Geriatric cats and eating habits

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  • #3994

    I have two cats who are nearly 16 yrs old. I have been noticing in the last several months that they are eating less amounts; they don’t eat all of the food I put down. I have not increased the amount, but have even reduced the amount so there is not so much left over. Is that normal for older cats? Should I be trying to get them to eat more as before? And is there something I can add to the food to encourage them to eat more? I had read that alfalfa or an alfalfa syrup could help.

    Thank you,


    I can’t see anything positive about a vegetable-based sugary product for an obligate carnivore. However, this pattern is not unusual for aging animals. Rather than adulterate the good raw food, I would suggest haveing thyroid values checked (by Dr. Jean Dodds at Hemopet), and also look into Vit B12 supplementation, perhaps by injection, to boost all metabolic processes. While we’re on the subject of B vitamins, organ meats are not only enticing but full of the nutrients needed to optimize metabolism. It wouldn’t be a terrible thing were you to shake the bits of food in a hot pan with a bit of butter, not to cook it, but to get the lovely fatty flavor onto the food.

    All that aside, yes, it’s pretty normal to slow down with age, but 16 doesn’t have to be old for a cat:)


    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    Exactly! 16 is really not that old for a cat. Many live well into their twenties and some can go way beyond (I believe that 40 something may be the oldest cat on record).

    That being said, the internal energetic imbalance that predisposes animals to get sick (and lose their appetite) increases with age. I’d advise ruling out common age-related biochemical disorders with baseline blood and urine testing.

    Thyroid testing (t4) is indeed part of the minimum database for the older cat. Most(~90%) of hyperthyroid cats are just the opposite of what you are describing however. They tend to eat *more* than usual.

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