the Manila Standard
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