How To Comfort A Dying Cat
Some cats prefer relative isolation when they are dying, meaning they prefer to hide in a quiet place. Respect this whenever possible. Other cats want the comfort of their human or animal family, and thats fine, too. Follow your cats lead.
- A dying cat needs quiet and calm. Keep household noise to a minimum and if practical, move the cat to a quieter part of the house away from the everyday hustle and bustle such as their favourite humans bedroom. Dim the lights, and turn televisions and radios down.
- Stay with the cat and talk quietly and calmly as they are dying, your presence will calm them.
- If the cat has a canine or feline companion, allow them to be with the cat if that is what the dying cat wants, unless the cat has a highly infectious disease.
- An immobile cat can develop pressure sores, ensure they have a cozy and well-cushioned bed.
- Keep fresh water available and close to the cats bed. Offer food on your finger.
Amazing Animal Heart Facts
Photo by John Joyner/NC State Veterinary Medicine
February 13, 2018
They can be as big as a piano or too small to see without a microscope. They may beat as much as 1,000 or as little as six times a minute.
They are animal hearts and theyre extraordinary.
Yes, the human heart is pretty astonishing, too. The thing has its electrical impulse, so with enough oxygen it can beat when outside of the body.
But then again, we just have one of them. The octopus has three. And it just gets more amazing from there.
The cheetah is one of the fastest land animals, but its resting heart beat is about 120 beats per minute, similar to a jogging human. Heres the difference: While it takes some time for a human heart to reach its limit, usually 220 BPM, the cheetah can go up to 250 BPM in just a few seconds.
A cheetahs heart beat can go up to 250 BPM in just a few seconds.
Really Beat It
The cheetah has a bit of competition, however, with the Etruscan shrew. The smallest known mammal by mass, the Etruscan shrew weighs in at under 2 grams and has a 25 beats per second heart rate. Thats a 1,500 BPM. Its alsokind of cute.
Sizing It Up
The human heart is about the size of a fist and a cows heart is the size of a human head. The largest animal heart is the blue whales, which has been weighed at about 400 pounds .
Sizing it down
Room for Growth
The zebrafish heart has amazing regenerative properties, quickly closing injuries and mending itself back to almost full function.
Why Is My Cat Breathing Fast
Rapid breathing in cats is also known as tachypnea. First, lets establish what a healthy respiratory rate for a cat is. Theyd usually take between 20 to 30 breaths per minute.
To find your cats resting respiration rate, count the number of breaths he or she takes while resting. One breath includes inhaling and exhaling . Its important that your cat not be purring when you count their breathing rate. The sleeping rate is usually a little lower than their resting breathing rate.
Time them on your phone or a watch to count how many breaths happen in that 30-second period. Then youll multiply the number of breaths you counted by two to arrive at the number of breaths your cat takes in one minute.
The Cat Heart: What Are The Signs Of Disease
Tiger, the kitty pictured to the left, is only 6 and has a cat heart disease called Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. He doesn’t know it though. As you can see, he loves to hang out in crazy places, even upside down in the sink! He is on medication which he gets twice daily every day and he has been doing well for the two years he has been with me.
HCM isn’t the only heart disease cats can get. Cats can have “heart attacks” and leaky valves and other congenital defects. They can develop heart failure and experience a buildup of fluid in their lungs. Cats get high blood pressure and can have strokes.
Many of the same symptoms we associate with heart disease in people are likewise symptoms that cats can experience. The following letter from a reader concerns symptoms she is observing in her cat and her concern about them.
Meghan from Mountain View, CA writes to ask about her young cat’s gagging which occurs after exercise.
Dear Dr. Neely,
Recently I have started noticing that my 2 1/2 year old cat, Mariposa, has a strange reaction when playing chase the string on a stick. I like to run her up and down the hall as they play chase. I also find it amusing to start moving it around in circles, and back and forth, so fast that their little heads are going in circles. They love it, and little Mariposa is CONSTANTLY begging to play. She has TONS of energy and a zest for stalking the string and running up and down.
Normal Respiration Rate For Cats
On average, a cat will take 15 to 30 breaths per minute. This is the resting respiration rate, meaning the rate your cat breathes when theyre at rest and havent engaged in recent physical activity.
Note that if your cat has just finished up an exercise or play session, or their body temperature has risen, then its common for the respiration rate to also rise.
Early Signs Of Heart Disease
In the initial phase of disease, cats may show no signs at all and appear completely normal. In fact a number of cats with cardiomyopathy may never actually develop clinical disease. However, while in some cats progression of the underlying disease is slow, in others it can be quite rapid.
