Keep Calm and Measure Cats’ Blood Pressure!

We often get asked about health advice for cats and one of the things we do regularly point out is to ensure regular blood pressure checks especially in older cats.

It’s ​a complete CAT-ASTROPHE!

  • Our feline friends are at risk of a life-threatening health issue just like their owners – high blood pressure
  • It’s easy for vets to check for high blood pressure in cats: Finding it early can prevent blindness, kidney damage, heart attacks, and death

They are our constant companion and have been credited with helping their owners get through physical and mental health problems but despite 93% of Brits considering their cat as one of the family, only 18% have been to the vets and had their cat’s blood pressure checked.  Yet up to 83% of cats can present blind suddenly or with progressive blindness due to high blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the number one check British people expect GPs to make in older people, with 81% of those surveyed saying they would expect a GP to check this in their older patients.  A survey of 2001 cat owners by CEVA Animal Health UK revealed four in five cat owners aren’t aware cats can develop high blood pressure.

It is estimated 1 in 5 cats from the age of 9 years old are at risk of developing high blood pressure and if left untreated, high blood pressure can have severe consequences such as loss of vision, kidney failure and brain and heart damage.  Only 15% of cat owners suspected a link between feline hypertension and blindness or deterioration of eyesight and after being made aware of the main risks of high blood pressure in cats, namely blindness, seizures and kidney disease, 83% of cat owners say they would ask their vet for a blood pressure test for their cat.

The International Society of Feline Medicine, ISFM the veterinary division of International Cat Care, which campaigns nationally for cat welfare, recommends having blood pressure checks performed every year in cats from the age of 7 years old. The good news is that just like in people, blood pressure checks in cats are easy, quick and pain-free to do so can be included in routine vet visits in all older cats. As part of feline hypertension awareness month many vet clinics are promoting these checks so contact your vet to arrange one for your feline friend.  

There is hope if you keep on top of regular check-ups!

Case study 

We also have a case study by cat owner ​Lucy Patton ​from Ceva Animal Health whose own cat Coco, unfortunately, lost his sight due to feline hypertension.

Lucy Patton says​ “My cat was showing signs of losing his sight and becoming disorientated, walking into things in the home that he has lived in for years. I asked my vet for a blood pressure reading to be taken. The vet informed me his blood pressure was very high and it could be too late to save his sight.  We were prescribed a tasty tablet for Coco which we had to give daily.  

Coco has now been on medication for 4 months and his sight is showing clear signs of improvement. He is able to locate where his food/water bowls are and his bed which we are extremely glad about. We wish we could have spotted the signs or perhaps been offered a blood pressure check sooner as we now know medication really can help and the sooner it’s started the better”.

For more information on CEVA UK visit ​https://www.ceva.co.uk/

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12 thoughts on “Keep Calm and Measure Cats’ Blood Pressure!

    • Marc-André says:

      You’ll have to ask them to do it during the checkup. And it should be checked frequently especially in older cats

  1. Liz says:

    How does a vet do it? With me asking this question, I can’t have ever had it done on any of my cats in all the years I have owned them. I am 43 years old soon and have had cats from 13 and never in my lifetime am I aware of blood pressure checked on cars owned, especially routine checks.

    • Marc-André says:

      It basically looks like a mini version of what they use on us humans during blood pressure checks. It’s sadly not a routine inspection and hence why we wanted to raise awareness. You currently need to ask your vet to do the check. 🙁

      • Liz says:

        Thank you for letting me know on this. It’s something I have not seen done at my vets when taking my cats to the vets I have had over the years for a check up. It’s certainly something I agree with and so if I own any cats in the future, I will mention it.

  2. weggieboy says:

    About four years or so ago, the insides of Andy’s ears were red sometimes. Allergies were suspected, but his veterinarian also ordered a blood pressure check, which proved to be the problem. (The allergy? Possibly food related, but not established beyoind chicken-based foods work well with him and his brother, Dougy.) He’s been on medicine since. Fortunately, the medicines he gets can be mixed in chicken-flavored water, so injections or tablets aren’t involved.

    The veterinarian technician taking the BP check will apply a cuff to either the base of the tail or a foot, take six or seven individual checks, tossing out the highest on, and average the rest. I admit this procedure can be upsetting to Andy, so I encourage them to take the BP checks first when he’s there for more than just a BP check! He gets really upset when they use his tail. As a Persian, of course, they need to trim hair off the underside of the tail or the foot large enough to allow the cuff to have good contact with the skin!

    The medicine isn’t pleasant, apparently, because Andy reacts to it that way. I try to use the medicine time as a positive experience, though, and spend a few minutes before the medicine holding him, petting hium, rubbing his ears, all of the things him likes. Todayt, he even purred the whole time! I talk softly to him, telling him he’s a good kitty, whatever, and let him head butt me if that’s his pleasure.

    Then I wrap him in a towel, give him his medicine. Some flows out the side of his mouth, so I have a wet paper towel handy to wipe his face. (It varies day toi day, with more success on his part sometimes, or more success on my part others.) The medicine is sticky and gets trapped in his facial hair otherwise. I use the towel to “mop up” the excess water, which, as you might imagine, is something Andy doesn’t like. Then we go out to the “Good Kitty Spot” where i hand out the kitty treats.

    This is a long account of what it can be like treating a kitty with blood pressure issues. It seems like an imposition, yet the extra quality time with Andy has made him a more confiodent, happy kitty. Perhaps the stress of sharing me with his brother Dougy contributed to his blood pressure issues at such a young age (about four years of age when this started – they’ll be eight on July 1st this year).

    That he treats it as a pleasant time (mostly) now is evidenced by the purring, head butting, and calm way he lets me hold him stomach side up in the crook of my arm, like a baby, during medicine time. Of course, once I give him his medicine, I hold him, towel wrapped, more upright so he doesn’e choke on the liquid. He doesn’t even try to hide from me anymore. Well, most times!

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