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Published: Dec 09, 2011

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, there are now more pet cats than pet dogs in North America. Cats are living longer than ever due to better nutrition and disease detection and prevention plans.

Although cats are living longer and healthier lives, the aging process presents certain troubles, such as arthritis, or even more serious problems like cat diabetes. VCA reports the most common aging problems include falls, inactivity due to osteoarthritis, periodontal (dental) disease, and degenerative changes in their vital organs such as kidney and thyroid disease.

In order to keep cats comfortable and safe with advancing age, owners should make sure they always have access to a warm and cozy place to rest, such as a warm padded bed. Try to keep the bed in a low location in a quiet room so an older cat can reach the bed easily and rest whenever necessary.  Perching locations may need to be lowered to allow easy access by an older or arthritic cat.  Other favorite sitting spots or scratching posts may require modifications so they are still useable by an older cat.  To help avoid elimination accidents, offer your aging cat more than one litter box and you may need to opt for a tray or pan-style box instead of one with high sides so an older cat can get inside easily.  Encourage your cat to drink as often as possible—this helps combat dehydration which is common in older cats—especially those with kidney disease.  Try free-flowing water fountains or leave a slight drip from a bathroom sink to attract your
cat to water.  Giving cats canned food is an easy way to increase water intake also.  Ask your vet if a diet change may benefit your older feline.