Some early signs of heart disease may be detectable during a clinical examination by your vet, prior to the onset of any overt signs. This is one of the reasons why every cat should be checked at least once a year by a vet . Early warning signs that your vet might detect include:
Many cats, especially those in the early stages of the disease, may only have changes in the cardiac muscle that are detected during ultrasound examination of the heart. These cats are clinically silent , although many will go on to develop signs later on.
Causes Of Rapid Heart Rate In Cats
There is a number of physiological and pathologic reasons a feline could develop a rapid heart rate. A cat could experience a temporarily elevated heart rate due to fear, excitement, rage, restraint, and exercise, but a prolonged rapid heart rate could be caused by a serious health condition including:
- Digitalis toxicity
Prognosis For Cats With Cardiomyopathy
Even though hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats is incurable, the old saying, an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure, still greatly applies to cats living with heart disease or congestive heart failure for cats in one form or another. This is because if HCM is detected and arrested in its mild to moderate stages, then the prognosis for an essentially normal life for a number of years can be good. However, the form and severity of the disease at the time of discovery will ultimately dictate the prognosis in all cases. Additionally:
- HCM can worsen quickly or progress slowly over a period of years
- HCM can remain undetected in some cats until the advanced stages, and the time between diagnosis and death can be a matter of weeks or months
- HCM can remain mild in some cats and never progress to the advanced stages, while other cats will progress to the advanced stages despite medical intervention
The existence of these variables and possibilities make both preventive and follow up care of the utmost importance where heart disease and congestive heart failure are concerned.
Symptoms Of Rapid Heart Rate In Cats
A cat with a rapid heart rate may have little to no present symptoms, as a rapid heart rate is a symptom in itself and not the definition of a disease. Congestive heart failure is the common cause of a rapid heart rate in cats, therefore, a feline may present disease-related symptoms, such as:
Additional symptoms a cat may display with a rapid heart rate may include:
- Heart murmur
What Are Treatment Options For Atrial Fibrillation
For a cat with atrial fibrillation, medications that slow the rate of conduction of electrical signals between the atria and the ventricles are used. These include beta-adrenergic blockers such as atenolol , or calcium-channel blockers such as diltiazem .
Cats with atrial fibrillation also often have underlying heart disease, meaning the focus of medical management also needs to center on treatment of this condition. For congestive heart failure, medication is given to relieve the body of excess fluid, to control hypertension , and to help the heart beat more effectively.
Your veterinarian may recommend a special diet for your cat with atrial fibrillation. If your cat is experiencing congestive heart failure, then a mild to moderate restriction of sodium in the diet may be in order.
Is It Normal For My Kitten To Breath Fast
A normal kitten should appear to have a small chest movement whenever it breaths. If the other side of his body is moving several times than the other, that indicate an abnormal breathing pattern.
Compare to dogs, cats never breathe with short and quick breaths. If the kitten has a normal breathing pattern, an excessive moment in the stomach should not be present.
For some kittens, fast breathing is due to stress and exercise especially after playing and running around the house in hot weather. However, there are those that pant when they are taken for a ride inside the car.
There are times that kittens touch their mouths making it appear like they are trying to open to breathe freely. It can be a manifestation of congested sinuses or nose. To confirm this, the kitten may appear to have a loud breathing than a normal sound.
Complications Associated With Hcm
Many felines diagnosed with HCM eventually develop signs of congestive heart failure. Cats with HCM are at risk for developing blood clots that can escape the heart and eventually become lodged in a blood vessel that has become too narrow. This is called a thromboembolism. A common area for this to occur is the hind quarters region, at the point the aorta splits before going into each rear leg. If this happens, paralysis and severe pain will result. In fact, the paralysis and pain are very common reasons many owners initially bring their cat to see a veterinarian. However, what they thought might be a broken leg or lameness is actually hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats.
With supportive veterinary and in-home family care, between 40%-50% of patients with thromboembolic disease can internally break down clots and regain some amount of limb function over time.
Due to the nature of how blood clots fragment and disperse throughout the body, cats that experience blood clotting once are at a significantly increased risk of developing another clot within the following weeks or months. Because of the somber prognosis for cats that have suffered a thromboembolic event, some owners elect euthanasia.
How To Recognize Feline Heart Disease
This article was co-authored by Melissa Nelson, DVM, PhD. Dr. Nelson is a Veterinarian who specializes in Companion and Large Animal Medicine in Minnesota, where she has over 18 years of experience as a veterinarian in a rural clinic. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1998. This article has been viewed 22,687 times.
Cats suffer from heart disease just like any other species. However, cats are adept at hiding the early warning signs. Their laid-back lifestyles and talent for sleeping tend to mask symptoms that would be evident in more active animals. Additionally, the symptoms of heart disease are very similar to lung disease. It’s important to be vigilant in identifying any health issues in your cat and to bring your cat to the veterinarian as early as possible.
