Cat breeds prone to HCM

Maine Coon cat
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Photo copyright Helmi Flick. Super-glamorous Maine Coon but prone to heart disease sadly.

Cat breeds prone to HCM are: Maine Coon, Ragdolls, British Shorthairs, American Shorthairs, Devon Rexes and Bengals. All these breeds are extensively discussed on this website. Please start by clicking on this page. Update: see comment below. Gail tells us that the relatively rare Ocicat is also predisposed to developing HCM.

Ocicat photographed by Helmi Flick

Ocicat photographed by Helmi Flick. Please respect her intellectual property rights.

All, but the last cat breed, are listed in the well-known Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook Third Edition. Debra M Eldredge DVM is the source of this information within the book.

RELATED: HCM in Bengal cats – extensive page.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

As for the Bengal cat, I am surprised that this breed was omitted by Debra because it is common knowledge nowadays that this glamorous cat breed is plagued with HCM. As I understand it, the potential cause is the narrow gene pool upon which this breed has been created. Bengal nose has the same cause, potentially.

For the Maine Coon and Ragdoll, the cause is a genetic mutation affecting males and females. The defective genes “involve the myosin Binding Protein C in the heart muscle.” Tests can be carried out to check for this gene at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University, as I understand it. A cheek swab or blood test is provided.

Up to a third of all Maine Coons are predisposed to HCM.

HCM stands for ‘hypertrophic cardiomyopathy’, the most common cause of heart disease in cats. It is also the most prominent cause of sudden death in indoor adult cats.

The walls of the ventricles become thick and inelastic weakening the heart and the chambers diminish is size.

Treatments for HCM include:

  • Beta-adrenergic blockers which slow the heart rate
  • Calcium-channel blockers which work like beta blockers
  • Aspirin, warfarin, or heparin and diuretics
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Low salt diets
  • Reducing activity
  • Magnesium supplements?

Note: please use the search facility on this site (RH column) to find information on HCM in cat breeds and all genetic diseases in purebred cats.

Below are some more pages on HCM in cats.

HCM in humans and Bengal cats

HCM in male and female Bengal cats and humans, a comparison

I've spotted a peculiar anomaly in the story about HCM in Bengal cats. In case you didn't realise it, Bengal ...
Read More
Brit SH

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) affects 10% of British Shorthairs

Sadly, there are studies, one of which I am reading right now, which confirm that this very popular cat breed ...
Read More
Diseased cat heart - feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy in cats – sudden death

The reason why I am writing this is because a person (who I will keep anonymous) wrote to me about ...
Read More
HCM testing Oklahoma cat show

Is Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy More Common Than Human Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy?

Yes, is the answer to the above question based upon my research but I will make a caveat by saying ...
Read More
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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2 Responses

  1. GAIL REED says:

    MY kitty a purebred Ocicat, with good lines died from HCM. Why are prospective owners NEVER warned about this by anyone? I first became aware of the issue when, as a kitten, I enrolled him with PETPLAN Vet Insurance, although he was perfectly health for the next 9 years. They indicated that Ocicats had a tendency to suffer from HCM. This whas the first I had heard about the disease, at all. I guess insurance companies make a point of being aware of health weaknesses. This reality is NEVER mentioned by anyone else, nor is it mentioned in the literature anywhere either.
    Bailey’s life was cut short because it wasn’t diagnosed until after his death. With EARLY diagnoses, cats can have a number of additional years.
    In looking back, my other Ocicat who was killed by my disgusting neighbor, showed signs of it in mid-life. People NEED to be informed of this! And and it NEEDS to be taught to up and coming vets while they’re in school.
    If you doubt me, contact PETPLAN Vet Insurance.
    PLEASE add them to your list and pass this on. Kitties are needlessly dying too soon because of ignorance.

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