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Because cats can hide their heart disease well, detecting your cat’s heart condition can be very difficult. Cats usually will not show outward symptoms of heart disease until the disease is advanced.  Also, cats with heart disease are less likely to have a heart murmur heard with a stethoscope and this can further delay diagnosis.

Some of the most common heart conditions in cats are:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) – the walls of the heart are too thick
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) - the walls are thin and the heart contracts weakly
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM) – the heart does not fill well with blood
  • Congenital heart disease like Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) - born with a hole in the heart
  • Arterial thromboembolism (ATE) – clot lodges in a blood vessel and blocks blood flow
  • Systemic hypertension – high blood pressure
  • Hyperthyroidism – excess thyroid hormone results in a fast and overstimulated heart

Cats can also get heartworm disease. Diagnosing cats with heartworm disease in cats is difficult and there are currently limited treatment options. A monthly heartworm preventative is the best option for protecting your cat. For more information on heartworm disease, please visit the American Heartworm Society's website.

The information included in this section covers the most commonly diagnosed feline heart diseases and their complications. However, because every cat is unique, your cat may not show the typical symptoms so diagnosis and treatment will be specific for your cat. Your veterinarian can answer specific questions you have about your cat’s condition. Visit our other pages for more information on basic heart function, symptoms of heart disease, diagnosing heart disease, nutrition for heart disease, and helpful forms and resources.

A cat sits with his paws crossed on a colorful blanket