Yes, you can take your cat’s blood pressure at home because you can buy a veterinary animal use blood pressure monitor on Amazon although, unsurprisingly, they are much more expensive than the incredibly cheap human versions. You can buy human blood pressure monitors for less than £20 (around $13 in America) but they’re going to cost up to about 10 times that if they are made for a dog or cat. This may simply be because the market is much smaller for veterinary blood pressure monitors which automatically pushes the price up. Exploitation I call it.
You measure your cat’s blood pressure in the same way that you measure yours. The difficulty will be in keeping your cat still! It will depend upon the cat’s character but I believe that it can be done with a gentle and quiet approach.
I check my blood pressure. I think everyone should. It helps to keep oneself healthy. It helps to motivate in keeping your weight down. For elderly people weight is a terrible problem. It must be kept down if you want to live longer. There are many illnesses associated with obesity including high blood pressure which can cause a range of illnesses both in humans and cats.
In humans there is the systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The former is the higher blood pressure when it leaves the heart and the latter is the lower blood pressure when it returns to the heart. In humans it should be 120/80. It used to be 140/80 but they reduced the systolic level. In cats it seems that you just measure the systolic blood pressure (SBP) which should be less than 140. This is a little higher than humans.
Feline hypertension is diagnosed when the SBP is greater than 160 mm Hg and there is “clear evidence of organ damage due to hypertension” according to the Pet MD.
A cat owner might notice the first signs of hypertension as fixed dilated pupils because of damage to the cat’s retina (retinal detachment). High blood pressure damages the eyes, brain, nervous system, kidneys and heart. Cats can lose their vision permanently unless the hypertension is treated. Symptoms of brain damage due to hypertension include disorientation, depression, seizures, abnormal behaviour.
Kidney damage can be made worse with hypertension. Kidney failure is not uncommon in elderly cats. In cats, chronic kidney disease is the most common disease associated with hypertension. Up to 74% of cats with hypertension have chronic kidney disease. Also, hyperthyroidism is linked to hypertension.
In humans, obesity can cause hypertension and the same applies to cats. Obesity can also lead to diabetes mellitus and heart disease amongst other diseases.
On an associated topic, you can also take your cat’s pulse. The normal pulse rate of a cat is 150-240 beats per minute. To take your cat’s pulse you grasp their chest just behind the elbows with one hand while supporting the cat with the other. You move your hand until you detect a heartbeat. You count the number of beats in 20 seconds and multiply that number by three. You can also take a cat’s pulse by feeling for the heartbeat on the inside of the back leg where it joins the body.
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