It is quite normal to be able to feel your cat’s heartbeat by placing your hand at the right spot. If the heart rate is very slow it is called bradycardia and if it is too fast it is called trachycardia. When it’s too fast it may disturb the normal sequence of contraction and this condition is called fibrillation. And when the rhythm is absent it is called arrhythmia. Pacemakers can be used in cats with arrhythmias but they are not very successful apparently.
- I can feel my cat’s kittens in her belly
- I can feel my cat’s spine when I pet him
- I can feel my cat’s shoulder blades
- I can feel my cat’s ribs
Feeling the heartbeat
You can feel your cat’s heartbeat, the pulse, by feeling the femoral artery in the groin. Or you can feel the heartbeat by pressing against your cat’s rib cage over the heart. Don’t press too hard though. Your cat should be standing and you can feel the pulse just behind the elbow.
When you check the heartbeat from the femoral artery your cat can be standing or lying belly up. You feel along the inside of the thigh where the leg and body join. You press lightly with your fingers to locate the pulse.
The pulse rate should be at 140-240 bpm for an adult cat. The pulse should be steady, regular and strong. If the pulse is too fast it may indicate that the cat is excited or has a fever or anaemia and other conditions such as heart and lung disease. If the pulse is slow it may indicate heart disease, hypothermia or perhaps a health condition which has been in place for a while which is causing the cat’s circulation to collapse.
Heart murmurs are not that uncommon it appears to me in cats. There is turbulence as the blood flow through the heart. A serious murmur can be due to feline cardiomyopathy or an anatomical defect in the heart at birth. Hyperthyroidism can also cause heart murmurs. Two other conditions are linked to heart numbers: systemic hypertension and anaemias.
In conclusion, it is probably quite handy to feel your cat’s heartbeat from time to time. If you are concerned about your cat’s health it is something you can check at home to obtain a bit more diagnostic information when you go and see your veterinarian as you should, if there are real concerns about your cat’s health.