Written by John Seeberg

Updated: January 18, 2024

Best Senior Cat Foods

Updated: January 18, 2024

Senior cats require different types of food due to how they metabolize. As they age, burning calories becomes harder.

Senior cat food gives your cat a focused increase of high quality protein to help adjust levels of fat, making it easier to digest carbohydrates for energy. It also offers vital minerals to help support aging joints and their immune system. 

Many of the outstanding senior recipes listed below were chosen by our research team because they contain:

  • Above-average protein
  • Below-average calories
  • No high-risk preservatives

You will also find a number of fresh or wet recipes as they are soft and easy to chew — which makes each a better option for senior cats with missing teeth or other dental issues. Here we share our list of best senior cat foods.

  • Smalls Fresh Cat Food

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    Highly Recommended

    Smalls Ground Bird recipe received the Cat Food Advisor’s highest rating: 5 stars.

    It is one of seven recipes in this product range made by Smalls. Smalls was founded in 2017 by friends Matt Michaelson and Calvin Bohn. It is produced with a co-manufacturer in a human-grade commercial facility near Chicago.

    Smalls Ground Bird recipe derives the bulk of its protein from chicken.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 55.4% protein, 30.4% fat and 6.3% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 55%.

    This food provides cats with an excellent source of quality protein and essential fatty acids, made with natural, wholesome ingredients, free from grains, carrageenan, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Smalls Fresh cat food range.

    Read our review of the full Smalls Fresh Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken liver, green beans, peas, water.
    Texture Wet
    Type Fresh
    Protein Percentage 55.4
    AAFCO Standards All life stages
    Best For Adult and Kitten

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    Sample buyer review...

    "My 11 year old cat decided that he was no longer going to eat any of the food we had been giving him for years. Switched to Smalls and he now screams at us everytime we walk into the room because he loves his food."

  • Fussie Cat Super Premium Gold

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    Highly Recommended

    Fussie Cat Super Premium Gold – Chicken & Chicken Liver Formula in Pumpkin Soup (grain free) received the Cat Food Advisor’s highest rating: 5 stars.

    It is one of seven recipes in this product range made by Fussie Cat and manufactured by Pets Global, Inc, an independently owned, holistic pet wellness company, based in Valencia, CA.

    Pets Global, Inc. is also the name behind brands like Zignature and Essence.

    Fussie Cat Super Premium Gold – Chicken & Chicken Liver Formula in Pumpkin Soup (grain free) derives the bulk of its protein from Chicken.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 68.8% protein, 18.8% fat and 4.5% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 27%.

    This food provides cats with an excellent source of quality protein and essential fatty acids, made with natural, wholesome ingredients, free from grains, carrageenan, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Fussie Cat Super Premium Gold wet cat food range.

    Read our review of the full Fussie Cat Fine Dining Pate (Wet) range here
    Main Ingredients Water sufficient for processing, chicken, chicken skin, chicken liver, pumpkin.
    Texture Wet
    Type Canned
    Protein Percentage 68.8
    AAFCO Standards All life stages
    Best For Adult Cats and Kittens

    Save up to 35%

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    Sample buyer review...

    "I lucked out because ALL of my cats like this — including the two who are reluctant to eat many/most other wet foods."

  • Nulo Freestyle Senior

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    Highly Recommended

    Nulo Freestyle Senior Alaska Pollock, Duck and Sweet Potato  (grain free recipe) received the Cat Food Advisor’s highest rating: 5 stars.

    It is one of six recipes in this product range made by Nulo. Nulo was founded in 2009 by Michael Landa and Brett Montana, after they saw high rates of diabetes and other medical issues in dogs and cats while running their pet-sitting business. 

    All ingredients are sourced and all recipes are made in the USA.

    Nulo Freestyle Senior Alaska Pollock, Duck, and Sweet Potato Recipe derives the bulk of its protein from pollock.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a dry recipe containing 42.2% protein, 15.6% fat and 34.2% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 37%.

    This food provides cats with an excellent source of quality protein and essential fatty acids, made with natural, wholesome ingredients, free from grains, carrageenan, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Nulo Freestyle dry cat food range.

    Read our review of the full Nulo Freestyle Dry Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Pollock, chicken meal, turkey meal, yellow peas, green lentils
    Texture Dry
    Type Kibble
    Protein Percentage 42.2
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Adult Cats

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    Sample buyer review...

    "Good food with great ingredients. Yes, it’s more expensive but worth it in the long run. My 18 year old is going strong and loves her kibble. It’s super small round pellets that are easy for her to eat at this age. Her skin and coat are great. The product is always fresh because of the great packaging. Highly recommend this food."

  • Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Senior Vitality Chicken Recipe

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    Recommended

    Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Senior Vitality Chicken & Rice Recipe received the Cat Food Advisor’s second highest rating: 4 stars.

    It is one of 27 recipes in this product range made by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, an international pet food brand, known for selling scientifically developed foods.

    Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Senior Vitality Chicken & Rice Recipe derives the bulk of its protein from chicken.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 35.4% protein, 16.5% fat and 41.2% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 47%.

