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 that it is quite difficult to find definitive information. The weakness in making a comparison is because although there is a considerable amount of research on cats, it is far less than the amount of research on people. More research on cats is needed.

HCM testing Oklahoma cat show
HCM testing at Oklahoma cat show. The cat is a Persian.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

I will refer to Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy as HCM. In a research study entitled “Assessment Of the Prevalence of Heart Murmurs In Overtly Healthy Cats“, which is published on the AVMA website, the scientists discovered that 21% of the cats had heart murmurs. Of the cats that had heart murmurs tests were carried out on 7 of them and 6 had HCM. Apparently, the reported incidence of heart murmurs in apparently healthy cat is between 21% and 50%.

Various studies on people tell us that HCM occurs in about 0.2% of the general population of young adults.

The prevalence of HCM in cats generally has, as I understand it, been reported at anywhere between 1.6% and 8.3% ( The difference depends on “the population evaluated and the method of diagnosis”.

It is important to mention “cats generally” because we know that in certain cat breeds the prevalence is much higher. For example, the Bengal cat is known to have a higher than usual prevalence of HCM. In addition, the Maine Coon is known to have a higher than usual percentage of cats with HCM. There are other pedigree cats with the same problem.

In a study conducted at the Veterinary Cardiac Genetics Laboratory at Washington State University samples of DNA were taken from 21 different countries and 17 different cat breeds. Maine Coons accounted for all of the positive samples. Apparently, 34% of Maine Coons tested positive for a mutation that causes HCM.

It would seem that the prevalence of HCM in cats is between 8 and 40 times higher than in people.

HCM is a genetic disease. It is caused by a genetic mutation and the mutated gene is inherited. That is my understanding of the disease. I don’t know of any environmental factors that exacerbate this health problem. Although, it must be stated that this is a developing area so there may be some environmental causes. I believe that we need to know more about the causes of HCM in cats because it appears it is much more common in cats compared to people.

In a study entitled “Prevalence of heart disease in symptomatic cats: an overview from 1998 to 2005“, a total of 408 cats with various cardiovascular problems were studied and in 287 cats definitive cardiovascular disease was diagnosed and of these HCM was the most common diagnosis amounting to 67.6% of the cats.

HCM in cats is major cat illnesses and more research is required to get to the bottom of the cause and why cats appear to be predisposed generally in comparison to people.

25 thoughts on “Is Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy More Common Than Human Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy?”

  1. One of the major problems with this condition is that it can be very difficult to diagnose!
    Many years ago, my angel kitty (Siamese) Mousie Tongue (given to Marty and me as a wedding present- and one of the most affectionate and good humored cats I have ever had the joy of being owned by)-was diagnosed with Megacolon.

    After years of being treated with conventional medications- they typically stopped working, so the only choice left was surgery. So my feline only vet performed the surgery and he was beginning to heal very nicely. But within a few days he went seriously downhill and my vet put him in the ICU section of her clinic.

    She did everything possible to get Mousie restored to health but to no avail. Since I was visiting him every day- I was at the clinic one Saturday morning. Mousie was really sick and his heart stopped. I was holding him- my vet asked me if I wanted her to continue heroic measures to save him. Since he was so sick and unhappy I declined. Mousie died in my arms within a minute.

    Both she and I were devastated. A necropsy was done and the cause of death was cardiomyopathy, which was never detected. He had symptoms of the condition, but my truly excellent vet was not able to diagnose it prior to surgery. It is a nightmare condition.

    • I didn’t think that it was disturbing. The Persian cat was just lying there on a nice couch while a sensor was put over his chest which relayed an image to the computer that you see in the picture

      • M. my bad. Makita dies at fourteen years of age, of inbreeding. She should have left us years longer. Inbreeding. Pure breeds. Boolocks, as Marc would say. Sheer idiocy.

        My buddha kitty, Kita. She would have had a much longer, content life, if I had had the wherewithall to keep her motivated.

        You do not have to do that with those who have not been bred by our insipid stock.

        • My point is that the purebred cats are pretty much treated as worshipped fodder. 🙁 mitigate that statement, who don’t you idiots, who don’t give a damn.

          • The purebred cat’s appearance is worshipped but it seems to stop there. What people should be worshiping and striving for it is a content and healthy domestic cat and stop being so obsessed with appearance!

  2. Of course that cat is a Persian. goodness, god, Micahel, do you find it necessary to use borrow photos that suddenly link PoC to the tabloids?

    Due to inbreeding, [which I believe wholeheartedly, Michael wishes we would notice] the cardiomyopathy in these felines is preventable. Do not allow your purebred to breed.


    • goodness, god, Micahel, do you find it necessary to use borrow photos that suddenly link PoC to the tabloids?

      Cal, that photograph is one that was taken by me at a cat show in Oklahoma. Actually, it is a still photograph from a video and I watched while this person used a mobile ultrasound scanner and a laptop computer to analyse the kidneys and the heart of the white Persian cat who was brought into the room by his breeder/handler.

      I think that it is quite a nice photograph to illustrate this page!

      • Michael, it is that. An exemplary photo taken by you to illustrate the prose. This is exactly why we all love you! [shrimp just had another resp. attack]

        You are preaching to the choir, friend. I am guilty of the same everyday when I gravitate to PoC.

      • You are the best at taking care of us, here on PoC. You, pretty much, are not only our sibling, but our father and grandfather, as well. 😉 You do not even have to reply to our comments if you do not want to. [mjbmeister, I am trying to tell you that you keep us going! We rely on you, and that is why we flip you so much splat! get over it! 😉 ]

  3. My background in genetics, btw, is non-professional [as though! 😉 ] I realize that “pure” breds make the best “specimens.” That is why I cannot tolerate CFA and TICA laws. you hit a sore wound in my side on that one, M.


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