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Published: Feb 28, 2012

Cats are living longer than ever, which means it is especially important for owners to learn about how to help them live out their golden years as happily and comfortably as possible.

According to Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine, the percentage of cats over age 6 has nearly doubled over the past decade. Cats generally start to experience signs of aging when they are between 7 and 10 years of age - even the most spry feline will likely start to show some changes by the time she is 12. The cat will experience physiological changes, and while these are not necessarily indicative of a disease, they can contribute to other conditions.

That is why it is crucial to reduce risk factors and be on the lookout so you can detect disease early, the news outlet reports. VCA Animal Hospitals reports that periodontal disease is common in senior cats, so owners should make sure to check their cat's teeth regularly and begin a dental care routine.  Other diseases to be on the lookout for include hormonal disorders such as hyperthyroidism, kidney, liver and heart disease, as well as cancer, feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).   Common signs to look for include an increase in water drinking and urination, an increased or decreased appetite and weight loss.

Older cats commonly suffer from osteoarthritis, which can contribute to a lack of activity that can cause weight gain and diabetes in cats, while making the joints more stiff in the process. VCA reports that you can help your older feline by making sure it has access to a warm and comfy bed where it can sleep without fear of disturbance.

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