Almost all animals have hearts, but that often means that many animals can also have problems with their hearts as well. Unfortunately, cats are no exception, but they are less likely to develop issues compared to dogs. Cat hearts, while still generally good at staying healthy long into a cat’s life can still get diseases or develop conditions if the cat isn’t properly taken care of, or even if they had issues at birth.
Below, we detail the types of heart problems cats can get, how they get them, and how they can be treated.
How to Tell If Your Cat’s Heart Is Having Issues
It can be more difficult to tell if your cat is having heart problems since there aren’t many clear signs early on that they may be having issues. If you’re noticing that your cat is more lethargic than usual and is more withdrawn, hiding under furniture, and sleeping more often, it could be an early sign of heart problems.
Other common symptoms of heart disease in cats include:
- A poor appetite
- Notable weight loss
- Increased respiratory rate and effort
- Sudden collapse
- Sudden hind leg paralysis accompanied by clear pain due to thromboembolism (blood clots)
- Stunted growth (in kittens)
Types of Cat Heart Diseases
Congenital Cat Heart Disease
Congenital cat heart disease happens at birth and can be caused by a developmental problem that causes malformation of the heart as the embryo develops. Usually, this will only affect one kitten in the litter. However, other disorders associated with this congenital heart disease may affect more than just one kitten in a litter.
Adult Onset Cat Heart Disease
This type of heart disease can happen when some kind of damage occurs to a cat’s heart structure at some point in their life. Some cases of adult onset heart disease may be caused by a hereditary condition that progresses as the cat ages, eventually causing problems. While the exact cause of adult onset heart disease in cats is unknown, aspects like poor genetics, exercise, diet, and weight may be some of the reasons it can develop.
How Cat Heart Problems Are Treated
All is not lost for cats though as cat heart disease can be treated. While congenital heart problems have few treatment options available currently aside from specific surgery operations, adult onset heart disease can often be treated.
If heart medication is prescribed, it’s important to stick closely to the instructions for administering it as some medications can have serious side effects if stopped suddenly.
Overall, while cat heart disease can be a serious condition, the outlook is good for treating it so your cat can live a long and happy life.