best cat food for older cats with bad teeth

The best cat food for older cats with bad teeth

In this article, we’ll be discussing the best cat food for older cats with bad teeth. When you’re the parent of a kitty who’s having trouble chewing it can be heartbreaking to watch them struggle.

When cats have dental issues it can cause them pain when they eat. This could even cause some cats to stop eating almost entirely to avoid this discomfort!

This is a serious issue that should be taken care of immediately. Not eating is extremely dangerous to cats, and not eating for as little as two days can cause huge health complications for them.

That’s why in this article, we’ll be giving you some recommendations for the perfect foods for older kitties with bad teeth, and we’ll even give you some helpful tips on what you can do to protect the teeth that they have left!

If you don’t have time for the full article, we understand. So, here’s a list of our top picks for cat food for older cats with bad teeth, including estimated cost and their pros and cons. We’ve only chosen wet foods, because cats with bad teeth may stop eating from the pain of hard kibble foods.

Beanietoes Top Picks

best food for cats with bad teeth
NomNomNowI and love and YouHalo
$$$ Most Expensive$$ Moderately Priced$ Cheapest
Fresh CookedCannedCanned
Grain-FreeGrain-FreeGrain-Free
Pre-PortionedXX
Check PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

Our Top Pick is for NomNomNow

If you have an older cat and you really want to offer them the best nutrition, then NomNomNow is the best of the best. This is not a canned food. It’s a fresh human-grade food that is cooked every week in a commercial kitchen and then mailed straight to your door.

best cat food for older cats with no teeth and poor appetite
The Chicken Chown-Meow recipe’s tasty chicken and cantaloupe is great for enticing cats with poor appetites.

For an older cat who has trouble chewing, this is the ultimate food. Since they use only fresh meat ingredients, it’s the tastiest option available. This is very important for older cats, because in many cases, their appetite fades with age, and it can be tough to get them to eat.

These diets are also great for cats with allergies or health issues, because the NomNomNow staff avoids common allergy triggers, and the transparency surrounding their ingredients means that you can be sure that you are only feeding them the healthiest ingredients.

NomNomNow offers significant discounts for bulk orders and multiple pets.

It’s also much more affordable than other fresh food diets, because they give discounts for multiple cats and if you choose to opt for bulk shipping! In fact, you can save substantially by choosing this option at check out!

If you want to know the full details on this food then you can read our full length review which gives background on the company, how to save the most money, and a look at how the service works.

PS. Beanietoes readers can save 20% on their first box of NomNomNow by using this link!

How to choose a food for an older cat

When choosing a cat food for an older cat who has problems with their teeth, there are a few things that need to be considered. For starters, many older cats actually experience a loss of appetite as they age.

This is partially to do with the fact that their sense of smell may no longer be what it once was. For cats, smell is the primary way that they interact with food, and for an older cat, a food with a more pungent scent, such as fish, may be more attractive.

Of course, dental disease is also a common cause for a cat’s reduced appetite1) https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/special-needs-senior-cat , and simply offering them a food that is easier for them to eat, such as a fresh or canned food, could end up helping them to maintain a healthy weight.

Consider choosing a food with these features

  • Foods with a strong smell (like tuna)
  • Fresh or canned foods
  • High meat content for improved taste
  • Free of grains, corn, and junk fillers

What about kibble foods?

While kibble foods are cheaper, they are a poor choice for an old cat who has no teeth! These foods are just too hard for your cat to eat, and feeding them this is just putting them in unnecessary pain.

Not to mention the fact that many cats, but especially older ones, simply do not get enough liquid. This can have dire health consequences that can lead to vet visits and a reduced lifespan. Cats who are short on fluids could experience life threatening urinary blockages.

While many people believe that kibble and chews help to remove tartar from their pets teeth, the truth is that this is not always the case. These items are not regulated, and many of them do nothing at all to help your pets2) https://now.tufts.edu/articles/dental-disease-cats-dogs .

While chewing does produce saliva, which can help to fight off plaque, many cheaper cat foods are actually full of sugar and starches which will just make the situation worse.

If you’re feeding your cat a hard kibble food for this reason then you should stop. This is just causing your cat discomfort and offering them no real benefits.

Your feline friend would be much better served if you were to start an oral hygiene routine for them. It’s easy to do this yourself using some basic materials, but you can also get your vet to clean their teeth regularly and help with this.

If your cat has really bad breath, then they likely have an oral hygiene issue. Halitosis is often a sign of tooth decay, and it should be taken seriously. Cats with bad breath tend to also have bad teeth to go with it.

Remember, lost teeth are forever, but even if your older cat has already lost a good deal of teeth you can still save the remaining ones! At the end of the article we’ll talk about establishing an oral care routine for your kitty. First though, let’s talk about food for older cats.

Beanietoe’s list of best foods for older cats

#1 – NomNomNow

best cat food
NomNomNow’s fresh diets offer excellent nutrition and entice cats with poor appetites to eat,

If you’re looking for the best of the best in feline nutrition, then NomNomNow should be your first stop. This excellent pet food brand cooks their foods fresh every week in one of their commercial kitchens, and then they ship these human-grade meals to your door.