Pay Attention To Your Cats Dental Health
Gum disease causes pain and has a negative effect on a cats overall health and well-being. Healthy cat gums should be light or bright pink and not red, swollen, or bleeding. Healthy cat teeth, just like human teeth, are white, clean, and free from chipping.
Bad breath is usually the first symptom of dental problems in cats, but they can also cause drooling, pawing at the mouth, and trouble eating. If you notice any problems in your cats mouth, talk to your veterinarian about getting them resolved.
You may be able to avoid dental issues in the first place with a simple oral care routine. Daily brushing will help keep kittys teeth and gums healthy.
Just make sure to use a thats meant for cats. Cats should never use people toothpaste! Pet toothpaste is fairly simple to use. Just apply to your cats gum line with your finger or a toothbrush. No scrubbing needed. Dont give up if your cat isnt immediately in love with having her teeth cleaned. You may be able to get her used to it if you start gradually by touching her mouth while youre cuddling and work up to gently pulling up her lip and touching her teeth. It may be easier to clean your cats teeth if you use a that slides on over the end of your finger.
Heres a full tutorial on how to clean your cats teeth.
Fight Or Flight Response
It’s a set of symptoms you get when you react to something scary. Your fright triggers the release of certain hormones that send signals through your brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Blood and fuel floods to your arms and legs to prepare to meet the threat with one of two options: fight or run away. Your pulse and breathing speed up. You also might get sweaty and shaky.
Problems Fighting Off Germs
Your body may not beat back infections so well when you worry. Even just thinking about something that made you angry or sad can lessen the response of your immune system — the body’s defense against germs — in as little as 30 minutes. Anxiety that stretches over days, months, or years can take an even bigger toll on the immune system, making it harder for you to fight the flu, herpes, shingles, and other viruses.
Giving Liquid Medication To Cats
The easiest way to give your cat liquid medication is to mix it in with some canned food. In some cases, this is not possible, and you will have to administer the medication directly into the cat’s mouth using a syringe. Before starting, make sure you prepare the syringe with the correct amount of medication. If the medication was refrigerated, you may want to warm it up by holding the syringe tightly in your hand for a minute or two. It may be helpful to have someone assist you the first few times you administer the medication. Try wrapping your cat in a blanket or towel with only its head exposed. Detailed directions for administering the medication are provided in this handout. Make sure you give your cat plenty of praise throughout the procedure and offer a special treat after giving the medication.
What’s A Normal Cat Temperature Tips For Checking Your Cat’s Vitals
Keeping your cat’s health in tip-top shape isn’t always easy, especially when they’re extremely adept at hiding an illness. So how can you detect when your feline friend isn’t feeling so hot? Being familiar with baseline vitals, such as what a normal cat temperature is and how many beats per minute indicate a healthy cat heart rate, can help you get a pulse on your pet’s health.
How To Help Your Cat Stay Calm And Happy
If you want your cat to stay mentally and physically fit, there are some simple steps you can take. First, find a good veterinarian and bring your kitty in for regular checkups and vaccinations. This is the easiest step and by far the most important.
You also want to feed your kitty nutritious food and avoid overfeeding him. Be sure to ask your vet how much food is too much. AvoDerm Natural cat food offers a wide variety of nutritious formulas in both wet and dry styles.
Play and exercise are important for your cat’s health too. Sometimes boredom increases stress in cats. If your kitten has a clean bill of health, try playing with him more and helping him get more exercise. You can take your cat outside on a harness for a walk, or just play in the house with a feather wand toy.
Comfort Zone Calming Diffusers mimic your cat’s natural pheromones and may decrease stress by signaling to cats that everything is okay. Providing a safe and enclosed place for your kitty to sleeplike the K&H Thermo-Lookout Podcan also lower stress levels. Kittens will especially take to the Mother’s Heartbeat Heated Kitty Pet Bed. The bed includes a heated bed, a heart pillow, and a heartbeat device that mimics the vibration of a mother’s heartbeat. This can produce a strong, calming effect on kittens.
1. Schmidt, Rebecca. “What Is a Cat’s Normal Heart Rate?” Chicago Tribune, 10 August 2013, .
What You Should Do If Your Cat Has Breathing Problems
If a cat is panting after a walk, exercise, or exciting adventure like a vet visit, it could be a sign of excitement, stress, or exhaustion. This is normal. Let your cat cool down in air conditioning or a cool location and give them plenty of water.
If your cat is having difficulty breathing and theres no obvious cause, it may be time to call the veterinarian.
