Some people believe the heart is where the soul resides. While a cat’s heart may touch our lives in emotional ways, it is also the most important organ to a cat’s health. The heart pumps blood through the arteries, veins and capillaries delivering oxygen and other nutrients to all tissues of the body. The health of the heart can be compromised by age, infection, exercise level and weight. Heart disease in cats is very similar to heart disease in dogs, but cats are very good at hiding their symptoms making illness in cats much more difficult to detect.
Symptoms of Heart Disease in Cats:
– Labored Breathing / Shortness of Breath
– Loss of control in their rear legs
– Reduced Appetite
– Lethargy / Weakness
The most common type of heart disease in cats is cardiomyopathy which is a disease of the actual heart muscles themselves. Cardiomyopathy causes the walls of the heart to either become too thick or too thin which disrupts the hearts ability to constrict or release all the way and therefore loses efficiency. Genetic defects are possible, but most heart disease is acquired in older cats. Surprisingly, dental health is often linked to heart health. When a cat has a large amount of plaque and tartar on their teeth their mouth is full of bacteria. Ingesting that bacteria every time they swallow increases a cat’s risk of developing heart conditions. The best way to take care of your cat’s heart is to make sure they see the vet on an annual basis so the vet can listen to their heart and catch any disorders before they advance.