Protein for the elderly cat, highly digestible products. Let’s see what and how many proteins the cat needs.
As an animal ages, in this case the cat, basic changes occur in the animal’s body, i.e. changes in body conditions, body composition, reduced organ function, immune status and ultimately in energy needs.
In all of this, nutrition can play an important role in preventing its progression or in delaying such changes. But what role does protein play for the older cat in all this? Let’s find out together in the next paragraphs.
Nutritional needs of the elderly cat
Let’s start by saying that the nutritional needs of an elderly cat can never be the same as a kitten and starting from 12 years of life we can consider the cat to be precisely old. This is why his nutritional needs will also be subject to change. At this stage of life, your digestive system finds it more challenging to digest and absorb nutrients from foods, especially fats and proteins.
He may have difficulty eating or chewing the food he previously consumed, so softer textured, mousse-like foods may be easier to eat. Furthermore, his olfactory and gustatory abilities become somewhat reduced and he needs to receive palatable meals that can attract and stimulate him to feed.
In this delicate part of life, the elderly cat needs nutritious and at the same time delicate food for its digestive system. A very important role is played by proteins that help the elderly cat to aid digestion.
Protein for the elderly cat
Protein for the elderly cat is essential, as this animal is a carnivore and unlike what happens in humans, who can also obtain the necessary energy from carbohydrates, cats use proteins to create energy. The amino acids present in proteins give it energy and are responsible for the proper functioning of the muscles.
The cat’s body is not predisposed to suffer from a lack of proteins and if this happens, the animal will send very understandable signals, such as: moans, lack of energy and an excess of salivation of the cat. Therefore, an inadequate intake of protein will make the older cat more susceptible to any health problems.
The main food sources rich in proteins with which to satisfy the needs of the elderly cat are meat and fish. The minimum percentage of protein a cat needs should be around 26% in adult cats, while for older cats the level is slightly higher and is 30% on a dry basis.
In addition, the increase in protein increases the palatability of the food, which is very important as older cats tend to lose muscle mass and weight with age. Proteins fall into two categories: complete proteins and incomplete proteins. The complete ones are the animal ones, the incomplete ones are the vegetable ones, considered as such due to the lack of some amino acids in them.
The amino acids that are usually lacking in plant proteins are arginine, methionine, tryptophanol and taurine for cats. This deficiency makes vegetable proteins into low-quality proteins. Different speech for animal proteins that contain all amino acids, for example meat.
Best source of protein for the senior cat
Meat is considered a complete food source, and when combined with small amounts of starch and plant-based protein, it becomes the healthiest diet for a cat, particularly if it is older. Meat is able to provide more amino acids, vitamins and minerals that the animal needs.
But be careful not all meat is suitable for the cat, as the animal must be able to digest proteins or vitamins and minerals, otherwise the amino acids will be lost. That‘s why experts recommend buying high-quality products, with digestible proteins and that respect certain rules, such as:
- a limited number of varieties of meats (mixing too much could be difficult for the elderly cat to digest);
- the protein content of the meal;
- evaluation of the ingredients that respect the health of the cat;
- the age and state of health of the cat (different protein needs that vary with the years).
Other high-quality sources of protein are: parts of meat from muscles or organs. When it comes to products for sale it is essential to look for cat food that contains meat or organs from a single source and that still contains chicken, turkey, rabbit, pork heart, lamb, pork liver and so on, at the top of the list. of the ingredients. Also, experts point out that wet foods contain more protein than dry foods.