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9 Best Senior Cat Foods in 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks

old black and white cat eating

It might have happened in the blink of an eye—you bring home this little ball of fluff and watch them blossom into a big, beautiful cat. Then, before you know it, it’s time to make the final diet transition in their senior years.

Seniors require a different diet to maintain the natural decline of their bodies. So, when you’re shopping for senior food, it can be a little challenging to choose the right one for your old guy or gal. Here, we have reviews of eight of the best cat foods you can find on the market for older cats. Take a look at what we found.

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A Quick Glance At Our Favorites (2022 Update)

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Fresh Cat Food Smalls Fresh Cat Food
  • No fillers, artificial flavors, or dyes
  • The texture is ideal for cats with bad teeth
  • Reduced-price sample box available
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Fancy Feast 7+ Variety Pack Fancy Feast 7+ Variety Pack
  • Assorted flavors
  • High protein
  • Excellent for dental issues
  • Third place
    Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+
  • 7+ formula
  • Extra moisture
  • Whole protein
  • Best for Overweight Seniors
    Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus 7+ Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus 7+
  • Added microflora
  • Total wellness recipe
  • Proprietary blend
  • Purina Pro Plan Focus 11+ Purina Pro Plan Focus 11+
  • Double protein source
  • Packed with valuable nutrients
  • Transparent ingredients
  • The 9 Best Senior Cat Foods

    1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food – Best Overall

    Smalls Fresh Other Bird Recipe

    Type: Fresh food
    Calories: 1229/kg
    Crude Protein: 15%
    Crude Fat: 6%
    Crude Fiber: 0.5%
    Moisture: 72%

     

    Human-grade cat food must pass all the same rigorous tests as processed cat food, plus the strict safety standards of the USDA and FDA. Smalls fresh and freeze-dried cat food meet or even exceed all these accepted levels of quality to produce products that are delicious, healthy, and of superior quality.

    By feeding smaller portions of Smalls fresh cat food, your senior cat receives fewer calories due to their less active lifestyle but still gets the healthy protein, fat, fiber, and nutrients they need. To fortify their fresh cat food with nutrients ideal for cats of any age, Smalls includes real vegetables like green beans and peas plus high-quality herring oil, goat’s milk, and other natural ingredients.

    Fresh cat food comes in chicken, turkey, or beef, so you can feed your mature cat the flavors they love. The pate texture of the Smooth recipes is easy to eat and digest, ideal for cats with bad teeth that may affect their ability to break down food. If your kitty hasn’t tried fresh food before, it may take time to adjust, but Smalls offers a trial box with samples of their foods to give it a try and decide which they like best before you order their favorites.

    Pros
    • Great source of taurine
    • No fillers, artificial flavors, or dyes
    • “Get Started” questionnaire to help choose the best recipe
    • The texture is ideal for cats with bad teeth
    • Reduced-price sample box available

    Cons
    • Fresh, wet food needs to be refrigerated
    • Not available in Alaska or Hawaii (yet)


    2. Fancy Feast 7+ Variety Classic Pate Minced – Best Value

    Fancy Feast Senior 7+ Chicken, Beef & Tuna Feasts Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

    Type: Wet food
    Calories: 75-96
    Protein: 11.5-12%
    Fat: 5%
    Fiber: 1.5%
    Moisture: 78-79%

     

    Of all the delicious cat foods for our beloved senior pets, the Fancy Feast 7+ Variety Pack Classic Pate Minced is definitely worth an honorable mention.  Cats seem to crave the flavors—coming in an assorted mix of beef, chicken, and tuna flavors.

    These recipes are specifically crafted for cats who are 7 years of age and older, supporting the maintenance and decline of their bodies. Because this is wet food, it’s also easier for your seniors to eat if they have any dental issues, common among felines.

    In this recipe, you can expect between 75 and 96 calories per can. There is also 11.5% to 12% crude protein, 5% crude fat, 1.5% crude fiber, and 78% to 79% moisture.

    Each recipe has a very high protein content to support your senior’s muscles. The formulas always offer real meat as the first ingredient. We think it’s the recipe that will support most seniors and not break the bank.

