5 Facts About High Blood Pressure In Cats

May 23, 2022 | Cat Health

Does your cat have high blood pressure? That’s right. Cats can develop high blood pressure in the same way that humans can. Your veterinarian may call high blood pressure in cats “Feline Hypertension”. This measurement is not just important for its own sake, but also as an indicator that your cat may have an even bigger problem going on. Here are 5 facts that you need to know about your cat’s blood pressure.

#1 A Cat’s Normal Blood Pressure Is Higher Than A Human’s Normal Blood Pressure

A veterinarian takes a cat’s blood pressure in much the same way a doctor takes a human’s blood pressure. An inflatable cuff is placed around the cat’s leg or tail and the veterinarian listens for the cat’s heartbeat. Two numbers make up the cat’s blood pressure: the systolic blood pressure (measures heart beats) and the diastolic blood pressure (measures rests between heart beats).

A normal blood pressure reading for a human is 120/80 mmHg (source). For a cat, a normal blood pressure reading is closer to 150/95 mmHg (source). High blood pressure in cats is when the systolic blood pressure (the top number) is over 160.

Stress from going to the veterinarian’s office can make a cat’s blood pressure appear higher than it really is. For this reason, your veterinarian will take several readings and take your cat’s stress level into account when assessing your cat’s blood pressure. Getting an accurate blood pressure may require calming your cat down first.

#2 High Blood Pressure In Cats Is Almost Always A Secondary Condition

Can cats have high blood pressure like humans can? What causes high blood pressure in cats? Join us as we explore high blood pressure in cats and what you can do to manage it.

For cats, high blood pressure is rarely a stand-alone condition. In 80% of cases of high blood pressure in cats, there is another disease causing the cat’s blood pressure to be high (source). For this reason, if your veterinarian determines that your cat has high blood pressure, they will want to investigate further to see if there is an underlying disease.

Which diseases can cause high blood pressure in cats? The most common are Chronic Renal Failure and Hyperthyroidism. According to Cornell University, 60% of cats with Chronic Renal Failure have high blood pressure as do 20% of cats with hyperthyroidism (source). Other, rarer, causes of high blood pressure in cats include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart ailments
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Certain medications

#3 Risk For High Blood Pressure In Cats Increases As The Cat’s Age Increases

Cats of any age, gender, or breed can develop Feline Hypertension. However, it appears that the biggest risk factor is age (source). Older cats are at a much higher risk of having high blood pressure than are younger cats. This makes sense because older cats are also at higher risk for developing the underlying diseases that cause high blood pressure.

#4 There Are No Specific Symptoms for Feline Hypertension

If you think that your cat may be experiencing high blood pressure, it is important to contact your veterinarian and have them address your concerns. It is not possible to identify high blood pressure in a cat without testing for it.

There are no specific observable symptoms – particularly in earlier stages of the disease (source). In most cases, the symptoms that will be seen are those of the underlying disease and not the high blood pressure itself. A few of the indistinct symptoms that may be seen in a cat with high blood pressure are:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dull coat

When a cat’s high blood pressure goes untreated, it can cause small blood vessels to begin to leak or rupture. High blood pressure can affect a cat’s eyesight, nervous system, kidney function, and cardiac function. Severe symptoms include sudden blindness and strokes.

#5 If It Is Caught Early, Feline Hypertension Is Managable

Can cats have high blood pressure like humans can? What causes high blood pressure in cats? Join us as we explore high blood pressure in cats and what you can do to manage it.

Catching the disease early is the key! Regular check-ups at the veterinarian will make it much easier to catch high blood pressure in cats in its early stages. Since high blood pressure is usually a secondary condition in cats, the treatment will be focused on the primary disease. Resolving the primary disease may bring your cat’s blood pressure back down into the normal range without having to treat for high blood pressure specifically.

Your veterinarian may choose to use a human blood pressure medication (calcium channel blockers or ACE inhibitors) to help control your cat’s blood pressure if necessary (source). These drugs can be quite difficult to dose for cats, so make sure you follow your veterinarian’s instructions.

If you have access to a holistic veterinarian, there are nutritional options for lowering your cat’s blood pressure (source). Increasing your cat’s intake of Vitamin C and E, balancing Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s, and supplements like Olive Leaf Extract can make a difference. It is important to get a holistic veterinarian’s advice on how to make these nutritional tricks work for your cat’s specific situation.

What can you do at home? Manage the stressors in your cat’s daily life. This may mean giving your cat more peace and quiet, but it may also mean enriching their environment. Appropriate toys, scratchers, hiding places, high perches, and consistency in routine can make a big difference for your kitty! Also, watch your cat’s weight. A good, species appropriate diet and some exercise can go a long way.

Sources And Digging Deeper

Can cats have high blood pressure like humans can? What causes high blood pressure in cats? Join us as we explore high blood pressure in cats and what you can do to manage it.

About Us

We are all about cats, tips, and catnip trips! Join this blog for cat lovers as we explore all things kitty with a cat-like curiosity. Read more…

Show Us Your Kitties!

