Cats can develop high blood pressure as they age. We recommend annual blood pressure testing for all cats over the age of 6 years.  A record of their annual readings becomes valuable and will clearly show any subtle or more dramatic changes that could indicate further investigation and treatment.  Treatment is essential as it will prevent or limit the damage to important organs. If left undetected high blood pressure (BP) can also commonly cause damage to the eye and even blindness.  It will also improve your cat's quality of life and allow them to live a longer, happier and healthier life.  All cats over 6 years, on our MVP Care Plan can benefit from a 25% discount on each annual blood pressure test.  For more information on our care plan, please click here.

Why is blood pressure monitoring important to my cat?

High blood pressure or hypertension is harmful to the body.  In cats it can cause damage to vital body organs including the eyes, kidneys, heart and brain.  If the blood pressure build-up becomes severe, cats can suffer a loss of vision due to a painful bleeding in their eye/s or detachment of their retina.  

More than 80% of cats with previously undetected high blood pressure present to us with a sudden onset of blindness.  Measuring blood pressure regularly in older cats is important before these terrible consequences develop.

Other organs can be affected too.  High blood pressure can cause bleeding in the brain and the resulting neurological signs can include being very unsteady and wobbly / seizures / dementia type symptoms and even coma.  It can also damage your cats kidneys or make existing kidney disease worse.

How do I know my cat has high blood pressure?

Like people there are no visible outward signs and this can stay undiagnosed for a long period of time.  The disease is often termed the silent killer as the effects of undetected high blood pressure can strike suddenly with severe consequences.  Early diagnosis is the key to fighting hypertension and is why we recommend all cats over the age of 6 years have their blood pressure taken once a year.

How is my cat's blood pressure monitored?

We run our nurse blood pressure checks as a double consult to give your cat time to explore and settle in before we start with the testing - we want them to be as relaxed as possible ahead of their blood pressure testing.  This is more often than most carried out in our cat ward where it is a lot quieter than being near the background noise of an often busy waiting room! Please wait in our cat waiting area.  We will have a chat with you before we take your cat to the ward and then after once we have his or her blood pressure results.

The actual reading is taken using a very similar machine to those used on us!  A small cuff is gently wrapped around your cat's tail or paw and inflated to generate a reading.  This will be performed several times, with a break in between each reading to obtain a consistent reading.  

How often should my cat’s blood pressure be checked?

The risk of hypertension increases with age and with kidney disease.  We recommend an annual test for cats over the age of 6 years - in more senior and elderly cats or cats those with kidney or thyroid disease, testing will be recommended more regularly, as we know they are at higher risk of developing high blood pressure.

What should my cats blood pressure reading be?

We record the systolic reading in cats.  A healthy cat can have a normal blood pressure reading between 80 - 140mmHg.  Your cat's blood pressure reading will be taken by our nurses.  Cats are considered hypertensive / have a high blood pressure, when persistently above 150-160mmHg.  Our nurses will advise a vet appointment for a full examination if this is the case or if other concerns are highlighted at the same time.

Can high blood pressure in cats be treated?

Yes, with a simple daily dose of medication. The trick is to discover it early before the high blood pressure has had a chance to cause internal damage to your cat.  Treatment is essential as it will prevent or limit the damage to important organs.  It will also improve your cat's quality of life and allow them to live a longer, happier and healthier life.

Are there any other signs I should look out for as my cat gets older?

Changes, to the following areas may indicate your cat needs to have a vet examination:

  • Thirst / appetite / how they are eating
  • Weight and body condition
  • Behaviour / energy levels e.g. grumpy or less happy around people, interacting less or are less active, sleeping in unusual places, not coming upstairs or jumping up onto furniture, toileting in unusual places or purring less
  • Mobility or Agility - Has there been any changes in your cat's ability or enthusiasm to do normal tasks such as going up / down the stairs, using the catflap, jumping on/off things, play or using their preferred scratching post/area
  • Have you noticed any stiff gait, limp or has your cat been vocalising / hissing when moving or being stroked over their joints.

These types of changes are of a concern, especially in our older cats and can indicate they are feeling unwell  e.g. pain and discomfort caused by arthritis; kidney or thyroid disease or a heart condition.  Many of these conditions can be treated and managed, helping your cat lead a good quality of life and in many cases lengthen their life.
If you notice the changes mentioned above and are concerned, please contact us for further advice. 

Want more information?

Don't forget the 25% discount we offer to all cats on our MVP Care Plan.  This is applied to one blood pressure test every 12 months.  To book your cat's blood pressure please select the Nurse Blood Pressure reason when booking online (click the blue Petsapp icon at the bottom of this page) or if booking over the phone please make it clear to our reception team the reason for your visit.  They can ensure a double nurse appointment is booked.