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Feeding Older or Special Needs Cats

“You are what you eat”, as the old saying goes. Well, the same is true for your cat. Many people believe that the same cat food is suitable for every cat, at all stages of life. However, the fact of the matter is, a pet’s diet should be adjusted from time to time, especially as a cat get older. As cats age, they become vulnerable to a host of health problems, such as diabetes, obesity and arthritis. A solid diet is one way to aid in preventing these problems and to treat them once they have begun. In addition to eating, it is also important to ensure your older cat is drinking enough water. Many problems, such as obesity, can be improved by the right amount of fluids.

Your older cat may suffer from either a loss of appetite or a dramatic increase of appetite. A dramatic loss of appetite can be an indicator of any number of health problems. If you notice a significant decrease in your cats’ appetite, you should take your cat to a veterinarian right away to determine what is happening. If your cat is eating large amounts of food, but is not gaining or is losing weight, that is a sign that your cat might have hyperthyroidism, which affects the metabolism. This can be treated with medication, and in some cases, surgery. Watch your cat’s food bowl for changes in eating patterns.

 

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As your cat gets older, he or she becomes less active and may put on weight. Many people think fat cats are cute, but obesity can exacerbate a number of common problems in older cats, such as arthritis, and can cause diabetes and other issues. As your cat gets older, you should practice portion control, and not allow them the opportunity to graze all day. This will lessen the chances of weight gain for your older cat. In addition, look for a pet food that is high in protein and low in calories. Encourage your cat to exercise by buying balls and toys that will amuse your pet. If you find your cat is not eager to move around, take a trip to your vet and make sure your pet is not suffering from feline arthritis.

You can find a number of cat foods in a pet store specifically geared toward the older cat or a cat suffering from feline obesity. You may even be able to find specific kinds of foods that are meant for cats with special problems. For instance, felines that have kidney problems should have a diet that is low in phosphorus. Make sure your cat drinks plenty of water. If your cat is uninterested in the water, consider adding tuna water to it so your cat enjoys the flavor.

As people age, their diet needs to be altered to fit their needs. The same is especially true for your feline companion. A high protein diet is good for a cat at any stage of life, but make sure he or she also has fiber to help with the bowels. Avoid giving your older cat human food that may contain salts, sugars and artificial ingredients that are hard for him or her to digest.

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