    Pros
    • Assorted flavors
    • High protein
    • Excellent for dental issues

    Cons
    • Might not work for all food sensitivities


    3. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Cat Food

    Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food

    Type: Dry Kibble
    Calories: 500
    Protein: 27%
    Fat: 16%
    Fiber: 3.5%
    Moisture: 8%

     

    If money is no object, the Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ is an incredible recipe to keep your senior acting like a kitten. This recipe contains a natural medley of ingredients that strengthen your cat’s immunity, skin, and coat.

    This recipe is specially formulated to nourish cats that are 7 years of age and older. So, once you switch their diet, they can stay on this food for the rest of their days. Chicken is the very first ingredient, offering a whole protein for muscle health. It also has a good dose of vitamin C for optimal immunity.

    One serving of this cat food contains 500 calories. It has 27% crude protein, 16% crude fat, 3.2% crude fiber, and 8% moisture. You can serve this dry kibble as a daily diet—or you can try it with a wet food topper to add some extra moisture to your senior’s diet.

    Even though this recipe is top-notch, it does contain wheat, corn, and soy ingredients, which some cats can show sensitivity to. If your cat has any allergies, you might try another brand first.

    Pros
    • 7+ formula
    • Extra moisture
    • Whole protein

    Cons
    • Contains potentially triggering ingredients
    • Pricey


    4. Purina Pro Prime Plus 7+ – Best for Overweight Seniors

    Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus Adult 7+ Real Poultry & Beef Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

    Type: Wet food
    Calories: 106-111
    Protein: 9-10%
    Fat: 7%
    Fiber: 1.5%
    Moisture: 78%

     

    If your cat is a little on the chubby side and your vet recommends a weight control cat food—try the Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus 7+. It has just the right concoction of ingredients to support weight management while not slacking on the nutrition that your senior absolutely needs.

    This recipe is meant to nourish your senior’s body—providing total wellness. Meat is always the first ingredient, providing proprietary nutrient blends that improve the health of cats over 7 years old. There is added microflora to improve gut health, aiding in digestion.

    In one can, there are between 106 to 111 calories. The guaranteed analysis of this product contains 9% to 10% crude protein, 7% crude fat, 1.5% crude fiber, and 78% moisture.

    All recipes are grain-free, and we feel the recipe really attributes to a healthy weight, which many seniors need. However, the recipe won’t work for all dietary restrictions or feline palates.

    Pros
    • Added microflora
    • Total wellness recipe
    • Proprietary blend

    Cons
    • Won’t work for all dietary restrictions


    5. Purina Pro Plan Focus 11+ Chicken & Beef

    Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult 11+ Classic Chicken & Beef Entree Canned Cat Food

    Type: Wet food
    Calories: 91
    Protein: 10%
    Fat: 6%
    Fiber: 1.5%
    Moisture: 78%

     

    The Purina Pro Plan Focus 11+Chicken & Beef Enrée is a top-notch wet cat food with excellent nutrition to support your senior’s declining body. Plus, it fits on most budgets, which is an upside for many owners.

    This particular can of Purina Pro Focus has beef and chicken in gravy, so they get a combo of delicious protein. This recipe has salmon and liver meat sources too. It’s packed with valuable vitamins and minerals to keep your cat’s body functioning as it should—like biotin and taurine.

    In this recipe, there are 91 calories, 10% crude protein, 6% crude fat, 1.5% crude fiber, and 78% moisture. There is also a nice dose of vitamin E and taurine to protect coat, skin, and muscle health.

    There are few ingredients, too. You can quickly sweep the list to view all it has to offer. Fewer ingredients are always better, in our opinion. Plus, the wet chunks make it much easier for seniors who have dental issues or problems with appetite. Because it’s 11+, it might not work for all seniors. Nonetheless, this one tops our list of best senior cat foods.

