Wednesday 19 July 2023

How to take your cat's pulse and what the result might mean

The normal pulse rate of a cat is 150-240 bpm. To take your cat's pulse, grasp the chest just behind the elbows with one hand while supporting the cat with the other. Move your hand until you detect a heartbeat. Count the number of beats in 20 seconds, and multiply that number by three. For example, 50 beats in 20 seconds would be 150 bpm.

You can also take a cat's pulse by feeling for the heartbeat on the inside of the back leg where it joins the body. Use the above beat count.

Note: I am not a veterinarian but I do have a lot of experience and knowledge about cats and their health.

High metabolism - shorter life

As you can see, the domestic cat's heart rate is much higher than that of humans which is one reason why they have a shorter lifespan than humans. There is a link between heart rate and survival which is down to metabolic rate which is greater in small animals and which is directly associated with heart rate.

Fast beat

A high heartbeat rate which would be over 220 bpm may be accompanied by other symptoms such as coughing, fainting, weakness, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, increased urination, excessive thirst, nervous behaviour, sudden aggressive behaviour, shallow breathing, high blood pressure, unkempt coat, pale mucous membranes and/or intolerance to activity.

Possible causes of an increased heart rate might include cardiac arrhythmia, hyperthyroidism or congestive heart failure.

Slow beat

A heartbeat of less than 120 bpm can be considered to be bradycardia. Conditions and situations which might result in a slow heart rate would be nobody temperature (hypothermia), low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia), sedative medications or terminal feline infectious peritonitis.

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