How to Tell the Normal Blood Pressure of a Cat: Methods, Facts & Tips


As cat owners, we like to know as much as possible about our pets, including their normal blood pressure range. High or low blood pressure can be a sign of an underlying health condition that requires medical attention. If you would like to know more, keep reading as we provide several tips and tricks to help you determine if your cat’s blood pressure is within the normal range.

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What Is the Normal Blood Pressure of a Cat?

A cat’s normal blood pressure range is generally between 120 and 150 mmHg for systolic pressure (the higher number) and 55–75 mmHg for diastolic pressure (the lower number).1 However, these values can vary depending on various factors, such as the cat’s age, breed, weight, and overall health status. Hypertension starts to occur when the systolic pressure is above 150.

Systolic Pressure Condition
<150 Normal
150–159 Prehypertension
160–179 Hypertension
>= 180 Severe Hypertension

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What Are Signs That My Cat’s Blood Pressure Is Not in the Normal Range?

Look for Signs of Hypertension

High blood pressure in cats is often secondary to an underlying disease, such as chronic kidney disease or hyperthyroidism. Signs of hypertension may include dilated pupils, blindness, and neurological signs like seizures. You may also notice blood in the clear part of the eye, and they might start bumping into objects in your home that they would normally avoid. Severe hypertension can cause brain damage, with signs ranging from depression to seizures.

  • Check for Signs of Hypotension: Low blood pressure may indicate an underlying health condition, such as heart disease or dehydration. Signs of low blood pressure in cats may include weakness, lethargy, and fainting. Other signs include pale gums, fast breathing, and a heart attack.
  • Monitor Your Cat’s Behavior: A healthy cat should be alert, active, and playful. If your cat is lethargic, disoriented, or confused, that could indicate abnormal blood pressure levels, especially if the signs are sudden and out of character for your pet.
maine coon cat in pain
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

What Causes My Cat’s Blood Pressure to Get Out of Normal Range?

  • Chronic kidney disease is a common cause of high blood pressure in cats. The kidneys play a vital role in regulating blood pressure, and it can become elevated when they aren’t functioning correctly.
  • An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can lead to high blood pressure in cats.
  • Heart disease can cause blood pressure to increase or decrease, depending on the type and severity of the condition.
  • Overweight cats are more likely to develop high blood pressure than cats at a healthy weight.
  • Stress can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure.
  • Dehydration can lead to low blood pressure in cats.
  • Certain medications can affect blood pressure in cats.

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How Can I Check to See If My Cat’s Blood Pressure Is Within Normal Range?

1. Veterinarian Consultation

vet checking bengal cat
Image Credit: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

A veterinarian is the best resource for determining a cat’s normal blood pressure range. A vet can measure your cat’s blood pressure during a physical exam and tell you if it’s within the normal range. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for monitoring your cat’s blood pressure over time.


2. Doppler Blood Pressure Monitor

A Doppler blood pressure monitor is a non-invasive method that uses a small cuff placed around the cat’s leg or tail. The cuff inflates and deflates while a probe detects blood flow sounds in the artery, allowing for the measurement of blood pressure.


3. Oscillometric Blood Pressure Monitor

Veterinarian measures blood pressure of gray fluffy cat
Image Credit: DinaSova, Shutterstock

An oscillometric blood pressure monitor is another non-invasive method using an inflatable cuff around the cat’s leg. The cuff inflates and deflates while the monitor detects pressure changes, allowing for the measurement of blood pressure.


4. Invasive Blood Pressure Monitoring

Invasive blood pressure monitoring involves directly inserting a catheter into the cat’s artery. Vets only use this method to measure blood pressure for critically ill cats in a hospital setting.

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Tips for Keeping My Cat’s Blood Pressure Within Range

  • Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for monitoring your cat’s overall health, including blood pressure. Your veterinarian can perform routine blood pressure measurements and recommend appropriate treatment if necessary.
  • A cat maintaining a healthy weight is important for preventing high blood pressure. Talk to your veterinarian about an appropriate diet and exercise plan for your cat.
  • If your cat has an underlying medical condition, such as kidney disease or hyperthyroidism, it’s essential to manage the condition properly to prevent high blood pressure.
  • Stress can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure, so it’s essential to minimize stress in your cat’s environment. Provide a safe and comfortable space for your cat to relax and try to keep their routine as consistent as possible.
  • Certain medications can affect blood pressure in cats, so it’s essential to carefully monitor your cat’s medications and dosage. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions for administering medications and immediately report any changes in your cat’s behavior or health.

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Summary

The best way to monitor your cat’s blood pressure is to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian, who has the tools and experience to get an accurate reading. If your cat has a medical condition that requires more frequent monitoring, several brands offer blood pressure machines that you can purchase online. With one of these, you usually only need to place a pad over a cat’s paw while the machine does the work, and it can be quite accurate. You can also detect changes in your cat’s blood pressure by monitoring their behavior and watching for signs like if they have blood in their eye or keep bumping into objects.


Featured Image Credit: zavalnia, Pixabay

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