    Pros
    • Double protein source
    • Packed with valuable nutrients
    • Transparent ingredients

    Cons
    • Only for seniors 11+


    6. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Diet – Best for Sensitive Seniors

    Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Turkey & Potato Indoor Mature Dry Cat Food

    Type: Dry Kibble
    Calories: 397
    Protein: 28%
    Fat: 12%
    Fiber: 7%
    Moisture: 9%

     

    If your senior has a sensitive belly, Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet is definitely worth considering. It is specially formulated to use a singular protein source and few ingredients to soothe the belly and aid in digestion.

    As with all Blue Buffalo recipes, this selection comes with Blue’s signature LifeSource Bits, which are antioxidant-packed soft kibble pieces that pack in extra nutrition. Deboned turkey is the first ingredient, followed by turkey meal, peas, and potatoes for the belly.

    In one serving of this dry kibble, there are 397 calories. The guaranteed analysis of this product contains 28% crude protein, 12% crude fat, 7% crude fiber, and 9% moisture. The high fiber helps regulate the GI tract—plus, it has L-carnitine, turning fat into energy.

    We really loved all of the ingredients in this recipe for our sensitive furbabies. But you definitely want to check with your vet before switching them so no sneaky ingredients upset them.

    Pros
    • Antioxidant-packed LifeSource Bits
    • High fiber
    • Great for sensitive cats

    Cons
    • Might not match all needs


    7. Royal Canin Feline Health Aging 12+ Senior Cat Food

    Royal Canin Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food

    Type: Wet food
    Calories: 71
    Protein: 9%
    Fat: 2.5%
    Fiber: 1.8%
    Moisture: 82%

     

    If you have a senior over 12, Royal Canin Feline Health Aging 12+ is a favorite of ours. It has the perfect texture for your older guy or gal to delight in. This recipe contains added glucosamine and chondroitin to aid in joint support.

    This formula is geared toward seniors, using pork and chicken as the protein base. However, if your cat is sensitive to by-products, this recipe contains them—so you might have to look for another recipe.

    In one can, there are 71 calories total. The guaranteed analysis includes 9% crude protein, 2.5% crude fat, 1.8% crude fiber, and 82% moisture.

    Royal Canin recommends alternating the wet and dry versions of this formula for your cat for optimal results. While this can be a really healthy way to regulate your kitty, it does pose another expense—so keep that in mind.

    Pros
    • Added glucosamine & chondroitin
    • For much older cats
    • Total body support

    Cons
    • Might get expensive
    • Contains by-products


    8. Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior Cat Food

    Iams ProActive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food

    Type: Dry Kibble
    Calories: 399
    Protein: 34%
    Fat: 17%
    Fiber: 3%
    Moisture: 10%

     

    Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior is an affordable recipe with proper nutrition to offer your older cat. This recipe is jam-packed with antioxidants that help support your senior’s immune system. It is free of artificial flavors and synthetic dyes for clean eating.

    This recipe supports strong muscles and bones, containing excellent levels of calcium and phosphorus. L-carnitine works to maintain a healthy weight. The crunchy kibble can help clean your senior’s teeth, but you might want to add broth or a wet food topper to soften things up a bit.

    In one serving of this food, there are 399 calories. The guaranteed analysis of this product contains 34% crude protein, 17% crude fat, 3% crude fiber, and 10% moisture.

    All Iams food is made in the USA with traceable ingredients. Some cats are sensitive to corn ingredients, however—and this recipe is littered with it. So, beware if your cat can’t eat it.

    Pros
    • Artificial flavor and synthetic dye-free
    • Supports healthy muscles, bones, and joints
    • Packed with antioxidants

    Cons
    • Contains corn ingredients


    9. Nulo Freestyle Grain-free Mixed Senior Cat Food

    Nulo Freestyle Senior Alaska Pollock, Duck & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Type: Dry Kibble
    Calories: 431
    Protein: 38%
    Fat: 14%
    Fiber: 6%
    Moisture: 10%

     

    We’ll start off by saying that Nulo Freestyle Grain-free Mixed Senior Cat Food is a wonderful product, but it will not match all budgets. This is a very pricey food. However, it is an excellent recipe that some seniors can benefit from tremendously. It is specifically designed for seniors needing digestive and immune support.