In case you’re wondering how a fresh food is better than a canned food, it’s because it is less processed, In order for a canned food to remain shelf-stable for 2-3 years, it needs to be heavily processed and over cooked, removing much of the nutrients, and the flavor in the process.

NomNomNow is not only a more nutritious and tastier fresh offering, but it’s also easy to find a recipe which your cat will eat, and these fresh foods have fewer items in them which will contribute to tooth decay.

While you might initially think that this would be prohibitively expensive, you might actually be surprised at how affordable feeding your cat this way can be. NomNomNow’s cat plans start at just $14 per week. That’s comparable or even cheaper than many high-quality canned foods on the market.

best cat food for older cats with bad teeth

Above you can see a sample recipe for NomNomNow’s Fish Feast recipe. As you can see, it mostly consists of healthy fish proteins, and the carbohydrates included are much healthier than those in most commercial cat foods and are easier on your cats teeth.

The flake fish is easy to chew, and it’s also very attractive to cats. Since many older cats begin to lose their appetites anyway, this is a good way to help a struggling older cat to put on weight. Fresh foods with strong smells and flavors tend to increase feline appetites.

Their foods also come pre-portioned in handy baggies so you always know that you’re feeding your cat the correct amount. It’s an extremely helpful way to provide weight management to your cat if you’re not sure exactly how much they should be eating.

When you fill out the information on the website they’ll actually ask you some questions about your kitty’s age and weight to help determine their calorie and food requirements. However, if you need to change anything later it’s easy to do that too, and they provide expert cat nutrition help for this.

If you’re interested in giving your older cat the best possible diet, soothe pain they may experience from eating and stimulate their appetite, then NomNomNow is the way to go. They also give a nice discount to new orders and typically some free treats for pet parents who are willing to give them a try. Click here to get the discount.

NomNomNow is an excellent choice for picky eaters.

#2 – Wysong Archetype

digestible cat food

Another great way to give your cat an exceptional diet and to help them with their dental issues is by feeding them a raw diet. Unfortunately, feeding your older cat a raw diet for their bad teeth is no easy task.

Cat nutrition is complicated and if you don’t know what you’re doing it’s easy to mess up. The good news though is Wysong has done the work for you.

They’ve created an excellent raw diet that’s so nutritionally sound that it can actually be fed to both cats and dogs! This is because it contains no fillers, which is what normally keeps cats from eating commercial dog foods since they don’t get enough nutritional value.

That’s not a problem here, and Wysong’s foods actually are one of the few completely starch free foods for cats. If you’re looking for the best food for older cats that are also on carb restricted diets, then this is a good choice for diabetic or overweight kitties, common issues in senior cats.

Archetype is starch free, extremely limited in ingredients and over 95% meat protein. That makes it a great choice for a variety of ailments including cats with bad teeth, diabetic cats and cats with allergies or foods sensitivities.

This is actually a freeze dried product, and we recommend that you re-hydrate it with water. It’s shredded, and that makes it easy for cats with bad teeth to eat it. However, since it’s almost entirely meat based it’s also really tasty for them and can help cats with failing appetites.

If you’d like to try Wysong’s products for your kitty, then you can get the best deal from Chewy. On top of their already low prices, you can also save an additional 5-10% with every purchase thanks to auto-ship, and your first auto-ship saves you 30%!

If your senior kitty is a diabetic, this starch free food is an excellent choice.

#3 – Halo Cat Food

highly digestible cat food

If your cat would prefer a pate style food, or if you just need something more affordable, then Halo’s cat foods will likely fit the bill. Their foods are extremely high-quality but they don’t break the bank.

What’s so great about Halo’s foods? Well, for starters they only use high-quality, whole food ingredients.

That means only healthy meats and veggies and no cheap fillers in here. Instead, Halo focuses on healthier carbohydrates like peas, carrots and easy to digest sweet potatoes.

They also offer a number of specialty diet recipes like kitten, senior cat, gluten free and grain-free. Plus, their foods come in a wide variety of flavor profiles, allowing you to find something for even the pickiest cats.

Though the best feature of Halo is the exceptional value that the offer for the price. Their foods don’t cost much more than a comparable big box store brand, but the quality is far superior to those offerings.

That makes them an excellent choice for pet parents on a budget who are trying to feed their cats a healthy diet but can’t afford the cost of premium fresh foods or raw diets. With Halo you can respect your budget without feeling guilty about offering your cat a sub-par food from the grocery store.

Interested in saving even more on Halo’s great foods? You can typically get the best deal buying them online, and most sites will offer a discount if you sign up for auto-ship!

You can save 30% on your first auto-ship with Chewy, and then save an additional 5-10% on every shipment after that thanks to their generous discount program! It’s the best place to buy pet food.

Halo is the best cat food for older cats with bad teeth and a tight budget.

