Feeding cats a diet suited to their breed, age, size, lifestyle and specific sensitivities contributes to protecting their health. Only specially balanced diets are able to guarantee all the nutrients necessary for your cat’s wellbeing.
As an owner, our fondness for cats can sometimes lead to poor nutritional choices on their behalf. Foods many consider treats can actually harm our feline companions. It’s essential to remember some very important facts about cats in order to foster healthy growth and development:
A cat that does not go outdoors expends little energy and can spend about 30% of his/her waking time grooming. The ingested hair is then eliminated after it passes through the intestine, but this grooming activity represents a major risk of hairballs forming in the digestive tract. The natural elimination of these hairballs and excess weight gain can be addressed with a fibre-rich diet that contains moderate calorie content.
A cat that goes out regularly has higher energy requirements based on time spent outdoors, the size of the territory available to him/her, and to the range of climatic variations throughout the year. As with indoor cats, an outdoor cat’s food must account for the amount of energy he/she expends. These needs may change, as many so-called 'outdoor' cats become 'indoor' cats depending on the season.
The percentage of cats over 6 years of age has nearly doubled in just over a decade. As nutrition and medicine continue to advance, our mature cat population will grow.
Many cats begin to show physical signs of aging between 7 and 10 years of age, and most do so by the time they are 12. Aging often means decreased energy, difficulty walking and loss of appetite. Older cats have a greater chance of developing various illnesses, including heart problems (ventricular hypertrophy), respiratory difficulties, susceptibility to infection due to a weakened immune system, kidney disease, tumors and endocrine disorders such as hyperthyroidism or diabetes. Obesity is also a risk factor in a large number of diseases, such as diabetes and skin problems. But older cats may also become underweight and lose lean muscle mass.
Consequently it’s important to adjust your older cat’s diet, starting at age 10. Even if you’re not seeing physical changes in your cat, there may be metabolic changes that can be addressed with mature-based nutrition.
Elderly cats should also be monitored by a veterinarian so that any illness can be treated as soon as possible. One veterinary examination a year is recommended throughout a cat's life, with one every six months strongly advised for cats over 12 years old.
Learn more about our Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition.