Feeding of the old cat
Nowadays cat live longer than those who lived 30-40 years ago. At that time only some of them lived for 20 or more years, but now it is a usual case. There are some factors which help cats to live so long nowadays. First of all, it is a victory against most of cat's illnesses, especially on "cat's depression". But the main fact is the increasing of cat's food quality.
Comparing with the unbalanced food which cats got before consisting of the kitchen wastes mostly, now they eat the food made specially for cats. The needs of cats of different ages and their menu were deeply explored during the last years. As a result, such problems as the lack of calcium in animal's organism has gone.
Food needs of the old cats become a subject of special exploration. The old cats have their own diet as well as the old people. In spite of the lack of publications on this topic we can extrapolate the information about other animals' feeding and our own experience too, for finding out the needs of cats of "pension age".
Let's discuss some principles we must follow if we want to make our old cat happy. The first principle: keep your cat from over eating. Animals who over eat suffer of hypertonic. They're often sick, that, of course, decreases their life. The most usual of such illnesses are diabetic, arthritis, heart diseases, liver diseases, throat and lungs diseases and cancer. And this is only a less part of diseases. To overfeed cats at this age is equal to murdering, murdering by kindness.
To avoid over fatting you must weigh your cat because even a little changing of the weight may soon cause the more serious one. You have to control your cat's weight while it is young during its all life periods. Remember that castration or sterilization of cat decreases the portion which is necessary for controlling its weight.
The second principle: diet must be balanced. The lack of such substances as calcium, phosphorus and taurine causes pathology which will be hardly treated or even untreated later.
Avoid overfeeding. Either the lack of necessary substances or their over giving may cause problems with cat's health. For example, too much vitamins A or D cause untreated defects which will decrease the cat's life later. If the food of your cat is well balanced it needn't any artificial additions. If you give such additions together with the substantial food it may cause serious problems in future.
The last principle: from its early childhood feed your cat with 2 or 3 well balanced products and don't change it. Don't let your cat overeat fish and liver because it is not balanced food.
Now, when we know how to feed the young cats let's pay our attention to the special changing of menu of the old cats. But how can we find that the cat begins to become old? It is difficult to mark this period and the clear terms of it. Some animals keep their life potential after 10 years and others can be motionless in earlier age. I can't name the day and the hour when your cat becomes "pensioner" but, as a rule, it is between 12 and 15 years.
Something that shows the old age of your cat is its dullness, refusing from playing, sleepiness and tendencies to increase its weight even when you don't increase its ration. As for finding out about the age of you cat, your own impressions will help you.
At the moment when your cat begins "to enter the age" you have to change something in its menu. First of all, you must decrease the number of food because your cat spends not so much energy as it did before. Young cat spends 40 kilocalories per day on the pound of weight. Losing of energy of the old cat is less: it is about 30-35 kilocalories per day on the pound of weight. So, the healthy 4-kilogram old cat must eat 100 gram of food less than the young one of the same weight.
Most cats prefer food which contains much fat because it makes food tastier but increases the number of calories. To avoid over fatting of old cats the owner must either decrease the number of food or give food with less portion of fat.
If you let your cat eat whatever you like when it was young, now you have to refuse such practice. Not organized feeding is always the way to overeating of the old cat. Decreasing the number of food won't be dangerous for your cat but you can make it understand that it is the best food for it to.
If you think that the cat must eat as much food as it wants you have to use food with less number of calories. It can be done in different ways. The first way is the decreasing the number of fat and increasing the number of fiber. The second way is the decreasing the containing of liquid. The last of them is not useful because the number of energy is not decreasing and cat continues to eat the same number of food as it did before. Cat must fill its stomach with necessary number of food and it is the important point of filling.
Some kinds of food for old cats have this specialty: the less containing of fat and the more containing of fiber. For example, "Description of cat diet", was publishing by Hill's Animal Food Company. Choosing the food for cat look for the packets which have the special notes where it is marked that food is unfated on 95%. Both for human food and for cat one it means 5% of containing of fat. For example, canned food contains 75% of water, 5% of fat. So, these 95% without fat contain 20% of dry filling. Such diet is not useful because 40% of calories consist of fat. Even if it is useful for a young active animal it is not useful for the old one.
What about protein? Many kinds of food for old dogs contain less part of protein. It doesn't mean that the healthy young dog needs less containing of protein. Cat's food consists on 30% of protein on dry basis because they need less protein than dogs. The exploration hasn't shown that the old cats need less protein in the food than the young ones so the owners mustn't decrease the containing of protein in the cat food.
As for mineral substances the skeletons of old animals don't grow and develop like the ones of young animals do. On the other side, phosphorus and calcium are digested worse than those of the young animals are. So, it's better not to change the containing of phosphorus and calcium in the cat food but to remain it at the same level as for the young animals: about 0.6-0.7% on the dry basis. Also the containing of magnesium is the same: 0.1% or less on the dry basis for reducing opportunity of appearing of stones in the urinary bladder. As for the salt, the low level of its containing is always recommended. Cat's food includes 0.4-0.5% of salt in the food on the dry basis. On the other side, while the cat has enough of fresh water the high containing of salt in the food is not dangerous.
The number of minerals and vitamins for the old cat is the same as for the young one. As it was noted when we told about young cats, the old ones must always have enough substantial food rich with vitamins and minerals.
On the base of what has been said before let's conclude that there are no reasons to change the menu of old cat quickly with the only change in number. The reduction of activity causes the increasing of weight.
Some illnesses connected with the age can be controlled with the help of changing the menu. Among them you can find chronic renal insufficiently, heart failure, uremia and cancer.
The illness which is often met among the old dogs is the renal insufficiently. It attracted scientist's attention because it can be treated by special diet. Treating by diet means restriction of protein, phosphorus and salt in the food and increasing of the number of calories. This method prolonged the life of many dog-patients.
The same principles in diet are used among cats which suffer of renal insufficiently. The rest of phosphorus with the following reducing of number of calcium in blood causes the destruction of bones; so, the reducing of phosphorus is the logical step. Reducing of number of salt is also recommended for cats which have high blood pressure. The reducing of protein can't be done for cats as it can be done for dogs because cats have great necessity of protein. The low containing of protein together with increasing of number of calories (animal fillings) will help the cat to take such restriction normally. The special diet food can be found with the help of veterinary.
The attributes of kidney illness are too much water to drink, frequent urine, anorexia (refusing the food), retching and depression. If these attributes appears you have to call the veterinary and do it as quickly as possible. The quick change of diet may prolong your cat's life.
Over crossing of atrioventricular valve, which also famous as cardiomyopathy, is often met among cats because of the lack of taurine. It's a pity but some old cats eat food without taurine that causes the growth of the illness. In the case of heart failure the diet without salt is useful. This special diet can be recommended by your doctor. Among the attributes of cardiomyopathy there are chronic cough, depression and quick tiredness. You have to consult your veterinary immediately if such attributes appear.
Feline urolithiasis is one of the forms of Feline urinary syndrome which can be either among the old cats or among the young ones. The diet containing magnesia which also cause Feline urinary syndrome is often found among the middle age cats and the old ones. The diet containing the necessary number of magnesia which follows with urine and which is necessary for cat during its whole life. If the cat with symptoms pointed before begins to recover the diet must be saved with low containing of protein. Besides the diet must contain the minerals necessary for destroying of urine stone.
Symptoms Feline uremia include painful and seldom urination with blood in urine. The complete pollution of ureters is seriously dangerous for life. If you suspect that your cat has got them you have to call veterinary immediately. After the deleting of pollution veterinary can prescribe the diet which helps to destroy the stones.
Cancer is more often met among the old animals. The new method of treatment with diet either of people or of animals has appeared. Such specialties of food as high fat containing may influence on the health of animal positively. The last explorations help to treat this illness either among animals or people.
The following exploration is necessary to learn the methods of feeding which will prolong life of many cats. I hope that the pieces of advice in this article will help you to feed your cat in the ways which provide the long and happy life.