    This food provides cats with an excellent source of quality protein and has added vitamins and minerals.  This recipe does not contain harmful additives.

    Recommended.

    Read our review of the full Hill’s Science Diet dry cat food range.

    Read our review of the full Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Chicken, brown rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain oats, pea protein.
    Texture Dry
    Type Kibble
    Protein Percentage 35.4
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Adult Cats

    Save up to 35%

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    Sample buyer review...

    "My 13-year old cat is very picky with his food, we have been through a lot of different hard foods for him and we settled on this one because he really likes it."

  • Natural Balance Original Ultra Salmon

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    Recommended

    Natural Balance Original Ultra Salmon Formula received the Cat Food Advisor’s second highest rating: 4.5 stars.

    It is one of eight recipes in this product range made by Natural Balance Pet Foods since 2015 it has been part of the J.M Smucker Company.

    Natural Balance Original Ultra Salmon Formula derives the bulk of its protein from Salmon.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 40.9% protein, 22.7% fat and 28.4% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 56%.

    This food provides cats with an excellent source of quality protein and essential fatty acids, made with natural, wholesome ingredients, free from artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Natural Balance Original Ultra wet cat food range.

    Read our review of the full Natural Balance Original Ultra Wet Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Salmon, chicken, chicken liver, fish broth, whitefish.
    Texture Wet
    Type Pate
    Protein Percentage 40.9
    AAFCO Standards All life stages
    Best For All cats

    Save up to 35%

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    Sample buyer review...

    "My 8 year old cat loves this food. I’ve been getting it for him for a year now. I have had friends and family bring over their cat and their cat ate up my cat's food too. Now they buy it for their cats! "

  • Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Chicken Entree for Mature Cats recipe

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    Recommended

    Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Chicken Entree for Mature Cats recipe  received the Cat Food Advisor’s second highest rating: 4 stars.

    It is one of 25 recipes in this product range made by Blue Buffalo. Blue Buffalo’s headquarters is in Wilton, Connecticut. It has two facilities, one in Missouri and a manufacturing plant in Indiana. 

    The company started from humble origins but is now owned by General Mills.

    Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Chicken Entree for Mature Cats recipe derives the bulk of its protein from chicken.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 38.6% protein, 20.5% fat and 32.9% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 53%.

    This food provides cats with an excellent source of quality protein and essential fatty acids, made with natural, wholesome ingredients, free from corn, wheat, or soy, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Blue Buffalo Tastefuls wet cat food range.

    Read our review of the full Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Wet Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, natural flavor, brown rice.
    Texture Wet
    Type Pate
    Protein Percentage 38.6
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Adult Cats

    Save up to 35%

    with Autoship
    See discount in cart

    Sample buyer review...

    "Both kitties love this cat food pate and the 3 oz cans are the perfect size (1 for each cat) for dinner."

  • Wellness Complete Health 7+ Age Advantage Tuna and Salmon Entree

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    Recommended

    Wellness Complete Health 7+ Age Advantage Tuna and Salmon Entree received the Cat Food Advisor’s  second highest rating: 4 stars.

    It is one of 11 recipes in this product range made by Wellness Pet Company, based just outside Boston, in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

    Wellness Complete Health 7+ Age Advantage Tuna and Salmon Entree derives the bulk of its protein from Tuna.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 47.7% protein, 20.5% fat and 23.8% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 43%.

    This food provides cats with an excellent source of quality protein and a balance of protein & fat plus natural glucosamine and chondroitin from chicken.

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Wellness Complete Health wet cat food range.

    Read our review of the full Wellness Complete Health Sliced Wet Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Tuna (source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate), salmon broth, chicken liver, chicken, salmon.
    Texture Wet
    Type Pate
    Protein Percentage 47.7
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Adult Cats

    Save up to 35%

    with Autoship
    See discount in cart

    Sample buyer review...

    "My cats are picky eaters and while this brand is a bit pricey, they eat it up and never leave any behind. I’ve been a user of wellness for 3 years and they almost never mess up."

What makes senior cat food different?

Senior cat foods are often supplemented with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These have been shown to be beneficial to reducing symptoms of age-related changes. Vitamin E and C as well as Selenium are frequently seen added to senior cat food.

What is the suggested feeding guideline for a senior cat?

Most senior cats will have about the same caloric needs as an adult cat—roughly 280 to 360 daily calories depending on the normal lean weight—as long as they are healthy.

Should older cats eat dry or wet food?

Older cats may have a harder time eating dry food than wet, especially if gum or dental issues have set in. Canned cat food’s soft consistency may be easier for older kitties to eat than the crunchy kibble they ate at a younger age.

How many times a day do senior cats eat?

Senior cats, age seven and above, should maintain the same feeding regimen. “Once cats reach adulthood, once a day feeding is fine as long as they are healthy and have no disease problems suggesting a reason to feed differently.

Sources

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Article reviewed by
Julia Ogden

Content Director

Julia Ogden, is a former journalist with more than 10 years’ experience in content marketing; specializing in writing for people as well as a Google algorithm.

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