Join us for a Facebook group full of kitty photos and fun. We would love to meet your kitties! 

Recent Posts

What Is Catnip?

What is catnip? Catnip can be found in just about any cat owner’s home. There are many cats that can’t get enough of it! Almost every cat toy is full of it. This little plant is full of fun and surprises. Did you know that it isn’t just for cats? That’s right – humans...

Stories Of Cats In Ancient Mesopotamia

Ancient Mesopotamia was a land known for its wealth of legends. It included important civilizations such as Babylon, Persia, Assyria, Samaria, and more. Cats have been domesticated there for thousands of years. Oddly, there are not a whole lot of stories about house...

5 Things That Prove Cats are Carnivores

Not every animal was created with the same nutritional needs. Some animals need to eat only vegetation to live, some only meat, while others can eat a combination of the two. Cats are carnivores. It is possible to see this by looking at the different pieces of their...

What Is A Tabby Cat?

Tabby cats are some of the most popular cats in the world. Contrary to popular belief, referring to a cat as a tabby does not reference the cat’s breed, but rather the pattern of markings on their coat. The tabby color pattern can be seen in almost all breeds of cat –...

The First 6 Weeks of Kitten Development

One of my kitties (Manna) became part of my family at only 3.5 weeks old after being orphaned. It is amazing to watch kitten development! Kittens are born after a whirlwind 63 to 65-day gestation period (source). What happens in utero is remarkably similar to human...

More Pawsome Posts You May Enjoy…

What Is Catnip?

What Is Catnip?

What is catnip? Catnip can be found in just about any cat owner’s home. There are many cats that can’t get enough of it! Almost every cat toy is full of it. This little plant is full of fun and surprises. Did you know that it isn’t just for cats? That’s right – humans...

5 Things That Prove Cats are Carnivores

5 Things That Prove Cats are Carnivores

Not every animal was created with the same nutritional needs. Some animals need to eat only vegetation to live, some only meat, while others can eat a combination of the two. Cats are carnivores. It is possible to see this by looking at the different pieces of their...

The First 6 Weeks of Kitten Development

The First 6 Weeks of Kitten Development

One of my kitties (Manna) became part of my family at only 3.5 weeks old after being orphaned. It is amazing to watch kitten development! Kittens are born after a whirlwind 63 to 65-day gestation period (source). What happens in utero is remarkably similar to human...

13 Comments

  1. Brian Frum

    Very interesting, we hope not to encounter that prolblem any time soon.

    Reply
  2. Ellen J Pilch

    Excellent post. My Emmy was recently diagnosed with this- hers was 250, but with meds it is down to 170. She also has heart issues and is hyperthyroid.

    Reply
  3. Eastside Cats Blog

    Wonder if veterinarians check for high blood pressure in the course of a regular visit.

    Reply
  4. Charles Huss

    Chris is going to the vet Friday. I’ll have to ask about that.

    Reply
  5. Summer

    This is really good info to know!

    Reply
  6. meowmeowmans

    Thanks for this really informative article. We hope we never have to deal with this with our cats, but we are glad you shared this, so that we know about it!

    Reply
  7. Ruth Epstein

    Interesting post, I never knew that but have now learned something new thanks to you. It is so important to be aware of all for our pets to keep them happy and healthy

    Reply
  8. Michelle & The Paw Pack!

    Very interesting! Dogs can develop high blood pressure too (I don’t have cats). I wish more vets would check pets’ blood pressure during regular exams, like human doctors do, since high blood pressure can be asymptomatic and easy to miss.

    Reply
  9. jana rade

    I have the feeling that high blood pressure is always a secondary condition. Gotta watch it for the sake of the kidneys, though, right?

    Reply
  10. Terri

    Now that you mention it, I don’t know why it’s not standard protocol for all vets to take the bp of their patients no matter what that animal happens to be in front of them. I know every time I go to the doctor, they take my weight, pulse, O2, BP, temp taken, and listen to my heart. When I take Henry, or when I took my cats, to the vet they’d be weighed, pulse and temp are taken, and heart listened to but that’s it. How is the vet supposed to get the overall picture without all the basic vitals? This is great info. I kind of knew that low or high BP is an indication of an underlying health issue. But all the more reason to take it at each visit. Maybe it can be caught in an early stage? I’m going to ask my vet next time I go in with Henry.

    Thanks for this information! I’m sharing with my pet friends.

    Reply
  11. Kamira Gayle

    I had no idea high blood pressure was an issue for cats. Thanks for sharing this informative post. I found it interesting that the same thing applies to humans. High blood pressure is the result of other issues going on. I’m thankful that my two angel cats never had high blood pressure.

    Reply
  12. Marjoriee at Dash Kitten

    I did not realise cats could have high blood pressure. I wonder how a vet would measure it? (I know humans get a sleeve around the arm). I am reassured it is mostly a secondly issue though!

    Reply
  13. Beth

    I’ve never seen a vet take the blood pressure of a dog or a cat. I can’t help but wonder if it was a routine procedure if it would help diagnose some of the correlating conditions earlier.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Or Follow Us On Social Media

Pin It on Pinterest