Friday, August 1, 2014

Feline Hypertension

Hypertension, high blood pressure, in cats can cause damage to the eyes, heart, nervous system, and kidneys.


Hypertension in cats most often occurs as a secondary condition.  Hypertension is most common in cats with kidney disease; however, it can also occur with hyperthyroidism, heart disease, and tumors.  Though hypertension is typically associated with another condition, it can occur by itself as well.  


Unfortunately, hypertension may not present any symptoms until the condition is severe or has been around a while.  

Vision changes are usually the first sign of high blood pressure in cats.  You might notice that your kitty bumps into things or hugs the wall so she can use her whiskers to find her way around.  Blindness occurs when hypertension in the eye leads to the retina detaching.  Your cat may also have dilated pupils that don't contract with light and/or blood in the front chamber of the eye.  

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn

Stroke, heart murmur, blood clots, and lethargy may also indicate that your kitty is suffering from high blood pressure.  

A cat's risk of developing hypertension increases with age.  Thus, it is recommended that senior kitties get regular blood pressure checks as part of their examinations.  Additionally, any cat with kidney disease or hyperthyroidism should have her blood pressure checked regularly.


While there are different ways vets can measure a cat's blood pressure, most veterinarians use a machine much like the one used to measure human blood pressure.  A tiny cuff is placed around the kitty's tail or leg.  It's common for vets to take a cat's blood pressure a few times in a row and to average the numbers to get a more accurate blood pressure reading.

Photo Credit: Keith Ramsey


Medications like amlodipine and benazepril are used to treat the condition.  Additionally, veterinarians should do tests to determine if the hypertension has an underlying cause, such as chronic renal failure or hyperthyroidism.  If an underlying cause is found, this will also need to be treated.


  1. This is all really good info! I've had my blood pressure read, by a vet who came to our house!

  2. That is super information. We have only had one cat that had to have it's blood pressure taken and it was all right. Thanks for this great post.

  3. Thanks for sharing this info on hypertension. It's a serious problem that not many kitties get checked for.

  4. Thanks for the great info, we didn't know most of that!

  5. The thought that cats could have high blood pressure has never crossed my mind! Very informative. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This is great information. I've only seen one of my cats have their blood pressure checked and it was fascinating!

  7. Thanks for sharing. My 16 year old cat is on Amlodipine. My vet says treating high blood pressure can help to keep kidney disease in check.

  8. Great information, we didn't know a lot about it ! Purrs

  9. Great info! I didn't know much on that topic, but now I do. Thanks!

  10. Very very good information thank you for sharing!

  11. interesting! this is something we don't really think about. our Smidgie has kidney disease so having her blood pressure checked is proly a good idea (she doesn't think so, though ;-/). Thanks for this post!

    Pip, Smidgen, Minnie, Hollie