Best Soft Dry Cat Food for Older Cats

soft dry cat food for older cats

The best soft dry cat food for older cats can be helpful for older cats having loose, broken, painful, or missing teeth.

It can be especially beneficial in cases when an older kitty wants to eat but cannot due to oral issues, dental problems, or swallowing difficulties.

Soft dry food for older cats makes feeding time easier and provides balanced nutrition to an aging kitty.

If you are wondering how to get your senior cat to eat, our top 5 picks of the best soft cat food for older cats are sure to help.

Just in case you are in a hurry, click on our short summary below to view our Top 5 reviewed products for the best soft dry cat food for older cats:

  1. Meow Mix Tender Centers Dry Cat Food
  2. Purina ONE Tender Select Adult Dry Cat Food
  3. Purina Friskies Tender & Crunchy Combo Dry Cat Food
  4. Stella & Chewy's Dinner Morsels for Cat
  5. ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Cat Food

Best Soft Dry Cat Food for Older Cats – 2022 Top 5 Picks

best soft dry cat food for older cats

Meow Mix Tender Centers Dry Cat food consists of soft kibble cat food for older cats. It has a tender internal filling with a slightly crunchier outer layer which aging cats love.

This texture is perfect for cats having with few teeth and most senior kitties find it ‘interesting’ and easier to chew and swallow.

It helps that Meow Mix is 100% balanced nutrition thanks to its content of tuna and whitefish which most picky cats love.

This high-quality, dual textured soft cat food for older cats also provides your pet with all the essential nutrients it needs to thrive in old age.

For completely toothless cats, you can add some gravy or water to the kibble to make it even softer. It is also a great way to get your pet to drink more water.

What we like about it

  • Great texture, interesting mix of soft and crunchy which cats find palatable and easy as well
  • It has a balanced nutrition profile
  • Most owners loved the price

What we don’t like about it

  • Contains corn. However, this is only an issue if your cat is allergic to it. Most cats seem to tolerate corn quite well.
Meow Mix Tender Centers Dry Cat Food, Tuna & Whitefish, 13.5 Pound Bag
  • Contains (1) 13.5 pound bag of Dry Cat Food
  • Dual-textured kibble combines a tender center with a crunchy outer layer
  • 100% complete and balanced nutrition
  • Provides all essential vitamins and minerals
  • Delicious tuna and whitefish flavors
best soft dry cat food for older cats

PURINA ONE Tender Adult Dry Cat Food consists of crunchy kibble along with meaty and tender morsels.

Senior cats love this food for the variety of textures it offers. The blend is even known to keep picky eaters coming back to it again and again.

Purina One Tender cat food for aging cats consists of real chicken as its first ingredient. It also has wholesome grains and real carrots and peas for healthy fiber and antioxidants.

Apart from being easy to chew, Purina One Tender Select is heart-healthy and supports your cat’s immune system.

It is also high in proteins which helps in muscle maintenance of aging kitties.

Vets recommend this food for older cats for all of these benefits as well as its healthy Omega essential fatty acid content that benefits coat and skin, aids in weight management, and also provides anti-inflammatory properties.

What we like about it

  • Best of both worlds – crunchy kibble and meaty morsels which senior cats love.
  • Picky cats are known to love the food’s texture, flavor, and scent

What we don’t like

  • The soft kibble crumbles easily into powder which some cats refused to eat. This actually might be a good thing for cats with no teeth!
Purina ONE Natural Dry Cat Food, Tender Selects Blend With Real Chicken - (Pack of 4) 3.5 lb. Bags
  • SmartBlend of high-quality, Purina ONE cat food ingredients starts with real chicken, which provides protein for cats to support strong muscles, and has high-quality carbohydrates for healthy energy
  • Is Purina ONE Tender Selects good for cats? The digestive health cat food supports a microbiome balance and contains prebiotic cat fiber for gut health and immune support
  • Each high-quality ingredient has a purpose, offering a natural dry cat food with added vitamins, minerals and nutrients that has 0 percent fillers and no artificial flavors or preservatives
  • This digestive cat food delivers four antioxidant sources for a strong immune system, vitamins A and E for bright eyes, and omega-6 fatty acids for a radiant coat and healthy skin
  • Is Purina ONE made in the USA? Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend adult dry cat food is proudly produced in Purina-owned, U.S. facilities by Purina ONE, a veterinarian-recommended brand
best soft dry cat food for older cats

The Tender and Crunchy Combo from Purina Friskies is a great choice for picky older cats who hate wet or canned food.

