By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As cats age, particularly from the ages of 8-10 and older, extra care is needed to keep them healthy and happy.

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Watch for signs of overall slowing down such as difficulty jumping up and down from their usual favorite places, trouble climbing the stairs, difficulty in grooming hard to reach areas, sleeping more than usual, etc.

To make mobility easier, provide a small ramp or stair-steps to accommodate stiff joints or arthritis. Consider purchasing an orthopedic bed or a heated pet bed to provide relief from aching joints. Place the necessities such as food and water bowls, and their bed and litter box on the same floor to avoid the stairs.

Look for signs of hearing loss and have your vet give a thorough ear examination.

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Be aware of any change in vision too. A whitish haze may appear over the eyes as older cats, like dogs, may develop cataracts.

Make sure your cat is on a nutritionally well-balanced diet, especially in the senior years. Check with your vet first to see if any supplements are required.

If you add another companion animal to the household, make sure that your senior cat is not placed in a stressful situation. Your cat must feel safe and secure at all times.

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Caring for a senior cat means providing plenty of preventative care and periodic checkups. Most importantly, provide extra quality time and plenty of attention and affection.