How to save your cat’s remaining teeth

If your older cat is losing their teeth, then it’s not too late to help them! While offering them a better food that’s easier for them to chew is the first step, there’s still more that can be done.

Your first order of business after this is to get a good oral hygiene plan in place. If your cat’s dental problems are advanced, then you should schedule a check up with your vet, and they’ll be able to advise you on the correct course of action.

However, a once per year cleaning simply won’t cut it, and if you really want to help your cat with their dental hygiene, then you’ll need to brush their teeth. This is the only way to prevent tooth loss.

You should periodically check your cat for signs of periodontal problems such as pronounced bad breath and excessive tartar. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to remove tartar yourself.

Benefits of brushing your cats teeth

  • Avoids further tooth loss
  • Prevents gum disease
  • You cat will have fresher breath
  • Improves your cat’s overall health

While your cat won’t be thrilled, at least initially, with you sticking your fingers in their mouth, they will eventually get used to it. So, the first step is a visual inspection of your feline friend’s teeth and gums.

During your visual inspection you should be assessing the condition of their teeth and seeing the level of plaque and tartar build up in their mouths. You should also look for red and swollen gums which can be a sign of gingivitis in cats3) https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/feline-dental-disease .

It should be noted that you should not attempt to remove tartar yourself. These are the hard deposits which appear when plaque has been left to its own devices for too long. Only your vet should do this, because your cat needs to be put under anesthesia for any dental procedures requiring sharp tools for their own safety.

However, you can help to deter further tartar deposits by getting rid of the plaque on your cat’s teeth before it evolves into those hardened deposits by establishing a regular dental routine for your cat.

While brushing your senior cat’s teeth is certainly a challenge, it’s worthwhile to do so to save your cat’s remaining teeth. If you can commit to doing it a few times per week, then your cat’s dental health will be that much better for it.

How to brush your cat’s teeth

While brushing your cat’s teeth seems like an intimidating chore, it doesn’t have to be. It really only requires a couple minutes per day to do, and once your cat is used to it, there should be no problems.

Here’s how to do it, step-by-step.

Step 1: Get a cat toothbrush and toothpaste

You can start by purchasing a toothbrush and toothpaste for cats. Please do not try to use human toothpaste. Not only will your cat hate this, but many of them contain mint, which is bad for cats!

Never use human toothpaste on your cat, we recommend this poultry flavored one.

Here’s a good set that doesn’t cost much and comes with a seafood flavored toothpaste that will make your job that much easier.

Step 2: Get your cat used to the toothpaste

If you’ve never brushed your cat’s teeth before, then don’t just jump right into it. This will ensure a bad time for everyone. Instead, approach the process gradually.

Get them used to the taste of the toothpaste and the ideas of you putting things in their mouth first. Start by putting a small dab of the toothpaste on your finger, and then try to gently rub on their teeth.

It helps to offer your cat a reward if they are complaint with this step to make the process less scary, and to motivate them to participate in the activity without resisting.

Step 3: Introduce them to the brush

If step 2 went well, then you can try introducing them to the toothbrush. Try putting a bit of the fish flavored toothpaste on the brush and letting them lick it off.

You can also try touching their face, teeth, and gums with the brush so that they get used to it being around their face and in their mouth. Make sure to reward your cat with a treat for putting up with this activity.

Step 4: Start brushing the teeth

If your cat has responded well to our other steps, it’s time for the moment of truth! It’s important to remember that if your cat freaks out and runs that it will do more harm than good to force them.

Instead, go back a step or two and take things slower this time to give them more time to acclimate. Otherwise they’ll just hide when they see you get the brush out.

Begin by using a circular motion to brush away food debris from the teeth and gums. You should also try to get under the lips, as food commonly gets stuck here.

Remember to be gentle! This is especially true for a cat that you already know has tooth pain, as they will never let you do it again if they remember it as a painful experience.

Step 5: Establish a routine

It’s best to establish a routine for your cat’s dental plan. Brushing once per day tends to be best, and if you can do it at the same time every day, then that’s even better.

Use rewards to motivate your cat to participate in your “game”, and the experience will be better for everyone. They will come to expect a treat afterwards, and there will be less resistance, making it easier to complete this chore.

This can go a long way in helping your cat to retain their remaining teeth and maintaining their quality of life in their senior years. It will take a little work, but it’s worth it to invest just a few minutes each week in your cat’s health

Other things which you can try

If you’d like to go a step further, then there are some oral hygiene additives that you can put in your cat’s water to help with their dental health too. This additive is flavorless, so they won’t even know that it’s there and it can help to eliminate bacteria in the mouth.

While it’s tempting to try to use dental treats, they really just don’t do the best job. Plus, a cat who already has bad teeth will likely refuse them since the hard pieces will likely cause them pain.


Michelle Rei

Michelle is a pet parent turned amateur pet product researcher. After adopting a fur baby with digestive issues caused by bad pet food, she's poured hundreds of hours into research to find the best of the best to help him and other pets live happier and healthier lives.

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