This food is a perfect balance between tender and crunchy kibble which is easy to chew and also attractive to texture-sensitive cats.

Purina Friskies best soft dry food for older cats creates a tempting texture combination of tender meat with crunchy kibble. Its pleasing shape is also known to capture the attention of fussy cats.

Your aging cat will definitely love the chicken or beef flavors having accents of garden vegetables. The food’s high-quality protein aids in muscle maintenance of older cats.

What we like about it

  • Crunchy and squishy texture which aging cats love.
  • Great flavor, fresh ingredients

What we don’t like

Purina Friskies Dry Cat Food, Tender & Crunchy Combo - 6.3 lb. Bag
  • One (1) 6.3 lb. Bag - Purina Friskies Dry Cat Food, Tender & Crunchy Combo
  • Meaty tenders and crunchy bites for a tempting texture combination
  • Made with flavors of real chicken
  • Chicken and beef flavor cat food with accents of garden veggies
  • Pleasing shapes capture her interest at mealtime
best soft dry cat food for older cats

Stella & Chewy’s freeze dried food contains raw chicken, organs, and bones. The morsels are very crumbly and can be pulsed into smaller pieces in case your cat has missing or no teeth.

This premium-quality soft cat food has received rave reviews from cat parents. Not only is it great for aging cats; it is nutritionally balanced for all life stages and even picky eaters are known to love it.

Stella & Chewy freeze-dried raw food is minimally processed and made entirely in the USA with the freshest of ingredients. It is especially suitable for cats having sensitivities and digestive issues since it is devoid of hormones, antibiotics, and fillers.

This Raw Food is also gluten free and rich in taurine and antioxidants – both of which are necessary for older kitties. Its probiotic content supports digestion and its vitamin and minerals aids in developing immunity towards infections.

What we like about it

  • Soft crumbly morsels are suitable for aging cats with missing teeth
  • Supports stamina, vitality, and healthy weight in senior cats
  • Natural omegas provide shinier coat and skin
  • Protein-rich, raw, and natural ingredients ease digestion

What we don’t like

  • Quality is inconsistent. However, this issue was only reported by a handful of pet parents. Most people (and their cats!) seem to have loved it.
Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Chick, Chick, Chicken Dinner Morsels Grain-Free Cat Food, 8 oz bag
  • Irresistible Taste Cats Love: Cats are carnivores, and crave raw meat; these tasty dinner morsels mirror a cat’s ancestral diet to deliver a natural, protein-rich meal that they’ll surely love
  • Real Raw Diet: Perfect for both cats and kittens, these meals are great for cats with allergies and help support healthy digestion, strong teeth and gums, vibrant skin and coat, and stamina and vitality
  • Picky Eater Approved: Cooked in small batches with only the finest ingredients, our nutrient-rich dinner morsels appeal to the pickiest cats and kittens
  • 98% Poultry, Organs & Bone: Our Chick Chick Chicken recipe includes responsibly sourced meats such as cage-free chicken with ground bone, chicken liver and chicken gizzards
  • Supports Whole Body Health: Fortified with vitamins and minerals, our Dinner Morsels help improve your cat’s well-being, with fiber and probiotics for digestive support, antioxidants for immune support, and taurine for heart and vision health
best soft dry cat food for older cats

ZIWI air-dried cat food has a softer texture than most dry cat foods and many pet parents have used it to feed their cats that have just had dental surgery or their teeth removed.

Note that ZIWI cat food cannot be crumbled by hand but it easily pulses down to a soft powder in the processor. A vast majority of older cats loved its fresh taste and semi-soft jerky-like texture.

