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4 Reasons Life Stage Diets Help Improve Cat Health

Benefits of Age-appopriate Cat Food


By Lorie Huston, DVM


Balanced and complete nutrition is important for any animal. However, the nutritional needs will vary depending on the cat's life stage. For instance, the nutritional needs of a kitten are much different than the needs of an adult cat that leads a sedentary life. Conversely, as our cats age, their nutritional needs may change again.


Here are four reasons to make sure that your pet's food is designed specifically for their life stage.


  1. Kittens that are growing require pet foods with a higher protein level and a higher calorie count than most cats to meet their growth requirements. If these nutritional demands are not met, your pet’s growth may be stunted and/or your pet may become ill.
  2. Obesity is the most common nutritional disease seen in cats today. One reason for this is improper life stage feeding. For example, a cat — especially one that leads a sedentary lifestyle — may become overweight or even obese if fed pet food meant for kittens. Of course cats eating a food designed for adult maintenance can also become overweight if overfed, but the higher calorie levels in kitten foods will certainly contribute to the problem.
  3. Female cats that are pregnant or nursing have higher nutritional demands than those that are not active reproductively. During the pregnancy and while nursing, the mother cat is literally eating for more than one. If her nutritional demands are not met, her kittens may suffer from a lack of milk as a result. In other words, the mother cat may be unable to produce an adequate amount of milk to feed all of her kittens. In addition, nutritional deficits may also lead to disease for the mother as well. For example, a calcium deficiency can lead to a serious disease called eclampsia, which involves tremors, seizures and even death for the mother.
  4. Senior cats often have special nutritional requirements as well. Cats with mobility issues may benefit from a pet food that contains glucosamine and/or fatty acids such as DHA and EPA. Older cats may also suffer from illnesses such as chronic kidney disease or heart disease. In some cases, feeding the appropriate cat food can actually be an effective method to manage these diseases.



Comments  2

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  • Balanced Cat Food
    12/16/2014 06:36pm

    I agree Lorie! We have 2 cats -- one almost 10 and the other almost 5 years old...we noticed that our older cat has trouble eating solid foods, so we decided to reduce the solid food amount and add extra moist food to her diet. We believe that our cat's health start with a healthy diet, so we give them age appropriate cat food. Thanks again for sharing! Cheers

  • Urinary Tract Health
    01/05/2015 11:52pm

    My cat is 17 years old. Many years ago, our vet told us to make sure and feed him kibble that's meant to promote urinary tract health. Apparently, male cats are particularly prone to kidney and bladder stones; this is supposed to be a preventive measure. For many years he's been eating that, but he now finds it easier to eat the Senior Pet food we often mix into it. (In fact, he specifically takes pawfuls out of the bowl and eats only the senior pet food!) Is it OK for him to just eat the senior pet food, or does he have to have special urinary-tract health food? (He has never had problems with kidney stones or anything of that nature.)

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