Have you ever watched your cat closely as she sleeps curled up on your tummy? If you have, you will have noticed that her heartbeat is different than ours. But don’t worry if it seems fast, here’s why!
Cats have an average heart rate of some 150 beats per minute, and they live for about 15 years. A dog with the same lifespan has a heart rate of 90, while a hamster’s heart beats 450 times a minute and only lives for about three years. Animal heartbeats tend to be inversely proportionate to their size, so, generally speaking, the smaller the creature, the faster its pulse.
We usually associate a fast heart rate with bad health, and in fact we should not underestimate the notion that an unusual rhythm might well be a warning that something is amiss with the heart. We can tell a lot about a cat’s health through its heartbeat.
THE CAT IS WELL.
You can feel your cat’s heart beating on the left hand of its chest. Count how many times it beats in fifteen seconds and then multiply by four. Make sure your cat is relaxed and calm when you do this, otherwise you could get a misleading count. If it beats between 150 and 160 times a minute, at even and regular intervals, then everything is just fine.
THE CAT IS UNWELL.
The first organ to be affected by a cardiac malfunction is the lungs. So while the cat is sleeping, count how many times it breathes per minute. If the number is more than 20 or 30, and her heart rate is more than 180, there could be a cardiac problem. If the cat has a temperature of less than 37.2°C or more than 40°C, then get him to a vet immediately.
Cardiac disease can affect cats of all ages, although sometimes it’s a congenital issue. Adult cats may be predisposed, while older and younger ones are more at risk.
To prevent cardiac illnesses, keep your cat under close control and make sure he gets regular check-ups!