It helps that the food has limited ingredients consisting of 95% of New Zealand green mussels and farm-raised lamb and organ meat.

ZIWI also uses a special air-drying technology that preserves nutrition and also maintains that soft and chewy texture which cats love.

The grain-free, low-carb, and limited-ingredient food is free from cheap fillers like grain, potatoes, soy, corn, and wheat. You also won’t find antibiotics or hormones in this one! This reduces the possibility of allergies and food sensitivities in cats at all life-stages.

Apart from being the best soft kibble for older cats, it is rich in superfoods like kelp, enzymes and probiotics for digestive health, and antioxidants to preserve brain and heart health.

With all these health benefits, ZIWI best soft dry cat food for older cats is perfect as a complete meal and food topper as well.

What we like about it

  • Ideal soft texture for older cats with dental issues, or those that have just had oral surgery
  • Ethically sourced from sustainable sources
  • Complete balanced nutrition without fillers, grains, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, etc.
  • Contains superfoods

What we don’t like about it

  • Expensive but totally worth it!
ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Cat Food – All Natural, High Protein, Grain Free & Limited Ingredient with Superfoods (Lamb), 14 Ounce (Pack of 1)
  • HIGH PROTEIN, NUTRIENT DENSE: Authentic whole-prey ratios, featuring 96% free-range Lamb, Organs, Bone, and New Zealand Green Mussels. Safely air-dried ingredients that deliver nutrition and mouth-watering taste for cats.
  • GRAIN-FREE, LOW CARB: Limited Ingredient (L.I.D) premium cat food without added carbohydrates, ideal for food sensitive cats. NO cheap fillers such as grain, potato or peas, which are linked to obesity, food allergies, and other health concerns.
  • 10% SUPERFOOD BOOST: Cold-washed Green Tripe, New Zealand Green Mussels, and Organic Kelp; holistic ingredients to support digestion, healthy weight, reduced shedding, joint health, plus essential taurine to promote heart and brain health.
  • TOPPER or COMPLETE MEAL for ALL LIFE STAGES: Perfect as a topper for a nutrition and flavor boost, and ideal as a complete meal for peak nutrition and health; optimized from kittens to senior cats, including indoor and outdoor cats.
  • ETHICAL and SUSTAINABLE: ZIWI sources only 100% free-range, grass-fed, grass-finished meats, and wild-caught seafoods, all from New Zealand farms and pristine oceans. Farmed without added hormones, antibiotics, or growth promotants.

What is Soft Dry Cat Food?

Soft dry cat food is not like the usual hard kibble that you find in pet food aisles.

Mainly, it is a lot softer and crumblier and your cat won’t have to exert too much pressure while chewing and swallowing it. You certainly won’t hear any loud crunches when your pet is eating.

Soft dry cat foods have a chewy or ‘beef-jerky’ like texture which cats are known to love.

Some softer cat kibble also comes in the form of ‘tender’ morsels mixed with crunchy bits. Cats love this mix of textures as it keeps things interesting.

You can also find soft dry cat food in the form of air-dried or freeze-dried foods.

The process of air-drying and freeze-drying helps preserve nutrition and also renders a crumblier texture that makes the kibble easy to pulse down into smaller and easier-to-chew pieces.

You can also add some moisture/gravy/water to these pieces to make them softer.

Do all Older Cats need Soft Food?

No. Not all older cats aged 7 years and above need soft food. In fact, many ‘texture-sensitive’ cats are known to dislike wet or canned food and prefer hard or dry kibble instead.

It all depends on your cat. Cats are very picky and they often get pickier as they age.

Most cats also have strict preferences when it comes to food’s texture, smell, and even its color.

Having said that, it helps to change your cat’s diet if s/he is showing signs of difficulty while eating its existing diet.

Some vets recommend older cats be switched to canned or wet food because they need hydration.

Moisture in wet food can prevent many issues in aging cats including constipation and other digestive troubles. It also helps in lubrication of the tissues and preventing dehydration.

