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Senior Cat Nutrition catipedia-icon3.png

Aging is a natural part of life for cats, just like it is for humans. In fact, we have some of the same visible signs of aging, like white hair and lower energy… although senior cats definitely pull them off with more dignity. The less-visible signs in senior cats are important too, including their changing nutritional needs and digestive health.

But before we delve into senior cat nutrition, here are a couple of important points to keep in mind:

  • No two cats are the same, which applies to senior cats too. For example, a cat’s years do not always match her body condition: One may be 9 years old with lots of health issues, while another may be 19 and fit as a fiddle. If you’re the proud owner of a senior cat, remember to treat her as an individual.
  • For the purposes of this article, “senior cat” covers two age groups. We’ll call cats between the ages of 7 and 12 “mature cats,” and cats 12 and older “geriatric cats.” As you’ll see, there are some important differences, especially from a nutrition standpoint.


At 7 years old, cats are more likely to gain weight, and some may start to struggle with chronic issues like arthritis or diabetes. Once your cat hits this age bracket, keep the following pointers in mind:

  • A mature cat’s body is more likely to gain weight in fat. If this is the case for your cat, try feeding slightly less each day, or consider transitioning to a reduced calorie formula. She may not appreciate the change at first, but you’ll be doing what’s best for her. Just be sure to make the transition gradual, over several days.
  • Think of ways to make your middle-aged cat’s meals more interactive. Invest in a food puzzle or other device that makes her play to eat. Or try hiding small batches of food in places that will require some activity.
  • Make sure your cat sees her veterinarian every year. Your veterinarian can assess your mature cat’s overall health and body condition and provide specific nutrition advice. If your mature cat is losing weight, set up an appointment as soon as possible, since this may indicate a health condition.


Unlike humans and even dogs, cats 12 years and older tend to need a diet with increased levels of protein and calories to keep them from becoming underweight. If you’re considering what to feed your geriatric cat, consider the following nutrition tips:

  • Cats 12 years and older typically need energy-dense, highly digestible food with high protein calorie content. Translation: Geriatric cats need food that gives them the most nutrition possible per bite – specifically, high levels of highly digestible protein.
  • Think of ways to be consistent and accommodating. Geriatric cats love routine in a low-stress environment. If your cat has arthritis, consider investing in raised bowls. Remember to transition to a new food over several days. Go the extra mile to keep her calm and comfortable.
  • Continue visits to the veterinarian at least once each year.He or she can assess your cat’s lean body mass and dental health, as well as recommend diet changes to address vitamin deficiencies and health conditions.


Cats are a joy at any age. It’s a privilege to care for them during their senior years as their needs change. Whatever senior cat nutrition you choose, make sure it meets your cat’s individual needs, including activity level, body condition and overall health. And, of course, taste. We all know who ultimately decides whether a cat eats her food!

Do you feed your senior cat dry cat food? Purina® Cat Chow® proudly offers a variety of products for all life stages, each with 100% complete & balanced nutrition.



  • Case L. The Cat: Its Behavior, Nutrition & Health. 2003: 177.
  • Laflamme D & Gunn-Moore D. Nutrition of Aging Cats. Vet Clin Small Anim. 2014.44 (2014):761–74.
  • Sparkes A. Feeding Old Cats – An Update on New Nutritional Therapies. Top Companion Anim Med. 2011 Feb. 26(1):37–42.



Below you'll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our company, our products and caring for your cats. If you have a question that isn't addressed here, please feel free to contact us.

Q: How can I email or talk with the Purina Pet Care team?

A: If you would like to talk with us, please contact us here or call us at 1­-888­-228­-2469.

Our Hours of Operation:

  • Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST
Q: How are Purina Cat Chow products different from other healthy pet foods?

A: Inside every bag of Purina Cat Chow you'll find a selective blend of protein, fat, and fiber. Everything we use in our premium cat food formulas has a place in your cat's healthy diet.

Q: How can I be sure of the quality of the Purina Cat Chow products?

A: Our top priority is the quality of the food that nourishes not only your pets, but the pets we share our lives with, too. So from source to bowl, the quality of our food is assured by taking the following steps:

Ingredient Sourcing

  • Purina ingredient sourcing and processing meet or exceed FDA, USDA or AAFCO standards for pet food. And every supplier of ingredients for Purina products must meet our stringent standards for ingredient specifications, product safety, sanitation and manufacturing practices.
  • Ingredient Testing
  • All of Purina's North American manufacturing facilities have on-site quality assurance laboratories and staff. And we're working to expand the use of technology to further screen ingredients for quality assurance.
  • Ingredient Tracking & Control
  • 99% of all Purina pet food products sold in the U.S. are made in Purina-owned U.S. manufacturing facilities and Purina's sophisticated tracking system ensures important measures of control: All raw ingredients are tracked from time of receipt at our plants, through their inclusion in finished products, and on to retail stores.
Q: Where is your food manufactured?

A: 99% of all Purina-branded pet food products sold in the U.S. are made in Purina-owned U.S. manufacturing facilities. Purina's sophisticated tracking system ensures important measures of control: All raw ingredients are tracked from time of receipt at our plants, through their inclusion in finished products, and on to retailers.

Q: I am unable to find a particular product in my area. Can you help me locate it?

A: Yes, we can help. Although distribution of our Purina Cat Chow products is national, not all stores carry all sizes and varieties. Contact our Customer Service department via our Contact Us page or call us at 1­-888­-228­-2469.

Q: Do you offer coupons?

A: We offer coupons in local papers, through direct mailing programs and via emails to registered members. We don't have a regular section on our website itself. We suggest you watch for sales or promotions at your local retailer.

Q: Where can I find articles and information about my cat?

A: We believe there's always more to learn and to share and that discovery should be fun. It's one more way we're helping you and your cat share a better life together. Visit Catipedia for articles and information and... a little bit of fun.

Q: Where can I find articles and information about my cat?

A: We strongly recommend talking to your veterinarian for immediate answers to urgent situations. While is an excellent resource of information provided by cat care experts, your veterinarian can provide the best care for your individual cat.