Causes Of Increased Heart Rate In Cats
A variety of medical conditions can cause your cat’s heart rate to stay elevated. Here are some of the most common causes seen in cats:
Cardiac arrhythmia can cause your cat’s heart rate to be too high or low. It can also cause his heart to skip beats and become irregular. This condition can be diagnosed during a routine veterinarian visit, but often is missed due to the level of stress the cat is under at the doctor’s office. In many cases, strange behavior is noticed by the owner such as rapid breathing or fainting which results in the doctor visit for diagnosis.
Thyroid conditions can cause your cat’s metabolism to work harder and that may increase his heart rate. This condition occurs when your cat’s thyroid releases more hormones than he needs.
Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure occurs when your cat’s heart cannot pump enough blood throughout the body. When this happens, his lungs fill with fluid the cat will experience congestive heart failure. An increased heart rate is one symptom of this condition.
Why You Should Check Your Cat’s Vital Signs
Taking your cat’s vitals provides you with a better snapshot of their overall health and can give you peace of mind. Additionally, yearly vet checkups are vital to maintaining your cat’s health. Senior cats should participate in biannual exams because as they age, their body changes more rapidly.
If your pet’s vitals seem fine i.e., a normal cat temperature, no breathing issues and the like but you suspect they just aren’t feeling well, don’t hesitate to call your vet’s office. No one knows your kitty as well as you do, so trust your intuition, so they can get the help they need sooner.
How To Measure Your Cats Heartbeat
You can feel your pets heartbeat best on the left side of its chest. Count the number of beats in 15 seconds and this number should be multiplied by 4 to get the number of heartbeats per minute. At best, measure when your cat is calm and relaxed in order to get the most accurate count. If you get a result that is between 150 to 160 beats a minute, your cats heartbeat is normal as long as the intervals and the rhythm are also even.
A heartbeat rate of more than 180 can be a signal of a cardiac condition, especially if it has a temperature below 37.2 or higher than 40 degrees Celsius. It is also important that you bring your kitty to the vet as soon as possible to have it checked.
As long as your cats temperature is normal, a heart rate of 220 is still nothing to worry about, but over 240 beats per minute is a sign of supraventricular tachycardia . This is a medical condition wherein a cat displays a rapid heart rate while at rest or doing low activity. If the heart rate continues to be fast over a long period of time, it may cause progressive myocardial failure and congestive heart failure.
Different Cancers Have Different Symptoms
Depending on the type of cancer a cat has, you might see vomiting, , changes in appetite and weight loss. If you dont weigh your cat regularly at home on a small scale, it can be hard to tell when your cat is losing weight especially if your cat is very fluffy.
This is why its important to bring your cat to the vet at least on an annual basis so you can check her weight and compare it to her weight on previous visits. There are other things that can cause vomiting and changes in appetite, whether its kidney disease or thyroid disease, which is not uncommon in kitties, so its just a good trigger for you to bring your cat to the vet, Dr. Ettinger explains. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, seeking a diagnosis and pursing treatment before your cats body condition has significantly deteriorated might positively impact her outcome.
Why Does Your Cat Have A Rapid Heart Rate
Like humans, the valves of the heart separate blood that is oxygenated and not and pumps the blood around the body. In order for blood to be pumped around the body, the heart muscle will need to contract. The pacemaker or sinoatrial node is an electric impulse that acts as the trigger for the pumping of the blood through the valves and chambers in the heart. It is the pacemaker that you feel when you are measuring your pets heartbeat.
While most causes of SVT happen at the sinoatrial node, it may also happen in the atrioventricular nodal tissue or the atrial muscle. In these cases, it can develop into a serious medical condition.
Other symptoms that accompany a fast heart rate include weakness, fainting, coughing, and other breathing problems.
Applying Ear Drops To Cats
In order to properly treat inflammatory or infectious ear conditions, topical ear medications are often necessary. Instilling ear medications into your cat’s ears can be a challenging task, especially if they are uncomfortable. Have patience and contact your veterinarian if you are having difficulties.
Differentiation Of Forms Of Cardiomyopathy
Various diagnostic tests can be done to assist the diagnosis of heart disease in cats.
- Electrocardiogram this is an electrical trace of the heart activity. It can be very useful for the detection of cardiac rhythm disturbances, but has more limited use beyond that.
- Radiography are helpful for showing changes in the overall shape and size of the heart, and for detecting a build up of fluid . Repeating radiographs may also allow monitoring of the efficacy of any treatment.
- Heart ultrasound is very helpful as it allows a view of the internal dimensions of the heart, the wall thickness, and the contractility of the heart to be assessed. It can also show where a heart murmur is originating from. This is the only test which can readily distinguish between different types of heart disease in cats. Although a small area of skin usually needs to be shaved to perform ultrasound, the procedure is not uncomfortable or painful and so can be performed in most cats without any sedation or anaesthetic.
- Tests for underlying disease may need to be performed in some cases, including blood tests and blood pressure measurement.