Skip to content

6 Best Senior Cat Foods, According to Veterinarians

Make sure your mature feline is eating right with these pro selections.

The product recommendations in this post are recommendations by the writer and/or expert(s) interviewed and do not contain affiliate links. Meaning: If you use these links to buy something, we will not earn a commission.

Even though it's always important to watch what your pet eats, it becomes a much higher priority when they get older. Felines can especially benefit from having the right food in their bowls to help manage the changes their bodies undergo as they age. Which is why researching the best senior cat foods is important.

"One of the biggest challenges of providing the correct nutrition to a senior cat is determining when a cat has reached that life stage," says Kathryn Dench, DVM, veterinary surgeon and chief scientific advisor to Paw Origins. "Senior cats—generally over the age of 11—also experience reduced activity levels but are more likely to face weight loss and muscle mass reduction. Senior cat diets should therefore be higher in protein and enriched with vitamins and minerals to support overall health, including joint support and kidney function."

Still, perusing the pet food aisle can be confusing when you're trying to make the best choice. Fortunately, there are a few specially formulated senior diets that address the unique nutritional needs of aging cats. Read on for the best senior cat foods, according to veterinarians.

RELATED: Is Pet Insurance Worth It? Understand the Pros and Cons.

Experts say switching up your cat's diet is essential in old age.

Closeup portrait of calico maine coon cat lying on owner

It can be hard to accept that your beloved pet is getting older and perhaps slowing down as they age. But if you really want to keep your feline healthy, changing up their diet should be something you consider with input from your veterinarian.

"Senior cats have different nutritional requirements compared to their younger counterparts," says Dench. "They often need higher protein content to maintain muscle mass, joint support to manage arthritis, and ingredients that promote kidney health."

Getting your cat to change their habits after years of routine might be difficult, but swapping in improved food can yield significant results.

"Approximately 60 percent of the senior cats I've seen in clinics benefit significantly from switching to these specialized senior diets," Dench tells Best Life. "Owners report improved energy levels, better weight management, and a noticeable improvement in their cats' overall wellbeing."

Hill's Science Diet Senior Cat Food

A cat eating out of its bowl on the floor

Most pet owners would agree it's best to tailor your cat's diet to help avoid some of the more common health problems that arise with age. That's why Dench says Hill's Science Diet Senior Cat Food is a good option for felines who appear otherwise healthy.

"It includes high levels of taurine and controlled phosphorus levels, which support kidney and heart health," says Dench. "It also provides a balanced blend of nutrients and is fortified with antioxidants to support the immune system."

RELATED: Best Affordable Dog Food That Will Keep Your Pup Happy and Healthy.

Iams ProActive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food

Cat eating from silver bowl

Cats need their essential vitamins and minerals as they age, just like humans do. According to Hannah Hart, DVM, veterinarian at Chewy, this makes Iams ProActive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food a good choice.

"In addition to omega-3 fatty acids and a good balance of protein and fat, this diet contains appropriate levels of calcium and potassium for heart health and prebiotic fiber to support healthy digestion," she says. "And vitamin E in the formulas is an antioxidant for immune health."

Royal Canin Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food

An orange cat eating out of its food bowl

Anyone new to senior diets might want to start with a brand that covers many nutritional concerns. Royal Canin Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food has many of the essentials needed to target certain ailments.

"It's tailored with a precise balance of vitamins and minerals, including glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health," says Dench. "And this brand offers diets that target specific health issues common in senior cats, such as renal support and weight management."

RELATED: 9 Pets That Are Great for Small Spaces.

Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus 7+ Classic Chicken Grain-Free Entree Canned Cat Food

A cat licking its lips in front of its food bowl

It's not just about which formulated diet you're feeding your cat: Simply choosing between wet or dry foods can be an important decision.

"Wet food can be a great option for older cats because of its higher moisture content than dry food to support kidney function, as well as being easier on the teeth for older cats with dental issues," Hart explains. "Wet food is also easy to warm up to make it more enticing for older cats with appetite issues, and it is easy to mix things into wet food, like Fortiflora probiotic powder, to make it more appetizing while improving digestive function."

She recommends Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus 7+ Classic Chicken Grain-Free Entree Canned Cat Food as a place to start for your senior pet. Not only is the food appropriate for felines who are just on the cusp of their senior years, it's also loaded with some essentials.

"This wet food features fiber from chicory root for digestive health, taurine for healthy vision and heart function, and beta-carotene as an antioxidant," she says. "It also contains 78 percent moisture to increase water intake and promote healthy kidney function."

Blue Buffalo Senior Cat Food

A woman feeding a senior cat
Hassel Stock/Shutterstock

Caring for a cat with dietary restrictions? Dench explains that Blue Buffalo Senior Cat Food can be a good fit for both indoor and outdoor cats, even providing grain-free options for sensitive stomachs.

"This option is rich in antioxidants and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are crucial for maintaining a healthy coat and skin, as well as cognitive function," Dench says. "This includes high-quality proteins and essential nutrients without artificial additives, which is beneficial for maintaining overall health in senior cats."

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Aging Spayed/Neutered 12+ Dry Cat Food

A cat eating from its bowl on a windowsill
Marina Demidiuk/iStock

Past a certain age, cats enter a different phase where they require even more dietary attention. Hart says Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Aging Spayed/Neutered 12+ Dry Cat Food is a good option in this case.

"This food is specifically designed for cats 12 years and older (more geriatric rather than broadly senior) and contains ingredients like L-carnitine for heart and muscle function as well as fat metabolism and lycopene as an antioxidant to boost immune function and protect against free radical damage to cells," she tells Best Life.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
Filed Under