    This recipe contains a whopping 78% protein from animal sources, which is more than most competitors by a landslide. Also, it contains a live patented probiotic—up to 80,000,000 CFU. These probiotics will thrive in the gut to grow healthy gut flora.

    This recipe contains 431 calories per serving. The guaranteed analysis includes 38% crude protein, 14% crude fat, 6% crude fiber, and 10% moisture. All ingredients are natural without harmful additives and completely non-GMO.

    We also really loved that the bag is resealable to promote freshness. However, this recipe isn’t a fit for every senior.

    Pros
    • Non-GMO
    • Resealable bag
    • Added patented probiotics

    Cons
    • Pricey
    • Only for sensitive cats

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    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Senior Cat Food

    As your cat ages, their dietary requirements change. Your cat goes from a healthy, capable cat that needs a maintenance formula to a cat of declining function. So, what are some things that set seniors apart in terms of diet needs?

    What Types of Cat Food Are Available for Senior Cats?

    There is a long list of senior cat food recipes on the market, but what’s the best cat food for elderly cats? Here are a few points to consider.

    Dry Kibble

    If you’re looking for the best dry cat food for senior cats, there are some things to consider. While many recipes are geared toward the health of your senior, often dry kibble alone won’t do the trick.

    Wet Canned Foods

    Getting an age-appropriate recipe will take out all of the guessing work for you if you want the best wet cat food for senior cats. It’s easy to chew, so it’s perfect for cats with dental problems. Plus, it gives your feline an extra kick of hydration their bodies really need.

    Broths & Gravies

    Tons of broths and gravies serve as an additive to dry kibble diets. This helps to soften up the kibble, making it easier for your feline to enjoy while giving them a savory boost of hydration.

    Raw or Homemade Diets

    Many owners choose to serve their seniors raw, partially cooked, and other homemade diets. You have full control over the ingredients, ensuring your senior is receiving only beneficial additives.

    Supplements

    You can also buy supplements to strengthen your senior’s body. They have treats, powders, and liquids that serve as an oral kick of nutrition.

    Old ginger cat resting on couch
    Image Credit: shymar27, Shutterstock

    Potential Diet Recipes

    Limited Ingredients

    Cats can be sensitive to all sorts of things—and that can change as they age. If your cat is developing any kind of sensitivity in their older days, limited ingredient diets might work very well for them.

    Weight Management

    Once your cat gets older, they can slow up a lot with physical activity. Weight management diets can help moderate and control weight.

    Sensitive Stomachs

    If your cat developed any diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, or other gastrointestinal issues, they might need a special recipe for sensitive bellies.

    Health Issues

    There are tons of specialized diets on the markets to serve cats with health issues. Some of them include diabetes, kidney, liver, or heart disease.

    Dental Health

    Teeth go bad over time, and some kitties have it worse than others. They make recipes for seniors, usually wet food, that help their dental issues while offering the correct nutrition.

    Beneficial Ingredients

    Taurine

    Taurine is found only in animal-based products. Your senior will need taurine to regulate digestion, maintain vision, and have healthy heart muscle function.

    L-carnitine

    L-carnitine turns fat into energy, increasing heart and brain function.

    Glucosamine

    Glucosamine helps reduce inflammation, strengthening your senior’s joints.

    Omega Fatty Acids

    Omega fatty acid helps your senior cat maintain a healthy coat and skin.

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    Conclusion

    If you’re looking for a recipe that will work for most normal seniors, our overall best senior cat food is the Smalls fresh and freeze-dried cat food. Their human-grade cat food meets or even exceeds all levels of quality to produce products that are delicious, healthy, and of superior quality.

    If savings strikes your fancy, try Fancy Feast 7+ Variety Pack. We think your cat will appreciate all of the savory flavors, never having a dull meal. These recipes help amp up the appetite and support your senior’s aging body.

    We hope you found a recipe that works best for your older guy or gal—regardless of your favorite. We realize every cat has different needs, so always consult with your vet if you’re unsure.


    Featured Image Credit: Elizabett, Shutterstock

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