If your cat has started showing signs of dental troubles mentioned above, you can switch to the best soft dry cat food for older cats mentioned above.

This is easier on your pet’s gums and many foods also offer a balanced mix of crunchy and chewy textures to keep things palatable and interesting for picky older cats.

Is Wet/Canned Food the Only Way to Feed an Elderly Cat with No Teeth?

The good news is that you don’t have to resort to feeding only wet or canned food if your elderly cat has few teeth or no teeth.

You see, cats do not actually chew the dry kibble; they use their tongue like a scoop to shovel it down their throats.

In fact, for many older cats, dry kibble presents a better texture for scooping the food down than wet pate or gravy-based foods.

So, you can easily consider feeding your pet soft kibble for older cats listed above.

Many top brands have come up with a balanced texture in their kibble with a mix of chewy and hard morsels.

Several companies have also started making completely soft and crumbly kibble as well as soft cat biscuit for older cats. These are a lot easier on their aging gums.

The benefit of soft kibble cat food for older cats is that it is often higher in calories and meets your aging pet’s nutritional needs. This can be beneficial to aging cats who do not eat very large meals.

What are Some of the Common Dental Issues in Older Cats?

If you have neglected your cat’s teeth, then chances are that s/he could suffer from dental issues in its old age.

Even if you have faithfully brushed your pet’s teeth, you still might see signs of dental wear and tear which are a part of the normal aging process.

Here are some signs of dental diseases in cats:

A) Gingivitis or Periodontal Disease

Gingivitis can cause yellow or brown teeth, foul breath, and puffy or swollen gums. If you notice these issues, have your cat examined by the vet.

When caught early on, gingivitis is completely curable in cats.

B) Lesions

Lesions known as Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions or FORLs are common in older cats. In extreme cases, there is no alternative but to extract painful lesion.

Vets do not exactly know the reasons behind FORLs but it is estimated that they occur in domestic cats in their senior years.

Common signs of these lesions include malodor, gingivitis, and excessive salivation.

Cats with FORLs often experience severe pain and might refuse to eat food.

C) Tartar and Plaque

Just like in humans, cats can also suffer from plaque and tartar formation on the teeth.

Since cats do not indulge in recreational chewing like dogs do, they could suffer from broken and loose teeth when the cavity caused by plaque worsens.

Tartar and plaque can, over time, lead to periodontal disease.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dental Issues in Your Cat?

Different oral issues will have different signs and symptoms. In general, though, you might notice the following signs of oral problems in your pet:

  • Foul odor
  • Your cat might paw its face often
  • Teeth grinding
  • Visible plaque/tartar on the teeth
  • Broken, loose, missing teeth
  • Inability to eat hard food
  • Excessive salivation
  • Bleeding or swollen gums
  • Fever and other signs of infection
  • Weight loss

How to Select the Best Soft Cat Food for Older Cats?

Here are some factors to consider when selecting soft dry cat food for older cats:

1) Your cat likes it

Choose a food that your cat loves. Older cats can be quite picky and they have strict preferences in texture, taste, and flavors.

Try different foods until you find one that your cat can eat and tolerate well.

2) Meets your cat’s protein needs

A diet containing 30-40% protein of good quality and digestibility will meet the needs of most senior cats.

Speak to your vet to determine your pet’s exact protein needs.

3) Contains fiber

Older cats often suffer from constipation.

 So, select the best soft cat food for older cats with pumpkin or other sources of fiber.

4) Based on your cat’s overall health

Older cats with kidney disease need food with the right calcium to phosphorus ratio.

Also, cats above the age of 7 are more likely to develop struvite bladder disease and need foods that can keep their urine pH less acidic.

Select the best soft cat food for older cats that meets these needs after consulting your vet.

Also Read: Best Cat Food for Urinary Health


The best soft dry cat food for older cats is easier to swallow for cats having no or few teeth.

It also presents an interesting texture for kitties who have gotten pickier in their senior years.

We recommend the Meow Mix Tender Centers Dry Cat food for its balanced mix of crunchy and chewy morsels which most older cats love. Do check out the other recommendations as well.

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