One strange thing about cats is that they are good at disguising when they are ill or in discomfort. They try all possible ways not to make you suspect that they are feeling sick or in pain. This is more serious in cases with heart health, especially when there is a risk for heart disease in cats.
Well, you may wonder why your feline friends would behave in this manner, but you can trace the answer to the cat’s wild ancestry. It makes them loath to show weakness, especially when they fear being devoured by a predator.
Most times, prevention is the best treatment when it comes to heart diseases in cats since it can be hard to diagnose heart disease in cats. And by the time visible symptoms show up, some irreversible damage may be done to your cat’s heart already.
However, if you can detect the symptoms early enough, then you can effectively manage these diseases. This does not only work to extend your cat’s life, but it also enhances the overall quality of their life.
Types of Heart Disease in Cats
Cats can develop many kinds of heart diseases, but one of the most common is cardiomyopathy. This condition is characterized by the thickening of the left atrium of the heart muscle, and this makes it difficult for blood to pump through easily.
The result is usually a buildup of fluid in the lungs, a process known as congestive heart failure.
One type of cardiomyopathy called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common and it is considered an inherited disorder that affects cats of all ages. However, this condition is often diagnosed in older cats.
Also, a nutritional deficiency in the amino acid “taurine” can also cause cardiomyopathy in cats. This is more common in cats that eat fish-only foods, which are low in taurine.
Cardiomyopathy can also be a result of a prolonged buildup of scar tissues inside the heart. About 10 percent of cardiomyopathy cases are caused by this condition.
Simple ways to keep your cat’s heart healthy
You can take some steps to keep your cat’s heart healthy throughout their life. Check them out below:
Go for regular check-ups
Since you can hardly detect symptoms of heart disease in cats, especially at the early stage, it is better to go for regular check-ups. Although it might seem inconvenient and expensive to go to the vet constantly, it is worth it.
Don’t be tempted to say stuff like “my cat looks healthy, so there’s no need for a vet visit.” Always remember that cats’ heart disease can be present for many months or even years before visible symptoms start to show up.
Consider going for regular veterinary checkup every year to help create a strong defense line against cat’s heart disease.
Just by listening to your cat’s heartbeat through a stethoscope, a veterinarian determines if there’s a problem. A murmur of the heart usually shows that a cat has heart disease, and when there are different murmurs, it can be a sign of different heart conditions.
The good part is that if your veterinarian can detect the symptoms of heart disease early, they can recommend courses of action to avert any risk of irreversible damage to your cat’s heart.
Take symptoms seriously
If you notice unusual symptoms like lethargy, a bloated belly, rapid or strained breathing, or purplish gums, make sure you report to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Also, if your cat expresses some mood or behavioral changes, especially in a more subtle way, don’t write it off as feline fickleness. Take every unusual symptom seriously, even when you don’t want to go overboard with trips to the vet.
The moment you sense that something is off, ensure you call the attention of your veterinarian to it. Simply start by observing your cat for any noticeable mood changes. It could indicate that your cat is not feeling well.
Add Taurine to your cat diet
Taurine supplements are great to support cardiovascular functions. Little wonder most commercial cat foods now add all the taurine that cats need.
If you prepare your cat’s food yourself or offer them raw meat many times, then you can add the taurine supplement to their meals.
The lack of this essential amino acid in your cat’s diet could cause weakening of the heart or dilated cardiomyopathy.
Take preventive measures against pests
Mosquitoes can transmit heartworms through a bite and this parasite goes on to live in the blood vessels of an animal’s lungs and heart. Although dogs are more commonly affected by this parasite, cats are also potential hosts.
Once the heartworms get into your cat’s cardiovascular system, it leads to coughing and difficulty in breathing. This can often be misdiagnosed as bronchitis or asthma, which can leave the problem lingering for a long time.
But you can prevent heartworms from causing heart diseases in your cats. All you need to do is get prescriptions of spot-on treatments from your veterinarian.
Many products available kill the worms in the larvae stage. This helps to prevent the growth of the parasite into something that can cause considerable damage to your cat’s heart.
Know your cat breed
Some cat breeds have a high tendency of developing heart disease. Breeds like American Shorthairs, Maine Coons, Persians, and Ragdolls are commonly found to have these diseases.
If your cat belongs to any of these breeds, it is advisable to learn the common signs and symptoms to watch out for. Always remember that your vigilance and awareness can go a long way to save your cat’s life.
However, note that some heart conditions can be inherited from one parent or both. Yeah, some heart conditions in cats are genetic and cannot be prevented.
The best thing to do is to stay vigilant and seek immediate treatment as soon as the malady begins to affect your cat.
Monitoring your cat’s heart health
Veterinarians can often detect heart diseases in cats before the appearance of symptoms. The most common clue is a heart murmur that is audible via a stethoscope.
You can take your cat for blood tests and complete physical examination at least once yearly. This helps to screen your cat for diseases that can cause damage to your cat’s heart.
Some diseases like hypertension, hyperthyroidism, and anemia can cause havoc to the heart’s fundamental working. It is important to screen and recognize early symptoms and manage carefully.
If your cat has heart disease combined with other health conditions, treating a particular condition may indirectly help to alleviate the other.
Cats can develop heart disease but you may not know if you’re waiting to see visible symptoms. Although the symptoms may show up, cats know how to hide their feelings, especially when they are sick.
That’s more reason you should visit your veterinarian often to do proper checkups and monitoring of your cat’s heart health. No doubt, it can be quite hard getting a cat to the vet, but considering the importance of having a healthy heart, it is worth the effort.
If you watch out for your furry friend’s cardiac wellbeing, you have a higher chance of keeping them around you as companions for a long time.